Band of the Week: The Victim Party
The Victim Party exists somewhere between homage and innovation, taking liberally from the punk rock canon and packaging it into a joyous fist-pump of danceable, sing-along anthems. The list of bands that current members have played for in the past reads like a downtown bathroom stall wall, coated in the stickers of some formidable GTA bands.
But despite their lineage — or maybe because of it — The Victim Party are masters of taking the old, familiar furniture of punk rock and arranging it into something new, vibrant and exciting. It’s impossible not to get excited when listening to their first full-length album, The Worst Party on Earth, which contains nearly equal parts pop-hooks and youthful snarl.
So, with that in mind, we caught up with lead singer Colin Lichti to talk about pop punk, this Friday’s release party at Sneaky Dee’s and how hard it is to get six people into the same room to write a song together.
First, can you talk a bit about how the band got together?
When Patrick and I were still in Hostage Life, we had the idea to do a poppier side-project with Adam — who I used to play with in Marilyn's Vitamins. After several false starts we decided to try again after HL broke up. We wanted it to sound a little different than any of our previous bands so we asked my then-fiancée — now wife — Tabi to come in as a second vocalist. Somewhere in there we got the idea that playing in a band with Dean would be pretty fun, which it is. And, anyone who's ever been in a band knows that in order to even be remotely listenable you need a solid drummer, so we convinced Adam's brother, Kyle, who was, and is, still playing with Adam in The Little Millionaires to come abroad. The whole thing came together pretty easily because our mandate was to just have fun. Nothing about this band is very serious.
I know a lot of you have played in bands with each other in various capacities before. Has that made the song writing process easier at all?
When we started writing together, our mandate was to make it poppy, catchy and fun. We're lucky because we're all on the exact same page in terms of how we want the band to sound — there's no conflict about direction so we find ourselves churning out a lot of songs with little struggle when we actually sit down and concentrate.
A few of those bands have seen some amount of success. Do you think that's helped you out at all, or do you find yourself trying to escape the shadow of your former groups, so to speak?
It's helped in the sense that it's easy to get shows because between the six of us, we know a lot of people in the Toronto music scene. Other than that we haven't had to live up to, or live down, any of our past bands.
The music seems a touch more poppy, more light-hearted than some of your previous outings. Was it a conscious decision to go in that direction?
It was completely intentional to be a pop punk band.
So, the new album's coming out soon. How long have these songs been kicking around?
Some of the songs are really old. A few of them were Hostage Life and Bombs Over Providence songs that never really saw the light of day.
How was the recording process?
Shawn, who was in Marilyn's Vitamins and Bombs Over Providence, and is the current Little Millionaires guitarist, recorded the album for us at the Lincoln County Social Club in Liberty Village over a few weekends in the early summer. It was an awesome time. Probably the most fun I've ever had in a studio. Anyone that's met Shawn knows that he's a super laid-back dude, and that makes him an incredible engineer and producer. He tells you what thinks of your take, but never comes off as a dick.
What's next for the band? Any plans to tour?
It took a while for The Worst Party on Earth to be mixed and mastered just due to some schedule conflicts, so during that time we just wrote, wrote and wrote. As a result we have a 7-inch that we plan to record in the spring, and our next album pretty much completed. We hope to get both recorded and out this year. We're not trying to tour that much. I think of this band as like playing softball — it's just for shits and giggles. We get together, drink beer and practice, and every now and then we play a game. Life on the road can be kind of grueling and stressful and we're all about comfort when we party.
The Victim Party are:
Patrick Mathers: Guitar
Dean Richards: Guitar
Kyle Cook: Drums
Adam Cook: Bass
Colin Lichti: Vocals
Tabi Irani: Vocals