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Betrayers interview

September 10, 2014

Betrayers interview

© Meaghan Baxter
Betrayers are one of those bands, you’d have hard time
putting in the time frame. Organ driven psych rockers recorded some of the
nicest and grooviest music I’ve heard lately. Imagine organ driving of Question
Mark & The Mysterian mixed with Brian Jonestown Massacre. All of their
albums are available on Bandcamp. Their latest Let The Good Times Die was also released on vinyl and it comes with extremely groovy cover artwork. Straight
from the ’60s, I would say. Lad Mags along with Emily Rault provided backing
vocals (Lad Mags are another cool band you should check out).
You’re coming from Edmonton. What can you say about the
scene there? Are there any bands you would like to recommend?
Edmonton, where we’re from, is so far North that for a few
days every winter, we’re the coldest place on the planet. Colder than Siberia
or the Arctic Circle or any other place. You can’t go outside for 7 months of
the year, so everyone starts a band. The rock ‘n roll scene here seems to be
really unified, and I think that’s one of the reasons people are starting to
pay attention to what’s happening in Edmonton. It’s like how Akron, Ohio seemed
like a pretty dull place but it gave the world DEVO and Chrissie Hynde and the
Cramps and the Waitresses. There are too many great Edmonton bands to list, but
in the last year or so we’ve had great albums come out from the Lad Mags, JomComyn, Renny Wilson, the Wet Secrets, the Tee-Tahs, Calvin Love, the Archaics,
Strangled, Power Buddies, Jesse & the Dandelions, the Switches, BenDisaster, and probably a billion other killer bands that I’m forgetting to
mention. If something is tagged as “Edmonton” on bandcamp, it’s
either a cool rock ‘n roll band or a thunderous techno megamix. That’s the kind
of situation we’re livin’ in.
What’s the story behind formation of Betrayers?
We basically just needed a reason to get together with our
friends every week and have a drink and maybe listen to some albums. We’ve got
a couple of secret shredders in the band but most of us are kind of learning as
we go, y’know? You don’t need to be a virtuoso to play this kind of music, and
that’s probably what attracts us to it. There is very little fucking around and
fine-tuning to be done to a two-and-a-half minute long song, which leaves more
time to relish in what you’re doing and enjoy hanging out with your friends.
Let The Good Time Die is your latest album (review here). Where did you record
it and what gear did you use?
Most of it was recorded here in Edmonton at this amazing
studio called Riverdale Recorders. It’s an underground bunker that sits beneath
a laundromat in Chinatown. Our friend Patrick “the Detroit Kid”
Michalak produced it, he’s got an impressive collection of vintage recording
gear which was really nice to use on the album. We used everything from old
Space Echos to weird Soviet microphones to vintage fuzz pedals.
Mad Lags provided backing vocals. How are the two bands
involved?
You could say that, yeah. We share custody over Joe, one of
our drummers, and the two bands have done a lot of touring together in the
past. They are some of the most badass ladies you will ever meet, and we’ve had
lots of laughs with ’em. We’ve done a few shows as a nine-piece with the Mags
singing backup vocals and it’s the best time ever. They rule to go on tour with
because they always remember to bring toothpaste and they like getting into
trouble and someone will always be down for sneaking into the hotel pool after
hours.
The Lad Mags
Were you listening to psychedelic rock from the very beginning or did
the music, that influenced you changed during time? Maybe you could name a few bands that influenced you?
When I was a kid, my folks would listen mostly to ’60s
music, and although I didn’t understand it at the time, I was always excited by
songs that were at the more psychedelic end of the spectrum. “Kicks”
by Paul Revere and the Raiders was a childhood favorite, it’s got that great
twisting guitar riff that runs though it which as a kid, I thought was really
spooky stuff. I can remember listening to “Spirit In The Sky” on AM
radio in my mom’s car, and the Poppy Family’s “Evil Grows”. Conflicting
messages. We were never a super musical family but the record player was kind
of a toy for us kids to play on so we got to listen to some good stuff there.
Some Motown and the Beach Boys and Neil Diamond. I think that until the late
1980’s, new parents in Canada were issued a Gordon Lightfoot greatest hits LP,
so everyone’s mom ‘n dad had that stuff.  
Concerts & touring?
Yeah, we try to go on tour a couple of times every year.
We’re planning a European tour with the Lad Mags at the moment, it was
scheduled for October but now it’s lookin’ more like we’ll be there in the
Spring instead.
© Shirley Tse
Where did you release your latest album? How many copies
were out?
We did the LP ourselves and printed about 300 of ’em. There
aren’t too many left, but I’m searching for a European label to do a repress so
maybe there will be a few more out there eventually. When the records arrived
at my apartment I thought “these fucking boxes will be in my living room
forever”, but we’ve managed to sell most of them already, which is a total
surprise. I think garage and psych fans consume music in a special way– they
like to own and collect albums and it’s a point of pride to have a cool record
collection (as it should be).
It’s great you’ve released the album on vinyl. These days
vinyl is coming back again and I think that the best possible format is vinyl +
digital download. What’s your opinion?
Yeah, it’s great. Tapes are nice because you can make ’em
really cheaply and your broke-ass friends will always buy one, but I prefer an
LP over a cassette. You can’t take it to the beach, but there’s something
alluring about that big cardboard square. I don’t understand why anyone bothers
with CDs these days– “here’s a small piece of plastic, enjoy carrying it
around for the rest of your life”. I guess it works for some folks but I’d
rather listen to records.
Do you all collect records?
Yeah, we all do.
What are some of the latest purchases?
We recently played with this band Outer Minds (interview here)– they’re from
Chicago and gave us their really creepy, witchy LP. “Only Friend” by
the Backhomes has been on heavy rotation lately, along with the new White Fence
album. The label who released the cassette version of our album is called
Shake! and they have been releasing loads of interesting stuff like Hag Face,
the Jolts, Durban Poison, the Tranzmitors…
Do Betrayers have any future plans?
Yeah, we are hoping to record our sophomore LP in New York
this fall. Maybe release a couple of 7″s in the new year and then over to
see our friends in Europe in the spring. If anyone reading this wants us to
come to their town, get in touch and we’ll do our best.
Thanks for taking your time, guys. Would you like to share
anything else with us?
To anyone reading this: if you have ever dreamt about
starting a band: do it. Buy a shitty guitar from a pawn shop and learn to play
Louie Louie. If we can do it, anybody can.
© Shirley Tse
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
One Comment
  1. Anonymous

    Yoe have to come to Leipzig, Germany please!! I love your sound so much and the Black Label Pub is a nice place for you!

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