WE ARE SAY YES
Guitar, bass, drums, voice, volume. In an industry that has long been defined by cycles and trends, thankfully, some things never go out of style.
Real Life Trash Mag is the debut LP from Toronto-based rock trio Say Yes, comprised of drummer Jordan Hastings, bassist Michael Zane, and guitarist/vocalist Adam Michael. The longtime veterans of Canada’s underground rock scene – and alumni of acts like Alexisonfire, Saint Alvia, and Jersey – have wasted little time leveraging their talent and experience to gain considerable traction in a few short years. On the back of their explosive debut EP, Say Yes logged countless hours on North American highways, bringing their no-holds-barred brand of riotous rock to countless dive bars, some major festivals, and everything in between.
Subsequently, much of the material comprising Real Life Trash Mag has been road tested and fan approved, and the heavy touring has been a welcome catalyst for the band’s development. “Getting closer as a band and having a better idea of what we want to be, our sound is more unified this time around,” Michael says. “These songs are more straightforward and easy to latch onto.”
Co-produced with Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Big Wreck) and Billy Talent guitarist Ian D’Sa and recorded live off the floor at Vespa Studios in Toronto, Real Life Trash Mag conceptually centres on a cast of degenerate characters – an arsonist, alcoholic, sex addict… It’s fitting considering the band’s combustible and unapologetic sonic concoction that combines the driving intensity of early Queens of the Stone Age, the emotion of post-hardcore heroes like Quicksand, and some punk-esque piss and vinegar for good measure. It’s a sound rooted in nostalgia but with an urgency and fervor fitting of modern music.
Lead single “Once Forward, Twice Back” kicks things off as any album opener should: with a sampling of everything that follows. From its pounding lead riff to its soaring and sticky chorus and sing-along-ready “whoas,” the track embodies everything there is to like about Say Yes. “Five Walls” pulls back the pace as something of an eerie anthem for lament and loss while cuts like “West Memphis” and “Storm” do much to showcase the album’s lyrical themes. It all culminates in “Sea of Trees,” which burns slow and beautiful before erupting into a cathartic close.
Lyrically, Real Life Trash Mag treads heavily in sarcasm and cynicism, pointing a dark-tinged lens at its askew antagonists to exploit everyday vices and (false) virtues. “So it basically reveals their individual deviance and leads towards their collective demise in the end,” Michael shares – all set to Say Yes’s blazing and boisterous soundtrack.
The band is set to bring their fictitious Trash Mag friends and frenzy-inducing performances back on the road in the coming months. “We just want to be busy and get as many people amped up as we can,” comments Zane.
Thanks to their diverse musical collage, Say Yes have already impressed fans from a myriad of different backgrounds. “Our roots run deep in a few different scenes,” Hastings points out, putting them in equally good company alongside past tourmates like The Sheepdogs, Danko Jones, Head of the Herd, The Flatliners, and at major events like Canadian Music Week, Riot Fest, and Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival.
Trends come and go; stars burn out and fade away, but raw, organic rock and roll will always have its place. With Real Life Trash Mag, Say Yes has fittingly stepped up to carry that flag forward as stalwart ambassadors, and despite the delightful grit and grime, rest assured, it isn’t just for the degenerates.
Real Life Trash Mag out now on Dine Alone Records.