The Zyphoid Process (sometimes stylized as The Zyphoïd Process) was probably the only band from Quebec that I actually truly adored. This melodic, chaotic, post-metalcore band featured members from various locations in the West Island of Montreal, but they practiced in the bassist’s house studio in Ile Perrot. Meeting from attending the same high school, College Charlemagne in Pierrefonds, Quebec, most of the members had crossed paths in previous bands.
One of these, Deadly Awakening featured Simon Talbot on vocals, Pierre-Charles Payer on bass, Laurent Shaker and Eric Lapierre on guitars and Dave Powell on drums. Deadly Awakening played their only show in early August of 2007 at The Vault in Pierrefonds. Their set consisted of only covers; As I Lay Dying’s “Meaning in Tragedy”, Atreyu’s “Lip Gloss and Black”, Alexisonfire’s “Waterwings” and Killswitch Engage’s “My Last Serenade”. Shaker had also been jamming with another group of friends; Eric Lapierre and Raphael Sous-Leblanc on guitars with Shaker on bass.
By the fall of 2007, a new band had formed featuring Simon and Raph on guitars and dual vocals, and PCP on bass. Simon was responsible for naming the new band. “The Zyphoid Process”, an alteration of “xiphoid process”, was a term he had come across during a first aid course. Musical influences came from Poison the Well, Norma Jean, The Chariot and other emocore and metalcore bands of the era.
Initially, the band continued jamming with Dave Powell on drums but this didn’t last very long. He was living at the complete opposite end of Montreal Island, in Pointe-Aux-Trembles, and wasn’t available for jams often enough. Before the winter, he was replaced by Marc-Andre Lemyre. Marc had been introduced to PCP by his friend Jason at a party, and although Marc and PCP had played hockey together they had yet to initiate a conversation. That very night they setup a jam to try him out. Marc was by far the most talented drummer they had met and with him, they secured a stable rhythm section. Raph was also starting to have commitment issues, apparently due to winter sports. He was constantly training or working out while the band wanted to practice. So Simon and PCP asked Shaker to come back into the line-up, as a temporary fill-in to continue writing dual guitar songs.
In November they started recording at the Payer studio. Four songs were recorded for their planned EP/demo, “Are You Processed?”. After tracking “Le Visage de Juliana”, “Dirty Fingernails”, “The Human Machine Gun” and “Wrath of the King of Apes”, PCP asked his friend Nicolas Kudeljian to design the artwork.
A Myspace page was created in December, and in January of 2008, their first show was booked at Cafe L’Inconditionnel. Through the Myspace page, Simon met Kevin Fernendes who operated Wreck Your Face Productions. Kevin would go on to book the band over a dozen times during the next two years. The Zyphoid Process’ first show happened on January 11th with A Wasted Sacrifice, Madeline, Terracide, Systematic Denial of All, Avery’s Decent, Camalus and End of Crisis. During the show, Shaker remained on guitar, while Simon and Raph alternated between vocals and guitar. For this event, Simon also asked a college friend and fan, Maxance Vassart, to handle the venues light effects. Max had grown up with Simon and PCP and had been attending local hardcore concerts with them for a couple of years. He had also been at Deadly Awakening’s concert and knew the band well enough to handle the job.
But their demo wasn’t sold at the show. Apart from a few very close friends who had home-burnt copies of the four songs, the band wasn’t distributing the recordings. They were still writing new songs and wanted to wait until a longer CD could be released. Throughout the early months of 2008, three more songs were recorded at the Payer studio and added progressively to “Are You Processed?”; “Motorpsycho”, “I Hope Your Attitude Is As Positive As These Results” and “Every Hole As a Little Glory in It”. Ultimately though, this demo was never released, as the band moved on to completely new material later in the year.
The Zyphoid Process live at CEGEP Gerald-Godin, February 8th 2008. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Lepage.
