With the release date of June 10th fast approaching, excitement builds for the new City And Colour album ‘Little Hell‘. After a sold out Australian tour earlier in the year anticipation now turns towards the new record. Deborah Konopnicki recently spoke with Dallas Green to chat about the new album, the recent Australian tour and more. Click below to expand this post and take a read. Don’t forget if you pre-order the new CD, you’ll get a bonus DVD and entry into a competition to win a signed acoustic guitar. Details on that are available [Here]. The album is also available on limited edition double vinyl, secure yourself a copy of that [Here].
Hey, Dallas! How are you going?
Good! How are you doing, Deb?
I’m great thanks, mate! Thank you very much for taking out some time from your day to speak to us!
What’s happening over there at the moment?
Well, I was just watching the Toronto Blue Jays play baseball and they just won! I’ve also been talking to people for the last couple of hours so you’re next!
On June 10th your highly anticipated third City and Colour album “Little Hell” is due for release. How are you feeling so close to the album’s release?
I’m excited. After a few years of sort of putting the songs together slowly and then recording the record finally in February and having it been done for a couple of months now, it’s just at that point where I’m ‘chomping at the bit’ as they say to have it out there and to finally get out there and tour and to play the songs to people.
You’re a pretty busy man! You’ve got your alter-ego obviously in Alexisonfire as well. Is it a project that you have to take time off to focus on and shut everything else out to get the most out of?
Yeah, the thing is that I’ve never really had a chance to sit and focus on the City and Colour work because of the schedule that Alexisonfire tends to keep. It’s sort of just whenever I have an idea or whenever an idea sort of pops up and I show it some attention and I hope that I can finish up a song in that time. If not, then it sits there and waits for me to come back to it. This is actually the first record where I’ve been able to really, really dedicate all of my time to and also it will be the first record where I’ve been able to focus in on and actually tour for it.
It seems that with this record that there is just so much anticipation surrounding it’s release. I guess you could put that down to so much time elapsing between records. Is that something that has frustrated you and have you been feeling that pressure from the fans?
Well, I think that all you can do at this point is just to concentrate on the product and do your best and make it the most that you can be and try not to worry about what people think and about what people are expecting. It can be frustrating. I think that’s the way that I’ve always looked at things though. I’ve never been a world domination sort of guy where I wanted to try and grab people’s appeal in a two-and-a-half minute pop song that will help sell millions and millions of records. I’ve never expected that to happen. I’ve always just sort of written songs that I wanted to write and put them out and you hope that someone will get it and listen to it! I have put enough pressure on myself to not have to worry about what other people are thinking!
You said that you had some songs ready for a while for this release. Did you ever go back and tinker with the songs after they were written; perhaps while in the studio in a certain frame of mind or have you left them as they were written?
Yeah, since “Bring Me Your Love” came out in 2008 I’ve been slowly writing songs here and there. Obviously after “Bring Me Your Love” I did some touring and we took some time and wrote the last Alexisonfire record and spent a lot of time touring on that! Like I said earlier, it’s just sort of in-between those moments that I can focus on the ideas that are bouncing around in my head. I did spend a lot of time sort of demoing the songs whenever I could, and to really just get them to the point where I could finally say that I was ready to make a record so that when I did put these songs together I only ended up booking 18 days in the studio and that was it! We just went in and recorded the songs that I had!
Is the title symbolic at all? Does “Little Hell” refer to something in particular?
Well, it’s a song on the record first of all. Secondly, it’s become I guess a sort of motto. It’s a thing that I think life is all about. It’s all about the little hells that you get yourself into or get thrust upon you and it’s how you get through those that build your character or mould you into the person that you should become. Whether it be the songs on the record that sort of emulate that as well or the frustrations that I went through with recording the record or just the way that I’ve sort of always done things, I feel like I’ve always worked really hard for what I’ve earned. I feel like I’ve never really taken the easy road and that’s kind of what “Little Hell” means to me.
Are there any songs that have particularly special meanings on the record?
Well, I tend to like all of them as of right now, but if I had to pick one then I guess it would be the last song on the record; it’s called “Hope For Now”. There’s just something about that.
One of the things that I love about your songs is the way that you write them. It’s like your telling a story in a way that makes people want to listen to where the song is going to go. Was there someone while growing up that influenced that style at all?
