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"Killed by death"

From afar, it appears that Calgary’s hardcore and punk scene is undergoing a mini-revitalization: Glitter and Flaccid perform a brand of crusty, violent hardcore. Teledrome and the sketched-out PMMA, meanwhile, are exploring the depths of synth-punk. Then, there’s Chlorinator, a brand-new, pedal-drenched act who are pushing Calgary’s taste for garage-tinged punk to its logical limits. Indeed, while it’s unfair to christen the city as the new Ottawa, Calgary’s punk scene suddenly holds oodles of promise.

So, when all three members of Chlorinator — that’s guitarist Nick Sawchuk, bassist Devon Giancarlo, and drummer Nicole Brunel, all of whom moonlight as local illustrators — are in a room, we ask them: Is there a renewed interest in punk and hardcore in Calgary?

“Well, hardcore’s kind of trendy now [in Calgary], but it used to be kind of nerdy,” says Sawchuk. “But we’re not hardcore, and I don’t listen to a lot of it. It’s sexless. I think we’re more sexful than most hardcore bands.”

“We never play in other cities, so I don’t know [if it’s easier for punk bands to thrive locally]. I mean, there’s lots of promoters who make fun shows happen in houses,” adds Brunel. “And I suppose the local newspaper’s willing to write about your band, even if you’ve done nothing.”

Brunel’s only half-joking. The band, they admit, has only played two shows thus far — “And we’d like to take this public forum to apologize,” interjects Giancarlo, “because we still have to practise to actually get good” — and aside from one YouTube-released track, “Tngestlbrn,” they haven’t even cut a demo. They’re a fam-first affair, too, with a couple — Brunel and Sawchuk — forming Chlorinator’s nucleus. They operate off a loose band concept, name-dropping the Killed By Death comps, New Bomb Turks, Angry Samoans and, as Sawchuk notes, “phaser pedals, which we totally had before PMMA,” as the basis for their music.

So, where does that situate them in Calgary’s musical landscape?

“I don’t know. I mean, I guess cock rock’s a big thing right now,” says Sawchuk, noting the popularity of local beard-rock act High Kicks. “But I like garage rock from the ’60s and budget rock stuff from the ’90s, and I think that shows up in our music.”

And it does. At first listen, Chlorinator’s music recalls plenty of influences: There’s elements of The Spits’ party-centric garage. Listen harder, and you might find the grit of post-Observers, Pacific Northwestern post-punk. Despite Chlorinator’s modesty, the band has the pedigree to pull off their schtick in style: Its members have been part of some of Calgary’s most adored acts, from Teledrome, to The Gooeys, to Bitter Pricks, to Topless Mongos.

The band should crystallize their sound when they record their demo, which they say will be handled by Jay Wong, a Glitter and Flaccid member (and Calgary hardcore scene it-dude). Once they record, Giancarlo adds, the band has a five-year plan for their music.

“If the demo’s good, I want to put it out on a tape, then put out a 7-inch, then re-release the demo as a 12-inch,” he says. “Then, by year four, we’re gradually breaking up. Years later, we’ll put out a recorded anthology on a CD.”

It’s a model that’s worked in the past, but Brunel notes it’s also an exhaustive process. She suggests an even simpler model for Chlorinator: “I have 200 Topless Mongos records,” she says. “Maybe we’ll just change the cover on those.” - FFWD Weekly


Still working on that hot first release.



Formed in late 2012, Chlorinator is a garage punk band from Calgary Alberta, drawing inspiration from 90's budget rock, the Killed By Death compilations and countless other sources.