Canadian music seems to foster a sense of community. Each label – whether it’s Arts & Crafts, or Turbo – seems to have an almost familial atmosphere, one of mutual respect, ease of creative exchange. It’s something which is equally applicable to the nation’s punk scene: currently in something of a purple patch, only Canada could really puke up something as inspiring, as ferocious as Fist City.
“Canada is a huge country, but the punk scene is so small in contrast,” explains guitarist Evan Van Reekum. “We tour Canada all the time and we see the same people and it's just, the world gets smaller, the more we go to different cities, the more we meet different people. There's so many connections being made among friends and different bands and stuff like that.”
This camaderaderie serves the band in good stead. Singer Kier Griffiths recently underwent gender re-alignment surgery, while guitarist Evan Van Reekum suffered from a serious fall. With local Christian fundamentalists closing in on Griffiths and Van Reekum slowly recovering, new album ‘It’s 1983, Shut Up’ contains a rare sense of abandon. “We like to stand up against people who are homophobic or are anti-gay, stuff like that. And whatever way that takes its shape, if it's just like even confronting, confronting by just our presence, you know, kind of whatever it takes. We don't have any tolerance for stuff like that. It’s like ignorant people who don't, who can't look past the police, and don't welcome somebody who is different, you know, it's really stupid.”
Not that the band are political in any mainstream, party-led sense. “Trying to bring people together and strengthening communities is number one for us” the guitarist explains. “The best way to look at it for me is like we do this stuff and we're able to come back and share the experience, and give advice to like our peers, like “go do it, go and have fun like it's totally possible if we can do it you can do it” kind of thing.”
Currently working on their third album – “we don't like to rest on something for too long” – Fist City recently completed their first major tour of the UK. Finding kindred spirits wherever they go, it seems, as Van Reekum explains. “I mean it was an awesome experience, I can't wait to do it again. But yeah we had rented a van and it was like, it was a splitter van so, you know, it was like a cargo van so there was always one of us in the back of the van in the dark sitting on the floor sliding around, whilst the other three were up front.”
Not that Fist City can be placed into any particular pigeonhole. “We definitely appeal to a certain crowd and our motivation is not to adhere to any sort of scene, I guess” he says. “It really comes from whatever we wanna be doing. I guess, like we definitely don't appeal to like any sort of mainstream pop scene and we probably never will so. I can name a lot that we don't belong to, yeah, but it's hard to pin down what we do.”
Words: Robin Murray
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Fist City's second album 'It's 1983, Grow Up' is out now
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