Introducing… Montreal pop-punk band Taken For Granted

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Following their 2018 album tour that included support slots for Counterfeit and Story Untold, Montreal’s Taken For Granted just released their second full-length album, Polarity. As the band has matured, so has their music, illustrated in the album’s intricately written instrumentals, emotional vocals and thought-provoking lyrics.

New song, “Trust and Shine” demonstrates the band’s mastery of pop-punk instrumentation, conveying a message to stand strong for what you believe in the face of backlash.

Watch the lyric video below:

The band tells Montreal Rocks a little about their beginnings, and their favourite Montreal hangout spots.

When Taken For Granted started out what bands were you all listening to?

Well, our singer Max was listening to a lot of All Time Low and Simple Plan at the time, but also a lot of heavier stuff like Breaking Benjamin Ice Nine Kills and The Word Alive. Raph, our guitarist, had a similar roster of bands on his playlists, adding to those Green Day and Three Days Grace. Alex, on keyboards, was a lot into Avenged Sevenfold as well.

Was there a plan for how you wanted the band to sound in the beginning and how has that changed over the past five years?

It wasn’t so much a clear plan as just what we liked playing. The first album was written mostly by Max before the band was formed, so it was more his vibe and his ideas. We started off as a bit of an eclectic sounding band, but the new album Polarity has really brought all these different styles and sound choices into one. It is much more cohesive than Into the Abyss was.

 It’s been three years already since Into the Abyss. How do you feel looking back on the record now?

With Into the Abyss, we were still experimenting on what Taken for Granted would be. We had not played a lot of shows just yet and we were still new to the stage and not fully assumed as Pop-Rock/Pop-Punk band. It was a good first album for the young musicians that we were at the time, but we have matured a lot in our writing and playing since then. Polarity is more imposing and more powerful than what we could ever achieved with Into the Abyss. 

The new record is called Polarity. Where did that title come from?

Polarity is the expression of duality within the album. It’s about the opposition of conflicting emotions, with love, fear, hope and despair all battling it out in our own rendition of what life essentially is all about: getting through the rough times to get to the good ones. Not everything is black and white, but how we feel about them often is, and that is part of what we wanted to show with this album, with songs like Trust and Shine and Hope being about the positives, while others such as Like an Echo and Left Out show a darker side. It is that duality that makes us who we are.

How does this new record compare to your debut?

It is much more us. It hits hard while keeping powerful pop melodies at its core. While Into the Abyss definitely had some strong songs, Polarity soars with ear-catching pieces that we are very proud of. It is definitely miles ahead of the last, and hopefully, our listeners will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

Which song on the album are you most proud of and why?

For this one, we will answer separately, since we all have different favourites. 

Raph: Definitely Left Out. For personal reasons since it’s a challenge and also because I love heavier music. This one has the perfect balance of pop melodies and heavy metalcore riffs. It is a great way to start the album.

Alex: Never Be Gone is the song that truly exemplifies the duality in our album. It’s a catchy tune with a beautiful melody that creates a nice contrast with the harder songs.

Max: It’s a tough decision, but I’d have to go with Not Mine. To me, it’s an anthem to all the people struggling with the ups and downs of life, and it’s all about pushing through the hard times and making it out alive together. Fun fact, it was also the very first song written for this album, and I think it pushed us in the direction we ended up taking for the writing of Polarity.

What challenges have you faced during the COVID-19 lockdown and what plans do you have when things improve?

It’s extremely hard to keep motivation up when not much is happening on the music scene. It was really hard to keep it up and keep practising our songs knowing we wouldn’t be able to play them live anytime soon. We usually meet up on a weekly basis, and not being able to during COVID was heartbreaking. We love playing together, and it’s a moment we look forward to every week.

When the music scene comes back to life, hopefully, we can pick up where we left off and start playing shows in Montreal, all around eastern Canada and hopefully in the USA for the first time! With the new songs in line, we know we can give our best shows to date!

If you could only tour with one band for the rest of your career, who would you choose?

That’s a very tough one, and we have widely different answers. Max would love to tour with Simple Plan. They’re guys from the same part of the world as us, with a similar energy and drive, and it would definitely be an easy match in terms of music styles. Alex would love to tour with Starset. While they have a slightly different musical style to ours, their music is really cool and they’re genuine and really nice people. Raph couldn’t decide on just one, but bands like Simple Plan, All Time Low and Silverstein would be awesome. 

Lastly, favourite places to hang out in Montreal?

When it comes to music, the now-closed La Vitrola was our favourite place to be, with the Casa Del Popolo being a very close second. Those were and are amazing venues to play at and to watch great shows. We will definitely miss La Vitrola and we hope most other venues will stay open, for the sake of the thriving Montreal music scene.

Interview – Steve Gerrard

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