Ancient Heads are one of Toronto's best new straight edge hardcore bands
by Josiah Hughes
October 9, 2013
Photo: Angela Owens
When I wrote my list of seven new Canadian straight edge bands you need to know, the internet was quick to let me know that I missed the most crucial of bands. Blame it on the six pack I crushed while writing the story (and the fact that they were pretending to be a NYHC band for a bit), but Toronto quartet Ancient Heads completely flew under my edge radar.
Perhaps it’s for the better, however, as the band (which has only existed for just over a year) play the sort of perfect, timeless hardcore that warrants a full on fanzine-style interview. After all, one listen to their incredible demo, along with their perfectly titled For My Brothers EP, has me practicing a hella rusty two-step alone in my boxers. I spoke with the band’s frontman to flex his head about Ancient Heads.
What’s the name of everyone in the band and what do you do?
The lineup is me (Nate) on vocals, Matt on guitar, Emmett on bass, and Jay on drums.
When and how did Ancient Heads form?
We started jamming in April of 2012. Emmett and Jay are friends of ours that we met through the hardcore scene. After watching Jay drum at an Urban Blight gig, I told Matt that we had to get him on board. He was down from minute one. We got Emmy after we became friends with the boys from Demolition. I think we more told him he was our bass player than we asked. But he’s real easy going so he was in like Flynn.
What bands were you in before?
Matt and I were in Miles Between Us. Emmett was in Planet Danger. Jay was in the aforementioned Urban Blight, and also the Kill Decibel.
Tell me how Ancient Heads fits into the Toronto punk scene.
Hardcore bands that play our style, that is to say, fast hardcore with lots of sing-alongs and mosh parts, have never been able to find a niche within Toronto city limits. Our appeal tends to lie more with the kids from the suburbs of the GTA. And that suits us just fine.
What about in terms of straight edge in your city? Are there many straight edge bands in Toronto or are you in the minority?
Straight edge bands will always be in the minority wherever you are. I think we are the only straight edge band in Toronto proper. And even we have two members that live outside the city. There is also Sabotage from Welland, and TRUE from Barrie. The Demolition boys are all edge but they don’t consider themselves a straight edge band per se. Shout outs to those bands.
How long have you all been edge? What’s it like to be an edgeman in 2013?
I’ve been straight edge for half my life. So has Matt. So that’s 15+ years each. Jay had been edge for 10+ at least. And Emmy just celebrated his six-year anniversary. Being an edgeman in 2013 is great. Just like it was in 1997 and like it will be in 2027.
How do you write songs? Do you have a set framework of what an Ancient Heads song should sound like?
I am the primary songwriter for the band. There’s nothing really special about the process. Just pick up my guitar and start playing. Sometimes a cool riff comes out, more times not. Once a song is written I bring it to practice, show it to the guys, and then we learn it. There’s no set framework for how it should sound beyond that it can’t be any more than a simple hardcore song.
Who are the bands that influence you?
Major influences include but are not limited to: Youth of Today, Chain of Strength, Floorpunch, Underdog, The Misfits, Wu-Tang Clan, and the Notorious B.I.G.
Where do you practice? Is it difficult to find a decent practice space in Toronto at this point?
We pay to practice at a rehearsal space downtown. It’s a good spot, and since we rarely practice it doesn’t cost us much. It’s an easy place to find. Just keep your eyes peeled for Slash.
What are some other Toronto hardcore bands we need to know about?
Demolition. Their seven-inch called World Gone Mad just came out on BBB Records. Make sure you pick that up. Sabotage have a seven-inch coming out soon and that is gonna be a total rager. They keep getting better and better. Check them out over at Climbin’ Aboard Records. The TRUE demo just dropped and it is really killer. Featuring our own Emmett Morris on vocals. That is gonna blow up huge. Two other killer Toronto bands are Violent Future and S.H.I.T. Shout out to Slick Rick and Italian Greg.
What do you have planned for the future?
Climbin’ Aboard Records has pressed our demos onto wax and that is available now. We also have our new cassingle “For My Brothers” which is ready to go and will be available to order any day. We’ve got some cool gigs coming up including the Demolition record release show and a spot at this year’s Not Dead Yet festival. Can’t wait for that one. Greg always does a great job to make it the best weekend of the year. And we’re in the process of writing a seven-inch which we want to have recorded by early 2014.
What would you like to accomplish with this band?
The only thing I want to accomplish is the “next thing.” No resting on laurels here. I want to keep getting better. I want to write better songs. I want to put out more tapes and records. I want to create things that other people enjoy and think are as cool as I do. If we can achieve that, I’ll be satisfied.
This article originally appeared in the October 2013 Issue of AUX Magazine.
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