Rockers Billy Talent has included a Red Deer stop as they take their latest disc Dead Silence on a nationwide tour.
The band plays the Centrium on March 19.
Dead Silence marks the follow-up to Billy Talent I, II and III and was recorded in studios in Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles.
The disc was produced by the band’s guitarist Ian D’Sa and is perfect proof for Billy Talent’s inner strength, focus and work ethic; traits that have turned them into one of the most successful rock acts of the past decade.
When Billy Talent launched their journey into what would become Dead Silence, all they knew was that they wanted to record an CD in the traditional sense of the word — a collection of songs that all tie in with each other, a journey through ups and downs, highs and lows, hope and decay, love and disgust, joy and sadness.
The band started working on the project after purchasing a building in east Toronto where they could rehearse, record and stock their gear while not on tour.
D’Sa, singer Ben Kowalewicz, drummer Aaron Solowoniuk and bassist Jon Gallant set up their headquarters, building walls, varnishing floors, painting and getting the new computers and pro-tools running.
“After that we saw the potential of what we could do with this place,” said D’Sa. “It was so big that we could actually build a recording studio in it. We thought it’d be a good idea so that we could demo the new songs. It turned out to be a beneficial thing for the album.”
The goal for each member was to push their boundaries for the new CD and as with the previous albums, the band channeled their ideas into compositions by D’Sa.
For Dead Silence, he envisioned Kowalewicz’s voice as the ‘fourth musketeer’, an additional instrument, the link between his leads and the rhythm section.
“On this record I wanted to step up what we do with vocals,” said D’Sa. “A lot of the vocal melodies are super high, or in the higher register, so I pushed Ben pretty hard in the vocal booth a couple of times. He nailed it.”
Ultimately, the guys point to their camaraderie as one of the key strengths of the group.
“If anyone has an idea, the others know it is for the greater good of the song,” said Kowalewicz. “We always ask ourselves what can we do individually and collectively to make this song the best we possibly can.”
D’Sa agrees about the dedication to collaboration. “If I write a piece of music and I already know that I want a guitar thing to happen here and then a vocal thing to happen there, Jon may not know that. So if he has a bass idea I think it’s important to keep an open dialogue going and listen to everyone’s ideas.”
For Dead Silence the guys left the production to D’Sa, who had co-produced Billy Talent II. “Our fans really liked the sound of Billy Talent II,” said D’Sa. “We were confident that this is our sound, and we just wanted to execute that.”
In the midst of the recording, the band was rocked to its foundation when, around Christmas of 2011, Solowoniuk broke the news that he would have to undergo heart surgery.
“I knew about it for five years,” the drummer explained. “My heart was working overtime. In order to get the right amount of blood through my veins it had to work harder and it was growing at that point. The doctor said if I would let it go over a year or two, it would be terrible. After he told me that, I had open heart surgery to get it fixed. The surgery is a routine thing. But for anyone who’s going through it, it’s pretty scary. But I had a great doctor and that’s why it healed so fast.
“I started playing drums lightly eight weeks later. Twelve weeks after the surgery I was pushing myself because I knew I had to play live. So I pushed through it, and it feels great. Drums are fun and everything just feels easier, whereas before I was getting tired a lot. So I guess I’m fixed.”
While Solowoniuk was pushing for recovery, his friends kept working on Dead Silence, refining ideas and looking for words to fit the music.
“The thing with Aaron jarred all of us; it was pretty shocking and tough to wrap your head around, especially after all the things he’s already been through,” said Kowalewicz. “That really shook the foundation and it came at a weird point as well, we were already so far (in the recording process). But when you put everything in context of Aaron’s situation, then the rest is pretty small.”
Meanwhile, the band touches base with various subjects, from the ubiquity of advertising’s impact on culture to the fake reality implemented by social networks. “A lot of the album has to do with how important it is not to get caught up in material culture, internet culture and all those things that distract us from what’s real,” added Kowalewicz. “Life is real. So go for a walk, turn your phone off. Go get some sun on your face. Get some perspective.”
For ticket information, visit www.ticketmaster.ca.