Whether they are bashing you over their head with blasts of noisy grindcore or kicking you in the gut with crushing sludge metal riffs, Canada’s Minors are a force to be reckoned with. Their sophomore record Abject Bodies – released on Holy Roar Records (UK/EU) and Deathwish Inc. (US/Can.) – expands their dynamics further, as well as tightening their sonic pallet. At one end of the mix, you have piercing noise, and at the bottom end, the listener is swallowed into an abyss of low-end bass. Minors are blurring the lines between noise, sludge, hardcore and grind more than ever before. The band have also pushed their lyrical craft further, channelling personal struggles, making for a very cathartic and intense body of music.
We spoke to Nick and Sean about the making of the album, how the music scene operates in Canada, and how their unison with Holy Roar came to be.
How did you feel about going into your second record, where there any pressures or things you wanted to do differently?
Sean [drums]: I think, from the first record [Atrophy, 2017] it was kind of spur of the moment thing with Holy Roar picking it up. We had sat on those songs for a long time, so we kind of refined them. But for this record, we’d had a more solid lineup for a longer time. From that relationship, the songs came together better and we were happier with the production. I think we had more planned ahead. We blended the styles better and merged more sludgy parts, hardcore parts and grind parts, more so than the first record. We were all sceptical on how people would take it, but we’ve made a record that we are really proud of, and that comes across when you listen to it.
We feel Abject Bodies is a bit slower than the first album, and those sludge parts are more emphasised. Was that a conscious decision or just something that came out in the writing process?
Sean: We wanted the slower parts to hit a bit harder, and I think we blended them into the faster parts a bit better. The sludgy parts have more of an emphasis.
Nick [guitar]: One thing that really came out when we recorded was the layout of the record, which was really important. Especially with Atrophy, the way we presented the songs and the ambience around each song was really important. This record felt much more traumatic and powerful. The last part of the record is just two huge sludge songs. The record kind of works towards it’s way into this traumatic finish.
What does the title Abject Bodies mean to you, and what are the main lyrical themes and concepts on the album?
Nick: The title is kind of a play words on abject art. With Abject Bodies, it’s the idea of how things that are normally inside of us, like spit or snot, aren’t appalling to us when they’re inside of us, but when they leave the body they become disgusting. The sentiments and the feelings of the songs are all within us, but when we put them out into this music, only then does it become obvious how intense and emotional they become.
Sean: I wrote the lyrics for the song ‘Erode’. My brother-in-law passed last year, and I had to watch him slowly decay in a hospital bed. Just seeing the way people treated him in that position, it was lingering on my mind for a long time and I wanted to explore the states of someone going through that, and from the outside, seeing someone slowly waste away. From [vocalist] Jesse’s perspective too, over the course of a year he had a lot of stuff he wanted to get out. It comes from a very dark place from both of us, and we got it out more so than on Atrophy.
Nick: The thing of that is the ease in which it all came out. It’s kind of metaphorical of the title. Once they were put out there, we all became completely aware of them. Minors is a band that we all find very cathartic.
Where was the album recorded and how did the sessions go?
Nick: We record everything ourselves. I’ve been a recording engineer for a long time now and we have a studio that is in a house in the city we live, Windsor. It was almost exactly a year from when we recorded Atrophy, in the same studio. We set up and recorded it live on the floor. One of the problems with recording Minors is that we are a really loud band! As soon as everything is turned on, it’s all hum and feedback, so nobody can talk to each other. It gets quite intense!
We really love the you have the high-end noise on one end of the mix, and all this low-end at the bottom…
Nick: It’s important that we capture all that noise. We try and make sure it is as real as it can be and exactly as it sounds live.
What is it like in Windsor, Ontario and how is the music scene?
Sean: It’s a very industrial city. There are a lot of car plants and stuff like that. The music scene is tough because we have a ton of good bands, but because we are so close to Detroit, it’s tough to get bigger acts here. Whenever bands come through and play with bands from Windsor, they always have very positive things to say. It’s tough because there is another city on the other side, London, Ontario, so bands usually skip Windsor.
Nick: Between us and the States there is just a small river. There is a festival on the river in Detroit and we can hear it from here!
Sean: The climate in the States right now is tough. Being a touring band is a risky game, you either pay for the VISA and do it legitimately, or you kind of weasel your way into the States. In Canada everything is so sparsely spaced. From here to the next biggest city is two hours. From here to Toronto is four hours. The further you go into Canada, there are these long ten-hour drives. It’s really tough to tour Canada!
How did your unison with Holy Roar come about?
Nick: I’ve known Alex [Fitzpatrick, label boss] for a long time from when I was working as a recording engineer in England. I worked with a lot of Holy Roar bands, including Alex’s first band Pariso. When Atrophy was done, we were actually going to release it ourselves, but I sent him a copy because I just wanted him to hear it. There was this instant response, and he said he wanted to release the record for us.
Where do you want Abject Bodies to take you next, and are you hoping to tour outside of Canada again?
Sean: When we toured the UK last year, it was kind of an eye-opening experience and we want to do as much as we can, including touring Europe. We want to hit festivals and do more dates in the States too. We’d love to bring Watchcries with us!
Abject Bodies is out now on Holy Roar/Deathwish. Purchase here.
Words: Chris “Frenchie” French