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- Posted on Jun 12th 2012 4:30PM by Drew Berner
Of course, there are obvious exceptions like AC/DC and the Ramones, who made careers of releasing records that sounded essentially the same. But a band like Ceremony understands the need to keep their sound fresh by trying new things. Their most recent album Zoo isn't a far cry from their earlier hardcore efforts, but its slowed-down tempo and eclectic influences show a band that's gradually maturing, whether they agree with the term or not.
"We are older, we are a lot more mature than when we started the band, but I don't necessarily think that because you aren't as 'punk' or as 'hardcore' as you once were, that makes you more 'mature,'" guitarist Anthony Anzaldo told Spinner over the phone from a tour stop in Florida. "It's just a different style of music. I don't look at different styles of music as more or less mature than others. With that logic, is free-form jazz the most mature style of music? I hate that shit."
Anzaldo's point is taken, but the band have come a long way from the brutal blast beats of their 2006 album Violence Violence. Their youthful anger has been cranked down to a slow simmer and their worldview has broadened along with their musical influences. But, perhaps ironically, youthful restlessness and a distaste for repeating themselves are mostly to blame for the change in their sound.
"We're still influenced and inspired by bands like Black Flag and Crossed Out," Anzaldo was quick to assure. "But we've made records that have emulated those bands already, so subconsciously we're not doing that as much now because we've already done it.
"When you start a band and you hear Black Flag, it's like, 'Fuck that's awesome, I want to do that!' And then you do it. But when you hear it again it's not like, 'Oh shit, that's what I want to do' because you've already done it."
Ceremony's new sound, not to mention their move to a bigger label in Matador Records, has them keeping much different company than they did in their more hardcore days. They're finding themselves sharing stages with a broader range of bands including a concert in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square on June 16 as part of NXNE that will be headlined by the Flaming Lips and include bands like Of Montreal and Portugal. the Man‚ and by extension, reach audiences that may never have heard of them otherwise.
But with these new opportunities to play for new, bigger crowds comes the responsibility and pressure of having to take themselves more seriously. There's no more goofing around before and after shows, less time for getting into trouble and, especially with a band that does everything for themselves, endless details to attend to.
"We have a lot more riding on the band now than we did when we were starting, and we're a lot more musically-driven than we were when we first started," Anzaldo says. "Getting to shows on time and making sure everything is done right, that we play well and sound good has become a much bigger priority than a lot of the silly shit that goes on when you're a lot younger. We all have girlfriends, so, like, what are we going to do?
"I mean, we're in Orlando and we wanted to go to Harry Potter World. But we didn't have time."
Not exactly the sentiment you'd expect from a hardcore band. But at least they're not so mature they don't get upset at missing a trip to Hogwarts.
Ceremony play Spinner AOL's free concert at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto at 3 p.m. on June. 16.