Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, it makes perfect sense that Comeback Kid found their name within a newspaper headline talking about the return of Mario Lemieux to the NHL!

Originally intended to be a side project, Comeback Kid was founded in 2000 by Andrew Neufeld (Rhythm Guitar) and Jeremy Hiebert (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals), as they were also members of Figure Four at the time (and still are to this day). They were joined by friends Scott Wade (Lead Vocals) and Kyle Profeta (Drums), as well as Kevin Call (Bass Guitar); this line-up went on to record the band’s first two albums: Turn It Around in 2003 and Wake The Dead in 2005. Waking The Dead was the first of three albums to be released on Victory Records/Smallman Records (Canada), being followed by Broadcasting in 2007 and Through The Noise (a live CD/DVD combo) in 2008.

Unfortunately there were a couple of changes to the band line-up throughout this period. Founding member Wade left the band in 2006 which resulted in Neufeld becoming lead vocalist and the addition of Casey Hjelmberg to take over the newly created void on rhythm guitar, before Call left the band in 2008 which opened the door for Matt Keil to lend his voice to backing vocals as well as playing bass.

Comeback Kid stayed with Victory Records but changed from Smallman Records to Distort Entertainment for their next two albums; 2010’s Symptoms + Cures and Die Knowing in 2014.

There seemed to be an unfortunate trend forming within the Comeback Kid camp, as after every album that was released, they would find themselves having to replace a band member; Hjelmberg made room for Stu Ross (Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vocals) after Symptoms + Cures. After the release of Die Knowing, Comeback Kid were struck a double blow as not only did they lose Keil, but they also lost founding member Profeta not long before that. After experimenting with Jesse Labovitz for a year as a replacement for Profeta, they then replaced Labovitz with Loren Legare; Comeback Kid also filled the newly created void on bass with Ron Friesan.

Fast forward to 2017 and Comeback Kid have come back with a vengeance with their sixth album Outsider being released September 8th, 2017. Outsider is the first record that Comeback Kid has produced with Nuclear Blast/New Damage Records (Canada), after leaving long time record label Victory Records after a good decade of service!
OVERDRIVE got the opportunity to speak to founding member and current vocalist Andrew Neufeld about the upcoming album and the guest vocalists that appeared, the change from long time record label Victory Records, as well as our starting point: what growth did Comeback Kid experience during writing/recording Die Knowing did they bring into recording this time around, considering they’re not one to shy away from evolving and growing as a band?

“I think the biggest evolution we bought from Die Knowing; well we had a producer named Kyle Black. He’s the kind of man who had to head up the whole thing for Die Knowing as far as the tracking and the mixing and everything like that. What we stole from Die Knowing is that we used Black again; what I like about Kyle is that he brings this big sonic quality to the record as far as his tones and his mixing. He’s a fucking legend with his mixing, it’s really inspiring to see!

“We didn’t use him to record the record this time around; we actually recorded it with our friend Steve down in Vancouver. We kind of produced the record ourselves; what we did was sent the record down to California to Kyle Black to mix. That’s where the record really kind of like exploded; we got all the performances and the utilities and the creative side all done, in the mixing he brought about this big and huge; I’d call it the newer kind of mixing/production to the record. As far as the comparisons between the two, we had to stay with the producer who mixed Die Knowing on Outsider. Like I said, he’s just such an incredible mixer and he has such an ear for what’s going on; there’s a lot of headphone candy on this record and a lot of something just going on so it’s definitely a most interesting piece of work to listen to. A lot of times when you do record, or what I record for better or for worse I don’t mix decisions on the fly which a lot of people like to do; I’ll usually record as much stuff as possible into that space and then later on we can pick and choose what we want to use and don’t want to use, or peel back the layers. We kind of just give him a plethora of tracks to use and then he can pick and choose what he wants to end up making it on the record.”

Elaborating further after this interviewer mentioned how Black just added that shine to what Comeback Kid supplied him to make it kick you in the face when you listen to it, Neufeld stated that “It’s a big fucking sounding album and a loud record; it’s definitely what we intended to do!” before continuing “we’re not afraid of new style production; it’s not like we’re going off and adding some fucking auto-tune shit or you know, or adding some kind of crazy weird effects. But we definitely don’t shy away from new production techniques and we really like big banging sounding records! With these the tools that are accessible now, it’s pretty fun to work with.”

