After 12 years as a band, Orillia, Canada’s Bleeker are embarking on their first tour of the United States. Touching down in Santa Barbara this Monday, March 28 at Velvet Jones with England’s The Struts, the band will be arriving with a just-released self-titled EP. I spoke with lead singer Taylor Perkins about the new EP, the upcoming tour, and lessons they’ve learned over their years as a band.
How has your 2016 been so far? It’s been pretty intense. I can say we’ve been doing our band for like 12 years now and it’s never ramped up like this before, so it’s kind o crazy. We’re starting to book tours now and have a single release. We’ve never had a team behind us and we’ve never experienced something like this before so it’s pretty intriguing. We’re getting more organized and more clear which is good — clear is hard to find in the music industry. … It’s pretty awesome seeing these things being released. It never happened and now it did, and we have a group of people as excited about these songs as we are.
You’ve been at it for a long time — 12 years — and now you’re having your biggest year yet. What were some of the lessons you learned on the way to get here? One of the biggest lessons is you always have to meet the fans and really be a person. We always go out after the show and talk to people and that’s where we get most of our fans. I don’t know – to just be a person and go out and have fun at the end of the night and relax, and not to take yourself too seriously ever.
Where are you guys from in Canada? I have family up in Toronto. Orillia. We’re like an hour a half north of Toronto. It’s pretty amazing. The summers are really, really incredible. We’re between two lakes and we’re the gateway to Muskoka cottage country. It’s a small town and sometimes there’s absolutely nothing to do and it’s the worst place ever … we just played music in the winter.
The song “I’m Not Laughing Now” is my favorite on your EP. Can you tell me about that song? That song, and a lot of these songs on this record are older songs. They’re these weird songs that never really fit with what we were doing. This song used to be called “Cereal Box.” I had this old laptop computer and I recorded it in my tub. I played a cereal box as a snare and made this really, really, extremely terrible demo and gave it to everybody I know and they said, “Oh it’s kinda good!” It just kinda stuck around for years. I showed it to the guy who produced the record, James Michael, and He’s like, “We need to match that,” and that’s why it sounds a little different. We tried to keep that raw… not crappy, but really organic sound to it and, I don’t know, it still sounds pretty cool… I’m really happy, that’s definitely my favorite song and the best song on the EP.
How do you feel about the upcoming tour with The Struts? We leave on Sunday. Stoked! It’s our first American show so it’s gonna be intense, and the Struts are gonna be amazing,
How does it feel now to be at this point in your career with some big tours coming up? Oh it’s great. It’s really fun telling friends and family how excited we are to basically be able to see the entire United States playing music — which is amazing. You don’t really get that in a normal job. It’s hard not to be excited. I wish the tour was in the winter so we could be out of there then… We’re staying an extra day or two just to see the Grand Canyon and that sort of stuff.
What are some of the crazier stories from your time as a band? We’ve been able to open up for great bands like Iron Maiden and seeing them was insane. Going out and seeing that crowd was crazy, to kind of look back and think how the hell did we do that? Those kinds of moments are what it’s about.