HHM – How did you guys come up with the band name?
Alex – We wanted something that was a little more positive, trying to keep a positive mindset in a negative world. Obey The Brave is not necessarily taking orders, its following that code of conduct. Keepin’ on whatever the obstacles may be to sum things up. That was our way of putting it. Every single other band name was taken, everybody operates in English whether it’s a Frenchy or some kid in Germany, you want to appeal to as many people as possible. So many names are taken out there whether it’s a record label, a clothing company, a band or a movie. It was hard to come up with.
HHM – Was it you that came up with it?
Alex – Yeah
HHM – Cool, Has it always been Obey The Brave or has it changed since you started?
Alex – We’re fairly new, we’ve been a band since January of this year. We were all in bands prior to this one but as far as OTB is concerned… yeah Obey The Brave.
HHM – So you were all in other bands….?
Alex – I was in another band from Montreal called Despised Icon. We did our fair share of touring, records and what not. We had reached a point where everybody just wanted to move on, try some other things. Starting families, new opportunities and what not. As far as the other band members, we have Miguel and Jon who were in Blind Witness. Then Stevie and Greg who in a Death Metal band from Ottawa called Darkness Rights. All the bands sorta crapped out at the same time and we all knew each other. We were all still hungry to keep on playing music, writing records, being on the road touring and what not. Simple as that.
HHM – You guys are signed with Epitaph
Alex – Yup, we are with Distort in Canada which is cool because that have a lot of bands we respect, Cancer Bats, Alexisonfire back in the day, we are extremely lucky to be on Epitaph Records for the rest of the world. Looking back, me growing up in the 90’s listening to all that punk rock, Rancid, NOFX, Pennywise, Millencolin and so on and so on. To be on a label with bands such as those dudes is such an honor.
HHM – Would any of those bands be your musical influences for Obey The Brave?
Alex – Obey The Brave is mostly just metalcore, simple as that. A mixture of metal/hardcore. We do have punk rock influences here and there but we’re just mainly metalcore. The opening line to our record is “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we keep it simple, we keep it real”. We’re doing music for the right reasons, having fun. Not trying to reinvent the world, we’re not trying to come up with this new sound, fuckin’ alienmetal or whatever. Just music that comes from the heart, simple as that.
HHM – What is your favorite venue that you’ve played so far?
Alex – Favorite venue in the US would have to be White Rabbit in San Antonio or Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts. Most of my favorite venues are in other countries like Germany and stuff like that. As far as home is concerned all my favorite venues are dead. Like The X Club which was right across the street. I went to a large number of shows back in the day over there. First being exposed to the scene in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, I used to go to shows at all these places. The Medley, Spectrum, all those places. I miss it, definitely. We’re at Foufs right now, this building has been around forever, bands like Nirvana have played here so I’m definitely stoked to play here for the first time with Obey The Brave. I’ve played here before various other bands but as far as OTB is concerned this is our first time.
HHM – What has been your favorite tour that you have been on?
Alex – We just toured a dozen countries in Europe, maybe 2 months ago, called the Never Say Die tour. The stand out band on that tour was Stick To Your Guns, which is a band I respect a lot. I love Europe. I love the vibe, I love how the bands are treated. All the venues have showers, catering, no fucking McDonald’s the people treat you right. American is a little harder, Canada is the in-between. As far as favorite tour of all time I would have to say Summer Slaughter 2008 with my old band playing with some of my favorite death metal bands. That brings me back.
HHM – Who does most of the writing for Obey The Brave?
Alex – Jon, my guitar player is the main songwriter. What we normally do is…he’s based in Ottawa and I’m in Montreal, he’ll send me a riff, part of a song or a whole song. I’m that asshole that’s like “Nope, that sucks or this is awesome, repeat this cut this out”, next thing you know we have this song. Obviously we are a band, it’s not just he and I doing everything. Everyone has their part in it. It’s really important that everyone enjoys the music that they play. Nobody’s a puppet, a hired gun or whatever. So far, that’s been our formula and as far as the lyrics are concerned, it’s all me.
HHM – If you could tour with any band that has ever existed from the beginning of time, who would that be?
Alex – Fuck…. I’ve toured with all my favorite bands from Madball, well, not Madball, I’ve only played a handful of shows with them. Whether it’s Hatebreed, Suffocation or anything in between, I’ve had the honor of doing one or multiple tours with all those bands.
HHM – What about some bands that aren’t in existence any longer?
Alex – I would just go the opposite way with it. Tour with very different artists, something from the hip hop world, maybe Wu-Tang or Jay-z, he’s very inspirational to me.
HHM – Where do you hope to be musically in 5 years…with the band or solo projects…?
Alex – I’m just riding the wave for the time being. Not planning on quitting any time soon. I’m 32, the youngest member of our band is 22, I’ve been doing this for most of my life. I tried out different things and it just wouldn’t cut it. When my old band ended, I felt compelled to do the whole 9 to 5, settle down and all that. I was miserable and started brain storming ideas on how to be simply being happy. That’s my main concern in life and to me being happy is playing music. For now, that’s what I want to do. Who knows what the future holds, but as far as Obey The Brave is concerned I’m having a great time and looking forward to many years to come.
HHM – What was your dream job when you were a kid?
Alex – I don’t know, I didn’t know for the longest time. I remember being in elementary school and kids being like, “I want to be fireman, I wanna be a policeman..” I was like… “I don’t know”. I was in high school and friends introduced me to Pantera, heavy metal, the whole thrash scene and older punk rock. They were all playing guitar and I was like “wow, I love music, I want to play in a band too”. Nobody was playing drums so I originally started out as a drummer, playing in various bands. As soon as I started doing that, everything else in my life became secondary. I quit all sports, I kept going to school and all that, but whether I was in school or not, music was all that I had in my head. So, I guess I am living the dream.
