"Obviously, I would just put strings on my baby!"

Baptists, photos by Ryan Walter Wagner
Baptists, photos by Ryan Walter Wagner

Considering the recent release of their self-titled debut seven-inch on the venerable metal imprint Southern Lord Records (Black Breath, Wolves In The Throne Room, Sunn O))), Pelican), Discorder thought it would be a good idea to sit down with Vancouver thrashers Baptists. Though the group is relatively new, Baptists’ members have made the rounds in the local scene, playing in outfits like Jaws, Sports, Ladyhawk and A Textbook Tragedy, among others. While many acts would brag about being picked up by the heralded punk, metal and hardcore label, the band seemed surprised about the opportunity to work with Southern Lord. Discorder had a chance to talk to the group at 1AM following a well-attended record release party at the Biltmore on February 17 with fellow locals Ancients and Weapon. Here’s what the guys had to say.

Andrew Drury: Sean’s drinking whiskey with my blood inside of it. My blood is actually in there. That’s disgusting Sean.
Sean Hawryluk: I’m not going to drink it all. I’m not gonna suck all your blood.

Discorder: So who’s who?
SH: I’m John the Operator. I operate the bass.
Nick Yacyshyn: Drums.
AD: I’m Andrew. I’m the vocalist.
Danny Marshall: I play guitar.

D: How did Baptists come to put out a record on Southern Lord?
DM: We got a MySpace message from Southern Lord. We never used our MySpace.
AD: I think it was the second time we checked it.
DM: It was super crazy and we kind of thought it was a joke.
SH: I thought it was a hoax.
DM: We kind of did until it [the record] was in our hands. Greg [Anderson] from Southern Lord messaged us and told us to email him and [said] they’d be into doing something. We had these four songs recorded that we just basically recorded before Nick went on tour for two months so we didn’t forget them. Ya, I don’t know, we sent him those songs and he said he’d put them on a record.

D: How long did that take?
DM: A year.
All: (laughs).

D: So you had just started Baptists and already Southern Lord wanted to put out a record for you? You started about a year ago, right?
DM: Yeah, we started in January of last year and we probably talked to him in March or April, when Nick went on tour.
AD: I think we recorded in February.
DM: Maybe March…just before he went. I don’t remember when, but at the start of 2010. The record came out in 2011. So that’s a year.

D: What other bands are you in? Who did you go on tour with?
NY: Just my old band.

D: What are they called?
NY: A Textbook Tragedy.
AD: Mötley Crüe.
NY: We were called… Motörhead.
AD: Skitsystem
[Note: all joking, save A Textbook Tragedy]

D: Just to be clear, the record was released on Southern Lord but you’re not on the label?
AD: Correct.

D: Are you hoping to be?
SH: Ideally, he’ll wanna put out another record, but that’s another bridge that we’ll have to cross when we get to it.
DM: It depends on how this one goes.

D: Do you have any tours planned?
NY: No. But we played tonight, Jesus!
AD: (laughs). We’re touring all the way to Seattle on Saturday.
SH: Don’t tell anyone.
DM: We have to figure out if we can. We’ll do as many mini trips as we can. You can get to L.A. and back in a weekend. It would suck, but you could do it. You can basically do the West Coast in a week. We live in an OK spot to tour and play big cities.

D: [To Marshall] Do you feel like you can’t go on tour because you have a baby?
DM: Yes! Absolutely.

D: If you had to choose playing the guitar whenever you want or having a baby and never being able to pick up a guitar, which would it be?
DM: Obviously, I would just put strings on my baby!

D: Are there other reasons you can’t tour?
AD: I can’t book off too much time with work cause I’m in a government union and I [only] get a specific amount of time that I can take off. But maybe eventually we can.
NY: My schedule’s wide open. Sean and I might just peel off right now.

