Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Jake Olexyn - Vocals / Guitar
Rob Bacon - Guitar
Ross Vanosch - Bass
Devin Vassallo - Drums
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to The Burden? How long has the band been around?
We’ve all been involved in our local music scenes for a long time. Before The Burden became a reality, Jake played guitar and Devin played drums in a local Prince George metalcore band called Faith in the Fallen for a few years. Rob also was a part of Faith in the Fallen for a short time. After Jake left Faith in the Fallen, he played guitar and sang in a band called Horses & Bayonets.
Ross played bass in a post-hardcore band from Kelowna, BC called Westshore Falls for a couple of years, and spent some time filling in on bass in a pop-punk band called Young Sparrows before they called it quits. After that, he moved to Prince George and met The Burden while they were looking for a new bass player.
The Burden originally formed in 2013 with Jake, Devin, Rob and ex-members of Faith in the Fallen. Between formation and the release of our debut album ‘Modern Disease’ in 2016, there was a few member changes, including our original vocalist leaving, (Jake then took over vocal duties), and going through a couple bass players before Ross joined in 2016. We’ve had our current line-up since then.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
There isn’t really any exciting or fascinating story behind our name. Our original vocalist, Cole, named the band after a track from Memphis May Fire’s album ‘The Hollow’. After he left, the name stuck around and we’ve all associated it more to the struggles and issues we’ve encountered at one point or another in our lives. It’s an acknowledgement that life can be hard at times and feel like a burden, but we can rely on each other and the people who support us to keep pushing forward and face the challenges that life presents.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Our writing process is probably pretty old school and organic compared to how a lot of bands in our relative genre do it in the digital/internet age. We don’t use software like Guitar Pro or programmed instruments, or write parts alone then send them around to other band members. We write 95% of our music live on the floor when we’re all together in our practice space, and because of that we share fairly equally in contribution to how final songs come out. We very rarely do any significant amount of writing without everyone present. We have a small PA and mixing system that we use for tracking live when we’re working on demos for new music.
Up to this point, Jake has written all the lyrics for our songs, and a lot of the themes deal with either his own struggles or relate to difficulties we’ve all faced in our lives as individuals in the band. We’re all pretty close friends, we rely on and support each other when things are hard and it comes out in Jake’s lyrics. We have songs on our last couple releases dealing with topics ranging from toxic relationships and mental health struggles, to deaths of loved ones and search for self-understanding. Over time we’re sure themes will shift depending on the things that occur in our lives. We aren’t a band that really does things like concepts or has a focus on making our music all point to one specific theme or topic. Music is our outlet for processing the things that happen in our lives, and it will grow and evolve with us as people.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
We all sort of laugh when we answer questions like these because there always ends up being one answer that comes up constantly. Underoath. All of us in The Burden are big fans, and have found a lot of inspiration from their music. Additionally, we all have our own individual influences that shape our playing and how we contribute to the writing process. Jake has been really into Bright Eyes recently. Devin loves all things pop punk, and draws a lot of influence from A Day to Remember and Knuckle Puck. Rob and Ross both have been shaped by a lot of heavier post-hardcore and modern hardcore bands like Norma Jean, Every Time I Die and Counterparts.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
We don’t think there’s really ever been one specific band or moment that gave us an ‘aha’ moment. Growing up in our local music scenes, we all have been inspired by watching other local bands build their own successes, small or large. Ross grew up in the Okanagan and saw local bands like Secret & Whisper sign to fairly prominent record labels and tour internationally. And part of it has always just been an innate desire in each of us. We’ve all grown up learning music or playing instruments in one way or another and always wanted to make it something more than just a hobby individually. We have the good fortune that all our members have the same reasons and desire to play music and be in a band.
Performing live is what we love to do. We don’t just want to put out music and not play shows. Seeing bands like Underoath, The Chariot or Letlive. put on insanely high energy shows has kept us hungry to be a band that is exciting and fun to watch play live.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
We actually take it pretty easy. We show up as early as possible and make sure we’re well-rested the night before. We all enjoy having a couple drinks with friends and other bands. We love being social, connecting with the bands, friends, and fans that support us and our music is really important to us. Devin is probably the only one in the band who does any sort of physical warm-up to keep his arms from cramping or wearing out too early in a set. The rest of us are probably just don’t think we really need to because we’re still young and stubborn, haha. And in regards to more long-term preparation, we practice together a lot. Regardless of whether or not we have shows coming up, we jam, practice and write at least twice a week together.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
We still have a fairly short history so there isn’t a lot of large feathers to put in our collective hat yet, but there are two connected events that we would consider to our biggest highlights. Back in the summer of 2016 after we put out our debut album ‘Modern Disease’, we played a few shows around Western Canada, in BC and Alberta. One of these shows was in Kelowna, where we had the opportunity to open for Shreddy Krueger, a band signed to In Vogue Records at the time. Shreddy Krueger is the current band of a couple of members from Secret & Whisper and Stutterfly. We all are big Secret and Whisper fans, and Jordan Chase, who was their bass player, is the vocalist for Shreddy Krueger.
The second highlight came from that show. Jordan Chase is a music producer in addition to the bands he is involved in. He really enjoyed our set and when we showed him more of our music, he was really into it and asked if we wanted to work with him to produce our next record. We spent the next year working with him, demo-ing and doing pre-production to finalize some of the new material we had been working on. We tracked a 5 song EP last year which Jordan both produced and mixed, which we just released recently. Jordan is an incredibly talented and down to earth guy and has been amazing to work with. But beyond that, he’s also become a really good friend to everyone in the band. He’s been in and around the local music scene and the music industry for something like 20 years, so he has a lot of experience and wisdom. He’s believed in us and our music every step of the way and has pushed us harder than anyone else, and we are incredibly grateful to have someone like him in our corner.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Underoath and Secret & Whisper. Also: Glassjaw, Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, A Day to Remember. They are all bands that we look up to and enjoy listening to. But beyond that, they all put on incredible live performances. We consider ourselves a fairly high energy band live and would love to share the stage with bands we look up to for the same reasons someday.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Our new EP ‘The Presence of Past Tense’ is available now on all digital outlets for both streaming and purchase. If you want to purchase our music, the best place to directly support us is through our bandcamp page: https://theburdenmusic.bandcamp.com/
Bandcamp takes a fairly small portion of the revenue, so the majority of sales go directly to us as a band. We appreciate anyone who has taken the time to listen to our music, see us live, and continues to support us. Thank you so much.