Godstopper has been a fixture on Toronto’s sludgy/doomy/stoner scene for some time now. Recently, they’ve taken small steps to branch out beyond the city limits. A betting man would wager they’re making that move because they’ve just about had it with Rob Ford’s tarring and feathering of the city’s reputation, the perpetual gridlocked traffic and road construction everywhere you turn, the fact that the average cost of a semi-detached is over half-a-million bucks, or the fact that the already jam-packed Gardiner Expressway – the only major, dedicated east-west route into downtown – will be partially closed for the next two years. Yeah, fuck Toronto. Yours truly got out about 12 years ago and hopefully, Godstopper’s new EP, Children are our Future, will allow them to tour extensively and avoid the city as much as possible in the near-future. Vocalist/guitarist Mike Simpson answers a few questions while you give their new EP a whirl.
Hi! Could you be so kind as to introduce yourselves to the wonderful world of the Deciblog and its readership?
Sure. Hey Deciblog. My name is Mike and I’m part of Godstopper. We’re a band that plays music influenced by sludge, noise rock and alternative rock. I play guitar and sing. I also write most of the music.
What active steps have you embarked upon recently in actually being Godstoppers and stopping God from doing whatever it is God supposedly does?
I’m afraid I’ve been more than a little lazy, as far as the actual act of stopping God is concerned. In fact, I’ll just go right out and say, so that nobody’s hoping otherwise: the name is just a name. We have yet to put a religious agenda into play.
Tell us about your EP. How long was it in the works and did you do anything different on the writing/recording front this time around? What would you say were your most recent influences and inspirations going into this recording?
The EP consists of three songs recorded this past fall, plus one recorded in March. The songs range from a year old to a few months old. This EP is intended to act as a bridge from our previous album, What Matters, and a future album yet to be released. It’s a transition. It was written and recorded in much the same manner as our previous material. Stylistically, I’d say we’ve moved away from feeling like everything needs to have a plodding tempo or a dire message. There’s a greater embrace of vocal melody, with more attention having been paid in that area. Over the past year I’ve listened to a lot of Canadian and local stuff, everything from the Gandharvas to Sons of Otis to Hammerhands, as well as Ehnahre, who we’ve played with out in Boston a couple of times.
Is there a particular story or significance behind calling the new record Children are our Future?
Not particularly…aside from me seeing it as being somewhat humorous, it was more something that just came to me. So, it probably does have significance, but not the kind that has an obvious explanation. There is a lyrical thread relating to the family unit with this band, so that may have something to do with it.
If children really are our future, what does that mean for the future of people like you and I who have long since outgrown childhood?
I always liked that quote from The Breakfast Club:
(Vernon)”When I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me.”
(Carl) “I wouldn’t count on it.”
But seriously, kids are cool. I teach kids music sometimes. They’re pretty smart. I think as long as they can put down their phones at least every once and a while, all of us elder folk will be OK.
Despite being a major North American city and all that business, I’ve always felt that it’s pretty difficult being a band and hailing from Toronto. Agree/disagree and why? How would you say being a band is when you compare it to when you first started or even with other bands you’ve been in?
Good question. I’d say Canada as a whole has a bit of an identity crisis, and that trickles down to Toronto, which has always struggled to define itself. I think that applies to music here as well. There’s no predominant “scene,” and there are definitely more than enough bands going on; every subgenere you can imagine is being played by someone. So yes, there’s a lot of noise being made, and it’s kind of hard to be heard above all that. I’d say that being in this band and others of different genres over the years has provided me personally with a lot of experience that rubs off on the writing of music, and has helped to develop an effective way to express myself. Even though there is a glut of bands, and that number seems to grow exponentially year to year. On the plus side, it leads to a surplus of influences. The internet, of course, provides even more of this. I could gripe about not getting on this or that festival and how it’s all political and about who you know etc. etc. etc. but when it boils down to it, I appreciate where it’s all come in terms of the creative element, which I think is the most important part.
What’s on the docket for the band once the EP is out and about?
Likely some touring of the eastern US once we rustle up some decent shows. Videos, and then more music to be released in short order. It’s going to be a busy time as far as output from the band is concerned.
*photo by Nathan Mills