Popular local band Children of Eve are leaving to move to Halifax over the next few months. Before leaving they’ll be playing two last shows at Junctions.
Despite having a thick, heavy sound, they are polished, and have perhaps a shot at a degree of success. But not here in Newfoundland, they say.
Newfoundland has a history of bearing grudges for bands that move away to try to make it on the mainland—Hardship Post in the early ‘90s, Bucket Truck more recently. But Children of Eve have faith their fans will understand. It’s a risk they’re willing to take for a shot at making a living doing something they love.
Elling Lien met up the band to talk to them about their decision to move and their plans for the future.
William – lead guitar
Logan – drums
Joel – singing
Steve – bass
Bruce – guitar
How did you guys come to the decision to move away?
L I think it started last summer. We went away last summer on a tour to do a tour of Nova Scotia, and it cost us a fortune. We did it twice last summer, and it was really expensive.
How did it go?
L Pretty good!
J …You can’t expect much, doing an independent tour through cities, besides Halifax, a lot of them smaller than the one we come from. But I think that it wasn’t as much about who we played to then, it was about what we learned. And it taught us that was what we wanted to do.
L Yeah, it kind of instilled in us a feeling that this is really something we want. So we need to become a little more dedicated and focused on the band.
J … as our primary reason to live.
B And we realized in order to keep doing it we had to move to somewhere where it was cheaper to do, you know?
So it’s about touring mainly?
W The reality of it is, the same amount of money it would take to travel from here to Halifax, we could go from Halifax to southern Ontario.
B Halifax is just a place to work out of. Our goal isn’t to play Halifax, our goal is to use it as a place where we have access to the rest of the country.
J We’re from St. John’s, Newfoundland, we’ll be paying rent in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and we’ll be touring our country, and beyond, hopefully. That’s the plan.
W One big thing about Newfoundland is the isolation. You know what I mean? Whenever I have left here—visited London or Toronto —I always feel so amazed. In awe. It sounds cliché, but it’s true.
J Small town boy in the big city!
W Yeah, yeah, you know, I watch TV, I use the internet, I know what’s out there… But when you go and see it, you’re struck.
We love music, and if this is what we want to do, if this is what we want to dedicate our lives to, the only way we’re going to be able to do it, and keep doing it, is if we’re in a position where we can tour. Getting off this island, the gas…
B From St. John’s to Halifax and back, it cost us a little over $2,000. And that’s just travel expenses. That’s not including accommodations or food.
W And that’s insanity! The only way any band can do that is if you’re making $1,000 a show. And we’re not making that! We can’t pretend to be some big-time thing. We’re not on a label, we’re doing this ourselves.
J But we’re doing exactly what we want to do.
From your sound, you don’t seem like a small band. What’s the intention for the band? Do you want to be a big band? A little band?
J Just comfortable!
L Yeah! Just comfortable. We don’t want to be millionaires. We’re not going for anything like that. If we could live off our music, that would be the dream.
W We do this because of the music. And I know I keep saying it, and I know that people might not believe it, but I don’t need to prove myself to anyone.
The reality of it is, there are going to be haters everywhere. There are always people that hate.
J It’s true—the more people that like us, the more people that hate us. The more people that love our music and that wish us good luck as far as leaving goes, the more people there are that are going to hate us for leaving. Even though these fuckers don’t even come to our shows, they don’t even know what we’re about. They don’t know the bands that we play with, or what they’re all about. But what are they doing to get to their dream?
So what would you say to someone who was disappointed that you guys are leaving?
J If you like what you’ve seen in us, and if you have liked our music, and if you came up and met us after the set, if you don’t trust us enough to believe that we’re doing what we have to do right now, then you don’t understand. We’re doing what’s best for us.
Any success we have is because of the people who have responded to us, so we owe that to them. We’ve been doing fairly well in the city…
W This music is the thing that makes me happy. I mean, seriously: playing music… writing music… smoking weed… smoking weed… playing video games… [laughter]
J The people that will understand why we had to leave will also understand what it takes to leave. The people that hate – we don’t know if people will or won’t… they won’t understand how difficult a decision it was to leave. To leave your family, your friends…
Will this be the first time you guys have ever moved away?
W This will be the first time I’ve ever moved out. I mean, for me personally… my Mom has multiple sclerosis, so she’s pretty bad right now. She has a severe case. And I’m the last of three kids, you know? And I’m leaving my Dad and my Mom’s there. …To leave that, it’s hard. It’s hard to leave my friends, it’s hard to leave my family, it’s hard to leave Newfoundland. It’s hard to leave what we have here.
L If we fail and come back, the least we could do is say we tried.
And what would success be?
L Just surviving.
J,W,B Yeah, just surviving.
B We just want to make a living from it.
L We want to make music as a career.
J I want a dirtbike. [laughter]
W Yeah, just being able to play music. Because playing music is the best thing that ever happened to me. Easily. Hands down. … I was into sports, I skateboarded, did BMX, but music, it’s my life right now.
