Getting to interview Todd Serious from Vancouver’s most political punk band the Rebel Spell is rare these days but so are their shows in Vancouver now.
“It’s hard. I miss Vancouver a lot but then it’s so much more awesome when I get here. It’s constantly changing, definitely moved out of the pseudo-commercial venues it was in.”
Coming back from a whirlwind of a tour – 22 shows in 24 days in five countries and the band is already planning to go back to Europe again in November of 2015. They had help booking with a little record label out of Ontario called Rebel Time.
“When G7 was folding up, we were looking for something when we were going to release this new album. And since our first tour we’ve known the people that started Rebel Time. They just offered to help us out. It’s just some support in Eastern Canada. They’re helpful there and they are connected in to some good networks in Europe, so both of our European tours have been booked by Rebel Time Records. “
February 2003 was their first show ever, so they just passed 11 years as a ban. Asking Serious about his latest bug, he goes a bit dark.
“Honestly, I’m working hard to resist falling in to a nihilistic mental state. I feel really overwhelmed with the trajectory of society. And I’m sure a lot of people feel that. But I think it’s super important to maintain a positive outlook. Remember that even though the big picture is really bleak, individuals like you and I, and everyone, can make a difference day to day in just keeping things a little bit better. And really, that’s what’s within our power so we should strive for that. And I’m striving to keep it positive in an overwhelmingly negative context; my friends go that way, I go that way. Support each other, because that’s all we’ve really got.”
The conversation turned to increased paranoia over surveillance culture as the subject of their song “It Can’t Be Just Me” and a great video to accompany it. “I feel this stuff all the time. It’s just cathartic to yell and have people yell along with you.” The song has a good warning about the future: the kids won’t realize what is gone and what we had (freedom).
“Now, you’re afraid to talk on your cell phone openly. As a society we’ve been bred and led to expect something different like we’d be able to speak freely. But honestly, you’re walking around and you can feel that there’s cameras on you now in a lot of public places. And that makes you feel a little weird and then you realize that your words could easily be recorded all the time on your cell phone and out of context. Not to get all conspiracy and paranoid, but that stuff’s happening and becoming easier and easier. That’s that trajectory that we’re talking about. We’re going in that direction.”
Right now the Rebel Spell are currently gearing up to record a new album and Serious spilled the beans.
“We’re really involved in building a new record right now. It’s such a process for us. It’s not easy. We start recording May 5th. We’re doing a handful of shows before then, trying to get some money together. ”
While The Rebel Spell are a veteran act in the Vancouver punk community, they are not one to stay stagnant and aren’t afraid to mess with the formula.
“The neat thing about this is that we decided to switch things up. We are working with Jesse Gander out of a studio called Rain City Recorders. He is more of a punk producer than in the past and we should have a couple of new songs ready for this show in April and show people what we are up to.”
NYB Presents: THE REBEL SPELL (album fundraiser) w/ Frank Love & Flagpolers Friday April 11 at Lanalou’s.
By Tanya Van
Photo: Jordana Meilleur