Johnny Truant No Tears For The Creatures

Johnny Truant No Tears For The Creatures
Hailing from the land of Mary Poppins, teatime and sweets, you’d think that some aspect of those niceties would have rubbed off on Johnny Truant and their crippling music. Fortunately, nothing of the sort has transpired, as No Tears For The Creatures leaves you with a hangover from a murky pub full of wankers who like a good row just for shits and giggles. If In The Library Of Horrific Events was JT trying to find their sound as a metal band that draw heavily from the brutality of death metal, No Tears For The Creatures is a cheers to their reaping of proper English metal. It’s not just the unruly heavy music that make this album a perfect pour, it’s songs like "Last Arms Of The Apocalypse,” which inject and remove tempo only to carry you into what feels like a new song teaming with squeals and ascending finger work, just to drag it all away with filthy breakdowns. The diversity on No Tears is abundant, as "Widower” rips through in less than two minutes, utilising guest vocalist Wade MacNeil (Alexisonfire), with angular guitar, crusty group backup vocals and a generous pace, which sits lovely next to the climactic "Crush And Devour,” which sonically lives up to its title. Johnny Truant aren’t serving chamomile tea and scones, just blood pudding and pints of thick, dark stout.

On The Library Of Horrific Events there is a lot of death symbolism. Why the change of track titling for No Tears For The Creatures?

Vocalist Olly Mitchell: Well, there is still death in there, there’s "Death Rides” and "Dead Ship Sinking.” There’s definitely still a death theme on the new record — there’s always a death theme on our records. I don’t think it’s a conscious decision; I think it’s a subconscious thing. I think it just sort of sneaks in there. But that’s a really interesting question, well done for not being really boring and actually thinking of something that’s exciting, interesting and a little more creative than: "why are you called Johnny Truant?” Thanks very much!

I was worried when I had to repeat that question because I thought it might have not been clear.
No, I think I asked you to repeat it out of sheer shock that you weren’t like, "so, um…. Johnny Truant and, um, it says here in your bio you really like playing shows.” No, but the death theme just snuck into our music and I also think it’s something that’s quite sarcastic. We like to be sarcastic and get in people’s faces. I think the whole death theme sneaks into our records subconsciously and in a sarcastic manor.

Your sound has continually evolved from one album to the next. What do you attribute your progression in No Tears to?
Mostly it’s the first effort we have ever written as a five-piece, which had a huge effect, and we brought in two new members. So that’s also bringing in two new heads full of ideas. Also, I think we have never been able to settle on a sound for the band and never been mature enough over the last two records to really focus on what we wanted to get out of our sound. I think now that we’re getting older and have the experience of touring so much and playing together and our influences progressing together that we’ve been able to sort of choose what sort of routes we want to go down and the result of that is the new record being far more focused. We’re far happier this time around and we’re really excited to finally be where we wanted to be. We always wanted our sound to be real, honest and raw, and with our earlier records we were never really able to get there because we didn’t really know how to achieve it. With this record, we walked in knowing exactly what we wanted, being much more prepared and focused. We were able to sort of have time in the studio with our producers to play around with ideas instead of being rushed. I think at the same time we won’t ever settle on a sound because to me that’s just boring; I’m so fucking bored of metal right now.

You wrote No Tears as a five-piece. What was that like for everyone to come together?
Intense, really intense. Our band, when we write songs, is such a fucking headache because we don’t have a system where one person will sit there and write a song; we sit in a room and we write a song together. Everyone puts their ideas in and we fight and argue and stress at each other. There’s a load of tears in the process and then eventually we get to the finished project. Writing a song in our band is like a fucking war, basically. Everyone in the band is so creative in their own way that I think everyone just sort of fights to get their creativity across as much as possible. Then when we’re making the record and going through the process it’s really frustrating and sometimes it feels like a drag. When we actually finish a song it’s like, "hang on, this is why the songs are so good and this is why we sound like Johnny Truant”; it’s because we have these huge arguments and these huge debates over our songs. So, yeah, I think that’s kind of the process where we get together. We try to piss each other off as much as possible for three hours and out comes a Johnny Truant song.

The track listing for No Tears almost reads like a story. I was wondering if there is a concept or themes?
Yeah, there are. Interestingly a lot of the lyrics for this record I wrote while I was in Canada. We actually named the record in Canada as well, on Queen Street — there’s a bar, I believe, it’s called the Beaver. I think that’s what it’s called, which is also pretty cool and that’s going to sound pretty cool in the interview, isn’t it? The Beaver, take what you want from that. So, we were walking along one day discussing the new record, where it’s going and what I wanted to write about and then we looked over and there was a flashing neon sign in someone’s living room that said "no tears for the creatures.” It was the album title straight away because it was such a moment. We’re really open to those kinds of moments that really affect us and we will take those moments and turn them into songs. So we named the record right there in Canada and that inspired me quite a lot and I wrote quite a bit of it when we were on tour.

What was having Wade MacNeil in studio like when you recorded "Widower”?
Great, he’s such a sexy man. It was awesome. I think it was important that we had Wade on the record. Alexisonfire have always been really supportive of us and when we met Alexisonfire our band was in a really dark place. We were questioning the reasons why were doing this. It was becoming a struggle, everyone was broke, we were all homeless and then the Alexisonfire tour happened and we met a bunch of people that had such a huge effect on us. So we went out and started having fun again and we stopped struggling and started drinking — that’s the reason we actually played our music. Our friendship with them grew so much that we knew we always wanted to do some music with one, or some, of the guys from Alexis. We talked about it for a while and Wade was in town and it just seemed like the right thing to do. He drove down in the back of the shittiest van ever from Scotland to Brighton, which is like a 15-hour drive that was overnight. We woke him up at ten a.m. and fed him a ton of beer and sung Lion King songs together and then threw him in the studio to sing "Widower.” Yeah, rad times with Wade MacNeil — great dude.

How did working with Adam Dutkiewicz help shape No Tears For The Creatures?
He had a huge influence on us. An amazingly influential man in our band’s career is Adam D. We met him at a show and struck up a relationship with him immediately. It was Adam who expressed interest in the fact that he wanted to record us; we hadn’t even been thinking about recording. The minute he said that we knew we had to work with him. We’ve always been a band that have never asked for anything; we let people come to us and let our music speak for us. So when Adam said, "I really want to work with your band,” it was obvious we had to work with him. I think it was the first time we had to really start thinking seriously as a band. When we went into the studio the main thing we learned with Adam was to put our egos in check and the first time you play it through it’s not the end of that song until you’re done working it through. (Distort)