Interview: Alexisonfire’s Jordan Hastings Gives The Lowdown On ‘Otherness’

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Following on from their return to the UK at Slam Dunk North and before they took to the stage at Slam Dunk South the following day, we caught up with Alexisonfire’s Jordan Hastings to find out what we can expect of their return…

It’s been thirteen years since your last album. How does it feel to be back?
It’s amazing. It’s been really special for everybody, we’ve had a really great time. The recording process itself was fucking fast, but it really wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the pandemic. City & Colour were just about to do a new record and Dallas would have been touring that, I was with Billy Talent and we’d just finished a new record, and we would have been heading out on a 3 year tour. And then Covid came and everything was cancelled. But in Canada, studios remained open the whole time, so it was like a blessing for us. We had the ability to get together in the studio after lockdown and just all hang out. It was a really special feeling, just hanging out and started playing some old songs, and things just kind of clicked and before we knew it, we had ten songs. 

You exploded back onto the scene in 2019 with Familiar Drugs – was there a reason that never led to an album then?
Just because of timing. We could only really record so much because of our touring schedules and everyone’s personal lives. So it was really a weird beautiful thing that came out of a shitty situation.

What made you want to lead with Sweet Dreams Of Otherness from the new record?
The song just had so much drive, and it was kind of the favourite of all of us from the get go for the first single. We weren’t looking for like a huge radio hit or anything, we just felt that this song is a perfect representation of the album and the sound we’re creating right now. 

“We never felt like we really fit in with the other bands that were big. For me, that’s what ‘Otherness’ feels like – being on the outskirts.”

You’ve carved out a specific sound in the heavy genre. Was that always the plan or were you just writing whatever came to mind?
That’s honestly all it is. It was just whatever came out. We’re five different people who have five very different tastes in music. A lot of them overlap, but a lot don’t. So it was never intended that we’d create our own niche – that’s kind of what Otherness is about, how we’re just five kids from Canada, and we never really thought we’d go mainstream. And when it did, it was a real trip, because we’ve never really fit in, we’ve never been on a major label, but we’ve had this huge mainstream following. We never felt like we really fit in with the other bands that were big. For me, that’s what ‘Otherness’ feels like – being on the outskirts.

Sans Soleil has quite a different sound, can we expect to hear more of that on the new album?
Yeah, there’s some songs that are somewhat in that realm. That one kind of stands on its own a little, but there’s some similar stuff on there for sure. That’s actually my favourite song on the record. I just finished doing all the radio editing for that, and it’s getting a lot of traction which is very exciting.

Other than that, is there another song on the record that you’re most excited for fans to hear?
It’s tough because there’s so many songs on there that we all love so much, given we haven’t been able to do a full record for 13 years! We’re really passionate about all of them for different reasons. A big one for me personally would be Blue Spade. It’s a very heavy, but very sultry song at the same time.

Otherness is available to pre-order now and will be out on June 23rd.

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