Convo With Excuses Excuses

Hailing from Canada, Excuses Excuses is a band formed by Kyle Wilton, Trevor Bowman, and Jason. With their profound, insightful lyrics, jaw-dropping passion, and melody-heavy tunes, they come equipped with a reckless desire to create a real believer out of everyone in the room, combining youthful burning energy with attention to the tiniest elements of composition.

While Excuses Excuses can go toe-to-toe with any band in terms of intensity – and if you’ve seen them live, you’d agree – they also understand that great songs are the key to longevity. Mind Over Matter, a strong micro-dose of everything that makes them one of Canada’s top up-and-coming rock bands, adds three more to their expanding discography.

It follows their 2018 EP Catch Me If You Can, which Popmatters characterized as “packing(ing) a punch both musically and lyrically,” while the Waterloo Region Record stated that “despite being barely out of their teens, Excuses Excuses are evolving swiftly as a band.” Mind Over Matter is the product of a concerted attempt to improve their songwriting abilities, paired with a year of intensive touring.

Mind Over Matter, like Catch Me If You Can, was produced and mixed by Justin Meli at Chalet Studios in Uxbridge, Ontario, with guitar tech support from Kevin Comeau of Crown Lands and drum tech aid from Jordan Gauthier of the YC Drum Company.

They recently released a brand new tune called My Nicotine, and we spoke with them about it. You can read it below.

1- Where did you come from, where are you based now, and why?

We all come from various small towns in Ontario, Canada. Trevor and I (Kyle) grew up in a place called Elmira and Jason in a place called Oakwood; but the band truly formed in Kingston where we were attending college/university. We are currently based in a city called Oshawa, which is much closer to Toronto than Kingston is, because we found the opportunities as a band were more abundant in a major city like Toronto and we wanted to make the best out of it.

2- When did you start making music?

We all started making music in our early highschool years with various groups. That is actually when Trevor and I started writing and jamming together in our first band, since we had been best friends throughout childhood. The true essence of EXCUSES EXCUSES as we are today started around 2016 when we met Jason in college and finally figured out who we wanted to be as musicians.

3- What would you do if the audience was reacting negatively or being distracting during your performance?

Being on the more punk-influenced side of rock music, it wouldn’t be the first time. I’m not going to lie, it really makes you feel horrible as someone who is pouring their soul into their performance. The thing to keep in mind is that music is always so subjective, and you can never expect everyone to be into your music the same way you likely don’t like everything you hear either; so you shouldn’t let it overwhelm you. If someone did that today, I would probably give them a cheeky smile, maybe a wink, then move on with my performance as normal. If you let them get the best of you, they have already won.

4- What type of musician would you prefer to collaborate with?

I have always loved the idea of artist collaborations and would love to work with so many different artists, each for different reasons. Our band are huge fans of the UK punk/rock scene right now, so one of my top prospects would be Joe Talbot from IDLES. He has such a unique sound and style to his voice that we think would be an awesome juxtaposition to my voice, but also so fitting with our style. I have always liked the idea of collaborating with artists outside of our genre and scene, so it would be awesome to work with someone in the hip-hop/rap space to be able to get that different perspective and learn from them. I mean this is a total pipe-dream, but I think a group like Run the Jewels would be extremely fun to collaborate with.

5- What is the message behind My Nicotine?

My Nicotine is a song about learning how to work through struggles with the toxic relationships that surround us in life, whether that be with a partner, drugs, or whatever the kryptonite may be. This track was truly meant to help our listeners understand that we all go through unique struggles, and it is totally okay and normal to do so. You are never alone.

6- Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety?

We don’t really have any crazy rituals we do in specific other than making sure we stretch before we go jump around on stage so we don’t injure ourselves accidentally. Honestly, never underestimate the power of a good stretch! We will usually meet up backstage and try to amp each other up a bit to get in “the zone”, drink some beer to loosen up, and also make sure we aren’t forgetting anything we need on stage. Nothing like some bands, that is for sure; though I totally get the idea of doing whatever it takes to get yourself mentally prepared.

7- What do you consider to be the most significant aspect of your music career?

For us it is, it always has been, and it always will be our live shows. I don’t really know how to explain it, but something changes when we hit the stage that allows us to become the people we truly are, and let all our worries go away. We simply were born to perform, and I honestly don’t think any of us could live without it. We love to have fun with our audience at our shows and make them feel like they are part of us, because they realistically are the reason we do what we do, and we couldn’t thank them enough for giving us that. 

8- What do you want to accomplish in the music industry?

There are few simple things that we want to accomplish as a band… Firstly, we want to write and perform music that makes people FEEL. We want to create art that actually means something to people, not just follow the trends of the day. Nothing in this life feels better than hearing the positive impacts that our music has had on our listeners lives and we will always cherish those moments. Lastly, we want to have fun doing what we love and share that passion with people all around the world. Oh… and hopefully someday we can make a living from it. lol

9- What is one message you would give to your fans?

Be true to yourself, and never give up on your dreams. I know how tough things can be while trying to figure out who you are and what your “calling” is, but when you find those things that make you feel like you belong and make you feel happy, run with them. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, learning to believe in myself was something that I always had a hard time with while I was a kid; but through trial and error I realized that the reason we are on this earth is to live and to experience life the way we can love it as an individual. We are not here to fit in boxes that someone else created, we are here to be ourselves; so chase your dreams and always strive towards what makes you happy.

10- What is next for Excuses Excuses?

WE TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Just joking! In all seriousness we are excited to finally have our debut album out for everyone to hear and can’t wait to get back on tour in a few weeks. We are starting the fall with a small tour throughout Eastern and Central Canada, but we are working hard to make our way to as many new countries as we possibly can so folks from all over can experience LISTEN UP! the way it was meant to be.

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