Profile: Cory McCallum of Olde


It’s been nearly three years since Canada’s doom metallers Olde released their debut I. Three years is definitely a stretch but this hard-charging slab of massive downtuned grooves and bluesy melodies more than filled the gap. The template set forth on I worked extremely well and once a band finds that kind of groove there’s really no need to fiddle with the formula. Which is exactly where they land on second full length Temple: not far removed from the debut but with their air tight songwriting even tighter and the deadly serious lyrical content more focused than ever they’ve crafted the perfect follow up. Ahead of the albums release, later this week, we had the opportunity to ask Cory McCallum (bass) our set of Profile questions and he was not only very gracious with his answers but insightful as well. You do not want to miss this…

Olde - Temple

How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?

A few friends and I used to sit in a basement and listen to records, SNFU, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks, Slayer, Guilt Parade. We did this a lot. Watching tv usually meant tv on, sound down, records on. We all legitimately loved music, and a wide variety of styles.

Time came that a few of them bought instruments and I was the odd man out. So I decided to become a singer. We were playing out within months, the beauty of being a scrappy punk rock band from Orangeville; expectations and standards were low amongst the field party set. Play loud, play fast, jump around. I started playing guitar simply so I could write songs for the other (better) guitarists in the band to learn. In time I got to be pretty good. I’ve been pleased to have a few really good guitarists comment that my songs are interesting and somewhat-hard to learn (more about the amount of variations between many similar-sounding phrases or parts, but hey, I’ll take it).

I had actually only ever played bass for exactly one show when Greg (Dawson, guitars) asked me to play bass in Olde.

As for success, I’ve never believed I could “make it.” I’ve always just wanted to put out great albums and play great shows with good people and bands I love. Aside from the obvious personal bias, yeah, I’ve achieved all that along the way and consider myself lucky everyday to be able to do this.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.

Personally, I put in a lot of honest hustle to get shows and/or press, but I would never debase myself or the band. We are pretty straight and sincere. Like us or don’t. Cover us or don’t. Give us the show or not.

I did, however, dress up like a giant grilled cheese sandwich to make a appearance in the Friendly Rich show. I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure Doug (McLarty, vocalist) ain’t doing that anytime soon.

Also pretty sure I wrote my own review once for a past project, but if memory serves, the publication asked me to do just that to save on time. It was a great review!
And like pretty much any musician reading this, I’ve played for “exposure” before. Ugggghhh.

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happenin inside the scene right now?

Depends on my day, on my mood. Some purist days I absolutely hate how fractured and diluted metal is getting. This-core, that-core, blackened-this or doom-insert here that. However, on my more open-minded days, I would say that is and always will be one of the best things about metal. Make it your own. Do it old school or turn it into something it has never been before. Or a mix of both, old and new. There’s a lot of closed-off metalheads who have an expiry date on when everything good “stopped.” I think that’s horseshit. There are insanely good bands making fantastic records right now.

The one thing I will always hate, and this is 200% selfish, is when a really good techy or heavy or fast band starts dumbing it down for mass consumption. And I get why it’s done, and as an artist I hold no grudges. Some of the transitional albums along those lines are really good. But, more often than not, the new product is shit and then the band is in scene limbo; new scene hates them and old scene feels betrayed and doesn’t want them back. It’s a tough choice.

But man is it hard to listen to your old favourite band suck.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?

Well, Doug McLarty writes our lyrics and thereby drives our message, but we stand behind it. A lot of Olde vocals are definitely from Doug’s perspective, his personal take on global and societal issues like capitalism, rampant greed, survival of the fittest (or fattest), struggle, mental health, loneliness. These aren’t bong songs, per se. No wizards or ogres on an Olde record. No astronaut talk. Serious subjects presented in a serious fashion.

