Music Interview: Black Maria so punk they’re not

By Janice Tran

Critics are always quick to pigeon hole bands into convenient genres. The Black Maria are very often lumped into the postpunk genre while comparisons are drawn to bands like AFI and Thrice. Breaking down this stereotype, vocalist Chris Gray feels these critics have been disillusioned.

“I think we’re more of a rock band than a punk or hardcore band,” he says, and he could not be more correct.

The band is a result of the break up of two well known bands, Grade and New Day Rising, but the band’s previous musical efforts are not an accurate reflection of what they sound like now. Lead us to Reason, The Black Maria’s first release exudes a solid rock attitude loosely comparable to Muse and Chevelle, although finding an exact comparison is difficult.

“If you look at previous tours we’ve been on, it shows that we kind of pop in and out of various scenes with the crossover of music we do,” Gray remarks.

This diverse list of tour mates include many high profile bands such as Sum 41, Chevelle, Goldfinger and label-mates Atreyu. The list is impressive for a band who only released their debut CD last year. The band owes a lot of their success to Tony Brummel, the owner of Victory Records.

“We [did] a bunch of showcases with many major labels, but Tony was the only one that really had a game plan right from the start,” explains Gray. “We always wanted to surround ourselves with business people that had the same desires and attitudes towards our band that we did.”

The Chicago based label is responsible for signing many bands who have shaped different trends in rock for the last 10 years, like Snapcase, Thursday and Taking Back Sunday.

“We’re on one of the best labels in the world right now and we’re really excited, ” Gray exclaims. “I’m really proud to be on the roster and I’m proud to be a part of the legacy that is Victory. There have been so many great bands from the past that aren’t around anymore but were on Victory.”

With the proper label support, along with the group’s talent and hard work, The Black Maria has quickly garnered a large and diverse fan base in Canada and world wide. The band calls Toronto home and believes the recent rise in popularity of Canadian artists is long overdue.

“I think it is amazing how many bands are breaking out of Canada right now,” Gray says. “That just goes to show how much talent is in Canada. It is an exciting time as a musician,” says Gray.

With only a few years together as a band, The Black Maria continues to gather all the support they need to create their mark on the heavily skeptical music scene ahead of them.


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