Comeback Kid have really seemed to taken the time to write songs that make you want to nod your head along when you’re listening because the energy being portrayed is that of what you’d expect to see at a live show; how did this come to be the case? Neufeld explained that “I think we always try to do that; we always try to write songs that we can play live and really translate well from the stage but I think we just focus even more and more on that each record. Especially with this record, I mean for anyone familiar with Comeback Kid, we tried to make the songs a little bit more obvious and we keep on trying to really hone in our craft. Without being corny, that’s our kind of goal; just to make the parts that you want to feature the most to be actually featured and bring those special moments into the limelight as far as in the placing within the songs or the mix. We want to get the best parts and to be right out there; we have kind of showcased more choruses this record than ever before. There’s no better feeling having people from halfway across the world that you couldn’t necessarily have a conversation with singing your words back to you; it’s such an unreal feeling and we’re very lucky to experience that.”

Comeback Kid have quite a few guest vocalists make an appearance on Outsider: not only do you have Chris Creswell, but you also have Northcote and the one and only Devin Townsend himself! Neufeld explains how Townsend came to lend his vocal talents to this record:

“I worked with Devin Townsend; he produced a record for my other band called Sights & Sounds back in 2009 and he actually produced two records for Stu’s other band Misery Signals before and after that. So he produced a couple of records for our other bands and when he had that part, Jeremy our guitar player was writing a song which had this lead up to a breakdown. It was kind of an epic part and I was doing a kind of vocal take where I was kind of ripping Devin off a little while we were doing it but just because I love some of his dark comedy and his epic style. So I’m doing a singing part kind of reminiscent of Devin and because we were recording in Vancouver and Devin lives in Vancouver but he was coming off of a tour, we sent him an email saying “Comeback Kid’s recording this song and would you like to a small part on it?” Devin wanted the song so I sent him the song and he seemed to like it, so he recorded it on his own and sent it back to us; we didn’t even get to see him actually (laughs) He just did it on his own and sent it over to us; here’s like 10 tracks so use what you want and don’t use anything that you don’t want to use. So we kind of mixed and matched; there was some of these crazy vocals, like this operatic shit that he did that we didn’t even include in there because it wouldn’t have fit our style (laughs) but we kind of mixed it in with our voice to create a little duet and it came out pretty good I think. He really created something amazing and he’s something else to witness in the studio as well; I wish I could have seen him be able to do it!”

As mentioned at the beginning, Outsider bought about a record label change; Comeback Kid decided to pair up with Nuclear Blast/New Damage Records (Canada) instead of continuing with long time record label Victory Records. Neufeld gave an insight into what bought about this change, making it clear that there was no bad blood between Comeback Kid and Victory whatsoever!

“We’ve been on Victory with 2005 and we just, our contract was up with them; we’d done 4 records through them. It was just time and we’d had a few other labels interested in us, Nuclear Blast being one of them; it just made sense because the guys seemed really cool and it would be a really cool change. Out of the labels we spoke to, they seemed to be the most inspired and excited, so we just took a chance and here we are; putting out a record with Nuclear Blast. Regarding Victory, there are no bad comments about to say about them or anything like that! We had a great run on Victory, but it’s just good to start afresh and see what else in the world out there for us.”

After being around for so long and having toured around the world for numerous albums previously, where is left for Comeback Kid to get out and see for the first time?

“I’ve never played Istanbul, Turkey before; we were meant to play there once before but we’ve never been able to play there, so that’s a little bit interesting to me. We’ve been pretty lucky to almost play most of the corners of the Earth so I guess the places on my bucket list left are Newfoundland, Canada as I’ve never played there; I’ve never played Alaska, as I said before Istanbul, Turkey, we’ve never played the Philippines so I’d like to go there. I’ve never really had too too much of a desire to go to India but I’ve never been there yet, so I kinda curios to go there now (laughs) I’ve passed over it in flights but I’ve never actually been there. I’d also like to go to Dubai but I don’t know if there’s much a hard-core scene there. I mean we’ve been able and pretty lucky to tour around all of South East Asia and we’ve played South Africa and South America, so we’ve been able to hit some crazy places that were on our bucket list before. We’ve even been able to play Tel Aviv. I think my goal with Outsider is to go re-visit a lot of those places and hopefully visit some new places as well.”

Regarding a trip to Australia, Comeback Kid wants to make a trip here before too long! Neufeld made sure to inform me that “You’ve just got to tell your promoter friends to hit us up and let us know! We really hope we can get there soon but we don’t have anyone bringing us down quite yet; we’ve been talking to a few people but there’s nothing set in stone quite yet.”

 

 

Outsider is available through Nuclear Blast/New Damage Records (Canada) on September 8th 2017; make sure to keep an eye out for our album review on August 18th!

Preorder Your Copy of Outsider Here!!