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Sons and Lovers
"We have always been a rock band, straight up."
Phillip Hong
16 December, 2007

As a flood arises in the form of genres that have never existed in the form before, the lovely folks at Toronto Experimental Artists have included a track from Sons and Lovers, a band who knows where their roots come from.

Non-existent is the inherently "popular" sarcasm of punk and the constant brooding of some "Emo"; Sons and Lovers base themselves, fast guitar riffs and all, as a real rock band. Forget the video games that make you a "hero", this is the real thing.

PHIL: How did you get into music? Was it a way to express yourself?

JOSH HOGAN: Everyone in the band has their own reason for getting into this, but overall it came down to having a good time with your friends by doing the one thing you all do really well together: playing music.

We don't really know what else to do with ourselves. We all lived in Thunder Bay, Ontario and there isn't really that much to do up there. You can play hockey, or you can play music.

The life of a traveling musician always appealed to us a bit more than the life of a hockey player. Not only that, but playing a guitar, beating some drums and singing just came a lot more naturally to all of us.

PHIL: How was your group formed?

JOSH: We all started off in other bands when we were all in high school. I think each of us learned important lessons from our other groups, playing different styles of music and dealing with different personalities. Each of our bands broke up at the same time.

The scene in Thunder Bay was a small one but it was full of fantastic musicians and awesome songwriters, so we decided that we would love to get together and play some cover tunes and just see how it felt. We had a blast and we remembered why we got into playing music in the first place... because it was a good time!

So we decided to take it a step further and make a solid effort at writing the best music we could and it all continued from that.

PHIL: Has the internet helped you in the promotion of your material?

JOSH: In this age, if I can't find everything I need on subject on the internet, I am not very motivated to find it through other mediums.

Luckily for me, I can always fine most of what I need about anything on the internet. So with that mentality, Sons & Lovers always wants to have as much as we can online and available for anyone who is interested in finding out more about the band.

MySpace is obviously huge: we have booked full tours and hooked up countless opportunities through it. Also using Facebook to create more of a community between our friends and our fans has helped us a great deal.

We have been included on compilations (most recently on TEA Volume 10) and have really put our music out there, and is a fantastic site where you can create an account and really connect with the music industry all over the world. If anyone out there hasn't been exposed to that site yet, you should check it out as soon as possible.

PHIL: What is the background behind your song "Sever All Ties"?

JOSH: I had just gone through a pretty painful breakup with someone after being with them for five years. Lyrically, the song addresses some feelings that I had never expressed before in music.

Basically, I was pointing the finger at myself for betraying someone I loved and destroying something very special that we had together. I hesitate to use the words "self-loathing" but there is a pretty negative vibe throughout the song, about feeling like a coward and a failure.

Musically, the rest of the band had just seen the awesome Canadian rock group 'Ghosts of Modern Man' and we were jamming on some riffs and beats that sounded like theirs. It came together pretty quickly.

PHIL: Here's a simple question: Do you describe your band as a Rock band, or a Punk band? That definition has become ambiguous, least in mainstream music.

JOSH: I feel like we have always been a rock band, straight up. When we first formed, 'Emo' and 'Screamo' were the brand new trends, and it would have been easy to implement some of those characteristics and fit in to that scene.

Luckily, we sidestepped that and we were able to find our own voice. People tried to lump us in with Metal bands and Emo bands, but we always just rocked. As far as punk goes, that seems to be more of a fashion these days which is just sad. Our roots will always lay in rock music.

PHIL: What are your future plans? Any touring?

JOSH: The future is looking pretty bright and busy. We are currently writing the material that will be become our next Ep. We are looking at some producers and trying to decide on who we want to work with and who will help us bring our sound to the next level.

At the same time, we are making demos and looking at some indie labels to work with so that we can get some more support and open up a few new doors.

Around February we might be hitting the road with a fantastic band that we were in the Toronto Indie Week finals with called Lifestory:Monologue, and after that we will release our new EP and tour Canada relentlessly. Also, there is some talk of heading over to Europe for a bit in the summer.

Phillip Hong is a co-host and reporter on Centre Street, our current affairs programme featuring alternative stories and interviews.
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