Neon Windbreaker are a Toronto five piece treading the spidery line between noise-rock abandon and melodic structure. Having formed in the spring of 2010, they have played across Canada and the United States alongside Pissed Jeans, Male Bonding, DD/MM/YYYY, Monotonix, This Will Destroy You and many more. We caught up with them in advance of their first ever UK shows coming later this month, and their New Sky EP dropping October 28th.
How did you all come together as a band and who coined the name Neon Windbreaker?
Neon Windbreaker more or less started as a group of friends looking to play noisy music. The only remaining members from our first show are Pat and myself with many members of various Toronto bands having cycled through at one point or another. Our line-up has remained the same save for one member for the past two years and hopefully will remain as such indefinitely. I coined the band name as an in-joke with a friend of mine when at a Japanther & DD/MM/YYYY show given the sheer number of neon wind breakers worn by those in attendance. I should note that I have released multiple records by both bands, have booked many tours for both and don’t mean it as ill will. It just sort of happened that the name stuck.
A lot of noise rock and punk bands take things into their own hands from the off and stick to a DIY ethos. Would you say the same for yourselves?
I think that we take our band and our objectives into our own hands. We all are involved in all aspects of the band, although some members may take a more active role depending on their skills. I release our records through my label, we all book our shows together and write the songs. We are not opposed to the help and support of those interested in helping further the band, so we have been fortunate to have a team of great people working with us, especially in the UK and Europe to help grow the awareness. That said, if we weren’t proactive, there wouldn’t be anything happening.
I can hear a selection of different noise in your upcoming EP New Sky, what were you guys listening to when you wrote these songs and what are your influences?
We all have pretty wide ranging tastes in music stylistically. I would say that we’re all fans of bands like Future of the Left, METZ, Rocket From The Crypt and similar. Some of the songs were written late last year and some right before we recorded, so while we would like to think the record is cohesive, the writing was a bit disjointed.
Tell us about the time you spent recording/writing New Sky and how was it working with Alex Bonefant?
We practice infrequently and write our songs in quick succession. Someone will come in with an idea and Pat and I will write lyrics and we will more or less have a finished song. Two of the songs were finished in the studio. All of our records have been recorded in a few days time. It’s a combination of finding time with everyone’s schedules, the cost of recording music and the urgency of getting things done. Alex is a friend of ours that has worked on some incredible records and we were fortunate to book in with him when he had a short window. He has an incredible ear, really took the time to help us structure the sound and some of the songs and really played an integral role in shaping the record.
How do you guys like to work when it comes to writing? Do you all throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks? Or is there a sole song writer amongst you?
Everyone will come in with ideas and we will riff on them. Usually it comes together very quickly and makes the process a lot of fun. We definitely have ideas that fall short and will end up reworking until we are happy. The band is an equal partnership.
We can’t wait to see you live when you hit the UK in October, are you looking forward to playing in the UK? What really makes a live show for you guys?
We’re very much a live band and is what defines us. While we are really proud of our new 7″ EP, we would think that our live show is the definitive Neon Windbreaker experience. It’s about controlled chaos for us. We like to interact, and make the show as much about musicianship as it is about entertaining. While it’s great to play your songs well, it’s even better to play them well and create a memorable experience that at least temporarily gets lodged into someone’s mind. We’re looking forward to playing the UK and the Czech Republic. As Neon Windbreaker we have never played abroad, although Ben, our drummer is currently on a European tour with Beliefs.
Are there any particular gigs from the past that stand out from the rest? What’s the best gig you’ve played and what would be a dream show for Neon Windbreaker?
I think that since our line-up solidified, almost all of our shows have been really memorable experiences for us. We’ve noticed a trend in that every band we have or will be playing with in Toronto has some sort of phallic reference to their name. So far we’ve played with Big Dick, Pissed Jeans, and will soon be playing with Nice Head.
‘Dream show’ is a tough one, and I think every member would have a different answer. I think to play it safe I will say Rocket From The Crypt.
Are you guys happiest when you’re on the road playing shows every night? Or do you prefer to get in the studio and write song after song?
Everyone plays in touring bands and has different commitments. We definitely like playing shows and writing songs. Most of us have been friends for 12-15 years. If Neon Windbreaker didn’t exist, we’d all still be hanging out and doing a lot of the same, maybe just not with the opportunity of travelling to the UK to have the chance to play.
So what do you guys get up to when you’re not playing music as Neon Windbreaker?
Ben (drums) – Also plays in Beliefs (No Pain In Pop), Rituals (Hand Drawn Dracula) and a few other great Toronto bands.
Stan (guitar) – Also plays as a solo act under his own name and just finished a new album, which is fantastic
Pat (guitar/bass) – Also plays in Non Stop Girls, Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs, Milk Lines and three dozen other bands
Mat (guitar/bass) – Is starting many new bands
Eric (vocals) – I run a label called We Are Busy Bodies that has put out records by METZ, Doldrums and dozens of other bands
Where is Neon Windbreaker going next? What’s on the cards for you guys after your UK shows?
We are going to do a number of Canadian dates in support of the 7″ in December and US/Canadian dates in early 2014. We will also start working on another record. Not sure if it will be another 7″ or full-length. We will have to see how the writing process is.
Find Neon Windbreaker on Facebook.
See them play at the following UK shows:
29th October – London @ Birthdays w/Blacklisters
30th October – Brighton @ The Hope w/ Moth & Claw Marks
31st October – Bournemouth @ 60 Million Postcard w/ Bitches & Tigercub
1st November – London @ Old Blue Last w/ Charlie Boyeur and the Voyeurs & Temple Songs