Interview With Hormoans
“Some people grow used to the nothingness in their lives and stop trying to change. Other’s fight against the nothingness in a futile attempt to thwart the inevitable and add an element of creativity to their otherwise dull existence. So yeah, nothingness and boredom continue to be an inspiration.”
We had the opportunity to interview Toronto’s Hormoans. The trio just released their new EP “Crash Embryo” and if you’re looking for some socially conscience Toronto agnst, this 4 track EP is a must listen. The band told us about the new EP ater their hiatus, past albums, the importance of a DIY attitude, Toronto’s scene and the inspiration in nothingness.
You’ve just released your new album “ Crash Embryo”, what’s the reaction been so far?
A lot of positive reaction to the EP so far, many people are saying it’s our best material yet and that it sounds like a “more realized band”. We’ve had a very supportive fan base in recent years.
The group recently took a brief hiatus. What brought you back together for “Crash Embryo”?
The hiatus came about after a very busy couple of years of gigging, writing and recording music, so we chose to take a break to re-integrate ourselves within society. After a while society got boring and predictable again, so we decided to get back in the studio and record the songs we had written.
Can you tell us about the process of making this new album?
I started writing songs for this EP with a more straight-forward “rock and roll” vision, however that quickly evolved into songs that incorporated more jagged punk guitars and later, Matt added some melodic bass lines that gave the EP a more pop sound, and Cyrus’ drum parts worked well towards the same rock and roll feel we were going for. Once we workshopped about 7 songs, we chose our 4 favourite tracks and went into the studio (because studio time is expensive)!
Where did the name “Crash Embryo” come from?
When it comes to music, art and film, I like the power and mystery of juxtaposition; simply putting one image or word or note next to another which then creates an entire new meaning. I have always been intrigued (and recently obsessed) with the formation of embryo’s and planets, so I wanted the title and artwork to incorporate both. I experimented a lot and Matt had some ideas – the imagery went through different incarnations, before I ended up with the final design. We didn’t want it to be too literal so as to leave the meaning up for interpretation.
When you released your first LP “Millar” in 2013, it “enraged the public” can you fill us in on that statement?
Our first LP was very aggressive, and confrontational by design – at the time, we set out to make a mark on an otherwise tame music scene – there were local pop punk bands left over from the late 90’s, and indie rock bands that were really safe sounding, so we wanted to
kind of scare people. Our first ever live performance – which was recorded but has yet to be released – was really the point where we started to piss people off, and get their attention. To the public, it was pure; blood, sweat and anger, simultaneously directed inward at ourselves and outward at our audience. “Millar” was recorded shortly after that, so the public kinda condemned us because of our misfit, punk attitude. Which was fine by us.
Crash Embryo is the Hormoans third release. How has your music changed over the years?
Our first LP “Millar” was recorded over 4 or 5 years, and we were in our early 20’s so we experienced a lot as a tight group of friends. We drew inspiration from those experiences and channeled them into a heavy, aggressive and reactionary LP. Our sophomore record, “Slander” was us trying to reconcile our heavier material with our more “commercially appealing” songs, which resulted in a mix of punk, grunge and surf rock. Our new EP, “Crash Embryo” is a more focused and simplified example of our evolved sound; the same elements are present but with a refined sense of songwriting and added production value.
The new album mixes elements seamlessly from many genres like punk, rock, metal and grunge, another very apparent one being surf which adds a very unique element to the music. Being a Toronto based band, can you tell us where the surf influence comes from?
Initially it was the Bay area punk scene which influenced me to write more ‘surf influenced’ music. I listen to a lot of indie bands that incorporate surf rock into their sound. I like a lot of UK bands, like the Horrors and more recently this great surf/grunge band called, The Wytches. So a lot of UK and U.S. indie bands influence the surf/indie rock qualities of our music. I think the local punk scene in Toronto has a lot to do with the heavier, angrier aspects of our sound.
After your 2015 release of “Slander” Exclaim stated that The Hormoans “have found their niche” do you think that’s true? Do you think that’s a true statement and if so what is it?
