ALWAYS OUTNUMBERED is a pretty young band from Burlington, Canada, and they just released their debut album on the German label Two Friends Recordings. Everyone into bnads like Hot Water Music, Grade, Get up Kids, whatever should check this record out because it’s really strong. I like it a lot. So I decided to do an interview with their guitarist Tristan who sent me his answers after four days. That’s how it should be ;-)
So go ahead and enjoy the interview…
Hi there, please give the readers a short introduction to your person and how are you at the moment?
Well, I'm Tristan Britt, I play guitar and write music for Always Outnumbered. And at the moment I'm fine!
Glad to hear that! Could you tell me a little bit about the band history of Always Outnumbered, how did you guys meet and who plays which instrument?
Greg, Matt and I have been friends since we were in grade 6. About 6 years now. We've been playing in various horrible garage bands almost ever since. We picked up Ian and Sean from other bands around the beginning of 1999 and that's when things began.
Matt Richmond - vocals
Tristan Britt – guitar, vocals
Greg Fisher - guitar
Sean Palmer - bass
Ian Blackwood – drums, vocals
Your debut album "Until tomorrow" was released a few days ago, did you get any reactions from the press, fans, etc. so far and are you satisfied with the result of the CD when it comes to the songs, the production and the layout?
It's kinda funny you mention that. ‘Cause we don't have the CD's yet. We haven't even seen them. So we don't have a reaction yet. We're happy with the music. Could have used a little more bass I think. Andy and Lars at Two Friends Recordings are happy with it. And say things are going well, and we trust them, so it sounds good so far!
When I heard the first song of the album, I was reminded to Hot Water Music, but you definitely have your own style which I like very much, great album!! So which are your influences that make it into your songs and what do you think about Hot Water Music (I love them!)? How would you describe your style?
Well Hot Water Music is a big influence, I'm not the biggest fan, but I think they're very talented. Ian, Sean and Matt love them. You can hear them in the bass lines occasionally. Grade is another one. Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids (excellent taste of music – Stefan). Some old school Burlington bands that we grew up with were very important to us. Bands like: Trunk, Gym Class Joke, Jersey, and The Sandwich Mafia (all from Burlington.)
I think our style is powerful, yet emotional. Our new stuff is a little different. We're trying hard to get away from the "punk" label. We don't like being a punk band.
And what about the lyrics of your songs, with which topics do they deal with and who writes them?
Matt writes most of them. We/he writes about girls (obviously) growing up, being happy, being sad. And pretty much anything that will come to us.
Kyle (Grade) and Sean (Jersey) did some backing vocals on the album, how did you get them to sing backings? I guess you like them and the bands they're playing in, right?
Well yeah of course, but we're from the same city, Sean McNab is a good friend of ours. Kyle is pretty much always on the road with Grade. But he's an amazing guy too. We just asked and he said he'd do it.
Why did you sign a contract with Two Friends Recordings, a German label? I think that's still pretty unusual for a band from Canada or the US, so how did you get in touch with them?
Well, technically we haven't signed anything. They basically just financed our album. We got in touch with them through Grade, who passed a demo tape along to them while on tour last year. Which was another cool move by Grade. ‘Cause it's helped us out so much.
We're forever grateful.
Are you satisfied with the job TFR are doing for you and do they release your album in the US and Canada, too, or do you have another label over there?
Yeah, we're happy with them. They're good guys. And they've done a lot for us. As for U.S./Canadian distro, we don't have anything right now. We're looking into that.
On the compilation "Emotional outburst..." there's a different version of your song "Never let go." When and where did you record this version?
That's the first version ever. We recorded that at Rumenal Records studio in Missisaga Ontario in like October of 1999.
Will there be any further contributions to compilations in the near future?
Perhaps. A Toronto band has asked us to go in on one for them. We're talking about it.
The info sheet I got from Two Friends said that you are still going to school, so you must be pretty young I guess (now I'm even more impressed when listening to the album)? Are you still going to school and what kind of school is that, high school, college or whatever?
