The music industry in 2017 is fraught with challenges for bands. Nevertheless, metal has a healthy underground and DIY contingent that provides lifeblood for our scene. An ecosystem where bands can create boundary-breaking music, thrive and build a following on their own terms. Bedfordshire quintet Canvas are one such band: entrepreneurial and fiercely independent, with a combination of thundering hardcore and incandescent post-rock that’s imbued with DIY attitude.
“As a band we’re control freaks; we’d rather do it ourselves, do it the way we want and not go through any third parties,” says bassist Jack Rogers. “I feel we tend to work better on our own, liaising with the people around us.”
Since their inception, Jack has doubled as Canvas’s manager, as well as managing several other bands on the local Bedfordshire scene through his own company, No Future Collectors. In the early days, with many of the venues in their area shut down, the band had to look outside their hometown to hone their live craft. They cut their teeth playing guerrilla gigs, arranged by Jack via social media, rocking up in the back of their van, armed with their own PA, to any venue willing to let them perform.
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“We did a tour in Europe where we’d just turn up to people’s houses that liked our band and they’d let us play in their living room or basement,” remembers Jack. “We’d have dinner with their family before we started. Then we’d go downstairs, smash their basement to bits, sleep over, then move onto the next house. It’s a nicer atmosphere than a club show. People turn up when they want, you have beers with them and it’s more like a party.
“In Germany we played this dude’s garage, like a double garage attached to a house,” he adds. “The family shut the road off and turned it into a car park. About 70-80 kids turned up. It was probably one of my favourite shows we’ve ever played.”
The band have just released their aptly titled debut, Worry; a record that takes its cues from Thrice and Glassjaw, balancing tense, atmospheric soundscapes with maelstroms of aggression. Pensive and potent, it perfectly captures the churning dread of a distressed mind.
“I’m a massive worrier,” Jack admits. “I can’t remember the last time I haven’t woken up and worried about something.”
For Jack, who wrote the lyrics along with vocalist Ricky Clarke, making the album proved to be an exercise in personal therapy, as well as a way to help anyone suffering from anxiety or depression, or who simply doesn’t feel they’re accepted in society.
“We’ve had people come up to us and say these songs really resonate with them,” says Jack. “I think it’s very important for people to know it’s perfectly normal to feel like that and that other people are feeling like that, too. If they want to talk to me four or five hours at a time at the merch stand, I’ll be there to listen and tell them everything’s fine.”
Worry is out now via Basick Records