MEB’s Patrick Walford recently had the chance to talk with Nick Xourafas (Vocals), Spyros Georgiou (Guitar), and Spencer MacLean (Bass/Vocals) of Structures at SCENEfest in St. Catharine’s. We talk about touring as an unsigned band, signing with Sumerian Records, their debut album, and much more.
Mind Equals Blown: It’s been a crazy year for Structures. You’ve toured across Canada several times and went into the States to tour and play big fests such as New England Hardcore and Metal Fest. It’s been known for a while but how does it feel to finally get the announcement of signing to Sumerian Records?
Spyros: It feels good to have it announced but for us it happened a long time ago. We’re really stoked we finally got to do it. We had it set as one of our goals to sign with Sumerian Records since we were younger.
For you to hold out to not sign to a Canadian label and instead just take on a management company before getting signed to a major indie like Sumerian doesn’t happen too often. What was the decision to remain an unsigned band while with Outerloop?
Nick: The thing is in Canada we don’t have much concern here as we do in the States. We feel in Canada we are doing our thing to slowly increase our volumes.
Spencer: To be honest we didn’t really need a label at that point. We put an EP out that we released ourselves. Then we got signed off it so we’ve just kept the ball rolling.
To self-release your own EP on the scale you guys did doesn’t happen too often. What were some of the things you guys had to do in order to record, press, etc? There is the notion that in order for a band to tour in the States, etc. Obviously it cost a bit of money as well for you guys to record the EP.
Spencer: What we set out to do was get recognized by a few different record labels is how to put it. We kinda shelled out as much as we could to record the songs, which ended up being five, did all the artwork, paid for all that. Everything that it cost was all paid for by the band. Everyone saved up enough money or they got help from it. They put the money in. We wouldn’t be where we were today if we didn’t put that amount of effort into it.
Nick: It was the best investment ever to put that much time and money into something that you care about. Then to have it come back is one of the best things ever.
Spencer: We decided that instead of doing it half-assed, why don’t we actually do it?
Doing it that way and touring Canada the way you guys have, you don’t see as many Canadian bands going down to the States and doing it the same way they did with Canada and start by paying their dues at the bottom in the States and touring their asses down there.
Nick: The States is a hard market to break in to man.
Spyros: There aren’t very many Canadian bands who do well in the States. I can’t think of a band that constantly goes back to the States. It doesn’t happen really.
Nick: That’s what we want to expand to. We wanna go outside Canada and in to other countries. We wanna do this for a living. We wanna do this for everyone who listens to our band.
Taking the steps to go down and tour to the States is costly, what did you have to do in order for that to happen?
Spencer: You gotta get work visas.
Spyros: That’s the biggest thing. You can go and do things illegally, but you’re going to get caught and it’s gonna bite you in the ass.
Nick: Everything is money and everything is expensive. Especially with that stuff.
Spencer: It’s not even set up in a way that it’s really doable for most bands. But it’s worth the experience.
Yeah, MSWhite had issues with that. I interviewed them in Toronto in October and 12 hours after I interviewed them they got denied at the border and deported back to Italy. They don’t mess around with that stuff.
When it came to signing with Sumerian, what did it come down to?
Spencer: That team. They are solid people.
Spyros: They know the music industry, they know what they wanna do and they know how to make it happen. At this point in the game you gotta go with who’s doing that for you.
Nick: We’ve always enjoyed all their bands since we were really young, since we really got into this type of music.
Spencer: That’s what got us into that music.
Spyros: Us getting into this music was pretty much the Sumerian movement.
Who were some of those bands who got you into the music?
All: Veil of Maya, Born of Osiris, After The Burial, ABACABB, all those bands!
You have already gone in and recorded your debut album with Will Putney at Machine Shop Studios for Sumerian Records. What did Will’s experience and knowledge bring to the table to bring the most out of Structures on this album? When can people expect it?
Spencer: He is so awesome man. The record will be out in about mid-October.
Nick: I owe it all to him. He is such a good dude. He works with you and he has an ear for it. He honestly makes you hear things you never thought about, and things you should’ve thought about. Things you over-thought about even. It’s crazy.
Spencer: He takes your full potential out of you and that was key.
Nick: He communicates which is really cool too. It gets really frustrating when that isn’t there.
It had to be a bit of a surreal experience to get to go over to the States and record your album. What did you expect even though you had already recorded an EP?
Nick: We went and lived in the shittiest house I’ve ever seen in my life for five weeks [laughs].
