Shortly after guitarist Jordan Ngantian and drummer Jarrod Mikolajczyk’s last show with Winnipeg pop-punk band Kids & Heroes at the Park Theatre on Jan. 4, the duo started recording an EP for a brand new band called Bleed American, alongside vocalist/guitarist Jordan Voth and bassist/vocalist Matthew Voth.
“I think we just felt ourselves drifting away from that type of music and it just seemed like the more we wrote, the more it made sense to start a new project,” says Mikolajczyk about leaving Kids & Heroes.
“We had been playing with Kids & Heroes for about seven years and we’ve been friends with those guys even [longer],” Ngantian adds. “That was the hardest part of leaving that band, we’re all good friends, but it was just time for a new direction.”
While Kids & Heroes is a gruffer pop-punk band that takes cues from New Found Glory and Living With Lions, Bleed American is on the softer side of the pop-punk/pop-rock spectrum, drawing influences from The Starting Line and, of course, Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 record Bleed American.
“It all worked out so fast at first. We started jamming in late November and I don’t know how he [Jordan] did it, but he wrote everything,” Ngantian says.
“I wrote some of these songs during the summer,” Jordan says. “My brother Matt and I were going to release it ourselves under the name Bleed American, but when those guys left Kids & Heroes they came to us and we decided to work together. A lot of the songs did change once they joined; we reworked some of the stuff I brought in originally.”
The four 20-somethings started recording the EP in mid-January at the Blue and Red Room, which is the basement studio Jordan owns.
“It’s so much harder to handle your own music because you have such a big vision for it and it’s hard to listen to your own voice for hours,” Jordan says. “I’ve done EPs mixed, mastered and delivered in 48 hours, while I spent three weeks mixing and mastering this because nothing I did was the exact vision I wanted.”
“We actually recorded the whole thing once and decided we didn’t like it, so we ended up doing it again,” Ngantian adds. “Those five songs have actually been recorded twice, some of them four or five times. We had all the time to change what we didn’t like and we didn’t have to worry about getting everything done in two weeks or whatever.”
Bleed American released the self-titled EP online at the end of February and will play its first show at the West End Cultural Centre on March 15 before heading to Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta to play some shows later this spring.
“Then this summer we’ll probably start working on a full-length,” Ngantian says. “I think that’s what’s next for us.”