Interview: Defeater

March 21, 2011

Having interviewed Defeater twice before, there’s one thing that I’ve learned: you’re in for one lengthy chat, and this interview was certainly no different, as I caught up with frontman Derek Archambault ahead of their recent headline show in London, where we got talking in-depth about the release of Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, the story behind ‘The Wave’,  and a ton more in this 4,500+ word mammoth.

Faye: So, how are you today?
Derek: I’m well, I’m a lot better than I was when I woke up. I slept in the van last night and I forgot to take my sleeping bag out, so I slept in 30F weather, so it was fucking freezing, but I’m good. We had a great meal here, some garlic tofu.

Faye: I last interviewed you in April last year, what has Defeater been up to since then?
Derek: We got home from that tour and then we took the whole summer off, and then Andy was gone with Green Vans for Warped Tour and then he came back, and Jay and him started thinking about the record and what we wanted to do with it. Andy was just recording drums at Jay’s studio and then Jay would kind of edit it down. We started the real recording process and then Jay had to go to Australia for a recording thing with Marty from Carpathian. We did a tour around the Fest and that was really, really awesome, it was with All Teeth, Living With Lions and Make Do and Mend, so that was just a fucking blast. It was cool touring with friends’ bands that have a lot of hype about them right now – we love them, so seeing all the amazing reactions they were getting was really awesome. Then we came home and I did lyrics and recorded, and then we started thinking of ideas for the layout and we came up with the idea to do the book with Chris – it’s not a full book, it’s just lyrics and pictures and explanations from my friend Michael who does photography. After we finished the record, it was kind of a waiting game to do this tour and then when we get home from this, we play our record release show and then we flight down to South By South West and do a few shows in Austin, Texas and from there we do Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, so it’s been a crazy few months, with all the crazy stuff going on with our personal lives and Jay having to record bands all over the country, and Andy doing Green Vans all over the country, me and my ex-fiancé breaking up and Mike’s always gone with Make Do and Mend, so it’s been a wild six months, but we’re all doing really, really well for the first time in the band, everybody is happy and healthy. A lot of the time when we’re away, someone just got dumped or someone was having family issues back home, but we’re at the most mentally stable place we’ve ever been, so that’s really great. Mike and I both met these amazing girls that we just fell for, totally unexpected. Just out of nowhere, these two girls walk into our lives, like I’ve been fucking up for the last five years and I meet someone who gets me, so that’s nice, and Jay’s getting married, so, yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing – touring, getting married, writing a new record. The responses so far have been really, really nice, like we played the Netherlands last night and kids knew lyrics to new songs that just got leaked the night before and that’s fucking wild. Like the first time you and I did an interview, like all the comparisons that you made, saying that kids are eventually going to see us in the same light as our friends’ bands, I was like, ‘Nah, that’s not going to happen, we’re just a bunch of nerds from Massachusetts that got lucky for a little while.’ But to actually be touring this much and having the response that we’ve gotten from the new record is, again, just so mind-blowing. We just try to make something that we would love, like back in our teenage years, and it’s crazy that we’ve gotten this far. It’s just wild that we can tour the way we do.

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Interview: Defeater

May 30, 2010

Ten months ago, Boston’s Defeater were playing to only a handful of familiar people, while opening for Polar Bear Club. This time round, though, they have returned to a sold out headline show in Leeds, and Faye caught up with them for yet another lengthy chat. Here’s how it went down…

Faye: Can you say your name and what you do?
Jay: I’m Jay, I play guitar so hard that I get blood all over my guitar.
Mike: I’m Mike, I play bass.
Jake: I’m Jake, I play guitar.
Derek: I’m Derek, I sing.
Andy: I’m Andy, I play the drums.

Faye: You were last over in June, what have you been up to since?
Mike: Well, right after the UK tour with Polar Bear Club and Ruiner, we started a European tour with Comeback Kid. Then after that, we got home and recorded, and put out Lost Ground. We did a few short US tours, we haven’t done a full US tour since then, though.
Derek: We did a short east coast tour for The Fest, which was incredible, then the west coast with All Teeth, which again was amazing, and then we did a tour a couple of weeks ago and South By South West, kind of just by ourselves, we met up with a few friends here and there, then a couple of weeks later, we got on a plane to do this.

