Tue 18th February 2014
We've been impressed by the recent return of Canaya and their new EP 'Sealed Within The Walls' being of a particularly fantastic standard. They are a Leeds-based metallic juggernaut that have a pedigree of the city's musical talent within their ranks. We jumped at the chance to interview them ahead of their upcoming shows with Castles.
Ninehertz: Canaya seem like an amalgam of various Leeds bands and your sound is identifiable of the city. What bands are you all past members of and has this been an influence on Canaya's sound? If not, which bands do you think have shaped your style?
Si (vocals): I was in Tangaroa and Year of the Man while Owen was in Hot Prophecy. Andy was from Nerve Engine and Chris played in EDT. Immediately you've got five bands treading a really varied range of styles: tech metal, sludge, melodic metal to grind or thrash.
You're always bringing something with you from your previous bands, and then you mix that with the new people you start to work. This is what you create with, and eventually develops into your new sound. The great thing about Canaya is that we are all on the same page when it comes to what we like and who we listen too at the core, but then we all faction off into other directions when you looks at what we listen to individually. This helps to really stir things up with the ideas that we come out with.
Ninehertz: You have an aggressive, unrelenting approach to music, how do you keep from repeating yourselves?
Owen (guitar): We are very particular with our song writing approach. It's relaxed in the sense 'we are jamming' and this is what we do for fun, but we push and pull ideas back and forth, criticising each others parts until we have A) something the band is all content with and B) music we think is going to give people that 'Fuck yeah!' feeling we all love getting. Song writing is an art, whether it's simple pop structures or progressive masterpieces, there are tools involved that will attract a listener and keep them coming back for more. Collectively we want to be song writing to the best level we can, regardless of how heavy or extreme we are.
Ninehertz: What's your favourite venue in Leeds? Is there a place other than Leeds you like to perform?
Si: My personal favourite would be the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. We are very lucky to have such an establishment; the atmosphere is awesome, it's run with the right attitude (thanks to Nathan) and of course it serves great beer that's priced right. I love playing shows anywhere that will have us dude, as long as people come down and have fun, and if they can come hang out with the band, we will be back time and time again!
Ninehertz: What does this year hold for Canaya? I see you are heading out for a few dates with Castles coming up in March, how did that come about?
Owen: We have a busy year a head of us. We are in the middle of the press campaign for 'Sealed within the walls' and we are beginning to book shows and look at prospective tours. Hopefully we will see a few fruits from our labour; the response so far has been unreal, tonnes of positive feedback, reviews and features surrounding the recording before it was even released. If this is the shape of things to come then we are definitely onto a good thing.
As for Castles, they asked if Canaya would like to do the 'Fiction or Truth?' tour when they come over from Belgium. That was an immediate yes from us as they're an amazing band with great heritage. It's Ed from Beecher after all, anything that dude touches oozes cool!
Ninehertz: Vocalist's question: How do you keep your voice in shape? I think fans of the genre often wonder how screaming front-men and women actually manage to speak after a long set...
Si: Practice and patience. Most people don't believe it, but there is technique involved. I have talked about this with many other vocalists who I respect and they all have their own way of getting the job done. You have to find where you feel most comfortable vocally and utilise that. To those who think it is as simple as just shouting, think again.
Ninehertz: One of the tracks on 'Sealed Within The Walls' features John Sutcliffe from Humanfly on vocals. Do you think we'll see more from the members of that band? How did he get involved with the record and was it fun having someone contribute to your vision?
Owen: John is a long time friend and Humanfly are one of the best bands out of Leeds. It was such a buzz having one of our favourite front-men come and do his thing right in the same room with Simon, especially on an Unsane cover!
The feature with John is a result of us having complete control over our product. If you listen close there are various 'gang vocal' sections on the recording. We got a group of our friends down to our recording room. These are people who have helped Canaya over the years because they love the music; it is our way of saying thank you. We drank beers and screamed our guts out at Simon's lyrical command, recording throughout the night.
Imagine a group of ten strong screaming 'You will never break my hands' or 'Sealed within the walls alive'. There was definitely a sense of doom that night!
Ninehertz: What Leeds bands do you think we should look out for soon? Are there any bands from elsewhere in the UK you'd recommend?
Si: As far as bands go in Leeds, False Flags are super tight, and I personally believe Himself are one of the most underrated bands in the country. Try to check out Monster Killed By Laser too! There are bands coming out of Leeds all the time; some dudes from one band has a jam and starts a band, then those guys will start something else. I love it! It means we have a constant flow of ace bands all the time that you can see locally. As for the rest of the UK, I'm digging Corrupt Moral Altar, Palehorse and The Hell.
Ninehertz: Lyrics, what are yours about? What message do you generally carry with your music?
Si: This EP is really focused on the many things that have control of my life, and that I have struggled to regain control of. We all struggle somewhere along the line. Life can be a tough ride at times, but people need to start thinking about their own goals and direction. Stop giving a fuck about this saturated, bullshit celebrity culture that so many people seem obsessed with. On this record I also touch on the fact that I think there are many things being taken away from us everyday and I see so little being done about it to stop it. We have a voice, people need to use it. It's time stop being sealed within these walls.