Features, Interviews

COPS, Craft Beer, and Canada: A Conversation with Like Pacific’s Luke Holmes

luke holmes

Like Pacific has had one hell of a year, and it’s not even halfway over. Not only did they release their debut album back in February, but the quintet will soon be departing their native Toronto to spend two months traversing the US on the Warped Tour. I spoke with guitarist Luke Holmes to see how the band is holding up.

Ruby Johnson: You’re gearing up for your first year on Warped Tour. Which bands are you most excited to be touring with on Warped? Anyone that you’ve always dreamed of touring with, and now are fulfilling that dream?

Luke Holmes: I would say Sum 41 and Good Charlotte are the two big ones for sure. We all grew up listening to and looking up to those bands so being on a tour with them is pretty wild! I’m sure if you told 15-year-old me that I would be touring with either of those bands one day my head would explode or something.

RJ: After independently releasing several EPs, you’ve put out your self-titled EP and Distant Like You Asked through New Damage and Pure Noise Records. How has the writing process changed from being wholly independent to being signed?

LH: I don’t think the writing process has changed too much for us from being independent to on a label. We’ve never felt any pressure from Pure Noise or New Damage to write into certain styles or genres of music. They’ve both been really great at letting us do our thing musically and creatively, which we’re super thankful for and value a lot.

RJ: What about moving from EPs into LP territory? Obviously it requires more time and effort to make a longer album, but did the creative process have to change at all?

LH: The creative process definitely changed a lot from the EPs to the LP. To start, both Greg (guitar) and myself (guitar) weren’t even in the band at the time the Like Pacific EP was written and tracked. So we obviously had no part in the creative process for that release. So writing Distant Like You Asked ended up being pretty nerve wracking for myself and I’m pretty sure the whole band really. We had no idea what kind of songs we were setting off to write, or which direction we wanted to take our debut full length record in. Looking back, I think that transition sort of set us up perfectly to write the record that we did—we had no boundaries or expectations in terms of musical style, and we literally just wrote riffs and parts that we liked or thought could be cool and built the songs up from there. I feel like it was a super organic and genuine approach to writing a full length record and we’re all really happy with how it turned out.

RJ: There’s quite a few pop punk bands out there right now. How do you differentiate your sound to make it stand out from the crowd?

LH: Oh man is there ever. We like to think of ourselves as a little edgier and heavier than a lot of “pop punk” bands out there. We all love punk and hardcore music and we like to think at least a little bit of that shows in our music and how we come across. I touched on this a little bit in the previous response but when we wrote DLYA we didn’t set out to sound like any other band or style or subgenre or whatever. We just wrote music and riffs that we liked and that was all there was to it. It’s an honest reflection of ourselves and our band at that time, which is definitely unique and specific to us as individuals and our band at that time. I feel like that puts us and our music in a different boat than a lot of other bands doing it out there now.

RJ: Jordan Black has been quoted as saying “I wrote [‘Worthless Case’] about how I put genuine time and effort into getting to know someone, and after three months of beingjust friends,’ I felt worthless.” A lot of the album sounds like a reaction to getting stuck in the so-called friend zone or to failed relationships in general. Do you have a pessimistic outlook on relationships, or are the songs more an expression of feelings in the moment?

LH: Well, we all have had our fair share of shitty relationships like anyone else, but I wouldn’t say any of us have a negative outlook on them. I can’t speak for Jordan or his lyrics, but I do know that writing words and lyrics about bad relationships or really any negative experiences is a great way to get things off your chest and to say things you never got a chance to say and that can really help you put those negative thoughts and experiences behind you. Three of the five LP members are in serious relationships or married, so I think we’re all pretty well adjusted.

RJ: Toronto’s music scene is getting some mainstream recognition lately, thanks in part to Drake, the unofficial spokesperson of Toronto, always repping the 6. What does the alternative music scene look like up north?

LH: The alternative music scene up here is pretty cool actually, there’s a lot of great bands coming out of Southern Ontario: Seaway, Safe To Say, Coldfront, Rarity are only some examples. Unfortunately outside of southern Ontario there isn’t a huge following, but it’s still a really great and growing community! We’re also lucky to get a lot of great bands and tour packages coming through the area and that always helps stimulate growth as well. I’ll be curious to see what the scene is like in a couple years!

RJ: Did you have any punk idols growing up? Were there any bands that inspired you to make music of your own?

LH: Kurt Cobain has always been super cool and intriguing to me, big Nirvana fan as well. As far as bands that inspire me to make music, I would list (in no order): Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, New Found Glory, Propaghandi, Relient K, Comeback Kid, Anberlin, AFI, and Oasis.

RJ: What’s been your worst experience touring so far?

LH: Worst experience was probably our van breaking down and us missing a couple shows on the Rather Be Dead Than Cool Tour with Forever Came Calling, You Me And Everyone We Know and Seasons Change. We were stuck at some motel in rural Texas. It was stressful financially, and it also sucked knowing we were missing out on some cool shows with some good friends while we were stuck in what was the actual middle of nowhere watching Adam Sandler movie marathons and COPS because those were the only things on TV.

RJ: And what’s been the best tour experience up to this point?

LH: We just got off the Alternative Press World Tour (US/CAN) with State Champs, Neck Deep and Knuckle Puck and that tour was pretty wild for us. Every show was easily the biggest show we’ve ever played. Plus it was a ton of fun, very thankful for that experience.

RJ: Your collective interests are listed on your Facebook page as “Coffee, West End, craft beer, and collared shirts.” I think we’re all wondering: which craft beers would you recommend?

LH: Hmm, that’s a tough one, we’re all very different beer drinkers. Also, most of the microbreweries up here are exclusive to Canada. BUT if you ever get the chance Great Lakes Brewery has a really great IPA called “Canuck” that 4 out of the 5 of us really like! Definitely worth a try if you ever get the chance!

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You can stream Like Pacific here and find Luke Holmes on Twitter here.

May 20, 2016

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Ruby Johnson Ruby is a semi-reformed emo kid who believes that you're never too old for mosh pits and metalcore. 84% of her time is devoted to playing with her 12-pound rabbit, Toby.


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