As soon as I first heard the new Trashed Ambulance record “Flashes of Competence” it immediately threw me back to the 90-ies and the golden era of skatepunk that I grew up with. The album is out on Thousand Islands Records and it was about time to talk with Josh, the singer of Trashed Ambulance for this webzine.
HI FROM CROATIA. I THINK THIS IS YOUR FIRST FOR SOME CROATIAN ZINE, SO TELL ME FOR STARTERS, HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ANY CROATIAN BAND? DID YOU GUYS EVER TRASH AN AMBULANCE?
We have a buddy who is of Croatian descent and he showed me a band once called Fast Response. Pretty good stuff! As for the ambulance, we can neither confirm nor deny any such actions.
YOU HAVE A NEW ALBUM OUT. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE ALBUM AND YOUR MUSIC? TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE RECORDING AND SONGWRITING PROCESS? WHAT ARE THE LYRICS ABOUT? DID YOU DO A PHYSICAL COPY OF THE RECORD OR JUST DIGITAL DOWNLOAD? ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE FEEDBACK?
Well, we knew we were playing Pouzza and would most likely play some other shows while out East so we decided to make sure the album was ready. It was a photo finish to get it completed in time but we were happy with how it ended up.
For the song writing, Josh usually demos out stuff and then everyone has pretty free range to come up with their own parts (bass and drums). We recorded the guitars at our friends in Edmonton and the rest at Josh’s studio in Red Deer. And the same friend mixed it all down for us.
Josh also writes all the lyrics. I’m not really interested in writing about politics so mainly just focus on social issues like being a drunk, crappy humans I encounter and feeling like a loser. We tried to have a good mix of songs on this one.
There are CDS of this one! You can order them from the fine folks at Thousand Islands Records. Some people have said some very nice things about the album so that’s always great to hear. We are always stoked to hear frp, anyone who likes our music, especially if they’re not close friends and family. Haha. To answer your question, we are grateful for any kind comments and are satisfied if anyone at all cares about what we’re doing!
YOU HANDLE YOUR INSTRUMENTS PRETTY WELL, SO TELL ME, DID YOU GUYS GO TO SOME MUSIC SCHOOLS WHILE YOU WERE KIDS OR IS IT ALL PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT?
Shawn was in the school band back in the day but Josh and Ryan are all self taught. Ryan never drummed in a band until he joined Trashed. Not sure how he tricked us but we’re stuck with each other now!
HOW WAS THE TOUR PROMOTING THE ALBUM? ANY MEMORABLE GIGS THAT INSTANTLY SPRING IN MIND? HOW WAS THE POUZZA FEST?
It was a cool experience! I really enjoyed Barrie because we found a cool micro-brewery and got into it before the show. The band we played with there – The Highdives – were superb hosts and that city’s slogan is ‘Well Played’. Classic. We also enjoyed Vankleek Hill because there was a brewey there too. I think there may be a pattern here…
Pouzza was a great time. We played an alternative strip club and our new friends from Belgium – Charlie Bit My Finger – played right after us so it was cool to support each other like that. It was odd for us to see strangers singing our songs with us and we really appreciated the support. A funny comment someone made about us was that they didn’t like us because ‘We sounded like that early 90’s skate punk stuff’. We laughed because it’s obviously the sound we are going for. Oh well! Can’t please everyone!
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN OR PLAYED IN EUROPE?
Josh has been to Europe twice. One time to check out Groezrock in Belgium and another just to cruise around for a month. We have not yet played there but obviously would love to. We may have to go visit our Belgium pals. Or maybe Croatia will have us? Hmm.
EVERYONE I KNOW THAT MET SOME OF YOU CANADIANS ALWAYS SAY THAT YOU CANADIANS ARE ONE OF THE NICEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. HOW COME? IS IT TRUE? WHY IS YOUR MENTALITY SO DIFFERENT FROM AMERICANS FOR EXAMPLE?
We seem to travel well but I am around Canadians nonstop and I can assure you there are plenty of dickheads in this country haha. Generally, we try to be respectful of other people and it really is true that we apologize way too often. While I have met many awesome Americans, I think their problem is they believe their own hype. They truly think their country is way better than everywhere else so perhaps they come off as arrogant to other nations. That being said, there are many great Yankees out there and I’ve enjoyed myself every time I’ve visited.
DO YOU LOCK YOUR DOORS AND HOW IS THE CRIME RATE WHERE YOU LIVE? IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUY GUNS IN THE MARKET STORE IN CANADA LIKE IN THE USA? HOW IS THE PUNK/HARDCORE SCENE IN YOUR HOMETOWN AND LIFE IN GENERAL IN CANADA?