We joke around a lot offstage, we are pretty fun people. My side projects are full of jokes. But with Olde, the direction is pretty serious. It’s grim and intense, but it is tempered with that personal take which I like to think makes it more welcoming, more about speaking to someone instead of speaking at them.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

My older brother Sean got me into metal. He started hanging with a fairly spicy crew by Orangeville standards; ripped jeans, leather, big puffy rock-on shoes. He started to bring home Slayer, Iron Maiden, D.R.I., Metallica. The usual introductory suspects for 1987. Anyways, we shared a wall and I had no choice but to listen to what he had on. I dug it immediately, but since he was into the faster and pretty polished end of it, it never seemed like it was something I could actually “do.” It wasn’t until I was about 14 and discovered the Dead Milkmen that I truly had the “hey, I could do that” moment.

My parents? They hated everything we listened to. Posters were literally ripped off of walls the night the Geraldo “Satanism” special aired. We tended to put away our record covers; they were a dead giveaway to how “evil” our music was. Listening to it, hell, what parents ever had a chance of figuring out what the hell Kurt Brecht was actually saying?

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

You know what? This is a recent gripe of mine. I get it. You get a LOT of submissions. You don’t have time to give them all a good spin, let alone write a review. I get all that.

But what I don’t get is reviewers and writers and bloggers taking time to write BACK and ANGRILY point out that they don’t have time, that certain guidelines weren’t followed, that they never review off of a stream or an MP3 or whatever standard they have. I stress “angrily.” They have no time, but they have time to put me in my place, angrily.

Listen up, guilty parties. Fuck off. I’m no kid but this is a young person’s game. Young, impressionable and earnest kids have taken a chance and they are TRYING. They are brave as hell and they are putting themselves out there. They are baring their souls. And they respect you or your publication enough to risk you ripping them to shreds (cuz that’s hilarious, right?) in the very vague hopes that you might in fact write four half-decent sentences about them.

You want to not answer? Fine. You want to write back and give helpful tips in a non-angry fashion (this happens; some of the best hustle-advice I have received recently was very helpfully offered to me by arguably the busiest writer on my lists)? Even better.

But if you have no time to listen, no time to review and worst of all have some sort of anger issue and ego trip you need to exercise and/or exorcise? On your bike, get over yourself, and try to put yourself in the shoes of those struggling not to “make it” but simply to “make.” You wouldn’t have a job reviewing records or writing about music if the demo racket dried up. Don’t shit where you eat, my friend.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

We most certainly have day jobs, and, given the state of the modern music industry, we aren’t quitting them anytime soon. It’s the best and worst time ever to be an artist, and me being an optimist, I’m going to concentrate on how we can make what we think is an incredibly-good record in a friend’s affordable and seriously-pimp studio (in our case, our own Greg Dawson’s BWC Studios), put it out ourselves and have it available, at least digitally, the world over. It’s actually never in the history of man been easier to “put out” a record. Now, getting your head above the pack and making a dent? Sheesh, that is TOUGH. You have to be pretty damn good to even get a sniff. And that is what it is.

Olde’s goal is pretty straight: we want to be as good as we can be. We want our records to be as good as they can be. We want to crank it live with 150% effort. We want our relationships with other bands and our fans to be heartfelt and genuine and reciprocal. Not here for a long time, here for a good time kind of thing. Make every note, every word, every song, every release…make it matter. Do our best and leave it all out there. Then, whether peeps like it or lump it, we can sleep easy at night.

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

(New) Black Bone Exorcism “Crack the Bone Break the Heart”
(New) The Shanks “Prisoners of Ecstasy”
(Still) Kamasi Washington “The Epic”
(Still) Kadavar’s first two records
(Old) Grand Funk, Chicago’s first six records, John Prine “s/t”, always some Ozzy-era Sabbath, Phil Manzanera, Rollins Band “End of Silence”, Fugazi (forever).

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)

C R U S H I N G.

Many thanks to Cory for his time!

Temple will be available August 11 in digital format on the band’s Bandcamp page, vinyl format on STB Records and cassette format on Medusa Crush Recordings. For more information on Olde visit their Facebook page.

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