John Sutcliffe from Canvas talks about reforming for Ritual Festival

By on 20 December 2016

John Sutcliffe from reformed Leeds hardcore pioneers CANVAS talks to Terrorizer about the reasons for getting back together and playing Ritual Fest

“We really wanted it to challenge people and push the envelope and it worked”

Why did you decide to reform? What was the catalyst?

“T from Dragged Into Sunlight… Forever badgering me about the song ‘Womb Plague’ and basically just heckling me at Humanfly shows with other Canvas song titles! I’m sure he’ll be shouting Humanfly song titles at me during the Canvas reunion show. Annoying bastard.”

You must have seen the news explode on line today – how does it make you feel?

“It feels nice, and a bit scary. I hope we don’t George Lucas this up. Probably shouldn’t have put Jar Jar Binks on drums and a CGI Jaba the Hut on bass but I guess it’s too late now.”

Taking you back – why did you decide to call it a day, back in the day?

“That’s a tough one, and I’m not 100 per cent sure if my perspective is necessarily the pure facts on this. I’m pretty sure we were just going to have a 6 month break while drummer Dan went to Australia. So we arranged some final shows but there was a bit of a disagreement as to where these shows would be… A bit of throwing toys out of prams occurred and the bitterness of a bad break up was conceived . It was probably the right time to end it anyway as it was increasingly difficult to sustain creativity in that environment.”

‘Lost In Rock’ was such a special album but generally seemed to go ignored. To what extent would you agree?

“To an extent but it’s the one people remember. We split up soon after its release so it never got promoted other than us playing the songs live a good 6 months or so before its release. All the reviews I saw at the time were fully behind it and it was a shame we couldn’t have done more about it as Lil and Kath from household name invested time and money and belief in us.”

What made that album special?

“Well I’d never spend any time doing anything musically with anyone if the goal was to make something ‘bog-standard’. So ‘special’ might be the wrong word choice… But yeah it stands out in many ways as we’d mixed up a huge bunch of influences and not really put a cap or limit on what was possible. It was purposely anti-hardcore. We used to play loads of euro hardcore festivals where all the bands at the time wrote breakdown parts for people to dance like violent idiots to. It was awful. So any time we wrote a tune it would feature no drum repetitions or danceable patterns in a more Deadguy/ Meshuggah way. We really wanted it to challenge people and push the envelope and it worked. Still proud of it.”

What was it like to start rehearsing again?

“Weird. Massive Deja vu! Watching the guys trying to figure out the timings is crazy. It’s also like no time has passed, in a strange way.”

Describe the feeling you had?

“Feels like I found something that I’d lost ages ago, and that I’m dead chuffed to have found that thing because it reminded me of other lovely things and people and places. It’s comforting.”

What can we expect at Ritual?

“Absolute carnage. Although we were toying with the idea of doing the whole set acoustically… Coz we were always a “fuck you” kinda band. In all seriousness, we want it to be heavier and tighter than before and it totally will be.”

Will ‘LIR’ get a reissue to celebrate?

“There is talk of this. Maybe a complete discography. Definitely needs a vinyl release, and negotiations are already underway.”

Is this just a one-off?

“Well I’m going to say yes as we are all busy doing other bands to make this too much of a priority. However, if it all works out well then we may take it out to some other towns and cities in the future. Can’t really commit to more than one gig at this stage.”

What happens if you like being on stage again too much?

“We already do. Whether it’s in this band or any of the other bands we do, the buzz is pretty much the same. Just the same as any other drug really. Don’t care where it’s coming from and who I’m doing it with, just as long as it’s still there, getting me off my nut. Or something like that. Don’t do drugs kids.”

Canvas’s whole discography is up on Bandcamp as pay what you want/free.

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Ritual Festival on Facebook.

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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