Interview: Kyle Profeta – Comeback Kid

This year saw the release of the brand new Comeback Kid album titled ‘Symptoms + Cures’ which marked the bands fourth studio release and the second with Andrew Neufeld on vocals after he stepped up from guitar in 2006. Critically acclaimed and rightfully so, Comeback Kid have come back from a period that may of killed many bands but four years on from the departure of Scott Wade, the new era of Comeback Kid has finally begun. Myself and JJ had the chance to sit down with founding member and drummer Kyle Profeta in Glasgow for a chat about touring, moving forward and their brand new album.

JJ: Enjoying the tour?

Kyle: Absolutely, I mean we are only about four dates in but yeah it has been good. We’ve been out since the beginning of September so getting pretty tired.

Michael: What has it been like playing the UK?

Kyle: You know it’s awesome. Mainland is a little better for us as we are definitely the odd man out in the UK on a metal tour like this but it’s been great and Europe is just awesome.

Michael: It’s becoming more apparent from some bands we have spoken to recently that playing the UK and Europe is a lot different from playing in Canada and the States, how do you see it being that you kind of feel like the odd man out?

Kyle: Anywhere overseas is I guess you could say a less saturated market; it is similar because the genre of the music and the type of mentality and attitude of the people that comes to shows and what not BUT it is definitely appreciated more overseas than in North America, just because there is so many bands playing all the time and everywhere.

JJ: That is a common view with bands feeling that European fans are more appreciative.

Kyle: Yeah I’m sure it is.

Michael: Do you see the UK as a market which may be impossible almost to break into as a hardcore band and feeling like the odd man out, maybe a market that might start to feel that you would need to neglect on a small scale?

Kyle: I don’t want to say that the UK is not loyal because that is not the case, it’s just that trends change quicker here. What we find as an older band on the mainland for instance is that everyone sticks around. I mean the older you get, your crowds stay pretty old and you still have younger kids coming in and checking you out. Yes I agree it’s a little harder but we don’t really care, I mean Avocado treat us really well and get us on these tours which always do really well for our band so we will always come back. We’re going to come back and do a headliner probably in April 2011.

JJ: That’s good news about a headline tour in April

Kyle: We’re stoked about it.

JJ: This isn’t your first Never Say Die tour as you played in 2007. What are your memories of that tour as it had such a great line up with This Is Hell and Cancer Bats.

Kyle: Yeah that was awesome. It’s so nice being on this one were we don’t have to headline. We definitely enjoy headlining but it’s nice to get on a support tour were there isn’t just so much responsibility. You don’t need to worry about all the kids showing up, it’s different in that aspect. That last tour we did with a lot of friends bands and the line-p was more of a hardcore line-up so it was cool from that aspect.

Comeback KidJJ: That previous Never Say Die tour was at the King Tuts compared to the ABC here tonight which was a smaller venue. What sort of scale of show do you prefer?

Kyle: Obviously I prefer more intimate shows because we’re that type of band but at the same time it’s a challenge to play to huge crowds like this one with 80% or whatever don’t really know who you are. As I said we are the odd man out, especially in the UK on this one so there is two sides of the coin. Yes we do have a lot more fun playing small little sweaty shows but at the same time it’s cool to get your music to that many more ears.

JJ: I want to move onto your new album ‘Symptoms + Cures’, which is an absolutely fantastic album

Kyle: Thank you

JJ: It’s one of my favourite albums of the year

Kyle: Aww right on, thank you. Thank you very much, we’re really proud of it.

JJ: The way the songs are written, the amount of gang chants and really powerful melodies, it feels like it was written with the thought of the live show in mind. Was that the intention?

Kyle: Absolutely it was. For us it was more, well when we wrote the last record, when Andrew moved up to vocals, it was a feeler period for us and we can call it how it is, we lost our vocalist and things had to change. You can do as much as you can with what you have but if you want to keep going as a band and express youself and grow organically and progress properly, things are going to change, especially when you have a different vocalist. One thing we did have in mind was that we wanted to execute these songs live and that was sort of the only intention we had when we went into write the album. When we write, we don’t really have a set sound or anything as it’s me, Andrew and Jeremy who do all of the writing but we keep each other in check. We know what each other wants and we stay within the pocket of Comeback Kid but the one thing we did have in mind when working through that was to make sure we could really execute these songs live.

