"Latefallen doesn't agree on a lot of things, like where we should go to eat or transportation but when it comes to the music, we're completely united." That's the word from Stephan LaCasse, the western-reared vocalist for Toronto's Lakefallen.
LaCasse grew up in Vernon, BC and ultimately found his way to Toronto via Calgary, having arriving at Pearson Airport on Halloween night 2002, "I basically moved to Toronto in my Halloween costumeóit was a kick-ass Nikki Sixx get-up." Mere days into his residency, he shacked up with musicians from weirdo places like Europe and midtown, and Latefallen was born.
The five-piece combines ponderous riffs with LaCasse's urgent vocals to create a sound that hovers somewhere beyond the Bermuda triangle of metal, emo and hardcore punk.
"There is a wide range of musical influences within Lakefallen and I think that's really important," says guitarist Vanya Drakul. "If we were all constantly listening to the same stuff, there wouldn't be the variety you can hear in our sound. When you start with metal and hardcore and punk and then allow all these other influences to work their way into the music, that's when your sound develops."
Drakul, a veteran of the European music community who once toured with Motorhead, matches his impressive pedigree with that of his homegrown bandmates. Guitarist Anthony Poto (ex-Crawl), bassist Chris Harris (ex-Monster Voodoo Machine) and drummer Bob Onyskiw round out the fivesome, and together, the band's music has been rattling windows up and down Queen Street and other ports of call. Scenesters and chuckers alike have been taking notice, a fact not lost on Drakul.
"With every show, our fanbase is growing. Our last gig at the Horseshoe, I didn't know three quarters of the people. Plus we're getting all of these request from underage kids who can't get into the bars to hear us. That's going to be the next step for usóputting on some all-ages shows and expanding our market that much more."
LaCasse adds, "It's funny because we've been working really hard at marketing the band but developing a specific fanbase isn't really something you think about. It's not like we're targeting certain people; it just builds on its own."
You'd think a band so stylistically divided amongst itself might risk implosion or worse, mean-spirited putdowns, yet this dichotomy is, again, what makes Latefallen click. Even though LaCasse cut his teeth amid the breakneck angst of the suburban punk sprawl of mainland Alberta and BC, his influences have long been digested by Latefallen and absorbed into the band's bloodstream. He admits that the music of his youth definitely finds its way into the Latefallen sound and feels that this will always be the case to some degree.
"You can't shake your roots even if you tryóit's part of you. That said, the music scene out west is a lot different than the music scene in Toronto. There are these subtle differences that I can't really put a finger on. In Alberta and BC, there's the whole sports culture that really informs the musicóthe snowboarding and skateboarding; it all goes together. In Toronto, music seems like more of an escape. From work and from pollution and from the millions of people around you."
While the band had already invaded Ottawa, Guelph and other Ontario cities, they realize that it's their hometown that will ultimate dictate how far Lakefallen will go. Yes, Toronto is a trollop that has emasculated many a band prior but between their guts, their glories and their devotion to the basilica of the electric guitar, Drakul and his Lakefallen bandmates are confident that their discord will endure.
"On a Friday or Saturday night in Toronto, you literally have hundreds of other bands performing somewhere in the city so the competition is very intense. It's friendly and all but really, you're always trying to outdo the bands you play with. It only pushes you to do better."
Catch Latefallen in concert:
Nov 26: Toronto ON, The Reverb - with Spokane Jupiter, Reason Disappears
For more information on Latefallen, please visit their official web site at: www.latefallen.com.
Writer: Cameron Gordon