An Interview with Billy Talent

Dustin Rabin

Billy Talent is one of the many acts rolling in with Warped Tour on Tuesday. The Canadian rock/punk quartet has spent the better part of the year touring arenas in Canada and Europe, the Warped Tour run marks Billy Talent’s first official U.S. tour in over three years.

The show is in support of Billy Talent’s fourth full-length, Dead Silence (out now via Last Gang Records), which has been praised by fans and critics alike as the band’s most ambitious and fully-realized work to date. The album even debuted at #3 on the U.S.  Billboard “Heatseekers Chart, while also marking their third consecutive #1 debut in Canada and second #1 debut in Germany. The group also performed the single “Stand Up And Run” on the TV broadcast of this year’s Juno Awards (Canada’s premiere annual music award), where they were introduced by host Michael Buble. Further proof of Billy Talent’s enormous and loyal fan base is the video for “Viking Death March,” which captured the band’s set at Rock Am Ring festival in Germany last year and shows over 100,000 fans singing along to the song (even though the song had only premièred online a few days beforehand). We sat down with guitarist Ian D'Sa to get some insight on Billy Talent

What is a day in the life of touring with Warped Tour like?
-Wake up at 10am or get woken up by someone in your band/crew
-Find out when you’re set time is (every day is a luck of the draw, you could be on at 11:30AM, 8PM at night, or anywhere in between...)
-The best part of the your 30 minute set!
-Have lunch or dinner (depending on when you play your set)
-Go watch other bands or hang out at merch table
-Sit in your bus or van and write new tunes (there’s not much else to do as you are in a different parking lot each day)
-Have a few beers and burgers at the end-of-the-night BBQ
-Repeat the next day

What is the inspiration behind your latest project, Dead Silence?
When we were writing Dead Silence in 2011/2012 it was a year of great changes, the people in some countries were standing up for their rights in the form of mass protests like the ‘occupy’ movement and the Arab spring.  The so-called ‘end-of-the-world’ was looming come Dec. 21st or that's what some would have us believe.  Also, global warming had seemingly reached its boiling point with the amount of natural disasters happening over the past few years.  It was and still is a strange time to be alive, a lot of the songs on the record reflect that.  


What can one expect at a Billy Talent live show?
If you are seeing us for the first time, you can expect a lot of energy both from the stage and the audience.  We love interacting with the crowd as well.  We try to play as much material from each record as possible to make our fans happy.  You’ll enjoy it! 


What is next for Billy Talent after Warped Tour? Another album in the works, more touring, sleep?
After Warped tour we’re heading back to Europe again for a few festival shows and then South Africa, and South America.  I’ve been working on new song ideas already, so hopefully a new record is not too far off in the distance.   


Any advice for musicians just starting out?
First and foremost, when starting a band, find like-minded musicians that want the same thing you do out of it.  You don’t want to be in a band in which you’re the only one that takes the band seriously and wants to make music as a career.  Make sure the others do as well. It doesn’t matter if they’re ‘amazing’ at their instrument, or just ‘average’.  There will always be time to get better over the years.  

Secondly, strive to write great songs.  At the end of the day, the ability to write great songs and perform them is what it all comes down to.  If you’re just looking for fame, there are many other things you can do besides music that will get you there quicker.  Also, having your own signature voice and identity in music is something that happens rarely these days, strive for it! 

Third, play as many shows as you possibly can.  It’s the only way to get better as a band, and being comfortable in front of an audience is something you're going to have to get used to if you want a career in music.   

Billy Talent
Warped Tour
Riverbend Music Center
Tuesday July 30th
The band line up and set times will be available after doors open and can be found at the giant inflatable next to the main Vans tent.*


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