HHM – Are you afraid of anything, spiders or heights or anything?
Alex – I just heard about the shooting in Connecticut today. I don’t know how many kids unfortunately died, but that’s definitely something to be scared about. Like I said, trying to keep a positive in a negative world, you see things like that and we’re slowly imploding. I guess humanity in general, it’s sounds really cliché but it’s really fucking scary. Where are we heading, ya know? Applying all that to the scene, I remember being a part of a united scene, everybody respected each other. Now you have social networks and snotty kids just talking shit on everyone. Everyone is trying to divide and instead of unite. I’m really scared about stuff going on right now. I’m referring to stuff close to home, but there’s all these conflicts and wars. Half of my family is from Egypt, it’s scary with what’s going on over there. I’m concerned with this planet overall. Instead of being like “fuck the world…”, I’m trying to make a little difference. Making people happy through music or once and a while acknowledging what’s going on with all that so people are conscience of what’s going on. Hopefully some people out there will feel responsible enough to do their part whether it’s a very small thing or a big thing. In the end it all adds up.
HHM – If you had any super power what would it be?
Alex – I think I’d like to be invisible.
HHM – Why’s that?
Alex – I am social at times then very anti-social at other times. Sometimes you just want to be left alone ya know? Being on the road a lot, never being in the comfort of your own home, room or just being alone quite simply. I don’t know how real rock stars like…Michael Jackson…I don’t know…Justin Bieber, he’s got to be miserable. He must be never left alone. If I was Justin Bieber I would want to be invisible.
HHM – Me too. Do you have any other hobbies besides music? What do you do in your spare time?
Alex – I do a lot of music, whether it’s on stage or behind the stage. I do a lot of management as well, I like to keep control of everything I do. Ya know, if you want something done right you do it yourself. Fortunately, I have a lot of people helping me which is great. As far as other activities, winter has started officially; I’m looking forward to all the outdoor skating rinks to open up. Grab the skates and play hockey with my friends outdoors. No competition, just having fun.
HHM – What’s one album or artist that you wouldn’t want your friends to know you like?
Alex – That’s a good question. I really don’t care. I don’t know, I like everything from Justin Timberlake to fucking obscure grindcore bands. It all depends on the mood. I don’t quite get the whole electro scene or the country music scene but to each his own. If people enjoy it then there’s no harm in that. Music is supposed to be fun and for everyone. A lot of people like to segregate nowadays, what’s the point?
HHM – What’s your favorite album right now?
Alex – Well, we’re playing with Figure Four right now, they have members that are in Comeback Kid. I grew up listening to that band from the very beginning. Their latest record Symptoms and Cures came out a year or two ago, I sorta shelved it at first. About 6 months ago I picked it up again to give it another listen and now it’s one of my favorite records at least. And they’re Canadian and their passionate, so…I love that band. I don’t know them personally, but I’ve got a lot of respect for them.
HHM – Do you have any pet peeves?
Alex – I am OCD…I have too many to name. At home, I like to put all my shoes one next to the other, all in order. My roommates like to fuck with me, make pyramids with them and scatter them everywhere. I like symmetrical things. Yeah…let’s not focus on my flaws *haha
HHM – What is your best pick up line?
Alex – I think I’m that boring, I don’t really have a pick up line. I’m more of a girlfriend type guy than just a random night with some stranger. I did that for a year or two and it go old real fast. I think the easiest pick up line I HAD, I just saw this girl one day and I said, “Hey…nice belt”. Whatever happened, happened. That’s not really me, that was me experimenting with life. But no, I’m more of a girlfriend type guy.
HHM – If you could be reincarnated as anyone or anything, who or what would it be?
Alex – My favorite animal…I love dogs. Ironically enough, I am allergic to them so I can’t own one. I love just observing them. I love puppies and death metal. If I were to be reincarnated as anything, I would love to be a dog.
HHM – What kind of dog?
Alex – That is a really tough one…pits are cool.
HHM – Pitbull, alright. What can we expect from you guys next year? Are you working on a new album?
Alex – Working hard. Our record came out 3 months ago so we’re focusing more on touring. We just got back a 4 month tour literally to 13-14 countries. We never stop writing, we love writing so we already have songs in the works. We want to record within a year or so. We try to put out music that is always fresh whether it’s for people to encourage us or just for ourselves. Touring wise, we’ve got a bunch of tours in the works. As far as what’s confirmed right now, we’re doing North America in January/February with Unearth, Whitechapel and Emmure and then doing a dozen countries in Europe right after that with Emmure and Chelsea Grin. Keeping busy for sure and exploring new territories hopefully. I’ve been to Australia once and I loved it. I would love to tour Australia with Obey The Brave. Hopefully that will happen, same with Asia, Japan, fuck, I love Japan. We’ll see, whatever’s possible, we’ll do it. We just got Russia confirmed, that’s awesome. Like I said, riding the wave.
HHM – Do you find the metalcore scene in Montreal is growing, big here?
Alex – I have a lot of respect for the Montreal scene, past and present. Metal, hardcore and punk rock.
HHM – Do you feel like its growing?
Alex – I feel like we’re in an in-between zone right now. A lot of my friends that are in various bands from Montreal are starting to slow down, growing up and stuff. I see a lot of younger kids starting to pick up and I’m stoked on that. Best of luck to anyone. If myself and all my friends can do it, anyone can. It’s just a matter of being persistent, very hard headed and not taking no for an answer. Knocking on a bunch of doors, ya know, one door will open up. Good luck to everyone as far as the hardcore scene is concerned, there’s the whole Lifers crew that are doing their thing, respect to those guys. The death metal scene, there’s Depths of Hatred, there’s too many to name. Respect.
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