Sea To Sky is beginning to grab the attention of countless individuals and it is easily one of the best punk records to be released within the past year. That being said, PropertyOfZack is thrilled to be releasing our interview with Daniel from Carpenter. Daniel and I discussed the story behind Sea To Sky, the band’s relationship with Paper + Plastick Records, future touring throughout the summer, and another possible release in early-2012. Read up and enjoy!
For the record, could you state your name and role in Carpenter?
My name’s Daniel, and I’m the singer and rhythm guitar player in Carpenter.
The band released Sea To Sky back in September, but it seems like it’s just catching on now. How has the reception to it been in the past six months?
It’s been really good. We did a release in Canada in September, but it really hadn’t hit the States until 2011. Paper + Plastick has been really good about helping us get the album out and helping people hear it. So far the response has been super positive. People really like it and they’re hearing some 90’s influence that I’m really happy people are picking up on because that’s what I’m all about. It’s nice to see that people kind of get it.
Would you agree that there has certainly been more of a push with it as time goes on?
Definitely. Canada is such a small market in the grand scheme. We’ve been touring Canada for the last couple years and we’ve built up a pretty solid reputation, especially in the punk community. It’s just so much smaller and spaced out than the US. It’s really nice to get some recognition south of the border because obviously the scenes are much bigger and they have a lot more people involved. We feel really lucky that Vinnie really responded to the album. He really likes it so he’s giving it a solid push. We’re pretty isolated up here in Vancouver. Canada-wise our closest show is 12-hours away in Calgary, which is a major city. We just recently got our work visas, so it’s much easier for us to go down to Seattle and Portland, but for the last couple years it’s been really tough. We know a lot of bands that have gotten busted and you get a five-year ban in the US. We can finally play in the States now. Even doing Fest the past couple of years, we’ve seen a huge growth in people that know who we are and want to check us out.
Regardless of the Canadian scene being small, has your niche of fans there been receptive to the record?
People say the record is a little different than our last records. I think it’s a little bit more aggressive and stripped down. It’s a little more punk. That’s mainly because I felt like Carpenter was early on in the Americana/folk punk thing and then I started seeing a lot of bands coming up that were trying to do that and were latching onto the success of Gaslight. I didn’t want to do that since it was getting done more. Carpenter started because I was sick of the emo/big hair bands and I wanted to do something different. I wanted to go back to the punk sound because that’s where all of this came from.
How would you compare the initial reaction to that of 2008’s Law Of The Land?
People are responding to the things that I hoped they would. People are really into the melody of the record in general and the overall attack of it. I wanted it to be a more high energy and upbeat record. It’s nice to see people respond to it. Honestly, I think the response has been, “This is your best record yet.” That’s obviously something that you strive for. That seems to be the consensus at this point.
When did the writing process for Sea To Sky take place?
A lot of it started in the fall of 2009. We toured for like six or seven months that year and then I went to my farm in Ontario and started writing the skeletons for all the songs while living in the trailer with no power. It was away from the distractions of modern day life.
Were there any overall themes or concepts that you explored with this record compared to past material that you’ve written?
I think it was just a little bit more introspective. I think a lot of the previous records had a lot of influence in regards to agro-business. There are still elements of that, but it’s a lot more about growing up and how you’re feeling and the isolation of me being on a farm in the middle of nowhere. You can’t help but go a little bit deeper. Especially when there’s no one around but you and your dog. I think that comes out. It’s a little bit more personal. I think that’s one of the reasons why people seem to be so drawn to it.
This is the band’s first release on Paper + Plastick as well, which is a fantastic label. How did Carpenter come about signing with them?
We just had a bunch of friends in bands that we played with that were on the label. We knew Cheap Girls and The Flatliners and A Wilhelm Scream. We had toured a bunch with Make Do And Mend as well and I think that they had just signed. I’d like to think that there was a buzz from those bands. Vinnie responded to the record right away, which is awesome.
POZ: How is the relationship so far?
Daniel: It took a little bit longer than I would have liked to hold the vinyl in my hands, but I got it and I’m so stoked on him for making that happen.
Have they really launched you into the US market that the band has been trying to get into?
Without them, none of this would be happening for sure. They’ve been fantastic about just trying to spread the word and get the band a little bit more recognition.
You guys played a show just a few days ago for your birthday I believe. How was that?
It was amazing. It was sold out and people were going crazy. Our Vancouver shows have become celebrations and parties. I think we’ve brought back crowd surfing in Vancouver, which is something that I’m really proud of. I haven’t seen any army shorts with long underwear yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I started to see a few. It’s amazing.
Are you playing a lot of the newer songs in your sets?
Oh, absolutely. We try to do a mix of everything. Especially here because people in Canada are so familiar with our records. And I hate it when bands when I see shows just play new stuff. We do a really solid mix of everything. I feel like we have a lot songs that people gravitate towards and hold on to that it would just be unfair to take that away from people. We all come from a punk/hardcore background and it’s about doing the show together as a community.
The last tour the band did was a major one in October and November throughout North America. Was that a success?
It was amazing to go to places we had never been. We’d done the east coast before and we do really, really well there, which still surprises me because it’s so far from home. Places like Philly are probably like one of our biggest places to play, which is amazing. Playing the west coast and south for the first times were way better than I ever could have imagined. People were so supportive of our record and wanted to help us.
Why has it been so long since the band has announced dates?
I do some movie stuff in Vancouver and I just got a couple decent-sized gigs, so I wanted to explore that. Plus, it’s so damn cold up here that we don’t want to go on the frozen tundra of Canada. We’re just waiting for the big thaw and then we’ll head out again.
Is anything set in stone?
Nothing yet, but we’re talking to a few different bands about leaving in April. We’re also talking about going to Europe as well this year for the first time, which will be absolutely incredible.
POZ: Would those upcoming tours include the US?
Daniel: I feel like the US is where we need to put our focus. We certainly haven’t exhausted Canada, but I feel like anyone who has their finger on the pulse to punk here knows about us. I still feel like there are a lot of people in the US who haven’t heard about us and we really want to reach those people.
POZ: And maybe Europe in the summer?
Daniel: Yeah, we’re talking to a few different promoters there, and it’s still incredible to me that people are contacting us about wanting us to go over there. It’s not me harassing them. I’d like to think that a lot of it has to do with the music, but I’m sure a lot of it has to do with Paper + Plastick too, so I’m super thankful to them for giving us an opportunity to go over there.
You mentioned that you started writing for the new record in 2009. Have you written anything since that record was completed?
Yeah, we’ve been writing new stuff and we hope to record again in the late-fall. Probably after Fest we’ll come back and do some recording. I don’t know if it’ll be an EP or LP. It depends on how prolific we are together. We definitely want to record again this year. I feel like there are still a lot of songs to come out and I want to keep giving people a chance to hear the sound that we’re hitting.
Is the new material similar to Sea To Sky?
I think so. I think it’s a bit of an evolution even further. It’s hard to describe at this point, because there are only a couple of songs that I feel really good about. It’s definitely a bit of a different direction. Still fairly aggressive, but also 90’s like in all the right ways.
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add or that we should be on the lookout for?
No, just thank you and hopefully people like you can help new communities and punk scenes discover us. That’s all we’re really looking for. We really love touring and playing for people. Success to us is people coming out to see our shows.