INTERVIEW: We Were Sharks on their next album, touring the US the right way and their run with Assuming We Survive
Bands are starting to cross over the border from Canada more and more often, in particular the pop rock family, and we couldn’t be happier about it. The days of it only being Simple Plan, Silverstein, Sum 41 are falling into the background and instead bands like Rarity to Bearings to the guys in We Were Sharks are the new class coming in.
I caught up with Colin Jacques and Randy Frobel of the band at their Cambridge date of their coheadliner with Assuming We Survive and chatted everything from their time with AWS and a full run down of their current process on the next album. Something Jacques said they haven’t really talked about a lot yet but he and Frobel treated us to a full rundown of it. From who they’re working on it with, “The We Were Sharks dream team”, that happens to include Paul-Marc of aforementioned Silverstein to their new approach to writing with a serious focus on structuring songs. Find our chat below!
Currently you’re on this coheadlining run with Assuming We Survive. Obviously road dogs as well. These dates, how have they been going so far?
Randy Frobel: They’ve been absolutely incredible. I think it all started off when we hit up Vegas, that’s where we started the run. We just pulled up and they were like, “Hey guys, let’s get some drinks, lets hang out.” It kind of feels like a family on this tour. It really, really does and the shows have been great as well. But just being out with those guys, they’ve been unreal.
I’m sure! Earlier this year, I saw them open for Sum 41 and the crowd was nuts. So I’m sure that’s been a good match with you guys.
Colin Jacques: They’ve done some really sweet tours
RF: And now they’re with us.
This is the biggest one yet.
RF: The opposite.
CJ: They rolled up and met us, like day one, we had never been to Vegas. So we were just doing our own thing there. Staying quiet around the venue, and they were like no, no, let’s go down the strip. They took us out and showed us around a bit. It broke the ice really well. So they’ve been really great to us and the shows have been great.
Are you each seeing your own pockets of fans that are coming out?
RF: Yeah it’s cool, because the ones we see having Assuming We Survive shirts on, they’re singing We Were Sharks lyrics. And the ones that have We Were Sharks shirts on, are singing Assuming We Survive’s lyrics. It’s a very mutual fan base which is obviously great.
“Lost Touch” was the last album but you obviously just signed to Revival Recordings. Maybe when did that signing come about?
CJ: When we started working on our new record, just writing and things like that, trying to touch base with our previous label wasn’t going super well. And over a period of time, we decided to leave and they decided to let us leave.
RF: There were no hard feelings.
CJ: No, it was a pretty mutual thing that kind of happened. We were able to walk away from it and I think everyone walked away from it okay. And we spent most of the summer demo-ing, and sending things around, poking around here and there, kicking some tires here and there. We ended up with Revival. They were some of the people, who when the word started filtering out with managers, agents, people like that, they were one of the groups that hit us up and were like, “Yeah we want you.” Which made us feel like a nerdy guy being asked to prom. Like, “Oh you want me? Little old me?”
And it was really nice. It was a pretty long period of time where we were just kind of discussing ideas, throwing things back and forth and that contract nonsense. And it ended up working in everybody’s favor.
RF: And I think that’s the best thing about having to work with labels and stuff. You want them to be on your side, you want them to be part of the family. Instantly like Colin was saying, they reached out to us and were like, we want you guys to do what you want to do. That was a big thing for us.
CJ: Yeah, and they didn’t want to talk to us about creative stuff.
RF: Yeah none of that.
CJ: It was like you do what you want to do, we want that. They know our expansive history. “You know what you’re doing so just go and do it.”
So they date back because the band started in 2011 right?
RF: 2010, it’s going to be ten years.
CJ: Ten years next year. Gained a lot of years.
RF: I’ve aged a lot since then.
CJ: You’re way cuter now.
It’s been a journey.
RF: Been a journey for sure.
Then maybe, how is it then, without even trying to recently interviewing Bearings, Rarity, Like Pacific, it’s becoming so much bigger of a thing for Canadian bands to come down when it used to just be only like Simple Plan, Sum 41. For bands to make that first jump to come here, any advice?