Simon and PCP were then attending CEGEP Gerald-Godin in Sainte-Genevieve, QC. The college put up a talent show on February 8th, and Simon booked the band to play as the main musical act. Although the school asked the music to be toned down (less screaming vocals) and also to translate their lyrics in French, they were still up for a surprise. Simon dressed up in booty shorts and their friends Max and Nicolas-Patrick Therien put on costumes. Max was dressed in a clown mask and outfit, while Nicolas put on a Furby suit with a werewolf mask. During the show they moshed all over the stage, before disappearing. By then, not only was Raph’s contribution to the band extremely limited, but he was also struct by laryngitis and therefore limited his vocals.
After finishing the new songs for “Are You Processed?”, they played their third show, on March 22nd. Once again booked by Wreck Your Face at Cafe L’Inconditionnel, this time with Darkness Rites, Shock Therapy, Terracide, Realizing Our Fatal Lies, WDNFRA and Systematic Denial of All.
With the spring came a new evolution for The Zyphoid Process. Raph’s dedication still wasn’t winning over his interest in sports, and Simon wanted to focus on guitar. This meant finding a new lead vocalist to sing clean melodies. Thankfully Nicolas-Patrick knew someone, who happened to be dating Simon’s ex-girlfriend. Mathieu C., who had previous sang in Sin Silencer, was asked to come try out at their next rehearsal.
The Zyphoid Process live at Cafe L’Inconditionel, April 18th 2008. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Lepage.
Matt’s first show would be on April 18th at Cafe L’Inconditionnel. This time they shared the stage with As the World Fades, Azriel’s Curse, Breaking the Fourth Wall, Gone by Nightfall, No Hero for Today and Peroxide. Even before Matt came into the fold, they were already working on a new demo,having abandoned “Are You Processed?”. Songs from the unreleased first EP were gradually dropped from their setlists, making room for the newly recorded “A Design in Decadence”. With a new summer demo planned, Nico immediately started working on new artwork.
In May, Raph was officially kicked out of the band, as the new songs were written completely without his input. But his departure was on good terms, as he later handled lighting duties for the band. Then, on June 14th, The Zyphoid Process played with IWrestledABearOnce, As the World Fades, Kissyface Fashion Faux Pas, Discordiance, Realizing Our Fatal Lies, Lenore and Demogoron at L’Inconditionnel.
While recording the second song for the “Summer 2008 Demo”, Simon asked Max to officially join the band as their new screamer. With Max screaming and Matt signing, Simon could now dedicate himself fully to playing guitar. “Stunning Facial Features” was the first recorded song to feature Max, followed shortly after by “Nobody Wins in Gangster’s Bowls”. The band quickly posted all three new songs on Myspace, just in time for Wreck Your Face Fest 2.
The three-day event at Cafe L’Inconditionnel, set-up by Kevin Fernandes, featured twenty-one bands that had played for the promoter in the last two years. The Zyphoid Process got to play on Friday July 4th with These Silhouettes, Sydney, Haniston, As the World Fades, From Man in Ghost, Everlea, Syracuse Me and Lenore. A pretty amazing event to welcome Max’s first show with the band.
With a full band and a demo CD finally out, though distributed mainly digitally, they decided it was time to get some clothing made as well. Nico was asked once again to create the design. Simon’s vision truly came to light with this art. Nico had already created a new band logo, and found a black and white picture of a woman screaming, as per Simon’s request. One day in July, before going to see “The Dark Knight”, Simon and PCP, feeling a sudden and peculiar rush of inspiration, showed up at Nico’s house to make some impromptu final changes to the shirt design. A few effects were added to the woman screaming and the words “Get Freaky” were added. Fifty t-shirts were then printed and sold for 15$, beginning at their August 9th show with Dead and Devine, Emarosa, These Silhouettes, Arise & Ruin, The Breaking Downfall and Here for the Crime.
The Zyphoid Process live at Cafe L’Inconditionel, August 9th 2008. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Scodras.
After being critically underpaid for each and every event put up by Wreck Your Face Productions, things seemed to be looking up for The Zyphoid Process. In late July, they were invited to join the roster of massive concert promoters, Supernova Productions. With a promise for bigger and better things, Supernova started off by offering them an opening spot for Metro Station at the Metropolis on August 14th. The band quickly wrote a parody song to perform in front of this new audience, “Hannah Montana”. But the promoters’ promises fell through and the show went on without Zyphoid.
