Interview with The Deadset

By: Amanda Hather

The Deadset is a three person indie pop punk band from Vancouver, British Columbia that features JT Criminal on vocals and guitar, Tommy Phoenix on bass and vocals, and Steven Appleyard on drums and vocals. Their self-titled EP is available on iTunes here https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-deadset-ep/id618316960 or on Bandcamp here http://thedeadset.bandcamp.com/. Their raw sound may remind listeners of an early Paramore.

Never listened to them? Well now is your chance. You can check out their YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/DEADSETCANADA which has videos of songs as well as updates on what the band is doing. You can also like them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Deadset/135568909835749 and follow them on Twitter (@TheDeadset).

Still not enough information for you? Well then continue reading because I had a chance to interview the band via email.

What inspired you to first start playing music?

Jt: I’ve always loved singing. I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a part of my life.

Steve -Growing up in a small town with nothing to do drove me nuts! music was the only cure.

Tom – My family mostly. My dad is an amazing musician and would always be driving my mom crazy playing piano all day. Mom lead a choir at our church and that was when I first started singing. My cousins Adam and Ted (who now plays bass in two amazing bands called The Castros and Miles of Bones)  introduced me the idea playing rock music. I remember once, when I was about 11 I was watching them jam on drums and bass and Ted had just got this new bass distortion pedal he was trying out. Man, when he kicked that thing on and the drums got heavy I was just blown away. I had never heard anything so loud and powerful! I think that’s when the trouble began hehe.

Who is your biggest musical influence?

JT: Saves The Day and Queen

S – My biggest influence without a doubt would have to be bands like blink and sum 41. Pop punk is really what drove me to be who I am today.

Tom – The Ramones are definitely a huge one. Pop-punk as a genre wouldn’t exist without them as far as I’m concerned. Blink 182 is another big one in that genre. As far as bass playing Matt Freeman from Rancid and Paul Simonen from The Clash are two of my biggest influences. Johnny Cash and Willy Nelson have also been a big inspiration as far as songwriting. Masters of how to tell a story in 3 minutes or less, which is what I think is the key to good rock ‘n roll..

What kinds of things inspire you to write new songs?

JT: Passion, falling in and out of love. I’m a hopeless romantic.

S – Everything. Good days bad days. Inspiration is everywhere.

Tom – Random, everyday life. I spend the majority of my day listening to or daydreaming about music so I always have random riffs and melodies spinning around in my head.

If you could work with any band or artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

JT: Good Charlotte. I love their dance floor anthems and the fact that they have something new in every album.

S -Thomas Lang. because of his diversity in music and range of styles. He continues to come up with new fresh ideas all the time

Tom – I’d love to co-write a song with Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! Brilliant songwriter.

If you could tour with any band or artist, who would it be?

Jt: Too many too list! I feel like any band we love would be a good mix. We can play all our songs acoustic even, so we could go on tour with a wide range of bands.

S -i would have to say travis barker.. his overall commitment to his drumming is outstanding. im sure i could learn some good road habits of of him,. Lol

Tom – Snoop Dogg. That would be the chillest tour on the planet.

If you weren’t in the music industry, what do you think you’d be doing?

Jt: I don’t think I could ever see myself doing anything else. I’m a hair stylist by day but my entire life is music. And hair is simply just my job.

S -i would most likely still be working at the family fab shop. so much stress!

Tom- I really have no idea. I probably would have gotten a master’s degree in some useless arts field and still be trying to figure out what to do with my life.

If there was one thing that you could change about the music industry, what would it be and why?

Jt: like any industry I would crush the whole rivalry thing everyone seems to have.

S -i just want to see more kids comeing out to local shows for the music. nowadays kids have lost connection with the true talent that is out there in the community.

Tom – I would love to go back to the era when radio DJ’s were allowed have a bit more of a say in what they played and could express their personalities through their choices rather than being forced to play whatever garbage is in the top 40 that week. It wasn’t always like that and I think the quality of the music that was considered mainstream in decades like the ’60s and ’70s reflects that.

A lot of bands are connecting with fans through social media. Do you think this is an important tool for musicians?

