Cellphone: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Hard rock/loud rock infused with crunchy keyboards and weirdo vocal tricks
File next to: Butthole Surfers, early Trans AM
Playing: WL 595, Saturday April 19 at Smiling Buddha, 961 College St.

Cellphone aren’t an easy band to categorize. This Toronto outfit definitely love their guitar riffs, but their music is perhaps most notable for an atypical usage of keyboards that augment the general “heaviness.” However, don’t mistake Cellphone for dance music, industrial or Moist (and please, never forget this dude rockin’ out). Instead, appreciate Cellphone for creating music that keeps the listener off-kilter in the best possible way. The band’s debut full-length is slated to drop some time in 2014. Cam Gordon caught up with band member Mike Wirth Broth. They talked about the new album, their famous producer friend, and facial trauma.

Status check on the new album: when can we expect something to surface? How many songs? Any changes in sound?

The album is pretty much all done. I’d say there’s been some changes in our sound. We decided to ditch the drum machine and go with a real live drummer. Our talented friend Corey Brenn played drums on the album. It was amazing how fast he learned the songs, since we jammed with him for only a month before we hit the studio. He had to move away to Scotland shortly after we laid down the bed tracks, sadly.

So who are you guys swapping in going forward?

Rob Gordon [Owen Pallett, From Fiction] is now playing drums for us, his unique style is continuously changing our sound in a way that makes each live performance marginally different from the other.

I see you recorded with Don Pyle. How did that come about? Were you fans of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, etc?

We met Don Pyle through our friends’ band, the Soupcans. Don mentioned that he was into Cellphone, so we figured that going with a producer who was actually into the band is better than going with someone who’s just a producer. I never really got into Shadowy Men, but that’s just because I was raised in Florida, and sometimes it’s hard for Canadian content to make it down there. Don Pyle is also associated with projects such as Greek Buck, Filthy Gaze of Europe, and Black Heel Marks. All of which are worth checking out.

Much has been made of your ability to mash “heaviness” and “synthesizers.” Collectively, are you fans of other bands who can pull this off? If so, which ones?

I think plenty of bands have pulled this off before. Bands like the Screamers, Nervous Gender, Ministry, SPK, Trans Am, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Metallica, and Rush have all used synthesizers or organs to thicken up their sound. As far as influence goes though, we’re not too concerned by whether or not there are synths involved. Collectively, we all listen to a wide variety of music. But as far as influence goes, as of lately we turn towards Black Sabbath, Slayer, Siege, Void, Motorhead, Metallica, Blue Cheer, some White Zombie, and a hint of Joe Meek and Bruce Haack.

From your Long Winter appearance last fall, NOW Magazine referred to Cellphone as “mosh pit-inducing punks“. Do you personally have any good mosh pit stories? Either as a performer or an audience member?

I once I got kicked in the face by a Nike Shox shoe. Not as bouncy as they look.

Last question and it’s an important one: what cell phone do you use? What was your first cell phone? 

Let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about a dream I had in which I directed a tasteful movie about the Sasquatch and how the Sasquatch exists within the body of a four-year old boy. The tasteful aspect existing in the unoriginal morality that true love is real despite the frequent terror caused by the child Sasquatch.

Fair enough.

Cellphone play Saturday, April 19 at Smiling Buddha (961 College St.) as part of WL #595.

– Interview by Cam Gordon (Completely Ignored)