Co-founder Eric Daigle chats about the band, their debut album and the Punkton Phenomenon.
We often hear the phrase “there must be something in the water” when people are trying to describe a region rich with intangible resources, like the recent groundswell of artists making things happen in Saint John or Tobique First Nation’s prolific and diverse musical output. If that phrase holds any substance at all, there must be a lot more than mud in the Petitcodiac River because for more than three decades now, Moncton has been the province’s undisputed Punk Rock Capital. Think about it. Bands like Purple Knight, Bad Luck #13, Hope, Nerve Button, Fear of Lipstick, Radium Doxy, Phone Jerks, Dirty Kills, Bit Lip and countless others…they’re all from Moncton.
You’d think that at some point over the years the city would reach peak-punk and some other genre would rise to the top or at least grow to parallel the admirable amount of noisy guitars and up-tempo attitude that call Moncton home. But no, while there’s a lot of music happening in the Hub City covering just about every genre going, that city is definitely paved in punk rock.
Chiller are one of the latest groups to sprout from the city’s punk roots. The band’s debut, S/T or Hand of an Avaricious and Thoughtless Man was released February 2 via Dirt Cult Records (USA) and Rockstar Records (Germany).
I spoke with Chiller co-founder Eric Daigle to learn a bit more about the band and their debut release.
First of all, how did you get Dave Dudley on board as engineer for the project? I was a Furnaceface fan back in the day.
Eric Daigle: Dave was awesome in every way. I first met him from buying records from him. He had his brothers old distro in his drum shop and I stumbled upon it and went nuts. All 90’s pop punk and garage stuff, it was crazy. Found some real gems. Not long after, another band I played in (Cheap Whine) ended up doing drum tracks with Dave after our drummer (Jordy Bell) had heard he had some great analog tape gear. I really enjoyed working with him, and so when it was time to record Chiller I hit him up without a thought. Seriously awesome and charges less than what he’s worth. A punker’s dream.
When I first read about this album, I thought ‘leave it to a Moncton band to get their debut released on vinyl through a pair of labels’. It just seems like Moncton is connected in a way no other city in NB is. Does it feel that way as someone who lives there?
ED: Haha. Maybe? I’ve been doing this a long time I guess… played my first show with my first band in 2000 I think? That’s almost 20 years. Made a lot of incredible friends since then. I definitely consider myself very lucky, but if I had to figure out the ‘Punkton Phenomenon’, it’s probably that we’re all so supportive of each other. Plus there’s nothing like a hip new young band on the scene to make you bring out your own “A” game.
How did these label connections come about? Was it a result of connections made through past projects or are these 100% fresh relationships?
ED: Well I’ve been doing stuff with Chris Mason over at Dirt Cult for a while now, I first became aware of him when he reached out to me to release a Fear of Lipstick album years ago. Fast forward a few years and I send him some Feral Trash demos and been working with him ever since. He’s the fucking greatest and so supportive and just a fantastic human being. I only met him in person once at Ottawa Explosion a few years ago when his band Low Culture (so good!) were playing. We drank in the back corner and watched Nervosas together. Really meant a lot to me. As for Rockstar, Arne Gülzau had reached out to me a few times over the years wanting to do something. Him and the rest of the guys at Rockstar have also been top shelf and I hope to keep doing stuff with them in future as well.
I read on the Noreaster that these songs are now about two years old and actually predate the band. You also hint toward having new music ready to record. How has the songwriting evolved with addition of a full lineup?
ED: Well usually Ilisha or myself will have the tunes pretty much written before we get into the jam room. We’re not really the “let’s mess around and see what comes out of it” types. That being said there is definitely an evolution when the other members start to write their parts. Playing them with different people almost always changes the feel or dynamic of the song. We try to embrace that I think. Getting comfortable with new people can take time, but we’ve always been lucky in the sense we usually try to recruit friends and it doesn’t take too long before we all get used to each other in a band dynamic. Mario and Billy are no exception. We love them a lot and are super happy they want to be involved.
What’s 2018 have in store for Chiller?
ED: Write some songs, play some shows, make some records, hang with friends.