Well yeah. 3 of us are 17. Ian's 18 and Sean is 19 (wow, what great musicians at that young age; why do I feel so old right now? - Stefan). I'm not in high school anymore ‘cause I got kicked out (I wonder for what reason – Stefan). But Greg and Matt are finishing this year. Then it'll be all band. That's why we can't really tour as of now.
Please give me a short description or characterization of the single band members including yourself.
Yeah sure. Heh.
Ok Matt is the singer, and he's a jerk a lot of the time. But that's just how he is. If he wasn't then he wouldn't be Matt. He's 17 and he's got this girlfriend Meghan. A lot of the songs are about her. And we always tease him about it. But he doesn't mind. I don't think?
Greg was always the quiet one. But he's been into the sauce lately, so when we play, he's usually drunk and he goes wild. It's really quite funny. He's a good guy. And he's a cutie, all the girls love him.
Sean is the big, fat, tattooed guy. He plays bass, and pretty much does what we tell him. He likes to come late to shows and miss half of practices for unknown reasons. But as soon as we hit the road, he's the funniest guy in the world. And we love him.
Ian is like our mom, he doesn't like to let us do anything stupid, cause he doesn't drink at all. So when we're all loaded I guess he's the voice of reason (yeah! – Stefan). He's also an amazing drummer. And his sisters are hot (hehe – Stefan)!
And me! I write the music (except for track 7, 11 and 12). I'm 17 and I'm in love. Pretty much all the music I write, is when I feel like shit cause of this girl. But that's not important. Me and Greg like to drink together and then play. Oh yeah, and my guitar got stolen.
Let's talk a little bit about the beginnings of the band: How many copies did you sell of your demo? Was that demo released as a tape or on CD? How were the reactions to that demo and do you still sell it? Did you distribute it all on your own?
We only made like 20 copies of our first ever tape. We sold them all, but I mean it was 20. People liked it. The ones who got it. We just sold them at one show. Then we made some more when we went to Michigan for the first time.
All songs that were on the demo made it on your debut album except for "Brand new start." Why didn't you record that track for the album? Don't you like it anymore or will you record it for a future release?
We hate that song. In fact, I'm not too impressed that "Everyone moves on" made the cut either.
Did you play a lot of shows so far and with which bands? Will there be longer tours in the near future, hopefully in Europe, too?
We play a fair bit. There aren't that many shows in the summer time here. We play with bands such as Dropjaw, Lucky Number Seven, Ruins, Jersey, Chapter One, Grade, Another Lost Cause, PFA, Kept With Honor and some others, too many to name off. We really want to tour, but as I said, school comes first (well, not for me) and we really want to go to Europe (hope to see you soon – Stefan).
Isn't it difficult for you to manage the band as well as school etc.? On which will you focus in the future, the band or school, jobs, etc.?
It's not too hard ‘cause we're pretty well balanced. School first, then band. But after this year it'll be music all the way, we really wanna take this thing far.
How about the scene in Burlington where you live, do you think it's good? What about the Canadian scene in general? I particularly know bands such as By A Thread (which I love) and SNFU, what do you think about these bands and which ones from Canada can you recommend?
Burlington is garbage. About 2 years ago it was amazing. But now it's all bullshit. I don't like seeing it change like it is.
Canadian bands are wicked. Burlington/Oakville alone have a lot of real talent. Lots of good musicians.
What about your website, since when is it online and did many people check it out so far? Who keeps your website running, are you doing that all on your own?
I think lots of people go there, there's links all over the place to us, so that’s a good thing. Ian does that all by himself. Matt helps a bit. But yeah, it's all independent.
Do you think that websites are necessary for bands nowadays and what are their advantages/disadvantages in your opinion?
I think they're vital now. We get so much exposure from the internet. There aren't many disadvantages. None that I see being horrible for anyone.
Ok, I think we're at the end of the interview. Did you like it and do you have anything to add which I forgot to ask?
Yeah it was a great interview.
"I'll never forget the times we've spent. I'll never forget my home."