The origin of Raise Them and Eat Them, as an idea, could have begun as early as 2002 (as some sources claim). But the band didn’t actually come together until January of 2004. The initial line-up featured Ken Galbraith on bass and vocals, his brother Jay Galbraith on drums and Nathan Obonsawin on guitar. This was a sort of Toronto side-project idea for the band members, after Jay and Ken broke up Katja and Nathan had quit Arkata. Additionally, Jay had never played drums in any band before, but he learned so quickly that by their first show, no one would have guessed. The line-up was stabilized in early spring when Aaron Marchildon became the official vocalist.
In late May they recorded their first song, “Chapter #1: The Omnipotent Failure”, in their home studio, and registered a page on HxCmp3.com. The new band was already planning a CD EP release later that summer. In late July or early August, Dave Buschemeyer joined as a second guitarist, two years after quitting The Abandoned Hearts Club. To be honest, Raise Them and Eat Them sound very similar to The Abandoned Hearts Club, although they have a more dissonant sound and focus less on electronics.
In late August, the five-piece band announced that they were ready to record four songs for their debut release. However only three songs would be tracked in September, once again at their home studio but this time with a little help from ex-Katja guitarist, Evan Rautiainen. In late September, their self-titled EP CD was ready to sell at shows. Some of these CDs would add “Chapter 1” as a bonus track.
That fall, Arkata was asked to pair up with Circle Takes the Square for the Canadian leg of their six week east coast tour. Nathan immediately arranged for Raise Them and Eat Them to join the one week tour. The three bands met up in St. Catharines, Ontario on October 7th to play at the Red Square. The next two days were played at the Ford Plant in Brampton and then at Cafe Aquarius in Guelph. After two days off, the tour resumed at Moe’s Tavern in Toronto, The Embassy in London and finally the Trinity Lounge in Sarnia.
By this time the style of music that they were playing, noisecore, was at its height. Bands like The End, The Abandoned Hearts Club, Maharahj and The Dillinger Escape Plan were gaining attention from big independent record labels. Perhaps by lack of exposure, or simply by choice to not promote themselves to the same people, Raise Them and Eat Them distanced themselves from a quickly saturating scene. In an interview they admitted that the tough-guy metalcore scene had killed hardcore for what it was, with bands like A Death for Every Sin ruining Canadian metalcore’s image.
Because of this, Raise Them and Eat Them labeled themselves “nerd-guy tough-core”. Dave pointed out that this was in no way a new movement they were attempting to create, but rather their solution to separate the band from all mosh-core bands. With that in mind, the band started working on their first full-length which was planned to be released in the summer of 2005, with no label backing as of yet.
They continued to play locally from November through January of 2005. But in February, Nathan quit the band. He would later rejoin the Galbraith brothers in 2006 to play in Akroid. A few more shows would be played after this but the band announced it would concentrate on writing and recording the new record. They would work on this, as a four-piece, for a whole year.
Meanwhile, It’s a Disaster! Distribution in Toronto was starting up a label division, It’s a Disaster! Records. One of the first band to be approached was Raise Them and Eat Them. It’s a Disaster! offered to re-issue the September 2004 EP on 7″ vinyl. The songs were sent off to Mark Dorc Przybylo for mastering at Banging Masters. Meanwhile, Matt Gauck (who had created Circle Takes the Square’s “As the Roots Undo” album artwork) designed a truly beautiful layout. I believe only 500 (perhaps 1000 at the most) copies were pressed, around the summer of 2005.
By the summer, Raise Them and Eat Them still had no record label backing for their new full-length. So Jay and Ken founded their own independent record label, Gorgeous Industries. The first merchandise the label created would be a RTAET t-shirt, designed by Scott S.
New promotional photos were taken of the band and in October they sat down with Wavelength for an interview. In this interview, Raise Them and Eat Them mentioned that their self-titled, nine-song album, was ready and set to be released in mid-November. The interview would be published a month later, however the album would not. I wasn’t able to find out why the album was delayed and eventually never released. But by early 2006, Raise Them and Eat Them were over. The Galbraith brothers would go on to form Akroid, who would succeed in putting out an album through Gorgeous Industries later in the year.
I really wish that I knew more about them. All that I own is their 7″, and I offer you a bad quality rip of these three amazing songs. One day hopefully I will be able to expand on this article and offer you a complete discography and better story of a band that I admire greatly!
-Work-in-progress past shows listing
- 2004-10-07 Red Square (St. Catharines, ON) Circle Takes the Square, Arkata
- 2004-10-08 Ford Plant (Brampton, ON) Circle Takes the Square, Arkata
- 2004-10-09 The Schwaben Club (Kitchener, ON) Circle Takes the Square, Arkata
- 2004-10-09 Cafe Aquarius (Guelph, ON) Circle Takes the Square, Arkata, The Viking Club, Japanther
- 2004-10-12 Moe’s Tavern (Toronto, ON) Circle Takes the Square, Arkata, Rosesdead
- 2004-10-13 The Embassy (London, ON) Circle Takes the Square, Arkata
- 2004-10-14 The Trinity Lounge / Lambton Shrine Club (Sarnia, ON) Circle Takes the Square, Arkata, Restless Are the Dead, Tonight on Rewind
- 2004-11-05 ???
- 2004-11-20 Sneaky Dee’s (Toronto, ON) Vertical Struts
- 2005-01-?? Casbah (Toronto, ON)
- 2005-01-22 ???
- 2005-01-29 ???