I thought that was a funny statement to tell you the truth, because as a band or artist you are always developing, changing, morphing into different things – that’s kind of the point to me… so to say we “found our niche” sounds like something finite; a ploy to sell newspapers or units or something. Plus a niche only appeals to a small group of people, where we have always seen our music as more universal than a mere “niche”. Maybe they found our niche.
Do you think it’s important for bands to “find a niche”?
I think it’s important for bands to find a sound that they can call their own – these days it will inevitably be a mixture of other bands’ sounds, because the industry has become over saturated and unless you make music in a vacuum, completely dissected from the western world, your influences are going to show. That’s not a bad thing, because ultimately music is about a feeling you get when you listen to it, and it doesn’t have to be singular or ground-breaking, or something that creates its own genre or revolution. It’s about shaping the influences you have into something you consider unique, and being proud to show off what you create. After all, identity is a constantly changing phenomenon that is a mixture of a lot of different factors. Isn’t it?
You’ve said that you find inspiration for your music in nothingness. Can you expand on that feeling and concept?
Sometimes nothingness is born out of routine. Maybe it’s doing the same 9-5 job or playing the same video games with the same outcomes; I believe boredom and nothingness stir the paints in the artist’s pallette. It subconsciously motivates us to write. Some people grow used to the nothingness in their lives and stop trying to change. Other’s fight against the nothingness in a futile attempt to thwart the inevitable and add an element of creativity to their otherwise dull existence. So yeah, nothingness and boredom continue to be an inspiration.
How did the three of you come together to form Hormoans?
After Steve’s metal band, The Binary Link broke up, he and close friend/local musician, Taylor Nesbit formed a band called, “Liminal” (which means, relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process). Cyrus and Matt started attending these jams and eventually started practicing Liminal songs with Steve under the new name, The Hormoans. We later dropped “The” and now it’s just “HORMOANS”.
Having played many venues across the city over the years, what is your opinion on Toronto’s music scene?
The scene has undergone a lot of changes over the last 2-3 years, and unfortunately, as with most major cities, has succumb to political greed and government interference. The rapid rate which local venues are vanishing is egregious and has pretty much killed the motivation for young people to even venture out of their safe, protected suburban world’s let alone start a band and play shows across the province. On a political level, the reasons for our city becoming a former shadow of its creative, progressive self revolve around greed – as the city continues to grow and condo’s take the place of venues, the middle class are forced into poverty while the rich keep buying up “heritage sites”. Our city keeps losing its identity to the bureaucratic process until there is absolutely no history left of Toronto ever existing and we become just another faceless city who got down on our knees and gave into big, dirty money.
Whats your favourite venue in the city to play?
I like the Burdock, it had a good vibe and a really nice sound girl, plus we have been a Blansdowne band for years now (living between Dufferin and Lansdowne) so close by venues are great. Coalition was fun too and so was The Supermarket in Kensington, both had good stages and the sound guy’s were pretty cool. But at the rate things are going they’ll probably all be gone in a year.
How important is having a DIY attitude in this cities music scene in 2017?
Having a DIY attitude/work ethic is the single most important aspect to having any success in the entertainment business. Unless you have a ton of connections in high places, being DIY is the only way to produce your own content on your own terms (which is always a struggle), and allows you to form the alliances that will become your creative network in the future. At OCAD, I learned that a lot of people have a similar DIY attitude, and are talented in many different ways, but ultimately you need to find – or build – your own support group of like minded individuals to have any chance of success in the industry.
As another year comes to an end, what are a few of your favourite Hormoans memories from 2017?
Finishing the new EP was a high-point for us.
What do you guys have planned for next year? What can we expect from The Hormones in the near future?
Post-production is almost wrapped on our new music video for the single, “Vincent Gallo”, which will be released in the near future. We also hope to play an EP release show in December. As for 2018, nothing is certain, except that, there will be a few surprises in store for our fans…
To find more music, info and photos visit hoarmoansmusic.com
You can check out their new EP “Crash Embryo” below!