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Chris Cresswell of The Flatliners- Interview

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Photo by Scotte Woods

Toronto punks The Flatliners are kicking off a Canadian tour to promote their new album, Dead Language. The record drops on September 17th, and we spoke with frontman Chris Cresswell in advance of their September 6 show at Ottawa’s Mavericks Bar.

“We are stoked to come back to Ottawa. I have family there. Castle Shawarma is there. [It’s] the best shawarma place in the world.”

It has been three years since the punk quartet has released an album. With this in mind, Cresswell thanked fans for sticking it out.

“I just want to thank everyone for their patience waiting for the album. I know its been awhile. We spend a lot of time on the road, touring is the lifeblood of our band.This record was a lot of fun to record. We are really psyched that its finally coming out.”

The Flatliners have been all over the world since their last record, with stops across Australia, Europe and Asia.

“It is a constant back and forth from tour and home life. It makes it exciting. Tour’s almost over and we are home now. Then there is always another tour right around the corner.”

“We haven’t had the opportunity or the even the need to jam since we have been on the road so much.”

Speaking of the upcoming Canadian mini-tour, he pointed, “For this tour it will be the first time in several months where we will just get together and jam those songs. That way we will know what feels the best to play live.”

But don’t think you’re getting special treatment; this is not the first time they have played the songs from the upcoming album to fans.

“We’ve playing one song off the new album per set for the last year or so on tour. We rotate which song it is.”

The album was written mostly while on the road, with each member contributing bits and ideas.

“The writing process was a bit spastic and weird. Basically we approached writing the songs with each of us writing little bits and pieces while on the road. When we get some off time we sit down and put together all those bits and pieces. Throw them all in a pot, mix them around and see what sticks.”

Cresswell and the rest of the band are excited to have new songs be the focus of the tour.

“We are finally able to do it,” he explained. “We are always careful about how early we start playing new songs live. Especially how many new songs before the album has been released. So what we’ve been doing on the last few tours is rotating through songs. So we’ll play a new song and one song off the split.”

Writing the new album was a marked departure in another way for the band. “We ended up writing a lot songs for this album. They are straight-forward, to-the-point, quick songs, whereas the last record we had a pretty good number of songs that were a little longer and different ways to arrange songs. This time around we wanted to write concise stuff. We got to a point where we had about 20 songs. We recorded all of them then had to dwindle it down to 13.”

Whittling down the tunes to fit on the record was hard work for the band. They put a lot of effort into creating a cohesive record. “We chose what fit. It took a while. Just choosing what songs to include on the album was a long part of the process.”

“Luckily back in June we had the opportunity to release a split seven inch with Make Do and Mend. That allowed us to release two songs as a preview for the album. It let people know where we are headed stylistically. That helped a lot.”

“It’s nice to give those songs we worked on and loved the light of day.”

The band plans to release more of the songs that got cut from the album as splits, but they’re not spilling the beans on who they will be working with yet.

“The list of bands we’d like to work with is endless. We’ll definitely put out some more seven inches after the record is out.”

Chris and the rest of Flatliners are working hard on playing and writing music. With over an album’s worth of new material and a full schedule for the fall, they show no signs of letting up. Don’t forget to check them out in Ottawa on September 6th, and at their album release show in Toronto at the Horseshoe Tavern on the 19th.

-Joe Ryan

The Scene