Canadian band Excuses Excuses recently released their new single “Listen Up!”, an energetic rock track with infectious vocals and big intensity. We caught up with the band to chat about the song, their favourite under-the-radar band, and the advice that Stefan from PUP gave to overcome writer’s block.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Listen Up!”
Excuses Excuses: Listen Up! is our anthem for the lost and broken. No matter how alone we may feel or how low we may be, this song is our reminder that the fire in our bones is always there to guide us through to a brighter light. Being the first song that we wrote during the COVID pandemic, it is inspired by the struggles we all face trying to achieve the goals we set for ourselves in life. Whether that goal is to become a movie star, or simply just to get out of bed that day, we can always find the strength inside to persevere no matter how tough or daunting things may seem.
FTS: How did Excuses Excuses become a band?
Excuses Excuses: Our journey has been a bit of a quirky one, not gonna lie… Trevor (bass) and I (Kyle) met in grade-school when we were only 3 or 4 years old and grew up together in the little mennonite town of Elmira, Ontario. At the start of high school we thought it would be an awesome idea to start a band, though neither of us knew how to play instruments at the time; so we learned how to play and started the first rendition of our band called “Stained Glass Army.” By the end of high school we had already fallen in love with playing music and knew that we had to keep working at it no matter what adversities we faced. Trev and I ended up moving to Kingston to go to University/College and luckily met Jason (drums) as we just got settled and were looking to start playing again. Jay came to a few practices and clicked right away so we booked our first show with our new name, Excuses Excuses, and the rest is history.
FTS: If you could collaborate with any other band or artist (living or dead), who would it be any why?
Excuses Excuses: Ooof, that’s a loaded question, and I am sure each one of us would answer this differently; but for me it would have to be Ronnie Van Zant from the 70’s southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. It may seem odd for a punk rock dude to say that, but Skynyrd has always been one of my favourite bands and I have always been enamoured by Ronnie’s ability to tell stories in his songs, and do so with this unwavering, mysterious, and powerful attitude. To have one chance at a songwriting session with him would be an absolute dream.
FTS: All artists (save for the exceptionally lucky ones) experience writer’s block from time to time. How do you battle through a block when songwriting?
Excuses Excuses: Writer’s block is definitely a real thing for all artists, no matter what they want you to believe. I think it stems from a lack of proper inspiration and motivation for the most part. It can be extremely hard to make yourself write if you are feeling uninspired and it can end up causing you to dig yourself deeper into the hole of writer’s block when you feel this way because you think that all the ideas you are creating are just bad. As a result it can be super frustrating and make you even more uninspired. I have to give credit to Stefan from PUP for this piece of advice, because it has really helped me throughout my journey as a songwriter. I met him for a cup of coffee in this little Toronto cafe and asked him the same question. He told me that when you have these moments lacking inspiration, one of the best things you can do is to write through it no matter how crappy the songs/ideas are because somewhere on the other side there is a great idea waiting to happen. From this I inferred that writing is just using a muscle to accomplish a goal, and like riding a bike you don’t simply forget how to do it; but sometimes you just need to work that muscle to get it back into top shape.
FTS: What’s one under-the-radar band or artist you love, and want to share with our readers?
Excuses Excuses: One of our favourite Canadian bands is the alternative rock group REBELLE, from Wakefield, QC. They are one of the hardest working rock groups around and we consider ourselves very lucky to be close friends with them. We also feel that they should get way more attention than they do because their music is fantastic. It has all the pieces: melodies that sink into your brain for days on end, drums that punch you right in the kisser, big FAT bass lines, heavy guitars, and smooth synth lines that tie it all together and bundle it all up in a cool, little rock and roll package. We highly recommend heading over to their streaming profiles and checking out their newest offering, called “Kicks.” It rips.
Check out the latest single from Excuses Excuses, “Listen Up!”