Scene Point Blank caught up with Jeremy Bolm, vocalist of the powerhouse post-hardcore band Touché Amore, in Calgary, Alberta in early April. Just getting back from a European tour, Touché Amore was touring across Canada with Cancer Bats and A Sight for Sewn Eyes. On this specific date the band played two shows at the same venue: an all ages in the afternoon and an 18+ in the evening. We sat down with Jeremy before the afternoon show. The band last released Parting the Seas Between Brightness and Me on Deathwish Inc. in 2011.
Scene Point Blank: You just got back from a European tour with the Architects/Rise Against and a UK run with Pianos Become the Teeth/Basement. How did they go and what was it like touring with those bands?
Jeremy: Those were all in different sections. The Basement one was the first two dates and that was awesome. I really like that band and we had never met them or played with them before. So, when we were going out there, we were asked, “Is there any bands you would like to have support you guys?” I was like, “If Basement’s around that would be awesome.” It was kind of greedy for myself, but I just really wanted to see them play. They were nice enough to do it for two of the three and they’re awesome.
Then we went over to the mainland and started the Rise Against dates, which was very different. It was great and we had a good time, but it was obviously much different than anything we have ever done before. It was at very big places—like they were arenas. The biggest show was 14,000 people and the smallest show was, well there was one show in Denmark of 800 people, but the smaller shows would have been between 2,000 and 5,000.
Scene Point Blank: Was it different playing for such big audiences?
Jeremy: Oh, absolutely. I would be here and the audience would be halfway into the street with the furthest barriers and the highest stages. It was completely out of our comfort zone and what were used to. That was kind of the point of doing it: to challenge ourselves. You can’t always do what you’re used to. You’re not going to learn anything as a band, you’re not going to grow as a band. There were some people who gave us some flack, of course. Internet people were doing stuff like that but, if you play in a band and you like playing music for people, you should challenge yourselves. Do shit that you wouldn’t normally do. If you like playing music play music in any scenario. We’ll play to 10 people in a weird bar or well play to that.
Scene Point Blank: Do you prefer the smaller kind of venues?
Jeremy: Absolutely. We love to tour…that was interesting and I’m glad we did it. Everyone on the tour was so fucking cool. The Rise Against dudes, I could never say anything less than amazing about them. They’re the most punk dudes on earth. They’re punk dudes who just lucked out. Seriously, straight up, the most punk dudes around, and then the Architects guys are awesome. It was just like hanging out every day in gigantic venues playing to an audience that kind of stares at you, but it went okay. No complaints.
Then the last part was with Pianos, my best friends, and that was awesome.
Scene Point Blank: Did any good stories coming out of the tours?
Jeremy: There have got to be some. Playing on those Rise Against dates in Poland was awesome. Poland is its own world where people there are just so enthusiastic about anything. The fact that there is a show happening, everybody’s stoked. We did two off dates there and it was wild as hell. Then we did the Rise Against date and we were like, “I hope it goes okay.” Honestly, the audience treated us as if we were the headliner. Kids were crowdsurfing, the whole audience was like pogoing and clapping along. It was absurd. We were laughing like this can’t be real. Same thing happened for Architects and, of course, the Rise Against set was the most crazy thing.
Scene Point Blank: Did you notice any other cultural differences?
Jeremy: Europe is always a completely different world. You appreciate things about that place and you appreciate things about here more. It works itself out evenly.
Scene Point Blank: Back in December you played with American Nightmare. What was the experience like?
Jeremy: It was ridiculously awesome. I was scared shitless opening that show, because they made it known that they didn’t want to announce the openers. They just wanted to have the show start that day and then have the openers play. It was a band called Weekend from the Bay Area, and then Trash Talk, then it was us. We haven’t had the highest popularity in the hardcore community for a little while now – at least internet-wise, you know…So knowing that going into the show, being like, “Okay, there is going to be people who aren’t going to be psyched that we’re on this show.”
But at the same time, we’re playing with a band that is responsible for us being a band. I even said that on stage. Like our first show was the only time we ever did a cover and it was an American Nightmare cover. We were like, “This band means a lot to us, we’re really fucking thrilled to be here,” so we just played a short set. Just get on stage, get off stage, not really talk, and here’s American Nightmare. So we played like a 15 minute set. We played like 12 songs and it was really fast and then just got off.