I think that I’ve just always written that way. I’ve always drawn from a personal experience to write a song. On the first record there are some songs that you can tell what I’m writing about and then there are some songs that are a little more abstract in a way. I’ve never really been good at writing a story, and by that I mean being able to write a fake story! I’ve always had to draw from something that I’ve been dealing with or something that had been bothering me or something that was interested in. That’s just how I write. I guess it’s a little bit like how some people write in a journal, some people cry some people go for a run or something to get that out, and I write a song.
I’ve heard a couple of the new songs so far and one that I particularly enjoyed was “Fragile Bird”. It has a bit of a different sound from the first two records and I think it’s great! Is that something that you’re keen to incorporate more into this record and into your music? To move away from just you and a guitar? I haven’t had a chance to hear the whole album yet so I could be way off!
Yeah, I think that it’s really just to mix up the sound. I just had an idea for this fuzzy, rocking, dancy song and that is that product of that idea. There are still songs on the record that are still just me and a guitar. I just didn’t want to suppress certain ideas! Some people have a certain idea of what City and Colour should sound like and I didn’t want it to be like that. If I have what I think is a good idea for a song and I wanted to put it out then I will. I think that “Fragile Bird” is really fun and really different and I like that. I think that the general response that people have is “well, this is different but I really like it!”
You’ve been playing a couple of the new songs here and there while on tour recently including your tour of Australia. How have you found people reacting to the new material? It seemed to go down incredibly well at the Melbourne show!
Yeah! I think that it’s had a great response. I think that when you’re playing a show, you don’t want to bore people with new songs that much, and especially for my first time headlining in Australia. Even though I had a whole new album ready I didn’t want to just get up there and play a whole lot of new songs, I wanted to play some older songs that people knew and really wanted to hear me play. It was nice to play a couple of new songs to give people some sort of idea with the direction hat I was going with for this new record. So far the response for the songs that people have heard have been really, really great!
How was the Australian tour for you? It was pretty amazing being there and it was definitely a long time coming being your first headlining tour here after playing Soundwave a few years ago.
Yeah, it was just a beautiful, beautiful experience for me. It is something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time but I just haven’t had the time or the chance to do it until that point. I had assumed that there were certain people there in Australia that were into it, I just had no idea that it would be as well received as it was. I had the time of my life over there! Like I said, just from being there so many times with Alexisonfire I had spoken to people and they had told me that they were interested in the City and Colour thing, but I never expected that many people or I never expected for shows to get moved to different venues and to play multiple nights in Sydney and things like that. I don’t think that you can ever expect that kind of stuff to happen!
Did you have a particular favorite show from your time in Australia?
I loved all of the shows but I think that my favorite show was the Brisbane one just because, I don’t know! It was just one of those days where I didn’t feel really good and I felt like it was actually going to be the worst show of the tour because I was super tired and the jetlag was REALLY kicking in and I didn’t have a lot of time to sleep. It was just one of those days where you don’t feel like playing! So we went out and it literally turned into one of the best shows that I’ve ever had in my life. That just shows you how powerful music can be and I think that there were a couple of things; the crowd was just so respectful and so beautiful that night that it was just a perfect moment for me.
Do you have anything special planned for the night of the album’s release?
I’m going to do like a television thing and do a live-to-air performance thing and then I’m going to do a secret little show at some small bar here in Toronto
Just one last question about Alexisonfire while I have you on the line; I know that Alexisonfire is on a little bit of a break at the moment, but are there any plans to come together in the not too distant future to start talking about another album later on this year or early next year or are you just going to wait and see?
Right now just because I’ve just put together this record and it’s about to come out next week and stuff that’s where my focus is right now. I plan to do a little bit more touring than I’m used to doing because I’ve never actually been able to do it. I want to just focus on that and play some places that I haven’t really had a chance to yet so I’m kind of just taking it one step at a time.
New album ‘Little Hell’ Instores June 10th via Dine Alone / Shock.
Pre-Order [CD/DVD] online [Here] for $19.99 w/ Free Postage & entry into competition to win a signed guitar.
Pre-Order [2LP] edition online [Here] for $34.99 w/ Free Postage