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The Flatliners: “We wanted to try to reach some new ground with this record”

As The Flatliners bring their new album to the UK for a tour with The Menzingers, frontman Chris Cresswell explains its inception.

The Flatliners: “We wanted to try to reach some new ground with this record”

Toronto Canada’s The Flatliners have just released ‘Inviting Light’ – their fifth studio album, and first for Rise Records. It’s the culmination of 15 years of hard work and sees them at the top of their game – as frontman and guitarist Chris Cresswell explains.

Hey Chris, what are you up to?
I’m sitting on my couch watching Hot Tub Time Machine 2. For the second time…

Your new album’s out now – when did you begin work on it? What was your starting point?
It’s tough to know when one writing process ends and another begins, since there’s always songs that tend to creep up right at the end there before we get into the studio, but might not be fully formed in time for recording… But I think we’ve been working on writing music for Inviting Light in some way since 2013 or 2014. 

The band took a bit of a break in 2015, did you find that helped you get going with this album?
Absolutely. It was a really productive year for us behind the scenes. We still did some touring. We went to Europe, did the Fat Wreck 25th Anniversary Tour in the US, and went to Japan and Australia. But compared to most years it was quieter on the touring front somehow. We did a hell of a lot of writing that year. When we’re home from the road we find the focus we need to dig in and really build something from the ground up together. We wanted to try to reach some new ground with this record, and we needed time to dip our toes into that pool a bit and see how it felt. 2015 became a year with a lot more time being offered up for us to do that.

Where did you write and record? Did it have an effect on the end product?
Your surroundings always find their way to inspire you – as much as the music in your life does. The writing for this record happened everywhere we went. It’s tough to nail it down more than that, but the recording occurred at two different studios in Toronto. We tracked live at Phase One Studios, and isolated the bass and drum tracks from those sessions. We took those to Fox Sounds and kept going deeper with guitar tones, and then tracked all guitars and vocals there. Our friends Peter Pablo and Derek Hoffman produced this album, who are each great contenders from different corners of the rock music influence. There was a really nice collage of backgrounds and musical ability making up the team on this record, which I think only heightens Inviting Light’s eclectic nature.

Are there any songs on the album that especially mean a lot to you?
They all do. They always do. You can never choose favourites, because then the others get jealous.

How did you hook up with Rise Records for its release?
We put out a split 7” with Make Do and Mend on Rise back in 2013. When we were considering having a new label (new for us) put out our next record, we looked at what they’d done with records by buds like the Bouncing Souls, Hot Water Music and Dave Hause, and thought it could be a cool new home for us.

Would you say this release is the start of a new chapter for you guys?
I believe it is. But they all are, you know? With each album you kind of hit the reset button and think more about how to go about your music, how to go about touring, all these things progress and evolve. Inviting Light is our fifth album and the band is celebrating our 15th Anniversary this year, so this one may feel a bit more special now. But in all honestly I think we’ll find some way to make the next one feel just as important to us too. Haha!

You’re touring with The Menzingers here in the UK soon – what can we expect from your live sets?
Well we’re definitely going to have to bust our asses playing between two incredible bands like The Menzingers and The Dirty Nil. We’re excited to get back to the UK with new music and to show off a couple new tricks. We always like throwing a good mix of songs from each record together for our live show. Our new challenge is to find a way to fit five records worth of music into 35-45 minutes. Maybe we’ll just play everything double-time.

Is there anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to visiting while you’re here?
We have a friend who was asked this exact question at customs when coming into the UK years ago. To mess with the border guard, he told them that he had been waiting years to travel to England and see a Tesco. Like it was some museum of consumerism and a turning point in human history. I don’t think the folks at the border had any more questions for him after that, so they just let him in with broken hearts. All that history and all those things he could be seeing, and this poor kid wants to save a couple quid on a cold toastie in a vacuum sealed bag at a Tesco!

Album aside, what’s exciting you right now?
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is really starting to heat up! Just like last time…

The Flatliners’ album ‘Inviting Light’ is out now; they’re currently on tour with The Menzingers around the UK.

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