Band Q&A – Ready Steady Steroids

Ready Steady Steroids are based in Barrie, Ontario! Their members are;

  • Dave Emond – Vocals/Guitar
  • Alex Vigneault – Guitar

1.Who are your top 3 influences?

ACDC, Motley Crue, Brokencyde. Joking. Honestly there are too many influences to only list 3. And of those influences, we can confidently say the three names above are not particularly high on that list. However, anyone outside of the pop-punk world who hears us for the first time says we sound like Blink-182. So that’s obviously very reliable.

2. How did you get your band name?

Prior to becoming a band, we would write and record songs with a couple of other friends. One of the songs we had done (later known as “Consider This”), we decided to use a random name generator for the song title, and ‘Ready Steady Steroids’ came up. We thought it was pretty funny, especially both being big sports fans and into lifting weights. After the plans with the other members fell through, we became a duo and decided to keep the name just out of sheer amusement.

3. How did you both meet?

We both went to the same high school. Our school was quite musically talented, so there were lots of opportunities to play shows. We also, coincidentally, ended up going to two different universities in the same city, which is when we really started playing music together and recording ideas. This was about the same time that Alex started getting into recording, mixing and mastering music, which allowed us to start writing music for what eventually became the band.

4. What is your song writing process?

We used to put song parts we had written in a hat and draw them randomly, but rapidly found out that was not the way to go. We’ve toyed around with a few different processes. The past 4 years, we’ve both been in different cities for our graduate studies, so there was a lot of back and forth collaboration. Usually one of us will write a whole song musically, send it to the other for feedback, and then slowly chip away at the song if we feel it makes the cut. Usually if Alex writes a song, Dave will come up with the vocal melody, and if he writes a song, Alex will write all the drums. Some of our best songs have been a team effort for writing from start to finish, but even in the cases where one of us writes a full skeleton, the other always has good feedback and can put their own spin on different parts to make a song better. Sometimes we even blend two songs together that we each wrote. We actually saw this work more often than not during the writing for our upcoming full length album.

5. What are your plans for a year from now?

We are planning the release of our album “Dear Outsiders” late summer/early fall this year, and now that we are both done school, are planning on doing the rounds for live shows. This is something that has been a real challenge due to everyone (including the live performing members) being located in different cities and all being in different stages of careers or education. We are looking into making a larger team either with management and/or PR to help take that next step, and to hopefully make new relationships with other bands.

6. First gig experience?

Our first gig experience playing together, was a large show put on in our home town, that included some of the members of the original line-up (prior to taking the name RSS). A great friend of ours had passed away, so we performed a charity show in his memory, putting on two performances. It was a mix of original tunes and some covers, but the most interesting part of it all – we performed in French. Despite being an English band, we are all bilingual and the majority of the audience were French speaking. Imagine translating/re-writing all the words in French and having to re-memorize them? Pretty sure our Holy Diver cover ended up being about our drummer’s dog. It was a crazy experience, but still a lot of fun!

7. Biggest challenge so far?

I think for us, the last 4 years being in separate cities while we finish school was the toughest part. Both of us were in pretty gruelling programs, so being able to manage time between school, social life, and the band was tougher than usual.

8. Favourite thing about performing?

Fan girls. Or, just being able to perform something that you created and seeing the faces of people who are enjoying it. It’s a pretty special feeling. So, either of those two things.

9. Favourite song to perform live?

Our covers are a lot of fun to perform. Our “Larger Than Life” cover of the Backstreet Boys, and our parody “Behind These Massive Thighs” (Behind These Hazel Eyes – Kelly Clarkson) are big hits, a lot of fun, and have some pretty sweet music videos to go with them. We haven’t played any of our new material in a long time due to how busy we have been with school, so we’re sure we will soon find some favourite originals.

10. What inspired your recent songs?

We draw inspiration from a lot of different places. We noticed a trend in what songs seem to resonate best with our audience, so tailored our new album more along those lines – catchier, hook driven pop-punk. We’ve still included some more technical songs on the album to keep it fresh, and in those cases we definitely draw from some of our favourite metal bands such as Periphery, Architects and others.

Lyrically, there are a number of themes we pulled from. Being tired of the redundancy of school and being so close to moving on to exciting careers, and the opportunity to see where the band can go. There is a lot of hopefulness and positivity in the upcoming songs. Also girls. There are always lots of good stories and experiences involving girls – see “A Devil In Disguise” when it comes out. It will give you a chuckle. We decided against writing songs about wanting to leave our hometown. We like our hometown.

11. What do you all do when you’re not musically involved?

Well after being really busy with school for the past 8 years, we’ve both just graduated our respective programs this past week actually. One of us is now a lawyer, and the other is a doctor. So you could say we have been pretty busy. Both of us are avid ice hockey fans, and former players, so the other portion of our lives revolves around that as well.

13. In your opinion, what’s your best song?

Alex -They’re all bad. No, but really, Stand Witness is our favourite from the older material, and from the latest album, it’d be “I’m Not A Pessimist, I’m an Optometrist”.

Dave – That’s a really tough question for a couple of reasons. I think our best songs will be on the new album later this summer. We also have a variety of sounds, some songs sounding more radio-friendly pop-punk, with other songs a bit on the heavier side, and I like both those sounds. I’d say my personal favourite is “I’m Not A Pessimist, I’m an Optometrist”, but I think “Karma” has done really well on Spotify for a reason too. That was my favourite before Optometrist was released last fall. Musically – I think “Fight Or Flight” is our best tune.

13. Who has the worst dress sense?

We both have to be pretty stylish at work – in a health clinic and in a law office. So style points go to both of us there. On the other hand, Alex has a leather jacket which is super rock ‘n roll, and outside the office Dave still dresses like a stereotypical Canadian hockey bro. So, yeah, he gets worst dress sense. Unless you like hockey bros. Then Alex gets worst dress sense.

14. Funniest show story?

We haven’t played a show in a few years, so that in itself is pretty funny (or sad?). Leave it to school to ruin all the fun. Our shows this summer will surely give us some funny stories though.

15. Pizza! What topping do you all have?

Trick question. McDonald’s fuels our music. If you’re gonna eat bad, go big or go home.

16. Most annoying member?

Butters, the cat. He’s Alex’s cat. He just walks around the studio like he owns the place, and his only contribution to our music has been the intro on our last album, Homebound. Guy needs to check his privilege.

17. Who has the worst tattoo and what is it?

Dave. Easily. Alex has the coolest tattoo – his sleeve is awesome. Dave has a spine on his calf that is often mistaken for a centipede… so there’s that. But the winner is his kangaroo. It’s in a pretty “cheeky” location.

18. Fast forward and you’re millionaires. What do you do with the money?

Fast forward, we’d like to think we’d be super mature, good with money, and invest properly, which is why we are millionaires in the first place. Obviously be great people, give to good charities, support family, etc. But going off our recent track records, Alex would buy hundreds of guitars, and Dave would buy a bunch of trucks; probably after we’ve repaid our massive student loans. Probably…

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