Hate It Too talks Lampshading and performing during COVID-19

Source: Hate It Too

Let’s jump into the pearls of local underrated punk, and discover what stands behind a band with the edgy name “Hate It Too”. Cédric, Marc-Antoine and Jean-Philippe are amazing conversationalists and told us all about their 2020 album release, habits and online show. Check out the full interview here!

Hate It Too is:
Marc-Antoine Dionne, guitar & vocals

Cédric Michaud, guitar & vocals

Jean-Philippe Gagnon, drums

Stéphane Simard, bass

The band has been around for a respectable time and since then a lot has evolved and changed. Let’s discover what is the backbone of these nonetheless talented men.

“Hate It Too” is an unusual name for a band, there must be a story behind this name! Is it specific to any matter in particular? A mutual hate for mint ice cream perhaps?

Marc-Antoine: Looking for a wordplay, as it’s something I enjoy, whilst wondering how we could call our band. We were first called “Ta Mere” (translation: “your mom” in French) which is not a great name for a band that wants to be taken seriously. And I turned towards the bands that I liked. Blink 182, 82, eighty-two, hate it too, and so I got my wordplay! Plus, it has “hate” in it so it’s edgy. That’s a short story of its background. 

Your band was formed back in 2009 in Trois-Pistoles, which is quite some time ago! You must have worked on multiple music pieces together since then. To someone who is just discovering you, which tracks best represent the spirit of your band in 2020?

Cédric : Throughout the records, “Twelve’s the New Eight”, which is probably one of our most well-known songs (author’s note: the videoclip is wired up!); also “Dead Again”. From the latest album, it would be “Cold Call” and “Fallout”. Jean-Philippe: I think we have a whole range of different music styles. The first EP and album were more punk fest driven music. We have evolved as a band and we wanted to have different kinds of songs with more texture. For now, the ones mentioned by Cédric are the first songs that people should listen to.

Did your style evolve a lot since your last album?

Cédric : We started as a band in 2009 and some people have left and others joined. We did mostly covers when we first started and I think we were getting pretty serious in about 2011-2012. That’s when we all moved to Quebec City and started recording our own music, which we hadn’t done before.

How did you manage to break the ice, and start recording original songs, knowing this is it?

Jean-Philippe: Well, well, well, it’s kind of funny because we didn’t know that this was it. The first time we played our songs in the studio was also the first time that I heard the songs. Before the studio, I knew what the guys were playing, where to start and end, and parts in between, but it was so loud playing it in my parents’ basement that we didn’t really hear the exact song. So it was the first experience in the studio and the first time we heard our songs. That’s when we realized we can create some music together.

In an interview with Montreal Rocks, you mentioned that you would like to tour with Such Gold or The Flatliners, as both of those bands have influenced your style in music. If you could open a show for any artist or band, who would it be?

Cédric : Those bands remain the same, but I would add Propagandhi to them. I believe Propagandhi could work out. [chuckles] The other one would be Foo Fighters, but that’s another story.

Jean-Philippe: If Montreal-based punk-rock shows could host a band like Refused or Bad Religion, that would be awesome. With Refused, fans might like the references to our songs as well. I believe it would be a good mix.

You recently had a BIG release, Lampshading; a full 11 track album that came out on May 22nd. Was it something that had been in the works for a long time?

Cédric : We wrote about 20 songs for the album and not all of them are actually on the record. There wasn’t a conscious effort to have such a diversified tracklist, but we all come from different backgrounds of music so it all came together. We weren’t thinking a song doesn’t fit because the style isn’t right. We just kept adding songs and what worked got in.

Jean-Philippe: Yeah, it was more of a question of feeling. We never said we wanted a specific tempo or genre. "Cold Call" started as a riff played by Cédric and Marc-Antoine while we were jamming. We just grooved around it, and that’s how the song was born. We didn’t think to specifically create a song you could remember easily and listen to on repeat. After all, we managed to narrow it down to 11 songs for “Lampshading” instead of 20.

Cédric : Yeah, it was a struggle to do the tracklist and pacing, because of the difference of tunes.

It must be the best way to write the songs though. Jam through a little riff and add on as you go, whilst surfing on the inspiration wave.

Jean-Philippe: Yeah, exactly. Going with the feeling was a good thing too. To practice the songs and see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes you think a song is well made when putting its parts together in your head, but you have to play it to see if they truly come together. Jamming and adding new bits together was a great process and I think you could hear it on “Lampshading”. 

How did mixing a lot of different styles come together?

Cédric : We started writing it in 2017, and recording in 2018 for a couple of months, then sat on it for a bit before sending it to our current label, Hell For Breakfast. It has been a long process but we also weren’t in a rush to release as it’s not our full-time job. We worked between and around our different jobs and schedules.

Jean-Philippe: It’s kind of funny why it took so long to release a new album. Between 2015’s album Purple Mountains and Lampshading, we were all finishing our degrees and playing together part-time. This is what we like and we were doing it for fun. It’s nice to have an opportunity to share our creations with people all around the province, country and the world. Having listeners in Russia and Japan is pretty good for a band who is composing for fun, and that’s the way it worked out for us.” 

For sure, it may be one of the most essential values. As an artist, you have to do it primarily for the spirit and personal enjoyment. If it picks up it’s probably because you’re really good at it, and if it doesn’t, at least you tried and had fun throughout the process.

