What sort of influences do individual members bring to the band?

It's hard to say exactly really. We all have pretty eclectic tastes. I can say that personally I'm pretty invested in and influenced by HARDCORE. Not "USHC", not "NYHC", not "Powerviolence", not "SoCal", not "harDCore", not European Hardcore, not "Crust Punk", not "D-Beat", not "UK82" etc etc etc but all of it. Frankly, I hate when people try to fragment hardcore like each genre is profoundly different. I think that breaking it apart into micro-genres does the music and its greater point a disservice. I think that might be our most profound collective influence is that we don't want to be confined to a micro-scene. We want to be a part of all of hardcore. 


It's interesting that you mention HARDCORE rather than PUNK. Do you see Hardcore as different to Punk?

Absolutely. I think Hardcore is way more serious than punk. To that point, I think the politics are more serious too. In my interpretation, Punk was like the commercial, rock star version. It was concerned with both image and perception. Hardcore came along and said "no, we actually take these ideas seriously," and was far more intense about it - it was more about intent and execution than posturing. It was more political, more about ideas that style. Hardcore is beyond punk. Crowds are more aggressive, more intelligent, more passionate. Generally more "Hardcore". It's punk turned up to 12. For me also, when I was younger, punk seemed to be more of a costume thing, and hardcore was more of an idea. Over time, I think I understood better the purpose of fashion as disruption of the status quo, so my position has changed a bit but I truly believe ideas can be far more volatile than what someone chooses to wear when they're out in public. 


When, and how, did you get into punk (or hardcore) initially? Was there one particular moment that lit the fuse?

To be honest, I can't say I really remember. I was generally into aggressive guitar driven music when I was younger, and I always liked to be ahead of the curve as far as music goes and that led me to checking out local bands from my area. I think the first show I went to was a "Punk Prom" put on by someone my age. There were people there with vegan baked goods, book distros, etc. It was very of its time. I got really drawn into it and stuck around. I got really sucked into alternative politics, which was actually reinforced by a teacher in high school and that became the biggest part of it for me. The politics were definitely the draw. When I started to learn about the rampant injustice in the world, and found a place where people seemed equally concerned about it, it was a perfect place for me. It just so happened the sound agreed with me as well. If anything, it's the sound of the music that's kept me here.


How do songs come together? Does one person come with a complete song and then the band hones it, or is it more of a collaborative effort?

Each song is written somewhat differently. Generally, one person provides the idea to a varying degree, be it a riff or several riffs and we collectively colour in the lines with various suggestions. We play it a bunch, work on it, add nuances that come with playing them over and over again, change riffs slightly. It's generally different each time and no one method has worked better than any other. When Warren, Ryan and I wrote the breadth of the demo, the songs sounded a certain way and when Jose joined on drums he added certain things that made them what they ultimately became. 


Would you say you are a political band? Should punk bands always have something to say with their lyrics?

Well, personally, I believe all action is inherently political. Maybe that is the basis for "our politics". What you do it and how you do it makes your personal politics clear. That said, I think a lot of the radical politics found within hardcore reduce things to absurdity. Politics are incredibly complicated and fluid things. We are not explicitly political in that we don't claim to have a greater answer that we feel we need to spread. We are at our base 5 individuals making noise together. We all collectively back Ryan's lyrical sentiment in that we feel we are at the mercy of what is a system that adversely controls us. Some punks purport that that system is the byproduct of an effort of a collective elite to control the otherwise powerless few. Personally, I'm conflicted as to whether or not there's something sinister that holds us back or if the system is an uncontrollable beast created by the human condition. Regardless, I think it's our responsibility to draw some attention to the fact that we believe there are issues that adversely affect us because the only way we can affect any change is by at first acknowledging it. Then there's the whole question as to whether or not action should be subversive or direct. I guess in that sense, we aim to be a bit more subversive. 


How come you released your demo on cassette? Is tape a format you love, or was it just for nostalgic reasons? What was the reaction like, and did that surprise you? Can people still get hold of it?

