Canadian punk rock icons Billy Talent released their highly anticipated sixth studio album Crisis Of Faith on Friday. The ten-track Crisis Of Faith was produced entirely by the band’s guitarist and main songwriter, Juno-nominated producer Ian D’Sa, in the band’s Toronto studio.
Prior to release, Crisis of Faith saw enormous success, delivering three #1 radio singles in Canada namely Reckless Paradise, I Beg to Differ (This Will Get Better), and End of Me, featuring Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. These tracks have combined to spend 20 weeks atop the Canadian rock radio charts, with End of Me marking the band’s longest-standing #1 radio single in their career at 11 weeks in the top spot, eclipsing only Reckless Paradise.
On the day of release, we caught up with Billy Talent's bass player Jonny Gallant for a chat about the band's Crisis Of Faith.
Your new record Crisis Of Faith, finally dropped last Friday and it absolutely whips ass.
What was the core inspiration for this one?
Oh, man. Everyday life would be the short answer. Love, loss, hope, empathy, politics, anger… The Covid experience. It’s been a hell of a few years to pull inspiration from.
Six records into a career, it is pretty rare for a band, especially a punk band, to still be experimenting with new sounds, but here you are, on Crisis of Faith incorporating all sorts of new elements into that classic Billy Talent sound. Is expanding your musical palette a focus at this stage of your career?
We have the confidence to do whatever we want. I think we have always expanded our sound from record to record; but on this one we took a bigger eap. Ian, really challenged himself to make this the biggest we’ve ever sounded.
You’ve been sitting on the record for a couple of years, during which time rippers like Reckless Paradise, End Of Me and I Beg To Differ have taken on a bit of a life of their own. What was that experience of sitting and waiting, while your song babies were out there doing work like for you?
We are very happy and grateful for the success of the songs; but it was tourture waiting to release the finished product. We wanted to share it so bad. That said, if we didn’t hold back the opportunity with Rivers would have not happened. We have an entire finished version of that song that was supposed to be on the record; we were sitting around one day and Ben suggested we should send it to Weezer. The rest is history.
As a band that has a well-earned reputation for being a ‘can’t miss’ live act, is the prospect of getting out on the road again an energizing one?
I can’t even tell you. It’s more than that. We are horses locked in the stable.
Are there any songs off of Crisis of Faith you’re particularly keen to let rip on live?
Forgiveness, Judged, All the Wrong People…. All of the songs really.
What was it like working on a song with Rivers?
We didn’t write with him. We had a final version of the song and thought that it would be cool if he would guest on it. We honestly didn’t think he’d say yes. Really cool moment for us.
Billy Talent have never been a band to shy away from sociopolitical messaging in your music and that continues on Crisis of Faith, particularly on Judged. Does the current state of the world leave you frustrated/deflated? Do you see hope on the horizon in the next generation?
I see hope, but the entire world is in a frustrated/deflated state in my opinion. We will get there. I think it will take a few years for the effects of Covid to dissipate, but it will linger.
Speaking of generations, like most of us here at Maniacs, Billy Talent grew up in the ‘90s and came of age in the ‘00s and that period of music really seems to be having a renaissance right now with pop punk, nu-metal and grunge stylings all obvious influences on some breakthrough bands. Are you enjoying that revival?
Bring it on. I’m ready for a music culture shift.
Have you heard any bands that remind you of yourselves? Have you spotted your own influence?
Ha! Not unless it’s pointed out. If we have influenced people musically, that is the ultimate compliment. I owe so much to the bands that have influenced me.
Now everybody has been talking about the When We Were Young festival, is that type of festival something you’re keen to see more of in the future? Would you like to be involved in a Canadian edition if such a thing existed?
I’m pissed we are not on the bill. I would love to be involved; I see so many friends and past tour partners on that bill. Very green with envy.
Now the first time I personally ever saw you play live was back in 2007 and it seemed to me that you would make perfect tour partners for The Living End. This leads me to ask if there are any bands left that you’d really like the chance to play/tour with?
Speaking of influences; we love the Living End and they would be one. Rage Against the Machine, RHCP, Idles, Foo’s, Green Day….. We played with The Living End on Warped Tour for a couple of weeks. I watched them everyday. On their last night, they threw a party and played Rockabilly covers for the entire Warp Tour. No fans, just band and crew. Their abilities were incredible.
We know fans have all have their own favourite tracks, but is there a Billy Talent song that occupies a special place in your heart?
Cure for the Enemy of Dead Silence off the top of my head, but there are a lot of them.
On matters of less importance, tell me, who is your all-time favourite talented Billy (Billie acceptable)?
Never been asked that before….. Hmmm…. Billy Dee Williams, Billy Ocean, Billy Gibbons… Wait, definitely Billy Smith :https://youtu.be/8WQk7vZIYxE
Outside of music, what is something you consider yourself to be a Maniac for?
Now, here’s a big one, if you could have any song play each time you enter the room, full WWE/AEW style, what song would you choose?
Killing in the Name.
It has been too long since we've seen Billy Talent around these parts. Is there an Aussie tour on the horizon?
Does a Koala shit in the Outback?
Listen To Billy Talent - Crisis Of Faith now.