RF: Get your P-2’s. Don’t try to do it without those. When we first started, nine years ago, we were just doing kind of weekenders. We’d cross with no merch, none of that stuff. We’d do it like that, and it wasn’t really a hassle because we weren’t getting paid. But one time we got caught and it was a big hassle. We didn’t get banned or anything like that, but it was just kind of a pain in the butt. So we went out and decided, if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it right. We went out and got our P-2’s and everything like that. So if you’re going to do it, save up, get your P-2’s and do it right.
CJ: P-2’s are a work visa.
RF: Yeah it’s a work visa.
Yeah I had never heard the term before.
CJ: Yeah, it’s a type of work visa. It’s very illegal to “work” in America without it.
RF: Just if you’re going to do it, do it right.
Then you already talked about it a bit, but you’ve announced new music coming in 2020, but I’m sure this record is something that you’ve been working on. Maybe something really different you tried in the studio, but something that’s still going to scream We Were Sharks?
CJ: That’s exactly what we’re doing. It’s interesting, I don’t think many people have heard what we’ve been working on. A very few. It’s just one of those things where we haven’t really sent it around. We had some member changes before we started working on it. Our new bass player Matt is a very talented writer. So him and I have been able to bang out some things that aren’t usually something would have started with. We have some poppier songs, they aren’t pop songs, but there’s more of a songwriting focus on structure and things like that, that we’re playing around with. The one thing that we really want to kind of do is write what we want to. So that would mean, if we have some fast songs, we have some fast songs and if we have some heavy songs, we have some heavy songs. And the nice thing about Revival is that they don’t care what we do. They’re just like, write whatever you want and we’ll go from there.
RF: And I mean, the more songs we have, the better it is to take a listen, go back, if we have to cut something for the album, we have to cut something for the album. But right now, we’re just doing what we do. Whatever comes out, comes out. And it’s going to be there, and if it works for the album, it works for the album. If it doesn’t, we shelve it kind of thing.
That’s awesome. Bringing in these new members, easing them in.
CJ: It’s a little bit of fresh blood. We’ve been able to kind of play around with things that we’ve never dabbled in before. It’s been a band for so long, there’s been a progression in the music, but especially with “Lost Touch” in comparison to the older stuff. It’s a bit cleaner, more produced. Now we’re playing around with more like classical pop vibes but it’s more in terms of the songwriting.
RF: The style’s still there, but it’s been a lot of “Oh let’s try this, this is what I have.”
CJ: Choruses and bridges that could be in like a Chainsmokers song. But give it a Sharks vibe. It’s kind of interesting. A pop song with giant guitars.
RF: Pretty much.
I like it, then considering you still have a while to go on this tour.
CJ: Yeah, about two and a half weeks.
Then its already almost November, 2020, which from I’ve seen, is going to be a big year for you. Maybe focuses or goals after you finish this tour?
CJ: After this tour,we are straight into writing. Not just the writing we’ve been doing it official like in the studio. We’re working with a very similar team to who we’ve worked with before.
CJ: We’re doing it at home this time which is gonna be fun. We’re working with Paul-Marc Rousseau of Silverstein again who we love. But we hate his hockey team.
RF: Go Leafs go.
CJ: Then Sam Guaiana, he did the last record, but he also just did the new Youth Culture record. He’s finishing up the new Silverstein record right now. It’s a great team. And we actually have our friend Dean in Ottawa, he’s worked on the last three Parkway Drive albums.
RF: He actually did the first We Were Sharks album as well.
CJ: We didn’t really want to travel for the record. We wanted to kind of keep it at home, keep it relaxed and put it in an environment that we want to be in. Don’t have to stress over a bunch of things. Just be able to drive down the road and hit the studio.
RF: Can be there all night, whenever we want to go in, we can roll through and get stuff done.
It sounds like you have an incredible team.
CJ: We’re lucky.
RF: We know the people we like.
CJ: The We Were Sharks dream team. So we have our writing and recording, that will probably be the next five months or so. So after this tour, we’ll be taking a bit of a road break. Even though we took a very long road break before this tour but we’re focusing on this new record.
RF: Be back out.
CJ: Spring and Summer I think.