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Billy Talent Talk Greatest Hits, New Music, Kelly Kapowski and Cheese! “I’d Have To Say That I Love A Good, Sharp Cheddar”

We got time to speak about band history, future plans, ‘Saved By The Bell’ and cheese preferences with the band’s bassist, Jonathan Gallant. Find out what happened here.

Billy Talent

Source: Promo Image/ Facebook

With a decade and a half of fantastic songs, massive tours, mesmerising live shows and one of the best fan-bases in today’s rock world, Billy Talent are a force to be reckoned with! The opening months of 2015 has seen a long awaited ‘Greatest Hits’ album finally hit the shelves, so we got a few minutes out of their packed schedule to talk band history, future plans, ‘Saved By The Bell’ and cheese preferences with the band’s bassist, Jonathan Gallant.

HTF: So, let’s start at the beginning. What was it that gave you the idea to release a greatest hits album? 

Jonathon: (Laughs) Well, we’ve been releasing albums for over a decade now and we knew we wanted to take our time with the next record. Our manager suggested the idea and we really liked it. It’s certainly a kind of milestone.

HTF: With such an extensive back catalogue to choose from, what methods did you guys use to choose what songs went on the album? We notice that big hits like ‘Line And Sinker’ aren’t on there?

J: Yeah, it was really hard to choose! We decided to stick with the singles so we could do a more traditional hits release. We put my version of ‘This Suffering’ on the live part of it. We also didn’t have a recording that we liked of ‘Surrender’, so that’s not on the disc either. Yeah, it was really hard to choose. But we stuck to the singles and picked our favourites from there.

HTF: You guys have been together a pretty long time now. Is there a particular song you all love playing? A band favourite?

J: Oh there’s a bunch of them. We love the interactions between the audience and the band, so a lot of our live standard tracks are some of our favourites, just for how the crowd responds. ‘This Suffering’ is probably one, playing that one live is always cool. ‘Viking Death March’ is a really good one too. Songs like ‘The Navy Song’ that we only play occasionally. To be honest, we just love playing live gigs. We still love doing what we do and feel that we have a lot left to accomplish!

HTF: Are there any bands or artists that you would say really influence you guys, musically and/or ethically?

J: Definitely if you look back at the early nineties era like Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Primus. There was this huge pile of bands that we were exposed to from about the age of 17. Those bands had a profound impact on our sound on how we approached music, both musically and as an ethic. Even other bands like the Beastie Boys and stuff like that. Then as we grew up and started touring, we learned  lot from other bands then. The first one was going on tour with The Buzzcocks, watching them do it every night was really inspirational to us!

HTF: We noticed that the album doesn’t mention Pez (the previous name of the band)? What would you say was Pez’s greatest hit?

J: (Laughs) Well, there’s one Pez crossover song called ‘When I Used To Be A Little Girl’, so I’d have to say that was the greatest one! Those were good years, we found ourselves as a band through that.

HTF: So, what was it that caused the change from Pez to Billy Talent?

J: Well, we changed the name with an idea of refocusing and starting out fresh, so it was a big turning point.

HTF: Do you think you’ll write another Ska song like ‘Fairytale’ again? You mentioned the nineties influence earlier, which brings bands like Less than Jake and Reel Big Fish to mind.

J: I wouldn’t say it would be out of the question, that’s for sure! With the Pezz stuff, there was Ska all over the place! We’re Ska fans, but we’d probably do it more in the style of The Police now. We prefer the British Ska like The Specials, particularly stuff like ‘Too Much Too Young’, ‘Monkey Man’ and ‘A Message To You Rudy’. That one always makes me think of Ruby Soho by Rancid. Madness too, ‘Our House’, that’s a great song in my I-Tunes.

I’m terrible at remembering song-names, so thank God for I-tunes! Anything over 25 years old, I forget! Ska is just one of the genres everyone can agree upon! Reggae too, everybody loves Bob Marley!

HTF: So, what are the plans for this year now that the Greatest Hits Album is done?

J: Well, we’re getting together in the studio five days  a week and writing new stuff. It’s really fun, as for the first time in our lives, we have nothing to work towards. No deadlines. We’re probably going to do a few shows in the Summer to put some gas in the tank. We’re going to need some money!

We’ve just given ourselves the luxury to work this way for once, without deadlines to meet.

HTF: So, moving away from the music, we have a couple of important questions to round this off. Firstly, how hot was Kelly Kapowski in ‘Saved By The Bell’, after the Jimmy Kimmel reuinion?

J: Shit man, I’m a 1975 baby, so I think I was a bit too old for that show the first time it came around, I think I was about sixteen or seventeen!

HTF: We finish with the most important question… What is your favourite type of cheese?

J: Shit man, that’s a good question… I love cheese… I’d have to say that I love a good, sharp cheddar. I’d have to say a good five year old Cheddar would be my favourite.

HTF: So, does that mean you guys would take on an endorsement for a cheese?

J: That would be pretty rad! We’d have to look into that for when we do a tour of France.

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