Published Sep 07, 2017Comeback Kid have always thrived on versatility. Now 17 years old, the group originally began as the hardcore side project for Canadian metalcore heavyweights Figure Four. Now considered a powerhouse in the hardcore scene, Comeback Kid's infamous blend of punk rock and heavy hardcore has recently catapulted them onto tours with bands like Cro-Mags, Stray From the Path and the Story So Far.
As vocalist Andrew Neufeld tells Exclaim!, there were many critical pieces to the infectious puzzle that is Comeback Kid's latest effort, Outsider. Here are five things that influenced the album.
1 Good company.
Comeback Kid songs have typically been written by Neufeld and lead guitarist Jeremy Hiebert, the group's remaining original members. Although he was present for their previous record, 2014's Die Knowing, Stu Ross (Misery Signals, formerly of Living With Lions) had much more of an input in the writing this time around.
"Everyone really had their input on this record," Neufeld says. "There is a lot of different-sounding stuff on the record because there are a lot of different songwriters and people involved. Everyone had something to say in critiquing each other and really trying to make the songs as good as they can be. For example, if Jeremy was writing a really thrashy song, maybe at one point I thought there was going to be a whole bunch of those types of songs going on. So in direct response to that, I would write a fun, kind of poppy, hardcore punk-sounding song. We always like to mix it up and try to make a diverse sounding record. Once we put the vocals to it and it all comes together, it always sounds like Comeback Kid."
2 Being the "gateway hardcore band."
"I have realized that for a lot of people in their late 20s and 30s, Comeback Kid was a gateway band for them — coming from the punk stuff before, or metal, and then finding hardcore from us. For us, it was always about taking influence from the more traditional stuff — still playing hardcore, but putting our own little twist on it and trying to do something new with it."
3 Devin Townsend.
The Canadian producer, songwriter and heavy music icon is featured on Outsider's first single "Absolute." Townsend had worked with some members in other projects (Neufeld's Sights & Sounds and guitarist Stu Ross's Misery Signals). The collaboration came about through a text conversation with Townsend that Neufeld was originally sceptical about.
"We are already big fans of him — I was pretty much ripping him off anyway. So we thought 'Oh, this is the Devin Townsend part,' and we didn't really think to get him on it, but as we were doing it, Jeremy suggested to text him. So I hit him up, he liked the song, recorded it and sent it back to us very quickly."
"Some of these anxious feelings that I have started to experience are very new to me; this is my way of getting all of those feelings out. Sometimes when I am writing, I don't even know what the song is about. As I continue writing, the song exposes itself to me and I find the meaning. It really takes form after writing about 40 percent of it. A lot of times I start with words that conjure up a feeling, and it all comes together after that. It is kind of a weird process, but somehow I find it, or it finds me."
5 Good, clean fun.
Neufeld explains that Comeback Kid's prior release Die Knowing carried "a much darker atmosphere to it."
"We wanted to make this sound a little bit lighter in mood. We wrote for our live show."
Outsider is out now on New Damage.