Jake Olexyn

The Burden – Interview

Wednesday 6th June 2018

Canadian post-hardcore quartet The Burden released their new EP ‘Presence of Past Tense’ back in February, and it has been described as their first step in meshing as a new band since their recent line-up changes.  With the tracks sitting somewhere between their previous EP and upcoming full-length record, they decided to give them their own crown of glory, and release them as a taster of their progression in sound and solidity as a band.  The Burden bring 5 solid tracks that channel from heavy metal to progressive metal, with elements of pop and influences from late 00’s post hardcore, and with Underoath vibes I was eager to catch a moment and find out more about the release and future plans.

Your EP ‘The Presence of Past Tense’ has been released for a while now. How have you found the response to the record so far?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. People have been really into it, and its been getting a lot more exposure than our debut album did, so its been really awesome to see our fanbase growing as a direct result of this release. And these songs have been really well received live. We played a show fairly close to the release date and people knew the lyrics and were already singing along.

What’s the story behind the EP?

The EP is a collection of songs we were working on around the release of our first record Modern Disease and some songs written while working on our next album. We had a bit of a lineup change between Modern Disease and now, so there was a bit of an adjustment period in writing and settling into the new dynamic of having different band members. The EP is what came out of that transition period, which is part of where the EP’s title actually comes from.

How did you find the process of putting it together, and did you face any hurdles you had to overcome?

The process of putting this record together was a headache to say the least.  There was roadblock after roadblock when planning to track the EP.  Eventually, despite our lack of skill we learned how to track ourselves and sent the tracks over to our producer, Jordan Chase for mixing. The second verse on A Search For Solace was actually rewritten last minute as well! A lot of the vocals were reworked/rewritten while tracking, but we are incredibly proud of how it all turned out.

What about the final track listing, were there any tracks that didn’t make the cut?

Actually – kind of the opposite! The songs that are on this EP were originally intended to be on a full length follow up record to Modern Disease. We really loved these songs but felt thematically they don’t fit perfectly with our newer material, so we released them on this EP to give them the love they deserve.

How would you say this release compares to your previous material, and how do you feel you’ve developed as a band over the years?

This band has been a roller coaster over the years, we feel as though this EP is a natural progression and what sonically makes sense for our band.  We retain the heavy/melodic contrast from our previous releases as well as left room for growth.  We are all big general music fans and we never want to define ourselves as a certain band, as we don’t want to stunt and limit where we can go in the future. We feel as though this new EP is right at home in our discography and it has come out far better than even we had anticipated it would.

The initial idea was for this EP to just be something to tide people over until the next album, but after Jordan finished with it we realized that it was just the first step in meshing as a band with our line up being solid for the first time in our history.

Who are your biggest influences and how do you draw upon your inspirations when writing and performing?

The main influence in the band is Underoath, for sure. We definitely take cues from their work ethic, do or die attitude and live performance. We like our live show to be put together, yet raw. So we really get inspired by that band. People often say we sound like ‘x band’ or ‘y band’, and everyone hears different things, but we’ve never been called a ‘knockoff’ of any particular band. So we think we’re doing a pretty good job of taking our influences and making them our own.

You’ve just released your official merch, and the t-shirt designs are pretty sweet. Who’s the creative genius that designed these?

Thanks so much! Our bass player, Ross, is actually the one who’s done all our design work. Merch, album artwork, etc. We get to keep pretty much all our visual creative direction internal because of his work, its really cool. It gives us freedom behind the scenes to explore a lot of different visual ideas for the band.

It must be a pretty cool feeling when you see someone in the crowd, or out and about wearing your shirt?

It’s so cool! There’s always been this lowkey stigma in the scene we’re a part of that says wearing the merch of the band you’re going to see is somehow uncool, but we absolutely love seeing the support in the crowd. It’s a really rewarding feeling, a reminder that there is someone there supporting the art you’ve created.

What’s the local music scene like in Prince George?

It’s strange to be honest, very touch and go.  We love the support we get from our hometown, we have a core group of people that we can always expect to turn out. However we come from a fairly small city, so for venues it’s pretty scarce.  There’s a thriving music and arts culture here with many talented musicians, but there’s not a lot of bands in our genre specifically. So booking shows can be difficult here for us because there isn’t always a large draw for our kind of music. We end up playing shows where we don’t really fit in because we are either too heavy, or not heavy enough.

Do you remember your first gig you performed live, and how do you feel your live shows have evolved since then?

Our first show was a blast! The venue was actually shut down the next day; not related to our show, we swear! I think we are definitely a much “tighter” band live now. There has been quite a few line up changes since the first show. We’ve definitely really clicked with our current line up though. We always make sure to push our energy level with every show. We love getting crazy and high energy on stage.

Where have been your favourite venues to perform?

The Habitat in Kelowna, BC is insane, we’ve only played there once but it was sold out & over capacity. Its a really nice place, great layout, stage space, etc. The crowd was really into it too. We’d love to play there again soon.

What are your plans for 2018, and what do you hope to have achieved by the end of the year?

We’re back into writing mode at this point, so we’re working hard on our second album. We’re aiming to have pre production done by the fall so we can hit the studio before the end of the year. We also just finished tracking a cover of a song by one of our influences as part of a tribute compilation we were asked to be a part of, so that will be out sometime this summer. We’re also working on booking some shows outside of our hometown for the fall as well. Our schedules have been a bit all over the place this last year, so we haven’t had as much opportunity to play Western Canada as we’d hoped. But this fall we should be hitting some of the major cities out here.

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