Billy Talent drummer discusses ‘punk rock summer camp’

After creating a following in its home country of Canada over the last 20 years, Billy Talent will be joining the Vans Warped Tour and bringing its punk sound to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg on July 26.

Drummer Aaron Solowoniuk, took time out from the band’s current tour around Europe to speak with The Oracle about Billy Talent’s music, influences and the Warped Tour.

The Oracle (O):Are you excited about joining Warped Tour?

Aaron Solowoniuk (AS): Yes, I’m really excited. I had a lot of fun last time. We played the tour in 2004 and 2006. We’re only doing a 30 minute set the last three weeks of the tour this time. I love the atmosphere of the Warped Tour. It’s like punk rock summer camp. I think we will have a lot of fun.

O: Can you describe your sound for those who may have not heard you before? 

AS: No, it’s so hard to do. I wouldn’t even know what to say. We have a bit of
everything, from love songs to angry songs. We are a rock ‘n’ roll band with punk rock ethics. I don’t think we are really sitting in any one genre to be honest. So I guess let’s just say we’re a punk band.

O: What makes Billy Talent stand out from the other acts playing the tour? 

AS: We’re old. We have been playing together for 20 years, and that kind of says something. There are probably some bands playing at Warped Tour that have members that aren’t even 20 years old. You can really see the experience in our chemistry and our energy. We really do lay it on the line every time we get on the stage. We play as hard as we can every single time. If they have never heard of us, I think they would be pleasantly surprised. 

O: You just released your fifth album. How does it compare to your previous albums? 

AS: This is a really cool, unique stage in our career. We went into this one and did everything by ourselves. It took a little bit longer because we had to learn. It was really fun to only have each other to bounce ideas off of. There was briefly a point where we wondered if we should have someone to give us some constructive criticism, but we got to a point where we fully trusted ourselves and we were really proud of ourselves. 

O: What are your favorite songs off the album? 

AS: I’m in love with all of the songs, but the three that are my favorite to perform live are “Cure of the Enemy,” “Viking Death March” and “Running Across the Tracks.” They are so much fun to play live. 

O: Is the band working on anything new? 

AS: Always. We are always thinking of what the next track will be. Actually, we were just discussing laying down new tracks. When we start winding down in October or November, we will really start fooling around with ideas and get a chance to talk about sound and start preparing for the next album. 

O: Are you experimenting with new styles, or changing your sound at all? 

AS: Yes and no. I do not think we would ever stray too far from our sound, but we would experiment and maybe change the structure of our songs. That is something that is determined in the studio. Creating new music is a fun process. You never really know what is going to happen, and that is exciting. 

O: What bands influence your sound the most? 

AS: Personally, a huge mixture of bands like Rage Against the Machine, Deftones, The Clash and Green Day. Brad Wilk, the drummer from Rage is my favorite drummer of all time, because he just creates beats that make people move, and I think as a drummer you should really be trying to make people at least tap their foot or bob their head. We’re lucky because we play music that inspires people to go crazy, so it’s really fun to play in my band. 

O: If there was one band you could perform with, who would it be and why? 

AS: I have to say Rage Against the Machine. It’s really the only band that we haven’t played with or have been lucky enough to play at a festival where they are at. We have become friends with a lot of great bands that we admire and we are very fortunate. We have played with one of our biggest
inspirations, Green Day, the past two nights and they have played killer performances. Another great memory is performing with Dave Grohl. Dave is one of the greatest people in the world and has played for one of the greatest bands in the world.  He is so down to earth and one of the nicest guys in the world. It’s very strange and very humbling.