Saskatoon has long had a history with Doom Rock and boot strap Death Metal bands, but over the past couple years the Paris of the Prairies has had its Metal landscape broadened with the introduction of something more melodic and hook-laden courtesy of Saintvicious; whom dropped their first full-length album, the self-titled Saintvicious, in November of 2019.
I caught up with Madison Erhardt (vocals) and Ryan Kimmerly (Guitar) to get the lowdown on what the band is all about.
First thing's first, what's in a name? How did you land upon that band name? And what does it mean?
RYAN: In all honesty, the name was one we stumbled upon. Trying to come up with something clever and fitting is always the hardest part, so one night we were on Urban Dictionary and “saintvicious” came up as a related word to whatever we entered while looking for synonyms. We quickly scoped the word to make sure it wasn’t ripping any other bands off, but it turns out there’s a major league gaming dude who uses it as a handle. It’s not ultra clever, having some profound meaning to one of us, it just sounded cool so we took it.
There notably isn't much Hard Rock or Metal that comes out of Saskatoon or even Saskatchewan as a wider whole, how has the Saskatchewan audience responded to you so far?
MADISON: They've responded great! Especially at home, in Saskatoon. Before the pandemic, turnouts were great, and everybody was really engaged with what we were doing. Can't ask for more than that.
RYAN: Yeah, original hard rock is few and far between, so I think the people that have caught us live appreciate that it’s something different than what you’re usually finding at a club in Saskatoon, like indie or country or death metal. Having said that, it’s still super familiar and like, it’s just five dudes slinging power chords for forty minutes; gotta cut to the chase and put on the best show you can.
So, you're debut album came out in 2019, just before everything changed in 2020; were you able to tour the album before COVID hit? And, if so, what was the response like to those shows? And what are some of your favourite memories from those shows?
MADISON: We got to do some touring through Western Canada before everything got shut down. Not nearly as extensive as you want to when you're trying to promote a new album, unfortunately, with all of our 2020 spring and summer tours being canceled. But, for the touring that we did squeeze in, we made some good memories. One, in particular, was when we were in Winnipeg. Just before we started our set, a pub crawl full of people dressed as Santa Claus rolled in. There were about fifty Santa's in the pit when we started our first song. It was something else.
RYAN: It was also great to catch friends out on the road, too. On top of that, we got to play a few times with some bands that we’re tight with. So that sense of community that we have at home trickled in at every show, which makes it infinitely better. At least there’ll be a few people who are gonna cheer after every song, and it’s not just bombing in front of a room of strangers.
What have you guys been doing to keep creating/keep performing during the pandemic?
MADISON: Mostly just writing as much as possible. I won't lie, it has been pretty tough to stay motivated during these times. We really miss the thrill of performing in front of a live audience. Luckily whenever somebody brings a new song or riff idea to the table, it usually gives us the kick in the ass we need to get to work again.
RYAN: It’s definitely hard to crank out songs when you don’t remember what it should feel like playing it live, or even just being in the same room with the guys at rehearsal. But, if it isn’t energy being put into the music, it’s finding a different focus – whether it’s artwork or release plans or burning credit lines on gear – anything that keeps us moving ahead and wanting this. It’s delayed gratification, I suppose.
What advice would you give to young Saskatonians looking to break in to performing and/or recording Hard Rock/Metal?
MADISON: Make sure you find the right people to make music with. Write music that you want to hear. Play hard, play fast, and have as much fun as possible while doing it.
RYAN: It’s also about community. Show love and support to all your friends, help out however you can. And honestly, just ask someone if you need advice or whatever it is, because we’ve all came from the same place and all are in it for the same reasons.
Thank you to Saintvicious for taking the time to chat with me. Their self-titled debut album can be found on Spotify and Apple Music. Digital downloads and physical CDs of the album can also be purchased on Bandcamp here. The band's most recent release, the 2020 single "Sticks + Stones", can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Music.
Special thanks to Jon Asher of Asher Media Relations.