Introducing: Attica Riots

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We recently sat down with Bobby Desjarlais from rising Canadian rockers Attica Riots about how they came to be and what’s in their plans for 2016.

New England Sounds: How did you form Attica Riots?

Bobby Desjarlais: Attica Riots was formed through two bands separately, Kyle and Anders Erickson were in a band together, and I was in another project and we’d all been friends since we were 18 years old. And this only came together, we started writing music together about seven years ago while we were in other projects and this started to take shape a lot more than the projects we were already in. And so we just decided to focus on Attica Riots and over the last couple years it’s really been on the go since then.

NES: Where did the name Attica Riots come from?

BJ: I was reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut at the time, and the band I was in at the time was called The Bokononists – which is from a Vonnegut novel – and so I wanted a way to link the bands, and I was really enjoying the author at the time and so I went and I looked, and my favorite book of his at the time was called “Hocus Pocus” and the prison riot in that book was based on the Attica State Prison riots and then when I researched it further, I found it was a huge human rights issue, and humans are human whether they’re behind bars or not and it was full of all these polarizing ideas, so the name just stuck.

NES: What’s the status of your debut record?

BJ: Our full length is virtually completed, and we’re set to release it in the summer, tentatively schedule for the end of July, we don’t have a set date yet. But we have an EP, and we’ve gone to radio with everything already, so it’s on the move already.

Editor’s note: Love, Sunshine, and Hysteria is Attica Riots’ debut album title.

NES: Who did you work with as far as a producer on it?

BJ: We worked with a gentleman named Mark Needham, who’s incredible, he’s done tons of record and we got linked up with him and just loved him. He’s just such a kind hearted guy and he works hard every single day, he’s up earlier than you, and it was just such an enjoyable experience to finish the record with him.

NES: So would you say you learned a lot from working with him?

BJ: I am spoiled after working with him, in terms of, from my perspective, doing vocals with him was so incredible because he pushed you in the kindest and yet unapologetic fashion. You just would do a take and before you could catch your breath the song was playing in your headphones again, he was like “do it again, do it again” it was just fun to just be there and work without any stopping and wondering how any one word was said and how this was done, it was just all about the feel of it, and the takes, and it was just enjoyable to work with a pro like that.

NES: Being from Canada, what would you say are some of the differences between the Canadian music scene and the American one?

BJ: The funny thing is I really don’t know enough about the American music scene yet, and it’s just so huge, and so I would think it’s probably different state-to-state or even city to city. But in Canada there are a lot of different genres, but there’s a couple of main highways there that you can just tour across the whole country with on one highway, so you really get to know Canada as a whole if you are willing to hit the road. So this past year it’s been a real joy just getting to see other cities and getting to meet other people from around Canada.

NES: You just released a music video for the song “Misery” who directed that?

BJ: That was Black Fawn Films, and a gentleman named Sean McLeod, and again when you’re working with people that are pros, it’s so much fun because he knew exactly how to get out of us what he needed, it was quick, efficient, he was kind, but pushed us, just another case where you work other people who are at that level and it’s really enjoyable.


NES: So as far as songwriting for Attica Riots, how do you guys work?

BJ: Over the years we’ve written songs in so many different ways where like Kyle will have orchestrated an entire song of music and I’ll come in with the lyrics or Andy will write an entire song. You know everyone can do everything, so the beauty of that is it allows us to cater to the song, so if your idea is the best, it stays, if it isn’t, everyone has a say in what’s going on, so it is collaborative in the sense that everyone has a voice, but not so  much in the sense that we all need to be in a room together to get it done.

NES: So what’s coming up for the rest of 2016 for Attica Riots?

BJ: After this tour we’re gonna head home for a couple weeks, and then we’ll take the road again touring across Canada with a band called Bleeker, they’re out of Ontatrio.

Attica Riots online:

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