Faye: You recently played Groezrock and there was an issue with some dude coming up to you on stage, what happened there?
Derek: This guy got on stage during like the first song, and kids were going crazy, stage-diving, it was the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to and I don’t even know the numbers, it looked like a 1000 people, it was fucking crazy, or more. I don’t even know how to calculate that, it was just overwhelming. We were all having fun playing and kids were going crazy, stage-diving their asses off, and this guy got up on stage and grabbed me. He screamed in my ear, and what I heard him say was, “You need to let people sing more.” And he was this big dude, and kind of pushed himself off me and stage-dived, and I was like, “Ehhh…” So, we finished the song, we kind of kept going, and then I keep singing, and seem him in the crowd keep flipping me off or holding an imaginary mic to his face, and I was so scared that he was going to come back on stage and beat me up, he had a few inches on me and definitely a lot of pounds on me. Then he turned out to be the nicest guy in the world, because he came over afterwards and I was like, “I don’t know what I did to make you upset.” and he was like, “You didn’t make me upset, I just wanted you to sing more. I love Defeater! I love your albums! You weren’t singing enough, no one could here you, the crowd was singing for you.” But that’s pretty much what happened there, I got really scared.

Faye: Didn’t you forget to bring your inhaler on stage too?
Derek: Yeah, I didn’t bring my inhaler on stage and I made Mike, our driver, to run back and grab my jacket, because I thought it was in my pocket, but it wasn’t. So, I didn’t have any wind for basically the whole set, so we cut a song or two in the set. I felt like an asshole, but we played for 10-minutes shorter than we should have maybe. Basically, I ruined Groezrock for everyone. [laughs] Shitty set. Then when we did that ‘encore’, that was pretty cool, because immediately when we went off stage, everything started to buzz again. We played, we had a lot of fun, we met a lot of really nice people, we saw Strike Anywhere, saw a bunch of bands we always wanted to see. Mike got to see Millencolin, 16-year-old Mike Poulin was fucking pumped.

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Live Review: Defeater – The Well, Leeds, April 27th 2010

May 4, 2010

A little less than a year ago, when Bridge Nine band Defeater were last over in the UK, supporting Polar Bear Club, they only had a handful of people singing along to them, this time round though, they’ve managed to sell out The Well in Leeds, along with fellow B9ers Dead Swans and south westerners More Than Life.

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Interview: Defeater

June 17, 2009

defeater200We were able to speak to Derek (vocalist) of Defeater, during their first stint of the UK, earlier this month, on the Bridge Nine UK Tour in Newcastle. During our 40-minute chat, I think we probably covered just about everything you need to know about one of hardcore’s most promising acts or, in my completely biased opinion, the best band in hardcore today.

Faye: Can you say your name and what you do in the band?
Derek: My name’s Derek and I sing in Defeater.

F: Can you tell us a bit of history about Defeater?
D: Well, we haven’t together as Defeater for very long, just shy of a year at this point, but the rest of the guys in the band were in a band called Sluts, worst name ever.
F: Why the name Sluts?
D: There’s a line in a Give Up The Ghost song, Love American, “In the world of sluts we keep the wet dream alive” and instead of picking something like, ‘Keeping The Wet Dream Alive’, they chose ‘Sluts’ out of that line… They did that for about four years and worked their asses off, they snuck on to Warped Tour for two summers and sold Sluts CDs and made friends with tons of people around the country, did tours, played shitty basement shows, and they did that for almost three years, I guess. Then Mike, who now plays bass, used to sing, then he went to Hawaii spur of the moment, and played their last show, they didn’t know it was their last show, though. He moved to Hawaii and they had a whole record written instrumentally, but they didn’t have a singer or any lyrics or anything. I met Jay, the year prior, at a studio doing a one-off recording session with my friends because they wanted me to sing for their band but that never worked out. He then came into my record store once, we exchanged numbers, and then he called me out-of-the-blue, then I wrote all the lyrics for Travels and we put it out.

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