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BillyTalent2022 byDustinRabin 01Interview with

Jonathan Gallant (bass) of Billy Talent

It’s been quite a while since Canadian Rockers BILLY TALENT released their last album and so I was quite thrilled when I heard, that they would release a new album after a long break. Time to catch up with BILLY TALENT and talk about what happened since their last big tour and about the new album. I reached Jonathan Gallant (who confused me for a few moments by his cover name of “Karl Hungus” via Zoom) and he seemed to have a really busy interview schedule. When the interview was over, he told me that he used the name of the ‘Big Lebowski’ character as a joke in his previous interview. It’s good to know, that bands promoting a new album in a difficult time and facing tons of online interviews don’t lose their humour about it.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Thanks for finding time for an interview with Reflections of Darkness. Today a new lyric video was released, so how do you feel?
Jonathan: It’s exciting, it’s not the first one. We released a few from the album already. We appreciate the fans’ patience, it took us a long time to have this album out, so we want to give them a little bonus before it actually comes out.

RoD: We are facing a new year with a pandemic situation, did the Corona situation affect the work on the album or did you start writing the material before the world came to a full stop?
Jonathan: After we came home from the ‘Afraid of Heights’ tour, we felt that we’ve been busy as a band for over a decade and a half and that we earned some time off, so we all took some time off and then we started writing material for the new record. Just before we were going to the studio, to record this, the whole ‘Covid Madness’ hit and presented us with a lot of delays. Then some serious personal issues happened for a couple of members of the band and that kind of delayed us a little bit, too. But now, here we are and the album is coming out in a couple of weeks!

RoD: You already explained why it took so long, to release a new album. Did the long break affect the sound of the song on the new album?
Jonathan: I think it really gave us a lot of time to work on the songs and make them perfect and sound the way we want to have them. Usually, when we are releasing a new album, we are touring for almost two years and I think the time off had a really good effect. Having Rivers Cuomo on our album just happened because we had so much time. We already had been writing, recording and mixing the song when we got the idea that someone might sing on it, so the time was beneficial.

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RoD: Do you have a favourite song on ‘Crisis of Faith’?
Jonathan: There are a couple of them. I really love the whole album, but ‘Forgiveness’ stands out for me because it’s adventurous, and a song that is called ‘Hanging Out With All The Wrong People’ that I really enjoy playing. I love all the songs, to be honest.

RoD: Could you please summarize every song on the album in a few sentences for the fans?
Forgiveness I + II: That is a Prog-Rock song for us, showing some of our influences, that we haven’t really touched upon before, like RUSH and some other Metal stuff. We also tried something different, Ian came up with all the horn parts and the sax solo for it. For us it’s kind of a new twist to our own style.
Reckless Paradise: That’s more the “traditional” BILLY TALENT song: straight ahead, hard hitting, cool riffs.
I Beg To Differ: That’s more an emotional kind of song, touching on empathy and understanding and trying to communicate with people, no matter what’s happening in their life negatively. That they are not alone, that there are people out there, suffering the same thing or are willing to help.
The Wolf: ‘The Wolf’ is a really, really emotional song. I guess it’s the ballade on the record, but I’m not going into the content of the lyrics, because they are kind of personal for the guys in the band who wrote them. It’s a beautiful song and we used orchestration on this song, we’ve never done that before. I think it may be one of the best songs we ever wrote.
Reactor: That’s one more the “traditional” BILLY TALENT song, with a really fat base groove.
Judged: ‘Judged’ is just a Punk Rock song.
Hanging Out With All The Wrong People: This is one of my favourite songs on the album, but I’m also a little bit nervous about it. It’s more like a type of a RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS influenced song and it has a kind of little bounce to it, like a funky bounce. It’s a funny song, it’s a really cool song, but I think people will be surprised by it and might think it’s weird.
End Of Me (feat. Rivers Cuomo): ‘End of Me’ is out as a single for a while now. It’s our most successful single in the band’s history, to be honest. It’s been doing really good and Ian is extremely proud of the song. He thinks, that it’s one of the best songs he’s ever written. To me it is a high energy Rock song.
One Less Problem: This song is kind of a throwback to the 80s sound. It’s kind of a New Wave and Punk type of thing and a kind of reflection on the state of the world.
For You: That’s a magnificent example of Ian’s guitarwork, how creative and beautiful his guitar playing is. The lyrics are pretty touching, too. I won’t comment on the lyrics, because I didn’t write them.

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RoD: The band established the ‘Billy Talent Charity Trust’, what is this project about?
Jonathan: We’ve been always the type of band that gives back. Since our constitution, the founding of the band, we’ve always participated in charity events. When we raise money, we put that on that pile and then give it to organizations we work with. The trust allows us, to keep a little more control about what we do with the money we raise. Aaron is kind of spearheading all of this and is currently communicating with foodbanks in the cities we are going to play on our next tour, so we can work with local charities then. We’re very fortunate to get what we do and the trust helps us to support those who hadn’t the same type as luck.

RoD: Is there a kind of bucket list, you have as a band, like playing at a certain venue or festival, a band you want to collaborate with?
Jonathan: There is no bucket list of collaborations, but it’s always exciting, if the chance occurs. For me: I really want to play in South America and I really want to play in mainland China. Playing more of the world, carrying on and releasing great albums. I feel very fortunate to have ticked off a lot of items on my bucket list already (laughs).

RoD: A message to your fans in Germany and all over the world?
Jonathan: I can’t wait to get back to Germany. We muss you and we can’t wait to get back.

RoD: Thank you for your time and we keep our fingers crossed, that the planned live to in Europe comes true in spring.

Pictures by Dustin Rabin
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