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Billy Talent’s Ian D’sa Talks About Their Upcoming Album

Dustin Rabin

Billy Talent is one of Canada’s leading hard rock/pop bands. They sell out stadiums, tours, and are pretty huge in Europe. Guitarist Ian D’sa has had his share of life experiences, starting musical life in high school in an indie band, to mainstream labels like Warner, Atlantic and Roadrunner. But going to art school and taking a post-graduate degree in classical animation are what gave him his grounding as a rock star and producer.

“I was always into music and art. School made me disciplinary and organized. I started giving myself deadlines to finish songs, put things together in a time frame instead of doing it as a hobby as we had for years before that. Going to school for visual art also let me take art more seriously. There’s no real school for being in a rock band.”

He’s also known to dabble in production, having worked with bands in the past, like Die Mannequin and co-producing their album ‘Billy Talent II’, he’s now taking on the reins for their upcoming release. “Producing your own album is definitely more time intensive because not only am I trying to work on songs, but thinking about how it’s going to sound sonically as well. It’s definitely going to be a challenged but I’m up for it. It’s different when you’re working for a different band, you don’t have to be as involved, it’s more about helping out with song structure and thinking about how it’s going to appear sonically.”

The new album is nine songs in, and is currently being demoed at a small studio they built in their rehearsal space. When asked how it’s going to sound, D’sa remains vague, but divulges that “the songs are a lot different than the last album, they’re closer to our first self-titled album. We’re opening up to new ideas and using piano on a few songs, but I’ve also been listening to a lot of old punk stuff I was into in high school like OFF! And Black Flag.”

Watch ‘Red Flag’ from Billy Talent

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It’s been over two years since their album ‘Billy Talent III’ was released, going platinum in Canada and Germany, so naturally fans are getting antsy for the next release. But D’sa remains dismissive. “Even my friends are asking me when it’s coming, and I’m like, ‘Dude, we’ve been touring for the last year and a half!’ That’s a lot of touring.”

Being on tour for so long, and keeping an album in mind is bound to affect your style performing live. D’sa feels, “the more shows you play on tour, the better you get at transitions. Some songs could be heavier, some could be lighter, but it’s really a mood kind of thing. I’ve written some songs that sound best on a blues guitar, but I can’t put that on a Billy Talent record. However, it is something the rest of the band can grow from when we add different instrumentation.”

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