Interview: Seaway

Photo by Ian Rees

Photo by Ian Rees

We all need a vacation. Sometimes, it's an actual vacation with sun and sand, but other times? It's immersing yourself and getting lost in an album. Oakville pop-punk band Seaway provides the perfect escape with their most recent album, Vacation. Vacation is a stunning display of pop-punk, packed with nostalgic sounds reminiscent of bands like Weezer and Jimmy Eat World, as well as an originality that makes Seaway stand out. In November, the band toured with Silverstein, and I sat down with lead singer Ryan Locke [pictured above, centre] to talk about the latest record, Canadian music, as well as his memories of Warped Tour and his thoughts about it coming to an end. Check out the interview below the cut, and be sure to check Seaway out before they hit Calgary again next week with Neck Deep!

Welcome back to Calgary! How’s the tour been going so far?

It’s been amazing, it’s been really cool. All of the eastern shows have been great. It’s a weird routing where we did the west first - we did Edmonton and Vancouver already, and now we’re looping back and doing Calgary. I’m really excited for this one.

Have there been any standout shows?

Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver were all great. We played in Portland the other day and that was really good. I’m expecting big things tonight in Calgary.

Both Seaway and Silverstein are from Oakville. Shane Told was featured on The Weight” off of your first record, Hoser. How long have you been friends with the guys in Silverstein? Did you roll in the same circles back in Oakville?

They’re quite a bit older than us. Adam went to the same high school as Shane, but he went there years after Shane did. It was one of those things where we knew they were from there and we were fans of their band growing up, but we weren’t friends with them until Seaway started and we were a bit older. We weren’t even really friends with Shane when we asked him to do the feature on the song, it was just something we thought would be cool. Then we did a weekend run of shows with them in Ontario a couple years back, and then from doing Warped Tour with them, we’ve slowly gotten to know them. At this point, I’d say we’re good buds, but it’s not really an Oakville thing, it’s just from playing together for a while now.

You guys have all been friends since high school. Would you say that going back that far has helped solidify the relationships in the band to a professional working relationship as well as maintaining a close personal relationship?

I think being able to go back and forth between is important. This is a professional relationship, we’re in a band together - it’s essentially a business that we’re running - music being the product we’re making. Going back that far I think makes it a bit easier because we can go from goofing around and having fun to being serious and sorting things out. I don’t think that it should be all fun or all business or your band won’t ever get anywhere. It makes it easier having a long relationship with these guys and not just meeting everyone online or something. Being good friends and then being in a band really helps and makes it easier.

Your latest album, Vacation, came out two months ago. What’s the feedback on the album been like so far? 

It’s been great. We released it while on tour so it was kind of one of those growing things. The first day [of the tour] the singles were great and now it’s kind of kept growing and going. But like you said, now that it’s two months into it, every new song has been going really well. Some nights we’ll play an old song thinking that we’ve had fans here for a while, but people will gravitate towards the new stuff which is really cool. You worry about your old stuff being what people really gravitate to and having no one care when you put out new music. It’s nice to see that people are just as stoked if not more stoked on the new stuff than the old stuff. 

Vacation is your third album, so Seaway are no strangers to the writing and recording process and how difficult it can be at times. What were some of the differences in recording this album compared to Hoser and Colour Blind?  

It was different in that it was almost easier, and came a bit more naturally and a bit more organically. For Hoser, we were all in different cities because we were all still in school at that point, so everyone was in a different city and had their own ideas going around, so it was kind of thrown together - thrown at the wall to see what stuck. That was weird, but it was our first go at it so it didn’t feel weird at the time. Looking back, it was a weird way to do it. For Colour Blind, we went into the studio with two producers. Some of the stuff was figured out before and some of the stuff was figured out on the fly. A lot of it was done in the studio. What’s different with Vacation is we did a lot of pre-production and demoing just on our own and then with other producers. We were working on the songs well before going into the studio. Going into the studio to actually record the record, we had 13 songs. They weren’t completely finished, there might have been some holes here and there but for the most part, we had 13 pretty much-done songs. I think that gave us a huge advantage because we were able to cut the fat out of those 13 songs and then write even more. It was a pretty fluid process and nothing really went too wrong. It was a great experience this time around, not that the others were bad, it was just different.

Being a Canadian band, how would you say the Canadian music scene has changed over the past couple years, especially in the punk and alternative music genres?

I think that there’s a lot of bands that are getting the recognition they deserve now. When I was younger and listening to like, Living with Lions, they were a great band and I don’t think they got the recognition they deserved - I don’t think they ever really broke through in the States. They did eventually sign to Pure Noise but that was later on. Now you have bands like Like Pacific, Safe to Say, Rarity - a lot of really good young bands that are breaking through in the States, and helping put Canada on the map, so I think that’s really cool to see. 

Recently it was announced that 2018 will be the last year for the Vans Warped Tour. You guys played the tour back in 2015. What are your thoughts on Warped tour ending?

It’s a total bummer! It’s amazing that we got to play and I would have wanted to do it again - we haven’t gotten an offer yet for 2018, so we’ll see. Some of my most fond memories of discovering bands or seeing favourite bands when I was younger was at Warped Tour. I grew up out in the suburbs and not in the city so I didn’t get to go to every show that I wanted to. That’s what’s so great about Warped Tour, you can pay 50, 60 bucks for a ticket, but you’re seeing like, over 10 bands. I saw Four Year Strong for the first time at Warped Tour, and we’ve gotten to tour with them a bunch now. I feel like we have a deep connection even only playing it one time. We attended it a lot as kids, and it’s a bummer to see, but if that goes away then I’m sure something else will come up and keep things going. I hope we get to be a part of it, but we’ll see.

It must, to an extent, feel like it’s come full circle for you guys - going as fans and then getting to play it. All these young bands now, that might be their dream and they might never get to do it.

That’s the most unfortunate part. I’m sure there’s a lot of talented bands coming up that won’t get that opportunity. I feel pretty lucky that we got to do it.

Even though its a very long and rigorous tour, do you have any favourite memories from Warped Tour?

Specifically, it’s tough. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but everyone calls it “punk rock summer camp.” You’re out in the sun all day and you’re with a lot of friends. The camaraderie of the tour can’t be beaten. We’re good friends with Silverstein on this tour, but on Warped Tour, it’s like almost every single one of your friend’s bands is there. Being able to hang out with all of your friends in one place for the entire summer is amazing. We had a lot of fun and a lot of the shows were great.

What’s next for Seaway?

After this tour we’re going to Japan for the first time, so we’re really looking forward to that. Then we have a holiday show coming up in Toronto, so that’ll be fun. It’s the second year we’ve done it, and we’ve got some pretty cool bands coming to play for that. In the new year we go out and do a UK headline tour, and then straight into an American headline tour, and then probably another Canadian tour - it’s not been announced yet but we’ll probably be back in the spring sometime. And then, fingers crossed for Warped Tour, but that’s not figured out yet. Maybe I’m saying too much!

Vacation is out now via Pure Noise Records. Catch Seaway along with Creeper, Speak Low If You Speak Love, and Neck Deep next week in Calgary (02/20), Edmonton (02/21) and Vancouver (02/23).