D: Do you have any good stories from past shows or tours?
SH: It was pretty funny when we didn’t think we were going to make it to GHPR. [GHPR is a summertime d.i.y. punk and metal festival in Squamish]
AD: I thought you were gonna talk about Toronto.
SH: That was pretty funny.
AD: Two weeks ago we flew to Toronto and our flight landed around 12 P.M. and we were supposed to play a show, downtown Toronto…
SH: At one!
AD: …at one. And we had special baggage because it’s all guitars, so it took extra long to get the gear. We showed up [to the show] during Burning Love’s very last song, so we ended up using all their amps.

D: Where did you play?
SH: The bar underneath Parts and Labour.
AD: It’s called The Shop at Parts and Labour. And then Sean’s other rock star band, Ladyhawk, played two shows in a row and they ruled. Two sold out shows in the next two days. It was kind of funny being catered to by a Five Star restaurant which was right above the venue. The guy that flew everybody out there was the head chef there.

D: And they picked Baptists to play that show?
AD: He didn’t pick Baptists. He picked Ladyhawk, Sports, and Duffy and the Doubters.
SH: No, we jumped on; we bum rushed the whole thing. It was an afterthought to add us to the bill.
AD: He only had to pay for two more plane tickets cause everyone else was already in one of the bands.

D: How did the show go for the rest of the bands?
SH: As good as it could have.
AD: It was weird playing after a band that should’ve been playing after us. Headliners by default.

D: What was the GHPR story?
SH: It was just that we barely made it there. We couldn’t find the place.
AD: I got there on time.
SH: You were fine, but the rest of us…we were about to turn around. We didn’t even know where the place was, we couldn’t find it.
AD: I got there at about 2PM. And at around 12AM I was like, “fuck it, they’re not showing up” so I started smoking weed, and I never smoke weed before shows. I got pretty stoned and then the band showed up.
SH: Nick was pretty high on mushrooms because he didn’t think we were gonna actually go and play the gig so he dropped mushrooms right before we picked him up. We were staying at Squamish Valley Campground, which was a good hour commute to the gig.
AD: My favourite thing about GHPR was watching Nick after we played. I was hiding and I watched him for a good hour and a half and he didn’t know I was watching him. He was zooming. I was watching him zoom hard.
SH: My favourite part was making sure that Phil from Haggatha didn’t pass out again and fall over and die. That kinda consumed the end of my night.

D: Andrew’s hand was squirting blood all over the stage tonight. You got it all over the monitors and all over Nick’s clear drum kit. How did that happen?
AD: I don’t know. I think it was the fence thing.
DM: It might’ve been the metal fence [laughs].

D: [To Drury] In Jaws you played while in a wheelchair, you played while using a cane and you once fell off the stage and went unconscious. Have you ever played a show where you weren’t injured or didn’t get injured during the show?
AD: Yes.
DM: In Baptists, tons.
AD: It’s a new me.
DM: We had some serious talks.
AD: I’m very cautious about that stuff now.
SH: It’s a new Andrew.
AD: I punched Danny once for no reason.
DM: It’s true. I had a hard time playing the next riff. I had dead arm.
SH: Tonight?
AD: No, it was a long time ago.

D: Has being in Baptists been a good experience?
AD: Yes! I don’t think we’ve had a single fight, ever. We’ve never raised our voices at each other. I’m sometimes worried that Nick might take my bugging him seriously.
NY: No. I look forward to it. I need some direction in my life.
SH: He needs some bullying.
NY: Yeah.

D: I wanted to ask you about your cover art. What’s the story behind the taxidermy crow hung up on a cross?
AD: A while ago, like three years ago, I was on a bus and I saw a homeless dude with that crow attached to his backpack. I was in a rush and I really wanted to jump off the bus and try to buy it off him. The very next day at work my friend told me she had a present for me. Then she gave me that. She didn’t know I had seen it the day before and wanted to buy it. She bought it off the dude and gave it to me. So I’ve had it on my wall for a while. Then my lady friend Jill took it to the forest and hung it up on the cross and took a picture of it for me.

D: Can I ask a question for the ladies?
AD: We’re all taken.