The New Jacobin Club: EP review and interview

Saskatoon horror rock band release new EP entitled Left Behind

I can still remember witnessing what was likely the first official New Jacobin Club show in Saskatoon. It was waaaay back in 1996 and I was 16-years-old. The three-piece stumbled on stage and ripped through a wobbly set of some seriously catchy, ghoulish death rock.

Of course, this was Saskatoon back in the day, when the punk scene was dangerous and lots of freaky shit happened.

“I managed to leave the show relatively unscathed and hepatitis-free

One of the dudes in the audience, who was wearing nothing but a kilt and a pair of army boots, had drenched himself in fake blood and was running around pushing people, goading them into some sort of reaction. The best part? Several crust-ier punks drunkenly calling him a poseur and then bottling themselves, and each other, eliciting a torrent of real blood.

Saskatoon’s punk scene used to be a lot more interesting back then.

However, I managed to leave the show relatively unscathed and hepatitis-free, and I also nabbed a copy of the New Jacobin Club’s debut three-song cassette tape, entitled Pacifists Are Suckers.

Pacifists Are Suckers

Over 15 years and countless personnel changes later and the songs are still some of my favourite from the band.

For their latest release, The New Jacobin Club have dropped a four song EP entitled Left Behind, which features four songs from the band’s 1990’s catalogue. Stacked up next to their other releases, which include several full-lengths, a couple of vinyl 7”’s and some cassettes, it is probably some of their strongest material to date. Even better, the song “My Smile”, which was featured on the Pacifists tape, sounds absolutely ripping in comparison to its tinny older version from 1996.

Ominocity caught up with New Jacobin Club mainstay The Horde to chat about the new EP, the band’s upcoming full-length album and their next live appearance.

Ominocity: Why release songs from the band’s back catalogue?

The Horde: “They are brand new recordings. Two of them were never studio recorded in the first place, but were staples in our live sets in the 1990’s. We could just have easily not drawn any attention to the fact, as we were originally going to, and include them on our next full-length. But the true point of the recording session – a 15-year anniversary project – would have been denied. We really wanted to forge a solid link to the group’s past, and what better way than to have the current 2011/2012 line up of the NJC re-introduce our earliest material to our newer fans? The response so far has been pretty positive. Even if you’ve never heard the NJC before, this EP still stands alone as a new release.”

OM: What can fans expect from the upcoming full-length?

TH: “We learned a lot from the titanic difficulty of assembling This Treason a couple years back. We are going to continue onwards with the sort of holistic art form we’ve established – storytelling, theatrical accompaniment, artwork, the concept album format, but perhaps not on the same level of sheer complexity. A good portion of our last album was extremely difficult to play live, and it made us look back at what made some of our earlier material so effective. I think what you’re going to hear next will be the definitive NJC sound. We are revisiting some older songwriting techniques but bringing them into the realms of the larger group that we are today. We’ll be playing a few of these newer songs live in May. Left Behind is a pretty good taste of what you can expect next.”

OM: Any upcoming plans for live shows/other releases?

TH: “May 12 we are in Saskatoon at The Fez, the Saskatoon venue that puts up with our difficult scheduling issues and messy live show. It will also be the only live show we do this spring as a 10-piece group with some new faces and new visual stimulations! We’ll be out of province for a few more shows the following week promoting Left Behind and giving some of our yet-to-be-recorded material some stage time. As for a release date, I’m not even going to speculate. I’m usually six months to a year off.”

Catch the New Jacobin Club on tour:

May 12, 2012 – Saskatoon, SK – The Fez
May 24, 2012 – Edmonton, AB – DV8 Tavern
May 25, 2012 – Calgary, AB – Dickens Pub
May 26, 2012 – Wainwright, AB – JD’s Saloon