Anger, complacency, Chastity

Brandon Williams seeks to use his platform to create awareness

Ontario-based alt-rock band Chastity performs at the Good Will Social Club on Nov. 5. Its leader, Brandon Williams, who is from Whitby, Ont., says the concert will be comprehensive and include much of his past work.

Brandon Williams, leader of Ontario-based alt-rock band Chastity. // Supplied image

“(We will perform) 13 songs, some from the new record and some from (2018 album) Death Lust,” he says.

Chastity’s new record, Home Made Satan, was released on Sept. 13, and Williams describes the album as lyrically focused.

“I wanted to make a lighter record with harder, more divisive lyrics,” he says. “I wanted to juxtapose hooks with dark lyrics.”

The songs are focused predominantly on the current social and political landscape in the United States. Williams points out that the record was inspired by “political complacency,” which he notes is a negative influence on society.

This complacency led “people to become afraid of each other, unreasonably afraid of immigration and things that are normally easy to get over once you are educated (properly about these things),” he says.

Williams notes that although this record tends to refer to the United States, Canada experiences similar social issues.

“I saw the wealth disparity in America, and when I came back to Canada, I saw the same thing. We have many of the same issues and overall bad political leadership.”

Williams says he draws inspiration from The Smiths and My Chemical Romance and mentions that he believes “an artist should rip off 10 artists, not just one or two.”

“Songwriting is so visceral to me, and there is only so much that you can control,” he says. “I think that my instincts are so informed by those that I listen to and welcome into my songwriting process.”

In this process, Williams points out that it is important for him, and by extension, other musicians, to speak out about social issues, noting that different types of media can play a role in creating social and political awareness.

“We are at the intersection of frustration and information right now with the internet,” he says.

“A lot of people know more and have access to more information. We can see what is going on in Chile with the protests and can connect with these people around the world and stand in solidarity with them.

“Given my platform, I would be misusing it if I did not speak up for certain people who do not have this platform and are often oppressed otherwise.”

Good Will’s talent buyer David Schellenberg agrees and says, “now more than ever, young people are getting involved and starting to pay more attention to what is happening (domestically) and globally.

“So, I think that Brandon does great work in using his artistry to enlighten people of these injustices.”

Schellenberg notes that though this is a feat for Brandon, he and other Canadian artists struggle with local support.

“It is hard being an artist from Canada,” he says.

“We do not have the population nor culture based around music like New York or Chicago. Canada struggles to keep artists here in the country, and I hear a lot of artists feeling burnt out about playing and touring in Canada.

“We can change that as an audience in coming to the shows, buying merchandise and engaging in their art.”

The Good Will Social Club is located at 625 Portage Ave., and doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at showpass.com for $12.

Published in Volume 74, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 31, 2019)

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