By Nicole Kobie
Most students on their summer break work, travel or hang with friends. Most people however, don’t get to do all at once. Subb, a punk-ska five-piece from the suburbs of Montreal, are getting to do just that.
After the release of their latest CD, Until the party ends, these university students will spend the summer touring Canada, playing their blend of melodic punk-ska.
"[This is] our first tour across Canada," says bassist Steph. "Although, we’ve toured a lot in Quebec."
Previously, Subb had to cover all the costs of their tours, but, since signing with Stomp Records, they’re getting all the support they need.
While they find touring fun, it hasn’t been trouble free. Subb missed the first show of their current tour due to a broken van. After their show in Thunder Bay, Subb took in a party, where their drummer cut his hand.
"Now, we call him ‘Stitches,’" says Steph.
However, ‘Stitches’ will be unable to play for several dates during the tour. Replacing him is Subb’s soundman, who had only one day to learn all the songs.
Subb’s songs are mostly written by Steph, which explains the lack of French tracks. While the band hails from Quebec, Steph grew up in Nova Scotia, so he writes in English.
"We all listen to English bands, anyway," he adds.
Steph draws on different experiences to craft his melody-heavy punk-ska songs. Many are written for his girlfriend, including "Why passions last?" and "Bright red dress," which also happen to be his favourite tracks on the new album.
"There are three to four songs about my girlfriend," he explains. "That sounds kinda lame, though."
Other songs are more universally understood, at least for Canadians anyway. "L.A. Beach Bum," for example, describes what it’s like to come back from a warm climate to Canada’s freezing winters.
"That song basically talks about that feeling you get just coming back to six inches of snow, almost three feet of snow, coming back from San Diego," explains Steph. "You really want to turn around and get on the plane again."
Subb started as a garage band in 1992. The only band members left from that era are Mart and Steph. Another change the band has gone through since then involves their name. While it’s always been Subb, the letters used to be an acronym.
"It’s a bit embarrassing," says Steph. "[Subb means] ‘Society under Babbling Boobs.’ You can understand why we like to refer to it as just Subb now."
Steph and his bandmates have grown up in the past eight years. He received his certificate in advertising and Steph is hoping to start in that field after finishing the tour this fall.
"It’s career decision time for me," laments Steph. "It’s not easy to do."
Still, he’s happy to be finished school. For the past year, Subb has performed almost every weekend, including during final exam week.
"I’ll study in the van or while the soundcheck’s going on," explains Steph.
Subb will perform June 21 in the MacEwan Hall Ballroom.