Interview || The one with Scott Middleton from Cancer Bats

I had the chance to chat with Scott Middleton from Cancer Bats and have him undergo an arguably awkward interview, where we analyzed everything from pizza to terrorism to funerals.

U: The most important question I have to ask: why do sandwiches taste better when cut diagonally?
S.M.: I completely agree with you, this is true. I'd say it's kinda... I have the same theory about pizza; that, if you cut pizza into squares, it's not as good as if it's cut in a circle, like in a pie, and cut it into a nice triangle...

U: Exactly! And it's hard to pick it up, if it's pizza.
S.M.: Exactly. It has a nice handle but I think the thing is about something like... I don't know, the point goes into your mouth nicely? (laughs) It's gonna sound strange but I think it's like, especially if I'm talking about pizza, my reasoning is that it's always like, with each bite, you get a slightly different texture. You go from the softest to the hardest part of the pizza, which you can choose to eat or not. I think it's the same way about sandwiches, but what I'm thinking also is that, if I make a sandwich at home like a grilled cheese sandwich, which you have to cut diagonally because then you're dipping it in ketchup...

U: You are..?
S.M.: Well this is the tradition where I'm from, yes. So, you put cheese on bread and you grill it with butter...

U: I know how it's done!
S.M.: Haha some people don't so they think it's the craziest thing ever! I showed it to my friend and she thought I was crazy...

U: No! It's crispy, it's tasty, and the way the butter turns brown...
S.M.: Yes, exactly. But...

U: I cook a lot.
S.M.: Then you get the little point in ketchup and it just seems to work nicely.

U: No, I truly don't. I like to eat it as it is.
S.M.: You gotta try it! It's surprisingly good. The other way people have it is they dip it into tomato soup.

U: NO! No, no, no.
S.M.: Yes. It's a very American thing. I'm from Canada, we do ketchup, but in America it's grilled cheese and tomato soup. I'm sorry but that's how it is!

U: Next question... If you could cast each member of the band as a villain, who would each member be?
S.M.: That's a good question! Well, I guess Mikey would have to be Dr. Octopus from Spider-man because he'd have more hands that he could drum with and he could play even more drums if he wanted to. And I think Dr. Octopus wears glasses, and so does Mikey, so that works. I don't know if he's a villain but Jaye could be Ghostrider, the guy who rides on a motorcycle and comes back from the dead. And I'm saying that because I know it's Jaye's favorite comic book character, and Jaye rides a motorcycle, and he was really pissed off at Nicolas Cage for playing “Ghostrider” in the movies, and I'm trying to think of a good one for Liam... Hmmm I need to find something that fits his personality. That's a tricky one... Maybe the Joker? Liam is always making jokes...

U: But he's not deranged.
S.M.: Well he's not deranged but he always has an excitable character, he's always talking, making jokes, he probably should have been a comedian if he wasn't gonna be a singer. Maybe not with the green hair but Joker always wears a purple suit, Liam has worn white jeans in the past so maybe that's... forward thinking fashion?

U: What about you?
S.M.: This is tricky. I don't see myself as evil.

U: OK, as a superhero then!
S.M.: Oh! I guess he's kind of a villain so Sabertooth, Wolverine's brother but enemy who's also played by a Canadian actor in the movie. Sabertooth is Wolverine's more blond brother essentially but they hate each other.

U: What superpower does your music have? Like it can be the factor that turns Bruce Banner into the Hulk.
S.M.: That's a good question! It's not telepathy. Do we suck the life out of people? Like Rogue from X-Men? Maybe we're like Wolverine's healing ability. Maybe we're like Magneto and we attract all things metal, including metalheads! (laughs)

U: If your couch was on fire, what would you do? The other day, my friend told me he'd grab a steak and grill it instead of putting it out.
S.M.: Of course my first instinct is to put it out but I like this idea...

U: Maybe roast some marshmallows?
S.M.: Yeah! There you go! Exactly! Make 'smores! I like your campfire marshmallow idea. That's my favorite thing to throw over fire -other than meat.

U: You receive $1000. What do you spend it on?
S.M.: I'd buy a new microphone because I'm getting into recording bands and I'm trying to make a microphone collection right now.

U: So you'd set up a whole studio.
S.M.: Yeah I think so. That's a good start. Although I could take a trip somewhere.

U: I think Liam should be answering this next question because I don't know what your relationship is with coffee, but I'm going to ask anyway? Would you rather give up coffee or your favorite food?
S.M.: If I had to give it up... Yeah you're right, that doesn't work for me because I would give up coffee faster that anything else, but my favorite food? I've thought about it, like, can I go without eating pizza for a long time? Or something like that, which is not very healthy for you but then, there's something wonderful about pizza so why would you give that up? And also pizza is the easiest shitty food to eat, and even if it's made shitty, it's still OK. I would find it easier to give up hamburgers. We had a producer on the first album, and he made this joke where he was like “how's the worst sex you've ever had?” and he was like “eh it was great!”. Pizza is the same way. “What's the worst pizza you've ever had? It was good!” And he always made this parallel.

U: What's one thing you can't seem to get over?
S.M.: It's sort of topical but whatever. When those attacks in Paris happened, that really bummed me out because it really hit close to home because I have so many good friends that live in Paris and, the thing is, when that happened in that venue, Bataclan, I've been there before. I don't know the guys in Eagles Of Death Metal that well, I've met them before at a festival, they were really nice, but one of my good friends is good friends with them so I was freaking out, trying to call people... And this is a guy from Germany [who] told me [he] was gonna meet with them in a couple of days, and then he wasn't answering his phone... Every time I think about it, it gives me shivers because...