Michael: Based on the vocalist change and Andrew moving up, do you feel more so now that you are comfortable, like the band has found its groove after the feeler period and this is the new era of Comeback Kid?

Kyle: Absolutely. We can openly admit that we have gelled as a unit and all of us, we just feel that more comfortable on stage. I think the only bummer right now is that we’re so stoked about the new songs and we want to play them live but the way a hardcore band goes, you just simply can’t show up and play a whole set of new songs. Everybody is there to hear the old stuff as well as the newer stuff but I guess that is the only bummber that we can only fit in maybe two, three or four new songs in.

Michael: Did or does that ever become a problem not just with fans but with Andrew as with a lot of people expecting to hear the old songs but they all know Scott’s voice to those songs?

Kyle: No, not really, we lucked out in the aspect that Andrew was the other frontman in our band. When Scott left we were like ‘are we done?’ but we kind of want to keep going and we still feel it in our hearts so then we were like ‘well Andrew is the other frontman and one of the main writers so’. We did lose a lot with Scott and that was an era we had to put behind us and we felt like we could really keep going but we also don’t really care about the negative views about it, this is just us expressing us. I don’t goonline reading all that crap, I don’t care, I’m happy with what I’m doing, I’m thirty and I’m still able to do this so I’m just grateful for every day and I couldn’t give a shit about anyone’s opinions. What we do is sincere and I think that holds a lot of water.

JJ: I think that is the right attitude to have.

Kyle: Yeah man.

JJ: This album was produced by Eric Rats when the previous two albums were produced by Bill Stevenson, what prompted you to approach him and did this result in a change, from your point of view, to the recording process or any other changes?

Kyle: Well to answer the first part of the question, we basically just didn’t have the budget to go back to the Blasting Room and if you record in Canada you’re able to access these grants which basically means the government gives you money to go and record but you must record in Canada; so we were like okay, we’re going to do that. We are good friends with the Cancer Bats who have done records with him, and he has worked with bands like Billy Talent and other big name stuff, and they said he was great so were like let’s check this guy out. So we met him and we liked his personality so we ended up recording with him. Now I can’t speak for anyone else but I had a great time recording with them. They were really into the way I played drums and just how they did things and how I did things, it really gelled well. I left the studio with the most confidence I’ve ever had, if anything, it’s really helped my playing, especially on the newer songs.

There was somewhat of a different process to answer the second part but just all very positive. Not saying Bill and Jason weren’t positive, you definitely left there a better musician and they really worked you but these guys worked us too. Not sure, it might just be the Canadian connection but we just really gelled well with them.

Michael: You said they were really into the way you played drums so did they take much involvement in trying to evolve your sound or try tweak the way you play at all or were they more or less happy just to let you do your bit and not get too involved?

Kyle: For me they were pretty stoked on how I played but they definitely had a hand in our melodies and stuff like that. I’ve never seen Andrew get that work before, he is always the one who just goes in and [clicks fingers], and he still did, he did an incredible job but it was funny watching Eric and Kenny really working Andrew. It came out well, came out very well, Andrew did a great job.

JJ: You mentioned Cancer Bats and Billy Talent. All of these Canadian punk/hardcore bands are now starting to enjoy global success, is that something you’re excited to be a part of? There really is a wave of Canadian bands on top of their game right now and you guys are on top of yours also.

Kyle: Absolutely, absolutely and it’s nice because there are bands at the top of their game right now on a lot of different levels. Billy Talent are selling out arenas and Alexis[onfire] are selling out places like this and then you have got Cancer Bats and us who are doing really well in the smaller markets, the more like, I guess punk/hardcore markets you could say. It’s cool to be a part of that definitely.

Michael: The bands mentioned have all released some amazing albums recently and the genre has, you could say evolved really well. Do you see a lot of change in the style or would say that the genre has evolved a lot since you started out?