Supernova then booked them at Club T.N.T. Concept Rock on Crescent Street in Montreal. This was their first chance at headlining their own show. September 4th was also the birthday of one of their friend, Alexandre Drouin, and they made plans to book the venue’s bar for him as an after-show party and to secure that all their friends could be present and have a good time. The evening as a whole was a success, playing for the first and only time their cover of Paramore’s “Crushcrushcrush”. But after the show, Supernova refused to pay them a dime, even though the band had gone as far as promoting the event all by themselves. This was definitely the end of their collaboration with Supernova.
And then, a few rehearsals later, Matt announced that he was no longer happy in the band. Since the release of the summer demo, Simon had already written two new songs; “Predator’s Handshake” and “The End’s Not Near, It’s Here”. Both of these were a lot heavier and featured more screaming vocals for Max, leading Matt to feel sort of out of place in a band that was obviously no longer “post-hardcore”.
Back with Wreck Your Face, for lack of better offers, the band started playing at L’Inconditionnel again. On September 26th, they played with Gone By Nightfall, Today I Caught the Plague, Here for the Crime, KidIcarus, Camalus and Unbeing. For the few songs still in the setlist that still required clean vocals, Simon multitasked on guitar. It was also around this time that Simon joined a local band, Polish Mi Yaya, with other students from college Gerald-Godin.
In early October, Bird Wazo Studio contacted Wreck Your Face to offer a free recording session. Kevin compiled a list of bands he felt could benefit from this studio time and put up a sort of concert contest. But this contest had nothing to do with talent or passion, it had to do with money. Kevin decided that the band who sold the most tickets for him would “earn” (or rather “buy”) the free studio time.
The Zyphoid Process did not sell the most tickets. But it didn’t matter because they were already recording new demos at the Payer studio. “Predator’s Handshake” and “The End’s Not Near, It’s Here” were finally recorded and Matt was invited to contribute clean vocals to the later. A third song was also recorded that year, “Everything We Know Is About to Change”. The band played their final show of 2008 on November 22nd. These Silhouettes, Escape for Glory, Magellan, Skepsis, Edessa and Selana also participated.
2009 started out with more shows in a short period of time. The first was on January 17th, celebrating Sydney’s final appearance. Wreck Your Face had of course booked this at L’Inconditionnel, with These Silhouettes, Escape for Glory, Magellan, Skepsis, Edessa and Selana.
Less than a month later, CEGEP Gerald-Godin put together another yearly talent show. But this time the rules had changed. The school only allowed the band to play if every member was one of their own student. This wasn’t the case for them. And the band wasn’t willing to rewrite all the recent song;s lyrics in French. So Simon and PCP created a one-off band, “Le Projet”. Featuring one third Zyphoid; Simon on guitar and PCP on bass, another third Polish Mi Yaya; Laurent Ouellette on keyboards and Charles Blondeau on drums and a final third Erewhon; Philippe Paquin on piano. They quickly wrote a single instrumental song and played their only show on February 12th. Although the band won in student votes, the judges pushed them back to finish in second place.
The very next day, Wreck Your Face booked them at the all too familiar L’Inconditionnel with Abandon All Ships, These Silhouettes, Hometown Beatdown, Bigger & Better Things, Skepsis and I Used to Pass Out Everyday. With a little bit more of a name for themselves, Simon received interest from Phil Worthy and Dave Boucher who operated the promotion company Extensive Enterprise.
The Zyphoid Procoess’ first show for Extensive Enterprise was the D-Tox Band War II on March 27th. Booked at CEGEP du Vieux-Montreal, Zyphoid would compete against Overend (featuring Polish Mi Yaya’s drummer Miachael Guglia), Here We Stand, Best Regards and Die in Vain. This time too, Zyphoid didn’t win.
