Victoria punk band Collagen returns after two-year hiatus

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With the release of their self-titled EP, Collagen are marking their return to the Victoria punk scene. Photo credit: Collagen via Bandcamp

With the release of their self-titled EP, Collagen are marking their return to the Victoria punk scene. Photo credit: Collagen via Bandcamp

Their debut EP was named one of the 20 best Canadian punk demos of 2015 by Aux Magazine. Now, after 22 months of silence, Victoria-based Collagen finally released their sophomore self-titled EP on Jan. 28 of this year.

“We are all so busy,” says guitarist Tyler Akis on the long wait for the EP.

This was highlighted by the band members’ recent ventures: drummer Kate Ehle spent the previous summer touring the United States with Vancouver-based Tough Age, bassist Caitlin Gallupe toured Europe with Vancouver’s White Poppy, guitarist Tyler Akis toured the U.S. with Victoria-based Sixbrewbantha, and vocalist Sarah Oats worked as a fisheries observer in remote Northern B.C.

Collagen’s latest release is that rock in your shoe: indicative of pain, but a constant reminder that we are moving forwards. Recorded in just four hours, the six track EP is nine and a half minutes of incendiary guitar riffs, callous drumming, socially conscious lyrics, and the odd cow bell tucked in for good measure.

“I would be honoured if people were to describe the music of Collagen as ‘a studded brick to the face,’” says Akis on the band’s sound and new artwork.

In a genre of music which has always been male-dominated, bands like Collagen play an important role in promoting visibility for those who are underrepresented and feel as though they do not have a voice in the scene.

“People simply do not believe that anyone who is not a cis-gendered male is capable of making certain kinds of music, and punk is one of those kinds,” says Ehle.

“With this in mind,” Ehle adds, “it is important to show that it is totally normal for anyone — women, trans, or otherwise — to be playing any role in any kind of music . . . This involves education through deliberate representations of women and trans people in non-conventional roles.”

“Anyone can play raging punk music with a politically conscious message,” says Akis.

Punk rock has always been a platform to express animosity against social and political issues, and for many, the music comes as a source of relief. With thematic undercurrents of inclusiveness in their music, Collagen’s latest is no exception.

“Our lyrics speak to oppression and bigotry,” says Oats. “We just want to play music to a community that is inclusive, respectful, and kind.”

For Ehle, a Collagen show is a place where people can “get down and have a really good time and feel good and safe and welcome.”

Following a six-month hiatus from live performances, Collagen is making a much anticipated return to the Victoria music scene. But while the band has hinted at a possible tour this summer, the future is uncertain.

“We really want to tour,” says Oats. “But we all have a lot going on separately.”

According to Oats, the band will hopefully “find time to do a short five-day West Coast tour in 2017.” While the rest of the band have their minds set on B.C., Akis points to Scandinavia, and Ehle jokingly suggests a world tour.

Wherever Collagen ends up, punk fans are sure to give them a warm welcome.

You can find Collagen’s music and upcoming show information on their Bandcamp page at collagenpunk.bandcamp.com.

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