Paul: Hi! Please introduce yourself and your role in the band.
David: My name is David Guillas, everyone calls me Beaver. I play the guitar.
Paul: Most bands do the record/release/tour…record/release/tour cycle when it comes to putting out records, but you chaps seem to take slightly longer in that process with around five years between albums. Is there a reason why you take so long or are you just giving Axl Rose a run for his money?
David: I’ve only been a member of the band since 2006, so I can only speak of our experience with the new record. We all just want to write the best songs we are capable of writing and want them to sound good and heavy and honest. This process can take some time. Also, we all have lives here in Winnipeg we don’t want to abandon by touring 10 months of the year then rushing back in to the studio to do it all again. We try to maintain a healthy balance between the band and our home lives.
Paul: Bands always come out and say their new album is the best work they’ve done yet – so tell us why we should check out ‘Supporting caste’. Is there anything different we can expect from Propagandhi on this new record compared to ‘Potemkin City Limits’?
David: I think the songs on Supporting Caste represent a logical growth from previous albums. I think everyone’s songwriting and playing chops are up. Also the addition of a fourth creative contributor (myself) hopefully brings something new to the table. As someone who was a huge fan of the band for many years before I joined, I do think this is Propagandhi’s best record to date.
Paul: You’ve chosen to work with different labels in different territories rather than stick to one as you have done previously. What attracted you to work with Hassle in the UK and why have you chosen not to work with Fat Wreck Chords?
David: The short answer is that Fat just didn’t seem very interested. We would like to work with folks who share our enthusiasm.
Paul: Are you surprised at the recent surge in vinyl?
David: I didn’t realize there has been a surge. I guess that doesn’t surprise me; I much prefer the experience of listening to a record than dialing something up on an ipod or a computer.
Paul: What can we expect from the UK shows in April?
David: We’ve been practicing very, very hard here on all the tunes, so I think the quality of our shows—as far as our playing goes—should be much improved. I don’t think the band has ever sounded better!
Paul: As I write this we’re just days away from Barack Obama being inaugurated and I wanted to ask a series of semi-political questions. As music becomes more accessible, do you think the message bands convey, either in their lyrics or as part of their image, has become watered down? Do you think bands have less to say nowadays than they did, perhaps 5 or 10 years ago? What do you think to bands like Anti-Flag who have been staunchly political but have gone on and signed to a major and gradually watered down their sound and their message?
David: Well, to be honest I am pretty out of touch with most of the music being released now-a-days. I definitely gravitate to music released in the ‘70s and ‘80s. It seems to me that it is becoming increasingly rare to hear a band that approaches what they do with honesty and integrity. If music seems “watered down,” as you say, I think that is because music as a commodity is more marketable that way.
Paul: Can you sum up George W Bush’s 8 years as president in one sentence? Is America – and the world – totally and utterly ruined by his actions, both economically and in people’s perceptions the world over?
David: I think most of the world can agree that Bush Jr. is an awful, awful man. But I think the problem goes much deeper than just this one man. It’s a fucked system that will continue to fuck things up, no matter what goof you put in the White House.
Paul: Is America ready for a black president? As a Canadian, you obviously couldn’t vote but if you could have, would you have voted last year? On
a similar note, is America ready for a woman in the White House, whether it be Sarah Palin or Hilary Clinton?
David: Of course—any one who is uncomfortable with a non-White or a non-Male dweeb in a position of power has a world-view informed by hatred and intolerance. I do fear, though, that this characterizes a large number of people in the States—and also here in Canada. If I could have voted, I probably would have supported Ralph Nader.
Paul: Can Barack Obama really save the world as people expect him to? Has he bitten off more than he can chew? Where does he need to start – at home with the economic crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or trying to broker a peace deal in Israel/Palestine?
David: I do not believe that Obama is the saviour people are hyping him as. It’s a nice thought, and I hope I’m wrong. I do think he is less of a lunatic than previous presidents, but the political system he has just become the figure head of is still insane—that has not changed.
Paul: When you won the 2006 ECHO songwriting award you donated a lot of the prize money to The Welcome Place which helps refugees start new lives in Manitoba. What attracted you to this specific charity? Proceeds of the live DVD benefited the Grassy Narrows blockade and the Middle East Children’s Alliance too – are you working with any specific charities on the new record?
David: Todd has actually been volunteering a lot of his time over the last several years working with the Welcome Place, so it seemed like a good place to share some of that money with. We are donating the proceeds from a CD release show we are doing here in Winnipeg on March 21st to the Canada-Haiti Action Network and to Sage House, which provides a resource centre and a safe place for women and transgender individuals working in the sex trades.
Paul: Will it be another five years before we hear a new Propagandhi record?
David: I don’t think so! We’re already working on new tunes! I think Todd has a handful and I have two on the go. And I’m sure Chris has some hot licks up his sleeve too! As much as I love our new record, I honestly think that the best is yet to come!
Paul: Finally – a question I’m sure you’re totally bored of answering but what the hey, does ska still suck?