INTERVIEW: Andrew Neufeld – Comeback Kid

Having been around for more than a decade, COMEBACK KID have been able to build themselves a strong following with their consistently powerful album out put. Prior to the release of their new album Outsider, we got the chance to talk to the Canadian hardcore punk rockers about their new signing to record label Nuclear Blast and also the self funding of Outsider. Alongside this we find out if touring with a band like EVERY TIME I DIE can be as intimidating as it sounds.

How did COMEBACK KID’s signing to Nuclear Blast come about?

Andrew: Our booking agent, Avacado, suggested them to us, they were just kinda like ‘hey, maybe kinda out of left field but Nuclear Blast could be a cool option for you’. They introduced us and they came to one of our shows out in Germany, and we ended up getting along. We were talking to a few labels even whilst we were recording [Outsider], so even throughout the recording we had discussions going on, we weren’t really sure what we were gonna do cause we were self funding the record. It just seemed like Nuclear Blast were the ones that wanted the most.

What did COMEBACK KID hope to achieve when signing to Nuclear Blast?

Andrew: With them I think they’re a really globally focused label, were as other labels we’ve worked with have only been America based, so it’s cool to be on a label that has American offices, but also European, UK, and other further reaches of the world. I just like that it’s a very long-standing label and how international it is. I think its gonna put us in front of a lot of new faces.

So this was purely a business decision rather than a creative one?

Andrew: I cant say that they influenced the album creatively at all, because like I said, we self funded the record. The record would’ve been the same with or without Nuclear Blast, but creatively, regarding marketing…maybe.

Why did you decide to self-fund Outsider?

Andrew: Honestly, because signing to record labels, with the lawyers and the contracts, it always takes so much longer than you think. We kinda made a deadline for ourselves that we at least wanted some songs for our last festival run this summer. So we had some songs recorded, looking to get at least some singles out by the end of the summer and we just took it upon ourselves, which we usually do, we run at our own pace and if the business side couldn’t catch up then we kept our heads down and kept doing it. Luckily we just had some tour money that we could pay into it with the hope of it being paid back.

Did COMEBACK KID consider going the route of WHILE SHE SLEEPS and crowdfund the record?

Andrew: I don’t rag on anyone who is doing that, but I would feel a little corny doing it. I’m not ready to take the plunge yet, but who knows, maybe that’s the way of the future, I won’t bar it from myself for the future.

Do you think this is the evolution of the industry or do you think the record label will live on?

Andrew: They will, they will, but also there is something to be said, y’know we considered releasing the record on our own. When you release it on your own you can see all the record sales there, but there is something to be said about all the ins and outs of what a label does. There is a lot of work that goes on in there, there are so many behind the scenes things that happen, and I’ve seen that, coming into a new label and the opportunities that are coming about that I would’ve never seen coming.

How was the writing for Outsider?

Andrew: Most of us live in different cities across Canada, so usually we would get together when we could and just write, take the time to do some demos and then take a breath, take a week to think abut it. We do a lot of writing on our own and then we bring the ideas to the table at rehearsal, then we pick apart each other’s ideas and it’s kinda like a head-butt until you get to the final product. The different thing about this record though is that we brought in Stu [Ross], our guitarist, who has been in the mix for a while but came more into the fray with regards to song writing. We also had everyone in the band play their parts, where in the past we’ve had touring musicians or fill ins, this time round everyone recorded their parts, gets to showcase their talents.

COMEBACK KID always rode the line between riffy hardcore and melodic moments, but on Outsider it feels like the extremes have been ramped up. Songs like Hell Of A Scene show this really well, was this a conscious effort from the band?

Andrew: There is a song SICK OF IT ALL released like ten years a go called My Life. It’s super fast during the verses and then it has this absolutely massive chorus, classic chorus, and I just loved the idea of a super fast verse and a big sing along chorus. I wanted to steal the structure, but an idea came to the table and then the chorus was kinda like this power pop chorus and I automatically has this vocal line to it and it’s kind of funny! We grew to love it, and there’s a lot of it on this record, it’s quirky but its fun, we jut wanted to write a super fun hardcore record.

How did you go about getting Devin Townsend on the record?

Andrew: Devin produced my other band SIGHTS AND SOUNDS as well as Stu’s other band MISERY SIGNALS, so we’ve know him as a producer for a while now, and we had a song called Absolute, pretty much I had this part before the breakdown just ripping off Devin’s vocals. At the end of the song someone just suggested we text him and so I gave him a text, and he’s just asked for the song and asked if he could record it on his own. He sent us back like ten tracks and told us to use what we want, but he did his crazy thing, which we were looking for.

Do you enjoy doing guest vocal slots yourself?

Andrew: Yeah I try to do them all the time but a lot of them are done in jarring conditions. If I’m on the road or whatever I wont have a studio so a lot of it is screaming in bedrooms and stuff.

Do you think it’s important for bands help out each other by doing things like guest slots?

Andrew: Yeah, I think so, if it means a lot to the band then it’s always a lot cooler. I won’t say that every guest slot of mine has been amazing or whatever, but if the song is cool and it helps the bands, then for sure, im usually pretty open to it, I try to say yes to as many as I can.

How excited are you and COMEBACK KID to tour with EVERY TIME I DIE?

Andrew: We actually toured with EVERY TIME I DIE on our second tour ever, and it’s funny because they’re a band we haven’t toured with since. Thirteen years since we toured with them, I know some of the guys in the band and I’m excited, KNOCKED LOOSE are gonna be sick as well, and HIGHER POWER, I’m excited to see them cause I’ve never seen them before.

Does touring with a band as prolifically brilliant live as EVERY TIME I DIE are make you wanna step up your game and add in some friendly competition?

Andrew: Yeah, I never really thought about it like that, but when you go on tour with a band that’s just pummelling live and you have to play after that, on some of the European shows we’ll be headlining, I think it’s healthy because if you’re on tour with bands that are just killing, it makes you want it more. I’ve been in that situation before, when you’re on tour with some amazing live bands, it pushes you just that little further.

How excited are you to play the new songs live?

Andrew: We’ve been just waiting for so long to play these songs man, but I think we’ve got a little bit more practise to so I’m gonna head back to Winnipeg and we’re gonna get the vocals all sorted. I hope the album connects early on, that’s what you want, but whatever happens we’re just happy to be playing new songs.

Outsider is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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