BY MATTHEW BURDITT
Sheridan College will be holding a Beerfest at The Marquee on April 13, featuring Toronto punk band, PUP as part of the event. The band has gained significant success since the release of their 2016 effort, The Dream Is Over. The band, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Stefan Babcock, guitarist Steve Sladkowski, bassist Nestor Chumak and drummer Zack Mykula, is surprised by the response to the record.
“The response was really strong and unexpected,” said Sladkowski. “The way we make records is to focus on doing the best we can with the time and money that we have. I don’t think we expected people to be as excited about it, so it was a really pleasant surprise.”
From a start that saw the boys sitting in a basement, jamming and drinking beers, the group is now a touring machine, having gone around the world in the past few years. The band still loves playing Toronto despite the varieties of cultures and people they have played for. Sladkowski reflected on coming up as a band in Toronto.
“As big as Toronto is, the music scene is not huge and we were really lucky to find a home around the same time as other bands that were coming up like July Talk and The Strumbellas. It was a pretty fruitful time around 2011 when we were first starting thinking about playing shows.”
Having played at numerous bars and venues in the city, including The Silver Dollar and Sneaky Dee’s, the truest sign of the band’s growth is their recent run of shows at Danforth Music Hall where the band sold out three nights.
The release of The Dream Is Over saw the band rise to success, touring with the likes of Modern Baseball and The Wonder Years, though the band had a rough patch leading to the release. After recording the album, Babcock discovered that a cyst had developed on his vocal cords, which ended up hemorrhaging. After ending their time on tour early and seeing a specialist, Babcock was told by his doctor that “the dream is over.”
“It’s like a flat tire. You just have to take a break, find a safe spot and change the tire. It’s just a matter of making sure that he was safe and healthy and that everyone understood that this was more important than anything else. You can’t keep driving and moving along if you have a flat tire.”
The guitarist also says Babcock has done all that he needed to do in terms of bettering his voice. Through vocal exercises and lifestyle changes, his voice improved and now the band is back at it better than ever.
Tickets for their Sheridan show can be purchased at thessu.ca or in The Marquee.