Overend and The Zyphoid Process would play another show together on May 2nd at The Vault in Pierrefonds, QC. Booked by Matthew Savage, the event featured his own band, Breaking the Fourth Wall as well as Authors, Deadwalk and Chryses. In the spring, two new songs were written and demoed; “Diploma” and “Tonight’s Top Ten”.
The summer of 2009 went on to be one of the slowest time for the band since its inception. In June and July, Max and Shaker individually went off to Europe, and Simon started touring with Polish Mi Yaya. Zyphoid was constantly missing one of its member during a three-month period.
Back on track and refreshed after the vacations, they played L’Inconditionnel on August 14th with Abandon All Ships, Colossus OfRhodes, Broken On Site, Sins Under City Lights, Four Feet & Fur and Skepsis. But somehow, after twelve shows for them, Wreck Your Face Productions managed to misspell their name on the flyer…
The Zyphoid Process was now working on a new release. An EP to be titled “Scandalmonger”. Three new songs had also been composed in the late summer/early fall; “Snuff”, “Gossip Girl” and “Winston Churchill”. Through out the year, bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Isis, Converge, Coalesce, Every Time I die, Fear Before, Glassjaw and The Bled had become major influences and helped shape a new sound in their music. Early in their existence, Zyphoid’s lyrics were mainly inside jokes that weren’t meant to be taken seriously. But by this time the band took a more serious approach to songwriting, with darker themes of psychopathy, violence and sex being prevalent. These topics became a serious lyrical concept for the new EP and although they had enough material to release an album at this point, they held off again.
The Zyphoid Process live at Cafe L’Inconditionel, September 18th 2009. Photos courtesy of Marina Polak.
On September 18th The Zyphoid Process played at Cafe L’Inconditionnel for the thirteenth time. The bill featured Fear Before, Baptized in Blood, Trophy Scars, Noble Scale and The Fierce. It was at this show that The Zyphoid Process was approached by Abridged Pause Recordings. Abridged Pause was operated by Alexandre Julien, one of Max’s childhood friend. Alex had taken an immediate liking to the band after hearing them on Myspace earlier that month and brought along his roomate and label photographer, Marina Polak to take some new live shots of the band. After hearing them play live and liking them even more, Alex offered to release whatever the band was willing to put together through Abridged Pause Recordings.
In early October, they decided it was time for a name change, reflecting the different music they were now creating. Simon was a huge fan of Botch and suggested “Great White North”, after their song “To Our Friends in the Great White North”. But Extensive Enterprise had already booked them as “The Zyphoid Process” for an upcoming show on October 18th at the Underworld. This time they were going to play with It Dies Today, Arsonists Get All the Girls, Awaken Demons, A Wasted Sacrifice, The Dresto and From Glory to Failure But It Dies Today ended up being refused access into Canada at the boarder. During the show, The Zyphoid Process announced to everyone that this was their final appearance under the old name, and revealed that they would from then on be officially known as “Great White North”.
Shortly after the Underworld show, PCP, who was now attending university, moved out of his parents house. He was attending the Polytechnique of Montreal, and found an apartment in the city. But because he was no longer living on the studio and rehearsal room premise, the band practices greatly diminished.
Simon continued writing new songs with the same passion. “Dead Horse”, “1930”, “Sex Fiend” and “Life Lessons in Exotic Dancing” were all written before the end of the year and demoed shortly after. The plan was to finish “Scandalmonger” in the new year and book the first Great White North shows with completely new material to offer. In the past year, nearly fifteen songs had been composed, but the band was lacking a direction and never decided which ones would make it onto the EP. Additionally, some of the songs that were recorded, never made it to having vocals, as Max went off to Europe again without recording them, from May to July.
Great White North’s rehearsed less and less during the summer, as everyone started following different trends of life. But Alex at Abridged Pause wanted them to finish up “Scandalmonger”. So in an attempt to motivate them, he created a Great White North Myspace page in August. This design once again penetrated Simon’s mind. The imagery featured 1930’s-1960’s era photography of morbid, avant-garde and costume-wearing debauchery.