U: This could be anywhere -not to quote Alexisonfire.
S.M.: Haha exactly. I think it was really wake up call for the western world; you're vulnerable, you kinda have to go live your life anyway, but it's scary. People like this randomly targeting innocent people...

U: ...who are paying for their country's idiotic foreign policy.
S.M.: Yeah and this is it. Of course I think it's cowardly to walk into a room and fire off a machine gun but that stuff bothers me. I hope the world can have peace, as cheesy and unrealistic as it may sound. I don't want things like that happening. If that had happened the next day, when Deftones was playing [3 sold out shows –ed.], I would have had 40 friends there because I knew so many people from London that were flying, and all my friends had tickets... I had friends right next door to these places and thank God they're all OK. Why does this have to to happen? It's 2016, we should be past that stuff! Violence is fucked up and so is, like you said, countries' foreign policy, like, they don't need to be there! They don't need to do that shit! They don't need to invade other countries! Fuck off! Let them do their own thing! Anyways... We can go on with politics and all that kind of crap but let's not.

U: Let's not... What's a song you can't stand?
S.M.: There's a couple... I'm trying to think of one right now that's absolutely fucking horrible. I really hate that song “Niggas In Paris” by Jay-Z and Kanye West. There was a period when the guys in the band were playing this song in the van 30 times a day on repeat. I don't know, they just thought it was funny... I definitely learnt to hate that song. I like something with slightly more substance than that.

U: What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever done?
S.M.: There's been some weird shit. It's always weird for us when someone goes “hey sign my arm, I'm gonna get it tattooed!” and you're like “Really? I wish you you would've told me that before I signed your arm so that A. I wouldn't do it and would have said 'no' and B. I would have at least tried to write it better. But that doesn't bother me that much because they can get it covered up. Oh! Not with Cancer Bats but with the band I was in before Cancer Bats we had this weird thing where someone contacted us to play a birthday party and we were like “Yeah sure!”. But the birthday party was a show with a whole lot of other bands. So we show up and it was the birthday party for this girl, her grand parents and ten of her friends and it was super super awkward. We did it, whatever, and then she started calling me 'cause I was the contact of the band, and she wouldn't stop. It was really annoying. So one night I check my answering machine and there was a message, like (creepy voice) “Hey, guess what? I carved your band's name on my arm last night! Bye!”.

U: ...You should have just called them back and tell them to get help.
S.M.: She needed help, I'm sure, but anybody that would do that is just “AAARGH!!! I need to move away!”. Eventually things stopped, which is good! And that was even before I was in a band that was popular!

U: What's the furthest you've gone to impress the opposite gender?
S.M.: (laughs) The furthest I've gone? Fly myself around the world! (laughs) Geographically I've went pretty far!

U: What's the biggest misconception about Canadians?
S.M.: I think a lot of people believe that Canadians are all polite, which is true to an extent. I know many who are not. Maybe with other Canadians they're not, I don't know. I consider myself a polite Canadian but I'm easily offended by many others who are not. Another misconception is, when we travel, a lot of people think we are Americans, so we're like “No, we are Canadian” and they'll be like “Same thing!”. No, it's a separate country. If you go to Austria and call them German they'll say “No, we're not!”. Also some people will try to make fun of Canadians for the way they speak. Instead of saying “about” we say “aboot”. Which in my experience is more like “a-boat” than “aboot”...

U: Or when you say “sorry”.
S.M.: Americans say “sawrry”, we say “sorry”, we make the “O” sound. Which I think is ironic because Americans are mispronouncing the word. But hey, maybe England can be the tie-breaker on that!

U: What is the last awkward situation you found yourself in?
S.M.: Right now! (laughs) I'm joking. Really awkward? I have a terrible memory, I'm so sorry... Oh! Probably at the airport, when I'm going through the airport security, and something in my bag set the alarm off, so they had to open it up and he decided to open up the compartment in my bag which I had last night's concert underwear in, that was soaking wet and really gross. I was like “You shouldn't open that...” but he did anyway so he was like “uurgh...”. I warned you, man. I do my laundry at the end of the tour.

U: Two more questions; they don't require any memory at all. Fuck, marry, kill in your band.
S.M.: … (laughs) Fuck, marry, kill..? In my band..? uuuh (laughs) Oh my God! OK, so... I would...

U: If this is too weird, I can go to the last question. If you died right now, what song would you want to play at your funeral?
S.M.: Whooa that's a good one! It can be a short song.

U: When the casket goes down, it can be something dramatic.
S.M.: The Imperial March from Star Wars? See now you put this image in my head. You talk about this thing going down but I'm picturing the video for the Guns N Roses song, “Estranged”, where Slash comes out of the water playing the guitar solo. So Slash should play that solo while being lowered in the ground with me.

U: Dude! That's morbid!
S.M.: Hey! You're the one talking about funerals!

U: I asked about the song, not which artist you'd bury!
S.M.: I know but I like that song a lot. It's a nice long one, it's epic... It's representative of a life. Maybe my life. It starts slow, then goes crazy, crash and burn... I hope I'm not foretelling my death here! I do have to catch a flight in the morning!

U: (laughs) I think we're done here!

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