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C’mon Mount Up For An Epic Ride

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

If the secret to success as a hard rock band is a matter of sticking to the time-honored adage of "go big or go home," this year promises to be one of the biggest in Toronto-bred band C'mon's eight-year history. Between releasing a ten-inch EP, a flexi-disc and the band's third LP, Beyond The Pale Horse, 2011 marks C'mon's most prolific year to date but, even better, the sound of those records is just awesome in its size. Beyond the balls-out rock that is the band's signature, this time the band has begun really pushing the boundaries of their sound both in scope (the second side of the band's new ten-inch consists of just one epic song) and just how much of an assault the band's fans can take; according to Blurton, that single mammoth song on the second side of that aforementioned ten-inch has a habit of knocking things off the walls of venues when it gets played live.

Before suiting up to shake the foundations of audiences as part of the North By Northeast Music Conference this year, Blurton took a few minutes to tell Ground Control about Beyond The Pale Horse as well as a few of the other endeavors that C'mon has set for this year and, just in listening to him, the excitement has proven to be infectious; in conversation, there's no doubt that Blurton can't wait to show fans what C'mon's got this time, and really rock their world.

Bill Adams vs. Ian Blurton of C'mon

BA: Hello?

IB: Hey Bill, it's Ian Blurton from C'mon.

BA: Hey Ian, how're you doing?

IB: Good man, how're you? Sorry I missed you.

BA: It's no worries man, we all get busy and I figure you're headed out on the road in the reasonably near future, so you've got stuff to take care of before you leave.

IB: Yes, I will.

BA: And you'll be sharing the stage on a hot ticket show at North By Northeast this year.

IB: Yeah – we're actually a little more stoked about the show we've got coming up at Sled Island because we're playing with Sleep, but OFF! Is pretty fuckin' badass.

BA: So what's shakin'? you're headed out on the road for Beyond The Pale Horse.

IB: Beyond The Pale Horse, yup – and we have a new ten-inch that'll be out for the the first show, and we have a Flexi-disc that's going to be out in time for Sled Island.

BA: Really? How did you find someone who's still able to press those?

IB: I guess somebody bought all the machines, and they started pressing them again, or something.

BA: Wow – that's pretty cool. How long was Pale Horse in the making? I know the last time we spoke was about two years ago, so it has to have been since then.

IB: It was  about a year and a half in the making – we really took our time on it. We recorded the bed tracks in Victoria and then we did overdubs in New Orleans and Toronto. Then I went back out to Victoria and my friend mixed it out there; my friend Darryl Smith.

BA: Really? Wow – so this time was a really big deal.

IB: Yeah – absolutely. We spent a lot of time and hours working it out; Jay Yuenger from White Zombie engineered the stuff in New Orleans, Darryl engineered the stuff in Victoria, and I engineered the stuff in Toronto, then Darryl produced and mixed it.

BA: Oh wow. So how long was the album in the making from a writing standpoint? How old are some of these songs?

IB: There's one song that was going to be on our very first record that we took off – we kept one part of it and rewrote the whole song, but everything else is brand new so, outside of that one song which might be about eight years old, everything else is two years at the most.

BA: So what was the plan going in this time. I mean, obviously, you own a recording studio–

IB: I did, I don't anymore.

BA: Oh I thought you still did.

IB: Nope.

BA: Okay, so every band has that conversation to the effect of, “Well this is what we did last time, and that worked out really well for us, so what do we want to do to fuck with it?”

IB: Right! Exactly! [laughing] Well, we gave Darryl full reign to produce the record how he wanted to. That was our big thing; just letting it go and letting somebody outside make the final call, we were just players.

BA: Really? Wow, so that must have been like almost a vacation for you; I mean, you've always taken a reasonably strong hand as far as the as far as the writing and recording processes were concerned before.

IB: Well, I generally try not to produce records that I'm also playing on because it's really hard to do both and it's actually a lot more fun just to be playing – so it's really awesome to have Darryl – who we trust immensely – to be able to call the shots. We believe in him one hundred per cent so it was actually really easy; there were no fights about anything or anything like that.