Spyros: No furniture, we sat on the floor, slept on airbeds.
Spencer: We lived like kings though, EVERY night!
Nick: We made some nice meals.
Spyros: We had a kitchen that we cherished.
From a sound standpoint, how has the debut album grown from the EP?
Spencer: There’s no words for me…
Spyros: Everyone always comes in and says this is a “new, mature us.” That’s obviously what it is. It’s a new mature Structures getting to tour with the bands that we’ve toured with. Meeting the people we’ve met and seeing what we’ve seen so far, and seeing what we want to see.
Nick: It’s a blessing we have this right now and everything is going up.
From that aspect, you look around Canada and you are only one of a few Canadian metalcore bands going into the US at this point. Looking at it that way, what’s it feel like to know there aren’t too many bands in this country doing it on the level you are?
Spencer: It makes you want it way more.
Spyros: Seeing the potential. Like you said, it’s technical music. If it’s getting the attention that it’s gotten so far, all you wanna do is push and see if you can make it as the next big thing. Why can’t you innovate something so that people know your band as doing that?
Nick: We’re trying to capture a new sound with everything we have.
Spyros: Everyone is a creation of their influences. We have newer influences than bands before us. It’s just going to sound new and different. It’s super cool. There’s going to be kids who come down the line and we’re gonna be like super bummed and on our way out but they’re going to kill it, you know what I mean? There is gonna be some awesome music.
Being a band from Toronto, do you think it helped Structures coming up? Or was it more of a personal thing?
Nick: Yeah, at one point the Toronto local scene was bumpin’. We were all in high school and in kinda respected bands…
Spyros: Not really respected bands (laughs) but, the local bands who would open the tours that came through.
Nick: Being in Toronto and being in a big city we had the opportunity to play more and get better.
Spyros: But there’s a lot of really inexperienced and unprepared acts. It’s overfilled with that, but it’s getting much better than it used to be. That’s cool. Looking back to a year ago, there wasn’t another band for us to look up to in Toronto.
Spencer: The last band I looked up to in Toronto was The Gorgeous. That was the last thing that really caught me. I guess because I was younger, but I don’t know.
Yeah, from the outside looking in and the amount of Facebook spam I see every day, it seems like being in a band for some kids is just because it’s the cool thing to do. They wanna tour and get signed, and get big, but don’t really get what they need to do just yet because they are new at it.
Nick: Yeah, I think there are a lot of people who have to start there. They start it for the wrong reasons and find the right reasons to play music.
Coming up, you guys are on the Summer Survivors Tour, which was a tour package based on being one of the ten finalists for the opening slot of the Summer Slaughter Tour. To see the reaction of your fans through what they did to try and get you guys in that spot, were there any expectations with that?
Spencer: We stumbled upon it.
Spyros: We had no clue there was voting or anything like that.
Nick: It was cool to see.
Spencer: We were in the studio when all that Summer Slaughter stuff was being announced. We didn’t even know we were in the running so we were all stoked. We knew we probably we wouldn’t win, but we hoped to play in the States sometime soon. Then they had the spin-off Summer Slaughter Survivors tour. Lots of great up-and-coming bands. Real excited.
You’ve done sections of the States, but this is your first full US run, correct?
Spyros: Yep, first ever full American tour. We are excited.
Any particular things you are looking forward to? Out in California, you gotta try any In-N-Out.
Nick: We went there actually!
Spencer: We were in L.A. a couple weeks ago tracking vocals on the album. We went to In-N-Out immediately after we finished. We spent like $15 and felt ridiculously sick afterwards. It was great.
Nick: Jack In the Box is also sweet. We had an awesome Denny’s experience. I usually don’t have an awesome Denny’s experience [laughs]. I usually feel really shitty.
After the Summer Slaughter Survivors Tour you are hopping on another tour. Can you announce your Fall tour just yet? Or do people have to wait?
Spyros: We can’t announce it just yet, but we are going to be on the road for a long time.
Nick: Come out and chill with us. What else is there to do on a Friday night? Let’s get drunk and have fun!
Thanks a lot for joining me for the interview guys. I get the bands I interview to pick a song of their own for readers to check out, and a song by any other band you want them to hear.
Listen to it on their facebook page: http://facebook.com/wearestructures
Ion Dissonance– “The Surge”
Nick: Favourite heavy band. Such a gripping song and album.
[youtube width=”700″ height=”25″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWgV-5mMbZ8[/youtube]