Hamilton, oh, Hamilton. Some have called it the Detroit of Canada, some have called it the next Flint, Michigan. And yet the city has seen a musical resurgence lately. Some label Hamilton as a hardcore or metal town, but Alive and Living is something very different. It suggests a softer, kinder side to the steel city. Ryan McLaren and Chris Bell talked about living in Hamilton, and a little about the band.
How did you get involved in this whole music mess?
I was in a band called Chore. We did the indie label/tour thing, made a couple of video’s etc. Once Chore broke up, Alive and Living became an important project for me.
You guys have a Sea Snakes/Burn Rome in a Dream/The Acorn kind of sound. What are some of your influences
I’m really interested in old folk singers, American or British. I think everyone in the band likes different stuff. I work as a sound tech in The Hammer and see lots of different bands, some good, some not so good. I find it all influential.
You have a long history in Hamilton. How do you like it there?
I’ve lived in Hamilton for about five years and like it as well as I can. Hamilton’s downtown area is a sad sight but also very cheap to live in. There are a few great places to hang out and see music in this city.
Are you a west-ender or an east-ender?
I’m a west/downtowner. Sort of the nicer area of downtown.
I grew up not far from there, and my trips back home recently have been really depressing. Boarded up stores and huge bib-box Walmarts and Fortinos on the mountain. Are you worried about Hamilton’s future?
The city will continue to be fine but certain areas will become increasingly dangerous to hang out in. The downtown is suffering the most from the box plaza influx.
What are five things you love about Hamilton?
Uh, five is bit of stretch. One cool thing about Hamilton is going into the Escarpment for a hike. It’s like your not even in the city. We have the first Tim Hortons ever, and a lot thereafter. There are a lot of tree’s dispersed throughout the city.
A&L has been touring around with some pretty awesome bands, like Cuff the Duke, Wintersleep and The Most Serene Republic. Have you learned anything from those bands?
Perserverance is the key to band longevity.
What are the near-future plans for the band?
We want to have the new album out in September and do our 4th, 5th, and 6th tour out east before we take over the entire world. Ha! Just keep slugging away at it I guess. We’re all the kind of people to party and have fun first and worry about being a serious band second.