BA: Wow. …And amazingly it was a remarkably painless and non-dramatic exercise.

IB: I know – there's not much story there, that's what it was, it was awesome; it was just good times.

BA: That's cool now, I remember from the last record, you were really shooting for the “amps to eleven” kind of feel, was the same thing in effect?

IB: Oh absolutely, one hundred per cent. I think this record is heavier than anything we've ever done before. There's one song that's seven minutes long and really slow, which is really rare for us.

BA: That's cool but, by the same token, does it still feel like a C'mon song as far as how people know the band's sound to be? I mean, you can MAKE a seven-minute song, sure – Jello Biafra did it on his last EP – but there's a difference between making a seven-minute song and making a seven-minute C'mon song.

IB: Right. No, I still think it sounds like C'mon. We don't play that song very often live, but the couple of times that we have done it, we did it with two bands playing the song together; we were playing with this band, Huron, from Hamilton and both bands knew the song, so we played it with two drummers, two bass players, three guitarists and five singers. To give you an idea of what it sounded like, when we played it in Moncton, shit was falling off the walls.

BA: Holy shit. So how much of the new album has already been inserted into the set list? Are you really concentrating on it?

IB: It's almost all the new album.

BA: Oh, okay, and you'll be able to probably get the whole album in, even in a festival set time because I know the average OFF! set list is twenty-five minutes long on the outside.

IB: Well yeah, but it's still a festival so you only get your forty minutes no matter what. But our songs will seem pretty long, even at two and a half minutes against any OFF! song.

BA: Now, I know OFF! is doing more than one show for the festival, is C'mon doing more than one?

IB: We're playing a private party on the Saturday afternoon but that's it other than The Horseshoe.

BA: So what else am I very obviously forgetting to ask about? What else shall we talk about?

IB: Well, the ten-inch and the flexi are the two things that we've been working on all winter and, I don't know – we are starting to think about new songs now….

BA: Well, tell me about these two new releases; were they just songs that fell on the cutting room floor?

IB: No, these songs were specifically written and recorded for these releases. On the ten-inch, the A-side is one twelve-minute song, and the B-side has a few songs that all sort of bleed into each other and ends with a cover of "Crazy Horses" by The Osmonds.

BA: That's cool, so what's on the flexi-disc?

IB: There's one song from the ten-inch on it, and then there's a movie coming out called Lloyd The Conquerer with Brian Paulson about larping and it's a comedy. They hired a bunch of bands to do songs about larping, so we wrote one called “Inside The Walls Of Jericho” and we just cribbed the words off of a bunch of videos that we saw on Youtube about larping so the lyrics are pretty funny, we were laughing a lot while we were recording it.

BA: Nice. So those aren't out just yet – have I got that right?

IB: Right, both of those will be out in time for Sled Island – in fact Beetroot Magazine in Calgary? There's going to be two thousand copies of the flexi in Beetroot Magazine's June edition, and then the movie comes out in October or November.

BA: I gotcha, and have those songs been put into the set list already too?

IB: We'll probably do one of the songs off the ten-inch on this upcoming tour. I don't think we'll ever do the twelve-minute song live because, at one point during the song, there's two versions of C'mon playing at the same time because we needed it for how the parts work. That sort of came from playing with Huron because we were pretty inspired by it but, with them, we were all playing the same thing and I thought, 'Well, wouldn't it be cool if there was two bands, but they were playing completely separate parts?'

BA: Wow, sounds like a Butthole Surfers idea.

IB: Actually, it sounds more like Voivod meets Thin Lizzy – like there are a bunch of Piggy parts and there's a total Gary Moore part at the end and then we have a friend who helped write lyrics for Voivod occasionally and she helped us write the words for the A-side just because, if we had all these Piggy parts, we thought we'd go all the way.

BA: Oh absolutely. At that point, there's no reason to just go halfway.

IB: Yup. Because there's only one guitar player that sounds like Piggy.

BA: Well, that's true. Well, thanks for taking a couple of minutes to do this, I know it was thrown together pretty quickly….

IB: Thank you too man, for helping us out.

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