The demo was released on cassette for no reason other than tradition and ease. I love tapes in that they are cheap, tangible media. Personally, I'd much prefer a cassette to a CD. That said, if hardcore is about a message, I believe that message needs to be beyond commodification. Hence why we give the digital files away for free online. Part of me is capable of acknowledging that cassettes are a bit archaic and have no real defence other than they are a cheap media. But free, online is cheaper. The tape exists for people who want the recordings on hard media, like myself, and at the same time as a means of selling something that helps pay for recording and putting gas in the tank.

We were definitely surprised how well it was received. Definitely happy about it. If people are still looking for it, I believe Feral Ward may or may not have copies. At this point it's about a year old though so we are looking forward and will hopefully have new recordings available in the coming months.


How was it working with Jonah to record the demo? Had you worked with him in the past?

I'd worked with Jonah a few times, both in Violent Future and in an extremely short lived band him and I played in called G.O.D. His musical perspective is an incredible asset when it comes to recording and his methods, while expedient, are always focussed. The man knows how to record hardcore, it's as simple as that. I'd say it's a product of his personal experience combined with being an obsessive music fan. 


You've done a session and interview on the Equalizing-X-Distort radio show, how was that experience?

Recording for ExD was great. Stephe's done a great service in consistently documenting the Southern Ontario hardcore scene and I was glad to be a part of that again. It also gave us the opportunity to put 5 new songs to tape in advance of eventually recording them.


Are you a regular listener to ExD? Have you discovered any new bands through his show? Is Stephe Southern Ontario's answer to John Peel?

I try and throw ExD on whenever I am near a radio and it's on. It's even easier to listen to it now that Stephe posts every show online. I can't think of any specific bands that the show has turned me on to, but Stephe is definitely doing an incredible service in recording as many locals as he does. It's such a great opportunity and he tries to get absolutely everyone in. Hopefully one day this work gets the true recognition that it deserves. I make sure I download every live set. Recording the live sets is, to me, the greatest thing. They're an incredible snap shot of a band.


So how is the punk scene in your area? Any other bands we should be looking out for?

The punk scene here is pretty great. Its a bit broken apart but it's generally interesting right now. Some newer-ish bands worth looking out for are our own other projects (ha ha) Violent Future and Purity Control, as well as Hassler, Kremlin, School Jerks, Total Trash, Direct Approach, Wastoids, Demolition, Ancient Heads, Foxmoulder, Absolut, Farang - there's a ton! I recently heard Career Suicide are working on a new LP too. So you'll definitely have to pay attention for that. We don't really have a DIY all ages space right now and with the state of real estate in Toronto, we may never have one again. Aside from that, we're doing alright.


Have you personally, or anyone in the band for that matter, been involved in any other DIY punk rock activity; writing zines, putting on gigs doing a distro or whatever?

Well, I book shows pretty regularly. I guess over 120 in the last 5 years? I also book the Not Dead Yet festival here in Toronto. This year will be year #3. It's a weekend of hardcore, punk and DIY related music. So yeah, I guess I do a lot of DIY punk rock activity. I did a zine once, but it was not nearly as good as it should have been. Maybe when I stop booking shows I can write the truly curmudgeonly zine I want to write. 


As Canada is so huge, how far have you been able to get outside of your own area? Are you able to tour, or does real life get in the way of you doing more as a band? 

Real life definitely gets in the way of us playing wherever we want whenever we want, but we do alright. Frankly, I think it's a bit silly when hardcore bands are touring full time. Some of us would like to tour, some of us have full time jobs and bills to pay. So far we've played Montreal and some spots around Southern Ontario. We're going to get to some spots in the states over the next few months. Really looking forward to that.


What do you have planned for the immediate future? Any more recording?

We're doing trips to Cleveland, Chicago, Rochester and Boston as well as playing at Chaos in Tejas and New York's Alright. Gonna play a few times in Toronto over the summer as well as dates in Ottawa and Montreal with the almighty Iron Lung.

As far as recording goes, we'll hopefully be putting some new stuff to tape over the next few months. To what end, that remains to be seen.


What's the best way for people to find out more about S.H.I.T.?

Be a fucking hardcore punk and pick up zines, grab flyers, dig through distros and give a shit. If you do those things I'm sure you'll come across what we're up to next.