Canadian rockers Cleopatrick talk making their long-awaited debut LP BUMMER...
Singer/guitarist Luke Gruntz and drummer Ian Fraser have quite literally known each other all their lives. Born and raised in the tiny town of Cobourg in Ontario, a town with a population under 20,000, the pair have known each other since kindergarten.
Growing up together, their tastes and influences have evolved from the pure hard-rock of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin into the melting pot that is cleopatrick, a sound melded from hip-hop, alt-rock and pop.
Their debut album, BUMMER, is an album designed to lead a movement, one self-proclaimed by the band as the New Rock Mafia collective - a group of friends and fellow bands, united in making a more inclusive, equality-driven space in rock music.
As BUMMER arrives on shelves, we spoke to Gruntz about the journey to get the album made and why this a record built on honesty...
You have, in theory, got your whole lives to write your debut album, when were the songs for this album written? Do they date back a long way or are they quite recent?
"I guess there are a few ways to look at it. Spiritually, this album does feel like a culmination of a lot of moments throughout our entire lives. I would say the actual physical process has been about four years. Some songs came into existence as far back as 2017 and some are mere months old."
How was the experience of making the record? Was it fun, stressful, intense or all of the above?
"All of the above. This album is something that we have truly put our whole selves into. Some of the most frustrating moments have resulted in the most fulfilling outcomes. I think more than anything, we truly had a lot of fun. That's really at the end of the day what we’re doing this whole thing for, to have fun with our lives."
You made the album with Jig Dubé, how did that collaboration come about?
"We’ve been good friends with Jig and his brothers in the band Zig Mentality for a few years now. We see eye to eye on a lot of things within music, especially guitar music. It really came naturally, Jig had shown us some stuff that he had been working on with Zig and it was almost immediately obvious that we had to do some serious work together in some capacity. After tracking a few early demos the idea of all producing an album together felt like something that really needed to happen."
What did he give you as a producer?
"In my mind, the biggest thing we got from Jig was a similar mindset to our own, along with much more technical knowledge. We all shared the goal of wanting to try to accomplish something fresh with guitar music. He was totally along for whatever different ideas we had, as well as having some dope input of his own. It was really refreshing to work with someone who hasn’t already done the thing thousands of times before."
It’s a 10-track record, is it short and sweet by design or is that just the songs you ended up going with?
"I would say it’s by design. We have always been pretty picky about cleopatrick songs, there is really no interest in writing any filler tracks or fluff. The art of the album is one if not the most important aspects of music to us. All of our biggest influences are album based artists. I’m so stoked to say that we are truly proud of every single moment on this album."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"To be put simply, BUMMER is honest. It is a collection of real experiences and perspectives. On the outside, these tracks are fun, loud and danceable. But for those who choose to listen, I think there is a little something for everyone in BUMMER. This has been said and it will be said again. Lyrically it’s all a bit of a bummer."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"I think that would have to be 'THE DRAKE'. That track existed for almost a full year coming back in different forms than the version that is known now. Luke always knew there was something to that track, and he was right. I’m proud of all the time spent because I know it’s going to be a really special moment in the live show."
And which came together most quickly?
"I think that would maybe be 'GOOD GRIEF'. That was one of the last tracks written before we got into the studio to record BUMMER. We weren't jamming in person because of quarantine so that track was written almost entirely through iMessage and voice notes. Despite all of that it seemed to have come together really quickly."
When did you decide on BUMMER for the album’s title? Were there other titles in contention?
"It came about after we had fully tracked the album. There was another working title, but after being able to look at all of the tracks as a cohesive piece, BUMMER had been brought up, and felt really cool right away. A fairly simple way to tie together the many different themes within the record."
How are your live plans shaping up? Looks like you’ve got a busy fall coming up...
"Everything feels really exciting and promising right now. Announcing real-life shows was definitely a little scary after the last year and a bit, but we’ve been careful and strategic in working things out. We are surrounded by an awesome small team of people who are helping us feel confident about these upcoming dates. We truly cannot wait to get back into these rooms with all of these awesome friends we’ve made within the last few years."