DefineDAn interview with the entire metal band from Canada
by Tina Hall
The Canadian metal band DefineD formed in 2001. Though it has gone through several members changes over the years, they still continue to deliver the hard and heavy sound their fans have come to expect.The current members, while all in their early twenties themselves, claim a combined stage experience of just over twenty years. DefineD is Jon Rioux (vocals),Steve Laj (drums),Neil Landry (bass), & Dan Levis (guitar). Currently working on a new album, I sat down with the entire band for a chance to bring fans up to speed.
Maximum Ink: Are you all originally from Canada? How do you think coming from there has influenced your sound? Who where some of your earliest influences?
Dan Levis: No…I was born in Pakistan.(laughs)
Steve Laj: Influenced? It hasn’t….. I just listened to a lot of American music.
Jon Rioux: I don’t think being Canadian “influenced” our sound, but it has sculpted our bands personality, and views of the music industry.
Neil Landry: Yeah, Canada isn’t that different from the states…you know, people get killed, people make love, people get high, and we people make music…plus, we are FLOODED with American influences from day one up here. So, to answer your question, it was all that American content on MuchMusic (Canada’s MTV) that influenced our sound.
SL: Yeah man, I’d say 90% of my CD collection is American music.
JR: Earliest influences? Steve Tyler. Sad to say, well no, he’s a good singer…Layne Staley, Phil Anselmo, Kurt Cobain,etc…
DL: I used to like the Bee Gees a lot.(laughs)
SL: Uh, Sepultura, Slipknot, Pantera…used to listen to a lot of Korn…Snot…
JR: Old Incubus, Pantera, Mudvayne…
DL: Talking serious??? Okay, Iron maiden, Judas priest, Dimmu Borgir, and uhhh fuckin’ Pantera man haha and of course the members of this band.
NL: Fuckin’ Dan, youngest kid in the band crushing the oldest metal I love it. And I 100% agree with Pan’fuckin’tera…RIP Dime. White Zombie, Sepultura, Nirvana I guess…and Primus sucks, Claypool is a god.
Maximum Ink: When did you first know you wanted to be a musician? And what made you decide? Can you tell us a little about that?
SL: First time I picked up a pair of drum sticks I was able to play a beat. My buddy had a kit, when he’d leave the house and I’d keep hitting the skins as long as I could… he used to get in shit from his dad cause his dad thought it was him playing.(laughs)
DL: These guys!!! DefineD was the sickest band from back home. Then it was the passion, the love of music.
JR: Music was always in the family, church (as a very young forced child into religion), singing and playing guitar and drums. The band was what really made me want to devote my life to it. After our first gig way back, that’s when I really knew I wanted to make it happen.
NL: An old friend had a guitar and showed me one Metallica riff, went and bought my first guitar a week later.
MI: How does the Canadian music scene most differ from the one here in the U.S?
JR: Not enough support. It’s like trying to differ shit to gold.(laughs)
SL: It’s all radio up here.
MI: What advice would you offer aspiring musicians?
SL: Get another hobby. (laughs) No, no, maybe never lose focus.
DL: Think with your heart, not your dick.
SL: I think it would be the other way around.(laughs)
JR: If you’re doing it cause you love it, you will do it forever no matter the amount of success. It’s the best job in the world if you can make it.
MI: What is the most important thing you have learned since 2001 as far as being a musician and having a successful band that has staying power?
SL: No matter how hard it gets you gotta realize it’s the best thing in your life.
SL: It’s too much to lose.
NL: I love metal music, as well as this band and what we are trying to do…take over the world haha.
MI: What is it like be working on your first full length album? A lot of hard work goes into that I am sure?
NL: Recording wise, well, the drums are down, so we will let you know when we are deeper into the process. We did a lot of pre-production so we were ready for anything.
JR: It’s very gratifying to work towards a goal. The hard work pays off in the end, whether it’s commercially as a band,or personally.
MI: Do you prefer to work in the studio or on the road?
SL: We will have to say studio.
JR: Feels more like home, everything is there.
DL: Live too! Inspiration is everywhere.
NL: I prefer to work in the…nude.
MI: What can DefineD fans expect from a live show?
JR: Blood, sweat, and tears man. Heavy soothing, emotional, in your face, ball breaking, knuckle busting shit.
NL: That does sum it up nicely.
DL: Some very, very heavy shit.
SL: What we do best! We give it our all, every time no matter what. Five people or five hundred it doesn’t matter, we love to tear up any stage.
JR: ..and boobies hopefully.(laughs)
MI: What do each of you like to do in your free time?
SL: You know what you wanna say it Dan!
NL: masturbate. Eh Dan-o?
DL: Instead of masturbating you could maybe say hockey or guitar and of course chicks.
NL: I’m sure we can all agree that we don’t have much free time.
MI: What other genres of music do you enjoy listening to?
DL: Rock man. Pink Floyd, Led Zep, some balls out metal. AC/DC, drinkin; tunes to sing along haha pretty much!
SL: Metal, metal, and…uhh metal.
NL: Steve, did you mention metal? Well if not…metal…and whatever Primus is.
JR: I dunno man, any thing that has crunch, groove, emotion and good melody…no country.(laughs)
JR: I used to listen to country way back in the day, but…not any more.
NL: Fuckin’ right…except Big Tobacco and the Pickers from Toronto, check those guys out if you can, outlaw country at its best.
SL: That sounds like a plug to me. What are you a country band promoter now?
NL: Yeah, Colonel Neiler!
MI: Did you ever think when the band formed in 2001 and it would a continued success like it has?
NL: This band has gone through so many members, and, speaking as one of the later additions, I could tell that Steve and Jon (founding members) would stop at nothing to help this band stay together and succeed. After all the bullshit we have experienced I say bring it on. I’m confident that with this group of guys, there is nothing that can stand in our way!
MI: What, other than the first album, can Defined fans look forward to? Where can they go for the latest information?
DL: Promo shows!! Lots of fun and metal-ness. Whoooo!
NL: More and more shows, as many as we can play…..get the name DefineD as far as we can. We already have a few fans from as far as Australia,now we need the numbers.
MI: Anything you would like to say to your fans in closing?
DL: The reason I do what I do is for the love of our music, thanks for head-banging! And of course, the shots at the bar!
JR: Thank you! We could never say it enough. We hope someday to be able to see all your fists raised high while letting your hair fly!!
SL: Thank you for all the support and patience over the years.
NL: Support your local metal heads! Support all local music! We love you all. Spread the word of Defined as far as you can and we will do our best to tear up a stage near you as soon as we can.
DL: Send us food and money!
NL: Also, thank you to Maximum Ink for this chance to perhaps reach many new fans, keep it up!