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Propagandhi

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Failed States, the sixth offering from Canadian politico-punk greats Propagandhi, see the band flesh out their patent for forward thinking in an even more surprising way. JESSICA WILLOUGHBY catches up with drummer, Jord Samolesky, ahead of their show at Amplifier Bar on Tuesday, June 3.

Propagandhi drummer, Jord Samolesky, is in a ponderous mood.

“Sometimes I think everyone, myself included, needs a wake-up call to figure out how we spend our time on Earth,” he says. “Do we enjoy spending our time being deluded, or trying to fight back and save this world we’re in?”

Canadian punk stalwarts Propagandhi have never been ones to shy away from spreading their own political agenda. Wearing their preferences and theories on their sleeves, they have spent the last 28 years spitting intellectually-charged lyrical venom at the governmental powers that be.

But it was their most recent album, Failed States, that saw this four-piece really hit their stride. Released back in 2012 via Epitaph Records, their sixth offering was the first album in their career to be recorded in their hometown of Winnipeg.

To continue on the ‘going local’ line, they also chose to go with a producer who was not only a old mate of theirs – but had also played in and worked on a few albums by bands in their town.

“John (Paul Peters) used to play in some local bands,” Samolesky says. “He’s done some recordings at his studio, that’s literally a 15-minute walk from where I live. It just felt completely organic. He’s from a small town around Manitoba, like we are. We all from smaller areas in the country. I’ve always had a good experience with pretty much everyone that we’ve worked with, but it was fun to do it locally with a guy that I just hit it off with. Everyone was pretty pleased to work with him. It was a really different dynamic for us, rather than working with a complete stranger or somebody that you know through other bands. We’ve always travelled far distances to do this kind of thing. It felt like we’d hit our stride a bit this time around, just doing it here in Winnipeg.”

This album, according to Samolesky, also took the band into unchartered territory musically – through the exploration of different writing patterns, longer songs and even more insightful vocal commentary.

“The song, Note To Self, especially, was sort of a step in songwriting for us that has kind of been a long time coming,” he says. “The lyrics that Chris (Hannah, guitar/vocals) put on it at the end made it into  what it is. The booze, the sports – that kind of line – sums up where a lot of us are at.  There are a lot of large political struggles – the environment, the situation with global warming, climate change. It’s so bleak, you feel like every kind of effort you try to take and spread the word about worthy causes tends to make you realise what you are stacked up against is so huge.

“The things that you turn to dull the pain of that turn out to be these kind of ‘anti-things’. It sort of reflects that struggle to remain committed to doing the right thing is in your own heart and living a life where you are enjoying yourself at the same time. Trying to put all those things together is tricky.”

Propagandhi play Amplifier Bar on Tuesday, June 3.
Get your tickets here.