I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Hugo Mudie, the frontman to Canadian punk band, The Sainte Catherines. I first heard these dudes when I purchased their album, “The Art of Arrogance” and was quickly sold on their gruff yet emotional brand of punk rock. When I saw them live for the first time I discovered that The Sainte Catherines were a brilliant example of a band that can channel all their energy from their recordings onto their live sets. Needless to say, these dudes know what punk is all about. In the interview we talk about their newest album, “Fire Works”, what the future holds for the band (a bunch of new material still coming out way!), the sudden jump from Fat Wreck Chords to Anchorless Records, some other shit, and the wrap it up with some good life advice from Hugo.
You can check out the interview here.
DS: So, its almost the end of the year and you guys just dropped your newest album, “Fire Works” with a new label, Anchorless Records. You guys have been a band for a long time and far longer than most people give you credit for. How does it feel to have risen to where you are now?
I don’t feel like we have risen from or to anywhere really, We started playing in 1999 and never really stopped. We took breaks, but they were always shorter than what we planned because we felt the urge to play again. It sounds cheesy, but i think music and especially punk rock is like drugs. Really fucking hard to stop once you start. Even though it was hard and we lost a lot of things, we still do it 12 years later. Just like drugs. haha
DS: “Fire Works” was your first release on Anchorless Records. What made you guys decide to go with them for this release?
Yesterday’s Ring [The Saint Catherines side project] played Boston with Leatherface and i met Neil. He had put out a 7 inch for Yesterday’s Ring on Anchorless and also put The Sainte Catherines on the Johnny Cash tribute. He gave me a glass of whiskey and a slice of pizza. That was it. With Fat Wreck we got a 40K advance or something like that. With Anchorless, one slice and one glass of whiskey.
DS: “Fire Works” seems to wander into more accessible territory than your previous efforts. Seeing as both “The Art of Arrogance” and “Dance for Decadence” were much heavier albums, I’m wondering what made you guys decide to write an album that seems more rock punk than punk rock, if you know what I’m saying.
Yeah, but we made 2 albums before “The Art of Arrogance,” “Those Stars Are For You” and “The Machine Gets Underway.” When we started , we wanted to be The Broadways and Jawbreaker. Then over the years, for some reason, we started to play faster and meaner. We got influenced by Tragedy and From Ashes Rise a lot and kinda mixed all that up with some Leatherface which was our main influence all through the years. Then we realized that we didn’t really like hardcore and aggressive music so much and wanted to play what we listened to. We didn’t think too much about that one. We just wrote the songs naturally. It sounds more like us than everything else we did before.
DS: Lyrically, “Fire Works” seems very melancholic and nostalgic, at times even a little defeated. Maybe you could give us some insight into the writing process. What were some of the issues you went through emotionally or professionally in the writing process of, what I would call, your most honest album?
I think all of our records are honest, but this one might be a lil more personal. I don’t know, I was tired of talking about “them” and wanted to talk about “us” I guess. I’m not very angry anymore. I live a life I like and a life I choose and i think that I’m at peace with almost everything I’ve done. I thought I was writing a really positive record, but then the reviews said otherwise. I realized that I probably write songs when i feel alone and desperate. I don’t know. I live the present and don’t think too much about all that.
DS: One of my favorite moments in “Fire Works” is how “The Great Somewhere Else”, one of the last songs on the album, recalls the chorus of “Better Like This” which is the second song on the album. Though it may be a small detail, its something that really stuck with me and I wanted to hear what went into those two songs in particular while writing them..
We did this on the last Yesterday’s Ring record too with Moving Out To Florida, and Moving Back To Florida and on Dancing For Decadence, there was the ‘ You’re loosing money, you’re loosing me…” part that was there twice on the record. I think it’s just to make some kind of link between songs and make everything more of a ” thing” than separate songs. Also, the riffs were the same, so it was kinda to make fun of ourselves: “too fucking dumb to write 2 different riffs”. know what I mean?
DS: Given the nature of the album, I’m really curious as to what you guys have in store for the future. Any tours coming up in the next year? What’s the next step for you?
We are playing a lot around here and will be playing some shows on the East Coast of the US. We are going to France in Feb/March. We have some stuff planned for the summer that we can’t talk about for now and we are gonna do UK, Germany and Mexico in 2011. We are releasing a 7 inch on Asian Man with 2 songs from the “Fire Works” sessions. We are also working on a split album with our friends Vulgaires Machins and doing the Under The Influence series with Nothington. We are also recording some acoustic songs for a split 7 inch with Maladroit from France. We might play more shows also, and then record again. or not.
DS: What about your side project, Yesterdays Ring? It seems that playing in that band led to a lot of the inspiration behind the new album. Any plans in that camp?
Yesterday’s Ring is fucking dead.
DS: The first and unfortunately only time Ive seen you guys live was in Mexico City where you played with the Mexican punk band Us Against the World. That was one of the best shows Ive ever been to in the crammed Alicia, but honestly it seems like it came out of nowhere. What led you to travel to Mexico? How was the experience with Mexico’s crowd different to your native Canada? Or any other place you have visited?
It was amazing. We are gonna go back and bring Us Against The World here also. It was surreal. I loved it. I love the food and the people and driving all the way to Cancun was great. When you start your band, you don’t ever expect such amazing things to happen to you. We are forever grateful to people that make things like that happen for us.
DS: Anything extra you’d like to share with the readers of Dying Scene? A tour anecdote? Some words of wisdom? An inspirational one liner?
Please take your time to breathe and meditate and don’t stress about shit. Take your time to figure it out and take the right decision. It’s very important to live the moment that’s happening right now and not stress about what ” might” happen later. Also, drink water and stop cocaine.
Add The Sainte Catherines to My Radar