W I just want to do this. I just feel that it needs to be done. Again, I love Newfoundland more than anything. I want to own a house here, I want to raise my children here, and I plan on doing all that stuff eventually, but right now, it’s the music.
This is sounding a lot like a kind of musical outmigration to me…
L Yeah. [others agree]
J If we do well for ourselves, then if we take these steps and we fail, fine. Everyone wants to be heard. If we can be heard, then we might be able to help someone else from Newfoundland be heard.
There are bands from here that are doing very well, but when it comes to the age, the interest, it seems like the first time in a while that we represent that group of people.
Are you thinking about Bucket Truck now?
J Yeah, they left the island to do their thing and they got a lot of flak for it, which scares us. Bucket Truck are great friends of ours. Bucket Truck’s Favour the Bull was a huge inspirational thing for myself, as the person in the band that writes the lyrics. They left and they got flak. They did things that they couldn’t have done from here, I truly believe.
Even when they got flak, they wrote music about it, and you can hear the emotion and you can hear what they were saying in that music. “Leaving here was hard, but we did it.”
They’re broken up now. We’re only 22 years old, but to us growing up they were something big. They went out there, doing their thing, just like we’re going to do.
W Again, we want to do this for the music. To do a show… get enough to pay for gas…
Paying for gas… it’s like a dream.
L Yeah! We’d be so happy. We’d be ecstatic.
How do you put together your songs?
L Start with one riff and go from there. We really try to bring it together here, see what we can work out.
J We’re doing something different these days. We’re taking ideas that we have, things that we want to say and try to portray them, first of all, through guitar. Through what people are going to hear musically, and then we go with the idea and let it flow and see what happens, what represents that idea best. We don’t want to make songs that people hear and just forget about, we try to make them so people go through an experience.
W It seems like there are a lot of bands writing music and it all has the same feeling. You go to a concert or put on a CD and you are basically ordering up a feeling. You get that feeling for an hour, or however long… But we want to give a full range.
L We’ve been stuck on a song for the past three weeks, this one part that we just can’t get. It’s about 10 seconds.
W We don’t settle. …People should never settle. You should always try to achieve what you’re trying to get at. Why settle something when you can put in the work and effort into it to make it good?
J The people we look up to are the ones that take their work the whole way.
J My musical influences as of late would be bands like Thrice—they’re making music for the right reasons, creating records that move people, and they have a positive message about things going on and they’re not afraid to show their opinions… Bands like Refused, which had a huge influence on people when it comes to writing about how things aren’t always as beautiful and simple as you probably think they are, living in a society where everything is fed to you.
W We live in a world where you need money. We’re doing it for the music. But then we’re like—you’ve got to sell records, man, you’ve got to sell merch. That’s just the way it is. It’s surviving, man. We write music because we love it.
J At the same time though, we do keep [the audience] in mind. Like when we play a part, when we’re playing a part that’s really heavy, we’re playing it, and it’s thick, and the drums are loud, and the bass is ringing through and everything is just heavy. We listen to it, and we stop, and the first thing we say is usually, “yes, we were happy with that,” but the second thing we talk about is “when someone hears this that wasn’t in this basement with us, they’ll probably freak out.”
B It’s all about tension and release.
W Yeah, we want to give them a little bit and then take it away, give them a little bit, take it away. That’s the way it works.
What’s the concept for the record you’re writing for now?
J In a few words, it’s how a group of people can exist with everyone having their own thing to do, working towards bettering their community, the people around them.
But then what has happened to us, and what continues to happen to us, is we have this black cloud, this dark machine that swoops into places and makes it so people are no longer working to help their families or helping their friends, or helping their friends’ families, they’re working to feed the machine, that cloud. And it envelops everything that they’ve come to know. They don’t even do anything for themselves any more. Nothing is for their loved ones, it’s all to sustain this thing, to make this thing bigger. …The face of Wal-Mart, as an example, is the consumer. We shop there because it’s cheap, but it’s blown all of our friends’ families’ businesses out of the water.
Yeah, it’s nice to go buy cheap fucking underwear, and cheap Coca-Cola, or whatever, but when you see your friends’ parents who owned a business get eaten up… It’s crazy.
W The one thing that we’ve been told by people we know is that when you leave here, a lot of people won’t have the same love for you. We love this place so much, but we’re going, and once we’re gone people might hate on us, you know? “They left Newfoundland!”
When bands leave here, people feel betrayed. And that’s part of what makes the decision to leave so hard…
J But the truth is, we’re leaving with the utmost love and respect for the people here and this place. We’re leaving and we will never, ever forget where it is that we’re from. And we’ll never forget who it is that we’re representing…
Children of Eve will be playing their farewell shows at Junctions on Saturday, August 11. All ages starts at 3 w/ Weapon, Fall From Here, and Conspire the Wake. Bar show starts at 10pm w/ Weapon and Fall From Here.