By Will Yannacoulias
Photos by The Portrait Witch
When I was a starry-eyed teenager in the 1990's, the coolest word I knew was 'scene'. My friends and I had teamed off into three or four noisy punk bands and took turns playing in each other's dimly lit basements and garages. At the time Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion was operating Epitaph Records and Fat Mike of NOFX fame had Fat Wreck Chords, both taking the torch from legendary 80's punk labels like Alternative Tentacles, SST and Dischord. I understood how indie bands and indie labels worked together to create these amazing faraway music scenes we'd only read about. I always dreamed of playing, recording, and distributing music for myself and my friends and promoting shows and tours in Saskatchewan, but had no idea how to even begin.
Last February I made the acquaintance of Tony Tournier, a kindred spirit who shared the same dream and had the drive to make it a reality. Tournier plays in two bands, the New York hardcore inspired Repair, and Krash, who throw a nod to the blue collar Oi! punk tradition of the UK. Tournier also runs Attack With Force Productions, an independent label that manages the streaming and mail order merch for Krash, Repair and Pure Impact, as well as distributing physical releases on cassette and vinyl. Attack With Force has also crossed over into promotion, beginning to book open-air shows in Saskatoon. Recording and releasing original music, operating a label and now booking live shows, Tournier is the kind of ambitious scene builder I grew up admiring, and I couldn't wait to interview him.
Tournier grew up in Prince Albert and was set on his current course at the all ages metal shows the city was known for in the early 2000's. "I started out learning to play punk music on guitar" he recalled, "lots of The Ramones and that kind of stuff. As I wanted to get better as a musician I got into metal but over the years I kind of lost interest in the technical side of it, I just want to play fun high energy songs, no six minute songs with three guitar solos, we just wanted to get back to playing these caveman-simple riffs!"
Ian MacKaye of the classic hardcore punk band Minor Threat has had a huge influence on Tournier, both musically and for a DIY approach to music promotion and distribution with the Dischord label, which is still releasing albums from underground artists 40 years later. "We'd had the idea for years" he shared. "We'd had four different metal bands and maintaining four different Bandcamp accounts and managing the merch was a nightmare. When we recorded the Repair demo in 2022 we decided it was time to do it." Tournier upholds an indie record label as so much more than a brand, seeing it as a rallying point for likeminded artists and a music community as a whole. "I'll find that a bunch of my favourite bands are under the same label" he explained, "they may not have the same sound but they'll have a similar vibe, feeling or attitude. Having a label helps support the scene, and that scene is what's kept me here all these years. I want us all to support each other and see this thing get as big as it can!"
Tournier has exciting plans for the summer and fall- a full length lp from both Krash and Repair, a debut release on Attack With Force from an unannounced Winnipeg punk band, and is also going to release the recordings from the old metal projects he and his friends worked on. A series of open air shows he's planned for the summer begin Saturday July 29th in Saskatoon when Krash play alongside Over/Dose from Kamloops. Follow Attack With Force on Facebook, listen on Bandcamp and be sure to catch Repair with Over/Dose and Dirty Sanchez Orchestra tonight at the Spice Trail Lounge in Prince Albert.