Then I stage dove during the first American Nightmare song and I just stayed on the side of the stage and lost my mind for the rest of the set. I was like, “I have to stagedive and I’ll be content.”
Scene Point Blank: Was Ryan Gosling there?
Jeremy: Of course not.
Scene Point Blank: Your most recent release, Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me was extremely well received. Could you explain the significance behind the title and where it came from?
Jeremy: It comes from a lot of different things. Whereas To the Beat of a Dead Horse is called as such because it’s me writing about a bunch of things that a lot of people are going through and not really doing anything about it aside from just yelling about it: beating a dead horse. Everybody does that. They don’t do anything to make it better except yelling about it.
Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me is more of me kind of coming to terms with understanding what those situations might be and trying to figure out how to remedy them. It’s not quite saying I have, but I’m working on it. That’s kind of the whole point behind that.
Also there are a lot of references to travel and coming to terms with finding comfort in distance and stuff like that, being on the road as much as we have been. When To the Beat of a Dead Horse came out we hadn’t really toured, besides a west coast tour, so we didn’t fully understand what is was like to just lose connection with everybody. But since then we had been on tour a lot before that record came out. The first year of Dead Horse we were out for like seven months out of the year and now we’re out. Last year we were out 9-and-a-half months. Home isn’t the most normal thing anymore.
Scene Point Blank: Right after that record came out, you guys called out a lot of record flippers online. What led you to make such a public reaction?
Jeremy: That was more of a personal thing for me. I’m a huge record nerd. I have a terrible terrible problem. I don’t appreciate people who will come to shows specifically to buy a rare record. And then you look the next day and someone put it up for a “Buy It Now” for like $200. “Buy It Now” is the most offensive thing when it comes to that stuff. If you are an asshole and you want to throw it on eBay and whatever, don’t set a “Buy It Now,” because that just makes you look like an asshole. I’ve sold records on eBay and I would never set a “Buy It Now” because I want it to go for what someone is willing to actually pay for it, what it’s worth to them. Do I think one of our records could be worth that much money? Not to me, I don’t see it. But I know there are bands in my life where I would spend – the most I’ve spent on a record was like $110 or something like that. It’s all up to the person and what they can afford. But just trying to capitalize on something like that is so fucking lame and it’s disrespectful for everyone involved. No bands get psyched when they see their record on eBay “Buy It Now” for $100. It’s fucking rude.
Scene Point Blank: Did you pick up any interesting records on the last tour?
Jeremy: I have a box in there of everything. And it sucks, buying a bunch of records in Europe and bringing them back with you. That’s dedication to buying records because you have to use it as your carry on and you’re carrying this heavy box through customs, through security, through all that stuff, and having to put it on the plane and walking it off the plane it’s heavy as shit.
I got like 30 records throughout that tour. There is this really awesome store I found in Oslo, Norway. They had stuff for dirt cheap and it was rad. I found a Neil Perry split LP for what ended up only being like $9US. If I found that in a normal store it would probably be like $30.
Scene Point Blank: What are some gems in your collection?
Jeremy: I have a lot, but whenever I get asked that I answer with the same two.
I have the Seatia “The Coffin Kid Club” edition of Eronel 7”, which they only made like 20 of—which was for their group of friends, basically. I bought it in New Jersey when I went to Hellfest in 2004 and this guy was selling his personal collection. The doors had just opened and, of course, if a guy’s selling his records I’m going to go through that. I looked and it was like the third record I flipped through and I stopped and looked at it and then looked at him and he was like “I know.” And it was only like $30. So I was stoked.
And then the other one is that colored shards clear version of the Axe to Fall record from Converge, which is out of 100. I had spent a month living in Boston before we signed to Deathwish and I hung out there every single day because our booking agent company shares an office with Deathwish. So I was there like every day just hanging out. One day the girl who does all the mail order (Janelle who is actually Jake Bannon’s wife), was like, “How much have your ordered from us?” I told her I had spent so much money throughout my entire life, like since Deathwish started. So she looked up all the email addresses I had over the years and saw probably 12 pages of orders. We got onto the subject of how many copies of Axe to Fall I had. I had 6 of the 10 at the time and so I left to go get coffee and came back and I had all the ones I didn’t have sitting on my desk. They were just like, “Here you go. Thanks for hanging out, we appreciate it a lot.” And the fact that it was a gifted version means a lot.