Jean-Philippe: Of course! Being genuine is something you can see and feel. I believe we are doing it for the right reasons.

As the latest album was released during lockdown and we are still awaiting in-person performances, what is your favourite song to play between the four of you?

Cédric : “My favourite to play would be the title track - “Lampshading”. We weren’t sure if it was going to be on the album at first, and by now I think it’s my favourite to play live. The chorus is fun to sing and the groove is different. [excitedly imitates the beat amidst giggling from other members] It’s in waltz tempo. 

Everyone has their inspiration and strings to touch the soul!

Marc-Antoine: My two favourites would be the album opener -“Spirals” and “You Got it, Then You Lose it” from the same record. Just because the energy is great. When we played it live, even though there wasn’t an audience, there was something special. “Spirals” represents the genre we did in the past, while “You Got it, Then You Lose it” represents our evolution and where we are headed. I appreciate the gap. [jokingly smirking at Cédric] “Lampshading” is great, mostly because of the waltz tempo.

Jean-Philippe: I think “Cold Call” is a very fun one too. I cannot wait to play it in front of people. But “You Got it, Then You Lose it” has a very enjoyable, “moving forward” energy.

So “Lampshading” seems to be an absolute winner of hearts!

The album was released on May 22nd.

Cédric : “Seems so long ago and far from where we are now!”  

Indeed, this time break seems to have put a lot on hold, along with live performances. But “Hate It Too” did an online show for the very first time, setting aside the circumstances. How did it go and what did you like the most and the least from this experience? Were there aspects that were more easily attainable, compared to putting on a show in public?

Jean-Philippe: “We played at L’Anti with a whole crew of staff and sound technicians who were very professional. We were received like kings! It was an extremely nice experience, technology-wise. For the experience of an online show, we couldn’t have asked for more.

Cédric : “I must agree with JP in terms of the great experience. For the less enjoyable part, it’s the awkward moment when you’re done playing a song and there is nothing happening, it’s just a complete silence and you have no clue what to do in those moments. Even when you start addressing the public through the camera, it’s a strange feeling; you’re truly just talking to the camera.

Jean-Philippe: Yeah, you want to entertain and ask the public if they enjoyed the song, but there is no reply and that’s where technical staff cannot assist. Since it’s a recording and available to watch from home, it has to be done without external noise. The cameramen are working; they can’t applaud anyway!”

Marc- Antoine: The biggest surprise came with the venue. They had a new massive lights kit and it amazed me. The stage has been upgraded and everything is now bigger than usual. The welcoming was very warm as always! At times, I could’ve carried my amp myself, but the staff was very kind to insist on doing it for us. Amazing experience!”

Cédric : “We have already played in that venue before and I believe it’s the best place to play in Quebec City. There is not a venue in Montreal or near Quebec City that would compare to it.”

You have known and seen this venue from the inside for some time. Was it a shock to play there this time without fans?

Cédric : “When I sing, I try to look far towards the back, or at someone in the back. It’s a method I use so I don’t spend the show with my eyes closed. And this time there was no one to look at, so it was very unusual.”

That’s a great technique to keep in contact with the public without hurting your eyes! Any tips or tricks for the drummer? What would you implement in order to not lose the rhythm, given all the noise around?

Jean-Philippe: I got the in-ear monitors with the tempo click. This way I could have a backbone of the beat. L’Anti has a monitor that allows me to hear the guitars and the vocals. That’s one of the reasons why it’s a great venue as well. Our last performance there was also the first time I got to hear our band on a stage without outside noise, which is definitely something to remember. The clicker holds the same function as a metronome, so it goes a bit like [jokingly imitates waltz] “tic tic tic”. 

Your musical inspiration seems to be drawn from several genres - everything from waltz to punk. Were there any emotions you tried to portray with your latest album?

Cédric : “Marc-Antoine and I are writing the lyrics for our songs and those are personal. We keep it in a cryptic way. Using metaphors and abstract in our songs to disguise the emotions. As for subjects, for me it’d be a lot of personal stuff, reactions to things happening in the world (not very political, however).
Marc-Antoine: “We have this song called “Stating the Obvious”, but we are definitely not stating it crystal clear in there. We are not the kind to have personal talks at the jam space, for example. I have no idea what is happening in Cédric’s head and believe it goes both ways, but we are communicating through songs. The most popular topics would tell how we react to external situations. The human behaviours in a social context, social anxiety, and how to embrace it.”

And that is probably the best way to outsource emotions. The art is one of the greatest outlets, whether it is through painting, writing, or singing.

As services, concerts and interactions have been moved online, how have you been keeping the connection with your fans?

Jean-Philippe: Unfortunately, our latest album release coincided with the beginning of the lockdown. However, social media and the virtual show helped to reconnect a lot. We’re going to keep working on producing new material and keeping our social media pages going. We have some more music and content to provide soon!

Cédric : We are probably not going to wait another 5 years to release some new material this time and we are looking forward to it.

Marc-Antoine: “I’m glad we got our label to back us up during the pandemic as well. We received a lot of their support with expressions of ourselves through social media.” Social media coordinators are creators of framing to a good canvas. 

You can find these bad boys on Spotify, Bandcamp, and YouTube. You can also keep up with them on Facebook and Instagram.

Lampshading is out now on Bandcamp and Spotify


Liza Volodchenko is a writer for CJLO's Magazine and is our volunteer coordinator.