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The scene was set, with amplifiers humming, and a palpable sense of anticipation filled the air as enthusiasts of diverse music taste gathered at Houndstooth in Toronto on Thursday, May 9th. The occasion? HoundsFest—a reverent celebration of a vibrant community forged by music, raw energy, and local bands. Among them, Burner took the stage and delivered a performance that left the audience craving for more. Burner’s musical talent is unquestionable – they seamlessly combine aggressive riffs, catchy melodies, and complex rhythms, demonstrating a level of skill that demands recognition. Whether it’s their intense guitar riffs that command attention, drumming that is precise and thunderous with relentless energy, or bass that adds depth and richness. Each instrument in Burner contributes uniquely to their dynamic and captivating musical style. Additionally, their lyrics delve into deep, thought-provoking topics, adding layers of meaning to their music.What sets Burner apart, however, is their unwavering commitment to bringing energy and raw emotion to their music. This connection is vital in the music world, allowing Burner to create unforgettable moments during their performances. The lead singer’s daring antics, like standing on the bar while singing and moshing with the crowd showcased their fearless approach. This blend of passion and musicality cements Burner’s reputation as a powerhouse in the industry. As someone like myself who is immersed in Toronto’s music scene and community, I had the incredible opportunity to interview this band – delving into their story and gaining insights into their music with a five question interview just below.

Intro to members of the band:

Deshaun Molloy – vocals

Fraser McClean – guitar

Amy Praught – bass

Dan Aguir – drums (for the hounds set)

Ross Chornyy – drums

Evan Saunders – original drummer on album

Question and Answer:

Musik Mirage: Tell me the story behind the band’s name? Where did it come from?

Fraser: I initially thought Burner was short and snappy. I questioned whether it was too edgy to have a name that’s a gun, but then I realized there are different ways to interpret the name.

Deshaun: The name Burner just kind of stuck when Fraser brought it up. If you listen to the EP, it’s in your face and loud, like it leaves a burn.

Amy: Our music is visceral and can be kind of ugly at times. You’ll get a burn from it; it’ll leave a welt.

Musik Mirage: To people who have never heard the band play before, how would you describe the genre of the band?

Fraser: I tell people it’s alternative rock, which is a bit of an old term these days and doesn’t really mean a whole lot. I ran one of our songs through a Discogs database, and it came back as post-hardcore.

Deshaun: It’s an influence from a variety of genres like punk, ’90s grunge, and post-punk. Fraser loves bands like My Bloody Valentine, and you can hear some of that influence in the guitar melodies. I grew up with old/new hardcore, post-hardcore, screamo, and emo. When you hear Fraser’s riffs, some of it takes me back to my teen years, which is where some of my lyrics and emotions come from. If you used to listen to pretty much anything angsty and sad in the late ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s, you’ll probably like our band because it’s a fusion of all that.

Amy: I would call it Ontario Core, upset and angry.Musik Mirage: What is your creative process when it comes to making new music? Does one person come up with an idea, or do you collaborate together as a group?

Fraser: There’s a bit of an extensive demoing process that involves a lot of pre-production aspects. I get an idea for a song, and for the most part, I see all the instrumental interplay as one. If I create a guitar riff, within seconds I’m thinking about how the drums will complement it. I try to put a demo together very quickly while everything is fresh. If I don’t finish a demo in a day and send it to the group, it doesn’t happen.

Deshaun: Fraser finishes his demo, and then it branches from there—the drummer adds his style, and the same goes for the other instruments. When it comes to lyrics, a lot of my material is very personal, but I use it as an outlet. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t discuss certain things. I listen to what Fraser has done or what we’ve jammed over again. I’ll throw my phone across the room while recording when we’re jamming to find the melody. I learned that from Ozzy Osbourne, as he likes to figure out the melody first and then follows it with lyrics. Then I just pour out what the melody makes me feel, what it reminds me of, and what I’m currently going through.

Musik Mirage:  When did the band form and how did you all meet?

Fraser: Deshaun and I started the band late 2017 after our previous band The Knees Up dissolved. I broke up the band but I kept Deshaun as the vocalist and we had our drummer filling in just like how Burner is currently working, because drummers are hard to come by. Evan was filling in, so we had to get him involved in Burner because we really liked playing together.

Deshaun: When The Knees Up was breaking up, it was tough as everyone was friends, we started blowing up but weren’t going anywhere, I didn’t want the brothers to break up but Fraser was right. Being in the scene, we met a lot of people who spent a lot of time going to shows in Toronto and Amy would be at every show whether she was working or not.

Amy: I worked at The Central, a bar/venue known for DIY shows where many bands that are currently successful got their start. A lot of promoters who are now doing great things in the city began there and were my co-workers, so I was well network and organized shows. It was interesting because many of the guys were from Oakville, like me. I had met Deshaun at a Sheridan College party years before and thought, “Hey, I fucking know you! You’re the funny party guy.” I kept inviting him to events I organized at the bar and shows, including punk rock flea markets. Deshaun asked me to play bass with Fraser from Casper Skulls and Evan from Dead Broke. I knew the bands and thought it sounded fun, even though I didn’t know how to play bass at the time, just guitar. There’s a lot of overlap in our music taste.

Deshaun: She was into the scene, and she fit into the band like a glove.

Musik Mirage: Any other small bands that you would recommend?

Burner: Happy99, WASTE YOUTH, Life In Vacuum, Dead Broke, and Palm Sander! Palm Sander is the new best band in Toronto, they are so dialed in.

For your viewing pleasure please enjoy the photo gallery showcasing the night’s performance at Houndsfest by Burner at in Toronto linked in just below. Also, be sure to follow Burner on Instagram for future updates on shows and more new songs

Article & Photos By Rachel Bass (@rachelbass_photography)