I Very Well May Be Dead in 100 Days: An Interview with Jason Mooney

April 26th, 2016 by  |  Published in Interviews

We Were Sharks

An Interview with Jason Mooney of We Were Sharks

We Were Sharks is an Ottawa pop punk/hardcore band that mixes poppy, catchy melodies with chunky and powerful instrumentals.

Starting in 2010, the band immediately began playing as often as possible, developing and honing their sound over the years. Just before the New Year, they released Not a Chance on Panic State Records and have been playing in support of it since.

I met their current bassist Jason Mooney a handful of years ago when his band out of Newfoundland, Over the Top, were touring all over the East Coast.

Although Jason has only been with the group since 2013, he is well versed in all aspects of pop punk and being in a touring band. I caught up with him to talk about what We Were Sharks have been up to, what they are planning for the future, and what the audience can expect from their show at Mavericks on April 24th with BIGWIG, The Superlatives, and The Velveenus.

How long have you guys been a functional, gigging band?
It’s been since 2010. I wasn’t a part of the band at the time and the boys hit the road pretty hard right away. I joined in 2013. Eventually, we took some time to collect ourselves and focus on our sound as we came up with a game plan.

What has it been like teaming up with Panic State Records?
It’s been cool. The dudes are pretty laid back and let us have a lot of control.

What are some of your biggest influences?
I can give you a typical pop punk answer and list a bunch of bands like Blink or New Found Glory (who we do love) but we all draw from different places. Randy takes from a lot of R&B and Will’s style is strongly driven from the old school Epitaph and Fat Wreck era. I listen to a lot of hardcore punk like lifetime and Descendants, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the Get Up Kids are my favourite band. Overall, I think as a collective it’s always changing, but the mainstays are always there.

Do you have any particular influences that you have to consciously make an effort to not accidentally rip off?
Everyone! (laughs) I’m pretty sure we think every band ever has the ability to write a better song than we can. I like listening to a song that I really love and then thinking “How would I have played that and what would I have changed?”.

What were your band/touring experiences like before We Were Sharks?
Before WWS I was living in Newfoundland and doing decently well with a band called Over the Top. If you know anything about Newfoundland, we are completely isolated from the rest of the country, and basically the world. So, touring was hard, although we did it often; and opportunities would start coming in. Eventually, it came to a point that in order to make it work we would have to leave, but taking five individual dudes with different personalities and lives and presenting the idea of moving 5,000 kilometres away from home to start again can be a pretty hard sell.

What is your favorite part about playing/existing within the Ottawa music scene?
What I like about Ottawa in general is that it’s not a far stretch from the scene I grew up in, in the sense that Ottawa is probably the biggest small town I’ve ever been in. It’s tight-knit and people put a lot of pride into local stuff, and I think that’s really cool. Also, it’s really cool that I don’t have to drive 12 hours to take a 16-hour ferry ride to get to the next show.

Are there any difficulties/restrictions you’ve found in the scene?
I haven’t found any particularly. I mean, obviously cities like Toronto and Montreal present more frequent opportunities, and I feel like Ottawa sometimes gets passed over, but I really do love heading to a show here and knowing I’m going to run in to someone i know.

You released your new album just before the New Year. Have you guys made any specific plans for 2016, and how are they currently going?
We’ve been getting our paperwork in order to head towards the U.S. It’s a market that we know we have to break into, and the Internet tells us there’s a demand, and the Internet has never been wrong right? (laughs) But, getting into the States to play is not easy. It costs money, and it’s hard for a band at our level to be like, “Hey promoter dude, you wanna book us to play 100 days from now?” I may very well be dead in 100 days, it’s not an easy venture. Right now though, we’re demoing for a full length. The plan is to be in the studio early fall and have it out at the end of the year or early in the new year. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a great reception for Not a Chance and we worked really hard on those songs, so, we really want to be able to give it the proper attention.

What’s your relationship with the bands playing on the 24th?
The Superlative dudes are major nice. We’ve played with them a couple of times. They’re really hard working and they deserve to have that known. I’ll be honest, I have never heard or seen the Valveenus, but I’m going to blame that on the fact that I’m not an Ottawa native. As for BIGWIG, they were a punk band I really fell in love with when I was younger. It’s just so fast and I loved the guitar work.

What can we expect of the show on the 24th?
A lot of mistakes, a lot of head shakes, a lot of us asking what we’re doing with our lives. Jokes aside, I think it’s the typical show we put on. We try our best to have as much fun as possible and hope that feeds into everyone in the room. Bands work hard to put on a ‘show’, and there’s a lot of bands that do that really well; but, mistakes can happen as you play, things can go wrong. It’s happened to everyone. So, we work to having a blast for the 25 minutes we’re on stage. That way it makes it easy to shrug off the little things that could happen. Who am I kidding, I’m sitting in the back of the van doing this interview at 6am and filled with anxiety waiting for everything to go wrong.


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