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Territories: Poignant Lyricism Driven By Melody

7 December 2023

Territories continue building upon their foundation of poignant lyricism coupled with strong melodies and deliver again with their newest record, Colder Now. Hailing from Canada out of the ashes of their former group, Knucklehead, Territories have shown steady evolution with every subsequent release.

“Our lead singer Kyle has a real way with words and he can connect by writing relatable material that is specific enough to strike a chord but also allows room for interpretation and for people to add their own experience and emotional content into the subject matter,” stated drummer Eric Jablonski.

For Jablonski, his profession in the medical arts seems to reinforce the connections Territories work to create yet both worlds markedly contrast as one utilizes emotion and musical action to connect while the other utilizes empathy but relies heavily on proven science and strategies.

“Working in medicine has allowed me to use brainy problem-solving skills in combination with working and helping people. The recent Covid pandemic was a giant clusterfuck but also allowed us to illuminate major gaps in healthcare systems as well as highlight how our global community can find a way to work together to share information, learn from each other and try to innovate quickly,” shared Jablonski.

Territories put their empathy into action and rose further in prominence in 2019, launching a grassroots campaign with Pirates Press Records to alert communities to the chilling statistics of gun violence within schools across the nation. Pressing countless flexi discs featuring their song, The Lockdown, Territories sought to focus on how reactionary school lockdown drills were becoming and the unintended panic created was further deviating from the questions surrounding gun access and youth violence. Jablonski reflected on the campaign’s impacts.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with the fine folks at Pirates Press Records. The label feels like a family and the team is genuine and works hard. With the song The Lockdown, we were able to bring attention to the sickening frequency of school shootings to a much wider audience with the creative help and resources of the Pirates Press gang. They are always up for the challenge of raising awareness for important issues, fundraising for those in need, and standing up for injustices.”

Territories balance community-based issues with sincerity shining through continued themes of alienation and the questions that remain when all that is familiar; neighborhoods, family, and community subculture fall into limbo but as parents, the lyricism and passion propelling it take on entirely new directions. 7Lbs. Of Hope stands as a touching glimpse into the vast unknown a family or a couple is thrown into when dealing with an illness, and the answers we desperately seek from medical professionals that do not have the information we fight everyone in our path to know.

“Without going into too much personal detail, Kyle’s third kid had a lot of health difficulties right out of the gates and it was a very tenuous situation at the time of his birth and early development. Kyle throws his emotional experiences into songs as a way to process trauma and this one happens to have turned out as one of our most fun and joyous songs to play off Colder Now,” stated Jablonski.

Territories continue their evolved brand of Punk, but no shortsighted concepts to reinvent the genre, just a goal to create more poignant lyricism without sacrificing sincerity or melody. Knucklehead may have left some kind of void within their local community, but Territories features elevated songwriting and with the awareness of its members, they successfully recognize that but work to transcend creative trappings when launching a new group boasting the majority of former members.

“Territories currently has three of the previous Knucklehead members. Kyle, Matt, and myself. Our old friend Jimmy had been with Kyle, Matt, and me since 2003, and over many years and the change over to Territories, we began to have different ideas about the role of music in our busy lives and Jimmy needed a change. He graciously groomed Mike on guitar and imparted his knowledge, skills, and style to him. Mike was a natural fit and was quick to grab the baton and run with it. It’s been really fun having him in the band, he is a breath of fresh air and brings a lot of musical creativity to our songwriting,” said Jablonski.

Jablonski is a staunch believer in Punk’s global appeal, and its ability to transcend any language barrier that may cause a divide. For Territories and their Canadian home base, the group continues accepting the challenge of how to grow a subculture community within a country known for great distances between cities, often hindering show logistics.

“I believe punk continues to have a massive global appeal and it’s very special to get communications from people listening in Germany, Sweden, or Japan who have heard our message and felt compelled to reach out and share their stories with us. Canada is very spread out which adds to the challenge of touring or even just getting together with friends. But this is in fact what also makes it more special when the occasion arises. For those that continue reaching out, we will continue to respond to the call by writing the highest quality songs that are within us and try to spread our catchy, infectious, and positive vibes with the world,” concluded Jablonski.

Photo: Shane Rempel