There seems to be an endless stream of Canadian metal. Like thrashers MORTOR. The interview was answered by vocalist Yolin Lafreniere. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
When you form a band do you do it with a clear intent on what to play or does the style gradually take form as the band takes form?
-When you start a band you actually always know a general sound you’re looking for. Like in Mortor it was obvious we wanted to be a Thrash Metal band but with time and members changing it evolved into a Death Thrash sound very quickly. Every new member adds a new component to the sound that the band has.
How much work is it to start from 1 and build a band’s name to a point where it means something to someone? What routes are there to building a bands name?
-It’s a slow and painful process to be honest. You always start with the local crowd being your close friends and family with a few of the curious onlookers and regular metalheads. You then gradually go out of town and start opening for other local bands that have a bigger name and then you can actually start looking around for bigger shows with bigger names and put your stamp on the metal scene. All of this being stretched out on a series of a few years. You need to have something about your band that people will remember you by, either it be your amazing sound or your fantastic live performance.
I guess that the Internet has helped bands reach out to parts of the world that was harder to reach pre-Internet. But how do you keep building on interest generated abroad?
-You need to find all the local metal ‘’dealers’’ around the world. I can honestly say that I was for a long time on quite a few metal forum websites and I got to talk to a lot of interesting people and that got me various contacts around the world that still to this day order our new stuff and spread the Mortor fever around the globe. You also need to have a solid online webstore so that people can get a hold of what you have to offer.
Is there any difference in the crowd in the French part as opposed to the English speaking side? How confusing is it to live in a bilingual country?
-Honestly metalheads around the world have a mutual respect for each other, either it be in French or English it doesn’t matter, you play the product you have to offer and see how the crowd reacts. To be honest being in a bilingual country is no problem at all. Our drummer Jeremy is from Ontario and speaks English and we get along quite well. It’s obvious we all have different opinions about stuff but hey no matter what language we speak that’s bound to happen.
I get a distinct feeling that even though Canada is a vast country the metal scene is a tight knitted scene. How much of a DIY scene is it?
-DIY is quite honestly the motto you need to have for sure. Everything we do we’ve done on our own, from our video for Death From Above to all of the shows we book to the printing on our flags, we manage to find ways to get it all done ourselves. We’re actually working on our next video with some live footage…
Can you remember the first time you felt proud of being Mortor? Any specific point in the band’s life that has been extras special?
-This is actually quite the up to date question. We just opened for Kreator and all of us felt quite overwhelmed, it was a once in a lifetime experience. They’ve been around for so many years and they’ve directly influenced Mortor in the sound that we have. This show was also the release party of our new album Shoot ‘Em Up and we had such a positive feedback from everyone that was there it was simply insane.
Being from Canada you will always be in the shadow of the US. Are people more aware of a bands origin today because of globalization or do they still believe that Canada is a part of the US?
-I believe that most people know that if we’re from Canada it’s not part of the US. We have fans in other countries and they understand the difference quite well. Nowadays with the internet you can have access to all of the information you need about all of the bands you enjoy so I’m not worried about people confusing Canada and the US.
When you want to tour is it easier to go south of the border than to trek across Canada? What benefits are there to touring the US that you can’t get touring Canada?
-We actually haven’t been in the US yet, we’ve only toured in Québec and Ontario. We’re still looking to get our feet out of this country to get our music out there even more. Because even in our country it’s simply not that easy to book shows in the western provinces. We’re getting farther and farther as time goes and we’re willing to go anywhere we can book shows.
Is there any benefit to having a mascot? Does it make it easier for fans to identify the band if they can identify the mascot?
-Quite a funny question, we used to have a mascot for a while. It was an inflatable goat, we had called her Véro and we would only get girls to sign it. We even brought it into a restaurant once in Trois-Rivières and got the waitress to sign it for us. For a while the mascot was a symbol that was a part of Mortor, people would ask us about it and how it was doing. It was an easy way to get people to talk about us and spread the word. But after a while you actually want to have people talk about the band because they enjoy your music and your live performance. So once the goat died after a concert we decided to drop that and focus on our image and who we are as a whole. So I can answer that yes it had its benefits but when you get down to the core you have to be your own mascot.
What would you like to see happen to the band in the future?
-For me it’s simple: I want to tour the world and show people what we’re made of. Ever since I was a kid it was my dream to be in a band and to tour the world. I want to meet people from different cultures and share our music with them. I would like to meet all the other bands and share wisdom and anecdotes about touring. And like every other band I’d love to get signed to a label.