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An Interview with Clint McLean of The New Enemy

"We all appreciate melody in music..."


An Interview with Clint McLean of The New Enemy

Clint McClean of The New Enemy

Courtesy of the band
For several years now, Toronto's The New Enemy has been making some great hardcore records, releasing them online with a pay-what-you-like model, and donating the proceeds to charity. 2009 saw the release of their Shakedown EP, six tracks of blistering hardcore which rolled in at just over 15 minutes and made me question why the band was unsigned. Now, with the November 6 release of Darkness, She Was The Universe, the band has put out their first full length, continuing their run as a solid band and leaving me still wondering why this band has yet to catch the eye of a label. We connected with The New Enemy frontman Clint McLean to talk more about the band's history, their work with charities, and the nature of the Canadian hardcore scene.

RC: So how did you guys come together?

CM: Luke (guitar) and I grew up together, and played together in a jokey punk band that did occasional house party shows. We wanted to do something more serious, actually recording, releasing and touring a bit. We began writing songs with a variety of friends, and then started looking for actual band members. Chris (drums) came to The New Enemy through the Toronto scene, having played in other local bands. Christian (bass) was Chris' old roommate, and they'd played together in bands. We're all about the same age, with similar musical tastes and senses of humor, so practicing and playing shows is always a good time.     

RC: The sound you play can be described as serious old school hardcore, but there are definitely other influences there as well. What are the bands that paved the way for you?

CM: We grew up with 90's Epitaph/Fat skate punk, and alt/grunge stuff like Tool and Nirvana. That lead us towards discovering Minor Threat, Black Flag, NYC hardcore, etc. Then down the rabbit hole from there. As we got older our tastes got more diverse, and that starts to find its way into the song writing process. All four of us contribute ideas. Everyone gets a say in the final output. That can make our songs kinda eclectic at times, exploring within hardcore, punk, and metal. We all appreciate melody in music, but also love the heavy shit.

RC: It seems like Canada has a thriving hardcore scene, and always has, but outside some big exceptions like D.O.A., Fucked Up, Propaghandi and Chokehold, it doesn't get a lot of notice elsewhere. Why is that?

CM: Canada has a relatively small population spread out over the world's second largest land mass. There are huge distances between Canada's major cities, so between distance and bad weather 50 percent of the year, a lot of great bands/scenes are somewhat isolated. That can make it hard to tour and get that initial buzz going that spreads outwards. Plus, I think Canadians can be modest at times, so some amazing bands come and go without much fanfare on the international stage. Luckily the internet is providing newer bands more opportunity and exposure. And I think there's lots of Canadian bands that don't "blow-up" in the States, but have loyal followings, whether that be Comeback Kid or Career Suicide or Chris Colohan's various bands.  

RC: And how well recognized is that hardcore scene within the borders?

CM: Within Canada, most cities have a strong punk/hardcore scene and have since the 70's or early 80's. Toronto for instance constantly has new bands, new labels, new zines, new venues. Along with awesome show promoters. The same can be said for Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax, etc. Again, the internet has brought those cities closer together. We also take great pride in Canadian bands (or Canadian artists in general) having success south of the border. For anyone interested in learning about Canada's early punk and hardcore scene, author Sam Sutherland just released a fantastic book called Perfect Youth (Compare Prices).

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