When Max came back from Europe, his interest in not only Great White North, but hardcore music as a whole, had vanished and he abandoned the band. The rest of 2010 proved extremely slow, and by January of 2011, everyone’s schedules were clashing. Marc-Andre had started a new band, Skip the Foreplay and was extremely busy with them, ultimately forcing him to quit Great White North in March.
In April Simon asked ex-Polish Mi Yaya bandmate, Michael Guglia to join Great White North. Mike had been a long-time fan of the band and immediately agreed, prompting Simon to send him two songs to practice before they met up. A first rehearsal was scheduled at Mike’s parents house in Ile-Bizard, QC with Simon and PCP.
The band continued jamming at Mike’s house for the next ten months. But within this time, they also slowed down drastically. They weren’t jamming in a studio anymore so no demos could be recorded. No shows were booked either and the multiple attempts at finding a new vocalist failed miserably. Max was constantly asked to come back but his schedule was always too hectic to make it work.
Eventually Great White North moved into Marsonic Studio, a rehearsal space in Montreal on the corner of Parc Ave and Cremazie Street. By then it was 2012 and PCP had also stopped coming to practices. One day after writing a new song, Simon, Shaker and Mike looked at each other and realized that this was it. This wasn’t The Zyphoid Process nor Great White North anymore. This was an all new band with an all new sound. Great White North was dead and Colours/Shapes was born. It was then that Matt was asked to come back as the vocalist for this new band, which is still active to this day.
-Complete Show Listing:
- 2008-01-11 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) A Wasted Sacrifice, Madeline, Terracide, Systematic Denial of All, Avery’s Descent, Camalus, End of Crisis
- 2008-02-08 CEGEP Gerald-Godin (Sainte-Genevieve, QC)
- 2008-03-22 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) Darkness Rites, Shock Therapy, Terracide, Realizing Our Fatal Lies, WDNFRA, Systematic Denial of All
- 2008-04-18 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) As the World Fades, Azriel’s Curse, Breaking the Fourth Wall, Gone by Nightfall, No Hero for Today, Peroxide
- 2008-06-14 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) IWrestledABearOnce, As the World Fades, Kissyface Fashion Faux Pas, Discordiance, Realizing Our Fatal Lies, Lenore, Demogoron
- 2008-07-04 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) These Silhouettes, Sydney, Haniston, As the World Fades, From Man in Ghost, Everlea, Syracuse Me, Lenore
- 2008-08-09 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) Dead and Devine, Emarosa, These Silhouettes, Arise & Ruin, The Breaking Downfall, Here for the Crime
- 2008-09-04 Club T.N.T. (Montreal, QC)
- 2008-09-26 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) Gone By Nightfall, Today I Caught the Plague, Here for the Crime, KidIcarus, Camalus, Unbeing
- 2008-10-11 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) A Devil May Cry, Sins Under City Lights, Untold, Amongst the Shadows, Our Own Justice, Insanity Takes Two
- 2008-11-22 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) These Silhouettes, Escape for Glory, Magellan, Skepsis, Edessa, Selana
- 2009-01-17 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) Sydney, Lifestory Monologue, This is Gravity, Kinsley, Fannie, Modern Ghost
- 2009-02-13 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) Abandon All Ships, These Silhouettes, Hometown Beatdown, Bigger & Better Things, Skepsis, I Used to Pass Out Everyday
- 2009-03-27 CEGEP du Vieux-Montreal (Montreal, QC) Here We Stand, Overend, Best Regards, Die in Vain
- 2009-05-02 The Vault (Pierrefonds, QC) Breaking the Fourth Wall, Authors, Deadwalk, Chryses, Overend
- 2009-08-14 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) Abandon All Ships, Colossus OfRhodes, Broken On Site, Sins Under City Lights, Four Feet & Fur, Skepsis
- 2009-09-18 Cafe L’Inconditionnel (Montreal, QC) Fear Before, Baptized in Blood, Trophy Scars, Noble Scale, The Fierce
- 2009-10-18 Cabaret Underworld (Montreal, QC)
It Dies Today, Arsonists Get All the Girls, Awaken Demons, A Wasted Sacrifice, The Destro, From Glory to Failure