Nick Thomas and his bandmates in The Spill Canvas had built up an impressive global fanbase throughout the early aughts by blending vividly smart lyrics into the emerging neo-emo genre that took over the punk scene at the time.
But over the past 10 years, while fans were clamoring for new music from the band, frontman and The Spill Canvas co-founder Thomas was struggling with his own demons.
“I had to put the band on hold so I could direct my energy into getting clean off a heroin and opiate addiction,” he says. “Needless to say, it took some time to find my way to the surface. At one point during the hiatus, while in the throes of recovery, I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to play guitar again due to the loss of basic motor function in my hands. But as it slowly came back, so did my hope and desire to continue pushing forward with new Spill Canvas music.”
On March 5, Pure Noise Records will put out Conduit, the band’s first LP in nine years. The Spill Canvas had been in contact with the label before heading into the studio to work on the record. Out of all the labels the band considered working with, Pure Noise seemed to be the most interested in what The Spill Canvas were trying to do with this new chapter, versus simply retreading old ground.
“We began making Conduit in March of 2019. Although a lot of the lyrics and musical elements spanned across the last nine years,” Thomas says. “So, we definitely had a lot of material to sort through and work with.”
The band decamped to rural Pennsylvania to record the album.
“Our manager and engineer, John Rupp, lives in the woods near Easton, Pennsylvania, and has a connection with the Soundmine Studio owner Dan Malsch, which led to it being the best option for us to make the album on our own dime,” Thomas says. “I feel you can really hear the influence of that isolated area in the winter within the album.”
That’s not to say everything rolled along smoothly. Like every other band across the globe, the pandemic and its restrictions had an impact on Conduit.
“The release was most certainly affected, we basically had it done but our talks with Pure Noise got put on hold once the pandemic hit,” Thomas says. “Aside from that, we’ve been hit hard just like every other full-time touring act. But we’ve done our best to pivot and adapt, creating a Patreon, while I’ve started my own Downwrite shop where I write custom songs for fans.”
Touring has always been the band’s bread and butter to promote new music. Along with Patreon the band has adapted with livestreams and engaging with fans on their social media channels.
“We remain hopeful that this new music will still be able to thrive in the current state of the industry,” Thomas says.
Despite just having finished this last record, the band is already working on their next return to the studio, and hopefully hitting the road as soon as it’s safe to tour again.
Until a time when he can say it face to face from a stage, Thomas wants to thank every fan, both new and old, for “keeping this machine running and being the lifeblood of this dream.”
“Also, [I] would like to extend a message to all those struggling with addiction and mental health issues that you’re not alone, and to stay strong and seek help because it’s out there,” he concludes.
Read our review of Conduit here.
Purchase Conduit here.