Jt: of course it is. But the lines are blurry between what’s necessary and what’s just completely ridiculous.

S-for sure.. thats all kids do these days.

Tom – Absolutely, In a way I kind of dislike it because I feel that it takes a way a bit of the band’s mystique, but it’s given bands a huge platform for self-promotion that wasn’t possible without a record deal or some kind of financing in the past.

If you were ever in charge of putting together a festival, who would you have playing at it?

JT: Saves The Day, NFG, All time low, blink 182 , Lykke li, Robyn, Lana del Rey, good Charlotte, simple plan.. I will go on forever.

S -i could go on for days with that line up.

Tom – On the main stage I’d have Fun, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Tegan and Sara, Eminem, Lana Del Ray, Kendrick Lamar, Lights, Cee-Lo Green, Slaughterhouse, Shad, Classified, Hedley and Fake Shark! Real Zombie!,

I’d have a side punk stage with MxPx, Dear Landlord, Green Day, Teenage Bottlerocket, Screeching Weasel, Five Iron Frenzy, New Found Glory, Less Than Jake, Blink 182 and Rancid.

Off of your EP, which is your favourite song to perform?

Jt: I like playing lost and Love love.. But then again I love them all.

S -my fave song would have to be lost. so much energy!

Tom – New Anthem because it has a sick breakdown.

Now a few fun questions:

What is the first song you remember listening to?

JT: bicycle by queen or life is a highway by Tom cochrane

S -first song? Bang on the drum all day by todd Rundgren

T- I have no idea, but my favorite album when I was a little kid was the American Graffiti movie soundtrack, which was all ’50’s and ’60s rock ‘n roll. My mom had it on vinyl and I’d play it on my Fisher Price record player (yup, I’m old)

What was the first CD that you bought?

Jt: Paula Abdul (I don’t recall the name of the cd hah)

S -green day dookie.

T – Upbeats and Beatdowns by Five Iron Frenzy

Any guilty pleasures?

JT: all kinds ! I’m not really ashamed tho..

S -britney spears. back in the day ofcourse.

T- Always. Right now it’s Taylor Swift.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JT: Italy

S -venice beach cali.

T – Anywhere tropical.

What is your favourite childhood memory?

JT: ooh this is very specific.. I have a terrible memory.

S -i dont recall much of my childhood. Lol

T – Going to La Ronde (a big amusement park in Montreal, where I grew up). I used to go every year and it was always the highlight of my summer. Well, until I started going to Warped Tour that is…

Favourite flavour of ice cream?

JT: I don’t eat Ice cream ha

S -mint chocolate chip

T – Mint chocolate chip

Favourite TV show/movie?

JT: I like crime shows like Law & Order

S -the ghost and mr. chicken. such a classic

T- Movie: Tie between Army of Darkness, Dazed and Confused, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Pulp Fiction

T.V, show – Community, Trailer Park Boys, Family Guy

Favourite book?

JT: haven’t read a book in ages.. Anyone wanna read too me? Lol

S -pass (i dont read anything without pictures)

T- Please Kill Me: An Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil. Also, anything by Douglas Copeland or Chuck Klosterman.

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

JT: twitter

S -facebook is what im familiar with.

T- I don’t really like either, but they’re a necessary evil to being in a band and having to maintain a public profile. I’d probably delete both of my profiles if I wasn’t in bands.

Do you prefer dogs or cats?

JT: if I say cats my chihuahua will kill me in my sleep. So…

S -dogs. cats are boring

T- Cats. I have 2. One’s retarded and the other’s psychotic.

I’m a Toronto girl born and raised but have been living in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick since 2010. Music and writing are my two passions, so what better place for me to be than a writer with Canadian Beats? I have been writing for the blog since May of 2013 and have had so many great experiences because of it. I listen to almost every kind of music but my favourites are pop rock, rock, indie, folk, and any other combinations of them. Concerts are definitely my favourite place to be, especially when you’re right against the barricade and can feel the energy from the band and the crowd, everyone singing the same lyrics and moving to the music. I also have a college degree in Business Administration and hope to one day be able to publish a novel.
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