Yes, I lock my doors every night and if I’m not there. I live in a city of 100,000 people but there’s definitely crime. Luckily our house hasn’t ever been messed with. I think you can buy guns at places like Wal-Mart but I have never been into hunting or anything so I’m the wrong guy to ask. You definitely can not walk around with a gun up here and most people I know who hunt are respectful of the laws in place.
Red Deer does not have much of a punk rock scene but occasionally bigger band will roll through and sometimes we are lucky enough to play with them. If you travel an hour north or south from where this band is based, you will find the two big cities of our provinces with a million people each and there is more of a scene in those cities. The only problem is there are always numerous shows each weekend, so the punks split up rather than all going to the same shows.
Canada is pretty sweet. Aside from the cold neverending winters, the quality of life is good and there is plenty to do. It’s also massive so alot of Canadians don’t even get to see all of the beauty of their own nation. I would recommend coming over for a visit if you can.
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THOUSAND ISLANDS RECORDS? DO YOU GUYS HAVE A CONTRACT WITH THE LABEL OR IS IT ALL BASED ON FRIENDSHIP AND HANDSHAKE BASE?
Signing with Thousand Islands Records has been a good call for us. Without them, we would have never played Pouzza and thus, would most likely have never toured like we did this May. They seem to believe in what we do, so we can’t complain!
They usually send us a contract. The first one was for 2 releases. We always joke that our EP called Instant didn’t count because it had only 2 new songs on it, so we delivered them a full length to shut them up! Haha! In all honesty, we haven’t even entertained the idea of signing anywhere else at this point, as they have treated us very good so far! Thanks Bruno, Cynthia, Doowy and Frank!
YOU DID SOME VIDEOS, ARE YOU SATISFIED HOW THEY CAME OUT? TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THOSE VIDEOS.
The first video was for our song ‘Accountable’ and as I mentioned earlier, this album was barely finished in time before we left for tour. So upon receiving the final masters of the album, we decided we could use a video to release the first single. Josh had a bunch of footage of us partying over the course of a couple years, so put together a DIY video. People seemed to dig it and we felt it was a great respresentation of us as both a band and as dudes.
The next one was thrown together with footage from our tour. The song ‘Ambulance’ is a bit of a theme song so it was fitting to make a video of our first tour for it. Again, it seemed to go over well and goes well the DIY theme of the band. I enjoy making them and people seem to enjoy watching them, so I see no reason why we wouldn’t release more in the future.
WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS FOR THE BAND? PERHAPS SOME SECRET PLANS YOU´D LIKE TO SHARE?
Well, we have been pretty quiet in the way of shows aside from a fun show with Calgary legend’s Belvedere but it doesn’t mean we’ve been ignoring the band. Before we left for tour, we ran a contest where people could bid on the chance to have us write them a song. We had 5 lucky winners so we’ve been busy writing these songs. We’ve had alot of fun so far and you can expect this to be released by the Fall, we hope! More details to come soon! There is also something in the works that is not ready to be spoken about but keeps your ears to the ground!
DO YOU GUYS LOVE HORROR MOVIES OR NOVELS? ARE THERE ANY URBAND LEGENDS IN YOUR TOWN OR AREA WHERE YOU LIVE?
I don’t mind them. I thought the new IT movie was pretty good but I wasn’t overly frightened by watching it. There is a pretty famous hotel in Banff which is about 2 hours away from us where there is supposedly ghosts hanging out. Allegedly, a bride’s dress caught on fire while descending some steps back in the 20’s. Apparently people see her crusing around the hotel. So there’s something to check out if you ever come to this area!
THAT IS IT FOR THE FIRST TIME. LAST QUESTION:CAN YOU STILL REMEMBER THE GIG THAT DEFINED YOU WHEN YOU WERE KIDS AND MADE YOU SAY, WELL THIS IS IT, I LOVE PUNK AND AM GOING TO FORM A BAND? THANKS FOR THE ANSWERS.
I was from a tiny town in the middle of the woods so shows were few and far between for me but I’ll never forget when a bunch of bands came and played a small hall out in the country. One band was called Savage Henry and they are still going to this day. In fact, Josh even interviewed him for the podcast he hosts earlier this year. I knew I wanted to be in a band and eventually tricked a buddy into learning drums and the rest was history. Hopefully, we can continue doing it for a long time or at least until our livers completely shut down on us!