This month, Montreal garage-punk champions Priors offered the world their fourth full-length, Daffodil, via local psych-rock specialist label Mothland. An album that showcases the quintet’s ability to blend neo-psychedelia with short and sharp-edged punk bangers. I had the pleasure to discuss with Priors’ main man, Chance Hutchison, the band’s past, present, and future ahead of their upcoming album launch show.
Pan M 360: Daffodil is your first album on Mothland, how did this collaboration come about?
CH: I’ve been friends with JP (Jean-Philippe Bourgeois, Mothland) for a long time. We met on the road, actually, with my old band Sonic Avenues. We were doing a tour up north and in Québec and JP was playing with Cafféine, so that’s how we met. And we’ve just been buds since. He’s booked a few shows for the band over the years. And then I wanted to work with a label closer to home, right? I worked with an American label before and I worked with a European label, but never really a Canadian label. So I asked him if he was into it. And they seem stoked. So that was basically it.
Pan M 360: I noticed there’s a lot of organ and saxophone on the new record. How was your experience in the studio this time?
CH: We recorded everything at our jamspace at Marsonic. All the drums were recorded there, the guitar, the bass, but my friend in Australia did the horns. So it was one of those situations where we were kind of sending things around for people to play on. So it was kind of weird because I’ve never done it like that before, but I’m stoked with how it turned out. The guy who played sax is also a recording engineer, so he really knew what he was doing and it was fairly easy.
Pan M 360: Some of the songs on Daffodil seem to have more of a post-punk approach – I’m thinking of songs like “Optimizer” in particular – Are there certain bands or albums that influenced you while you were in the songwriting process?
CH: For sure. I would always come back to Total Control as a major influence for Priors from the beginning. They were kind of the reason why the band started to be honest with you. But obviously, older stuff has come into play too. Like, I was listening to the first couple of Cure records. Echo and the Bunnymen are always in rotation. Stuff like that. Specifically though, if there was anything I was listening to that directly influenced the song? I don’t think so. But I knew I wanted to do a post-punk song. And I knew I wanted a chorus-y bassline and that was what put me in the headspace of just trying to find something cool, you know?
Pan M 360: You also have a new project now, Private Lives. When you write a song, how do you know ‘Oh, this one is for Priors’ or ‘This one is for Private Lives’?
CH: Usually, it’s ‘Is this song angry enough to be a Priors song, or not?’ You know? The thing is also lately I’ve been writing for Private Lives. So the (Private Lives) tape came out and I was like ‘Okay, well, now I can start writing again.’ That’s usually how I write. And then more songs came and it just came to be ‘Well these are Private Lives songs’ in my head. It was sort of announced today that Feel It is gonna release the LP and the first single comes out next week, so I feel like I’m influenced again to continue to write. But now, finally, Daffodil is out, so fuck, maybe I’m gonna have to start writing some angry songs again! (Laughs). I’m also gonna do a solo record at the end of the month, I’m going into the studio, just because I’ve had so many songs that didn’t fit Priors when I was writing them over the years, and they really didn’t fit Private Lives either. Something a little more glam.
Pan M 360: You’ve been active in the Canadian punk scene for several years now. What do you think has changed for the better?
CH: Well, there are more bands. I mean, it could be good, could be bad, but usually it’s good. For the better? I don’t know… I’m such a jaded old prick! (Laughs)
Pan M 360: Well my next question is ‘And for the worse?,’ if that helps you!
CH: A lot more bands. It almost feels like when I was growing up, like when I started to tour back in 2003, 2004, everybody was in a band. And it was like ‘How is this possible?’ There’s just so much out there. But back then I feel like it was a lot easier to weed through the shit. And now it’s like there’s so much good stuff it can be kind of overwhelming, as a listener and as a music lover.
Pan M 360: It’s hard to keep up.
CH: God! Like those YouTube channels. It drives me nuts. If you love something you bookmark it, but then you don’t even hardly go back to it because there’s already something else. It’s just so wild how much great music is coming out, especially if you like guitar music. You know, it’s out of the mainstream now, but it’s like all of the underground.
Pan M 360: You’re playing your album launch show at l’Esco on June 30. What should the crowd expect?
CH: A lot of sweat. Maybe some blood. Some cowboy hats. We just did shows in Alberta and the boys got set up. So yeah, a lot of energy! I think maybe we’ll throw in some new stuff that we haven’t played before just because it’s been on the back burner for so long. We’ve kind of been playing the same set for about a year now, just because it’s taken so long to get the record out and kind of move along, you know? So, yeah, a good time for sure!
Pan M 360: And what’s the rest of 2023 gonna look like for Priors? Do you have any plans to tour?
CH: It’s difficult now because three of the five dudes have had kids over the pandemic. So it’s a little less easy to fucking get up and go. That being said, I think we’ll probably go to Europe in 2024, maybe in the spring. Because it’s a little late now to be planning that. For the rest of the year, though, I would love to release at least another 7” or something. But as far as shows, it’ll probably just be in Canada, supporting the record.