Kyle: Oh yeah man. It’s nice to see and it’s very clear that the punk/hardcore market is way more marketable now. I really wouldn’t say its mainstream but it’s getting there on a lot of levels but there are still bands that I see selling out arenas and I’m like, they deserve to be there. Like you watch them and you may not be into the music or whatever but you see them and you know they’re good musician, they know how to play their music and they’re good dudes, so that’s always nice to see. This market has evolved and is a lot bigger now but there still a lot of bands out there with integrity and not just ‘what do I have to do to make a million dollars’.

Comeback KidMichael: How do you feel your music has evolved during the period from when you first started out to now and also in general the transition to Andrew on vocals?

Kyle: Like I kind of mentioned before, I’m stoked on what we’ve been doing because nothing we do does not have the most sincere attitude behind it. Every record we put out is an expression of ourselves and what we want to do and how we’ve evolved as people and musicians and what not. [laughs] It’s funny because every time I get interviewed it’s always the newest record that is my favourite just because we are so proud of it.

JJ: You have obviously toured the world with so many great bands and collaborated with a lot of great people, even on ‘Symptoms + Cures’ you have Liam from Cancer Bats and Sam from Architects. Is there anyone you have yet to work with touring wise or collaborated with that you have a real desire to work with?

Kyle: Oh man, honestly we’ve been with everyone! Me personally, I grew up listening to skate rock and stuff like that so I’ve told the guys over and over again how bad I want to tour with Lagwagon but I mean that’s just my own personal little thing. I mean Good Riddance would have been great but they’re done. I don’t know man, we’ve been so fortunate but I’d say Propaganda but we did Japan with them so that’s out there; I don’t know I’d need to think about that one. To answer your question Lagwagon, I want to tour with Lagwagon more than anything in Canada, tell them! Actually Dave Nassie, Bleeding Through guitar player, I’m pretty sure he knows those guys so I’m going to get a few beers in him tonight and be like ‘hey drop them a line’.

JJ: ‘Symptoms + Cures’ is your fourth studio album now and with more and more material each time, how do you pick which songs to put in your set?

Kyle: Yeah, well you look at your set time and you sort of go ‘okay, it’s for that many songs’ and we like to have a good balance of all the records because we know the types of fans we have and they want to hear it all. I think we do a really good job of the older Scott songs with our line-up so it works well and then we just feel out new ones. Like we will have six or seven new ones that we have ready to play and we just sort of swap them out here and there, sort of get a feel of which ones are getting a better reaction and stuff like that. Then you settle and have the odd one you swap in and out. We have a set list but there is so many times Andrew will just turn to me and be like ‘we’re playing this one now’ and I’m like ‘okay, cool’ [laughs].

Michael: You mentioned earlier how you don’t go online and you don’t really care about what people say but do you have a view on the internet’s effect on your career and on the industry in general?

Kyle: We’re not the type of band that will see a lot of royalties or anything like that. We do this because people keep coming back and watching us on tour so I don’t really care how you check us out, just as long as you come out to the shows and support us. I guess with the internet, people aren’t really buying records anymore and that whole nostalgic feeling is left behind. No-one really collects stuff anymore, I was never really a collector or anything but I guess there is that part that you’re not really getting a piece of anymore. It doesn’t really bother me because kids are still coming out to the shows and singing the words so I don’t really care how you listen to it [laughs].

Michael: As long as it gets out there.

Kyle: Exactly, as long as it gets out and you come support us on the road.

Michael: I think that is becoming more or less the general feeling towards it all now that while you may not make money from the sales you do know that you’re music could spread to millions of people and that will result in them turning up for live shows.

Kyle: Yeah, you know I mean it doesn’t come down to royalties or that now but just like you said, it will eventually spread to so many people that shows will be in demand.

Michael: Well I think that’s it for us, so we will definitely see a UK headline tour in April from the band then?

Kyle: Yeah, I think it’s April/May in the works but we will be doing a full month in Europe with a handful of dates here in the UK and one in Glasgow.

Michael: That’s great, thanks very much for taking time to talk to us.

Kyle: Right on, great interview guys, thanks for it.

     

About Michael

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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