By Julia Hunter
CALGARY — Baptists infuse their raging tunes with hardcore, noise rock and doom, continuing the lineage of much loved and missed Eastern Canadian band Cursed. Since their inception in 2010, the quartet has become one of Western Canada’s biggest heavy music breakout success stories. They’ve released two full-lengths via the heavily lauded Southern Lord label that were recorded by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, toured North America, Europe and Indonesia; they’ve opened for Pentagram (read the October 2014 article on the band in Vancouver’s The Skinny section for more details on a show that ended with vocalist Andrew Drury being “carried back to the van”). All told, it’s due to the quartet’s amalgam of the aforementioned Cursed, alongside projects like Hot Snakes, Coliseum, Converge, Nirvana, Trap Them and Disfear.
“Each person takes their influence from different places, but personally there are a handful of bands that have influenced the guitar parts for this band right from the get go,” begins guitarist Danny Marshall. “They all have a common denominator of being very high-anxiety bands.”
The musical build-up with Baptists is equally anxiety-ridden. The band’s 2013 debut Bushcraft and 2014 follow-up Bloodlines are built on a crusty foundation with well matched subject matter that relate to vocalist Andrew Drury’s work in the foster care system and the “support” industries surrounding it. His dark observations critique the parts of modern life that seem “blatantly fucked up.”
Aside from drummer Nick Yacyshyn’s high profile work with Sumac (yup, he’s the guy that metal tourist Dave Grohl declared as his favourite), each member of Baptists has side projects on the go.
“I live four hours away from the other guys, so we jam very sporadically, leaving a ton of time for other stuff. Nick, Andrew and I play in Erosion together, which is equally sporadic,” says Marshall, who has a “couple of new bands starting up here in the Okanagan.”
Bassist Sean Hawryluk is also in indie rock act Ladyhawk and a project called Slow Learners; Yacyshyn is also a member of the Blood River Band. Frontman Drury is in a project called Total Isolation as well.
Despite (or perhaps due to) the musical output hodgepodge, Baptists go from scathing to ridiculous in seconds during our interview.
“Sean likes a relaxing breakfast, Nick can’t stay awake in a moving vehicle – ground or air, Andrew is a human dog and won’t stay still, and I probably annoy them all in a lot of ways that I don’t know about,” reveals Marshall, who then goes on to tell us about a skateboarding accident in Oakland. Apparently Drury tried to ollie through some old bookcase in an alley in Oakland once and split his head wide open on it before his wheels even left the ground and the shelving unit proceeded to crash down on top of him.
“That was the first time I had to superglue his head shut. Maybe the second. I can’t remember,” Marshall recalls. In a completely unrelated to their music and somewhat funny way, the interview finishes.
“Right before he tried it he said something like, ‘See you in hell, you fucking idiots,’ and then he got goosed!”
Baptists perform at the Nite Owl on July 10th with Erosion, Doberman and Triton.AB, Alberta, Baptists, Nite Owl