The fourth annual POP Montreal festival kicked off last night and runs until October 2nd. This year’s roster includes hundreds of artists coming from around the world. Here are just a few you should check out:
MATT MAYS & EL TORPEDO
Matt Mays & El Torpedo are on a roll. They came to POP Montreal this week with a Juno nomination, a hit single and a bunch of big concerts under their belts. I spoke with the band’s frontman Matt Mays to find out a little more about them.
The Concordian: Did you ever anticipate the airplay and video play you’ve been getting?
Mays: Not at all. We didn’t know what to expect. We just wanted a good sounding record but most of the stuff on the record we didn’t produce for the radio. We basically just released (Cocaine Cowgirl) and it went crazy. It’s a nice surprise because we didn’t expect it do go that well.
The Concordian: What do you think it is about your music that draws people to it?
Mays: I don’t know, it’s one of those things where I try not to do anything I don’t mean or say anything I don’t mean. I think people like honesty, it’s one trait that everybody likes and that’s something that we have.
The Concordian: Did you have any goals as far as how you wanted the record to sound?
Mays: We wanted this to be a band record, the first one was more of a solo effort. We’d had been touring a lot and we had a really good thing on stage and we wanted to transfer that on a tape. There’s a lot of bands that have a good live show and then you hear the record and it doesn’t sound like it or vice-versa. It’s one of those things that we wanted to make sure that both ends were good.
The Concordian: How important it is for your music to be art?
Mays: I think it’s really important and as an artist, it’s something that I really want to maximize. There’s a lot of music out there, that isn’t really art, it’s just music that has gone through the motions. I think it’s important to keep that artistic element.
Matt Mays & El Torpedo perform on Thursday, September 29 at 11 p.m. at Cabaret (2111 St-Laurent)
Probably the biggest hardcore band in Canada right now is coming to Montreal on Saturday. Since the release of Wake the Dead last spring, the band hasn’t stopped touring. Comeback Kid has also received video play for the first single, “Wake The Dead”, which came as a pleasant surprise for the band.
The Concordian: What do you think of having “Wake The Dead” play on Much Music?
Hiebert: It’s interesting to because when we started the band we never thought of us as being a band that would some day have a video on Much Music. Even just the genre, wasn’t really that accessible to the mainstream at the time, so yah it’s pretty weird to see how far it’s come. Definitely lucky to be in the position we are in right now.
The Concordian: Why do you think kids reacted so well to the record?
Hiebert: It’s several reasons I think. The genre itself is just a lot more accessible at the moment. There’s a lot more bands that play our style of music that are getting some press. The other thing is that we’re a touring band. We’ve been on the road for a couple of years, we’ve done support tours and headlining tours, so I think that’s definitely always going to help a fan base grow.
The Concordian: What do you think of all this attention given by AP and other big music magazines on hardcore?
Hiebert: Without a doubt, it’s got its upsides and downsides. Hardcore’s always been that community where bands tour for enough money to get by, sleep on their friends floor in different cities, it’s always been a DIY thing. Now it’s obviously still there, but a lot of bands that have come from that have actually seen a bit of success. As far as kids coming out, with all the extra press there’s a lot of kids that are coming out that aren’t necessarily aware of where a lot of these bands have come from. Overall, just getting music out there is cool, there’s a lot of kids that are going to be into it that might have not heard about it otherwise.
Comeback Kid perform on Saturday, October 1 at Metropolis. (59 Ste-Catherine Est)
The Australian trio The Grates have been best friends for the past six years. They met at the end of high school during a drama class, where they decided to form a band. This fairly young band saw their career snowball after the release of their latest EP entitled The Ouch, The Touch which was released in Australia last February and in North America in August. I spoke with the band’s drummer Alana, to get the scoop on The Grates.
The Concordian: Things have happened pretty fast for you, are you happy with the speed of how things are going?
Alana: We’re really happy with how things have progressed; we put a lot of time and energy into it from the start. We all do it full-time now. There’s this great government initiative in Australia called New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), and if you want to put all your energy and time into building a business you get put through an eight week course where they qualify you. We are actually all paid by the government to focus all our energies on this band.
The Concordian: Did you ever expect to be releasing your EP internationally?
Alana: We’re really excited about it. It’s not something we expected from the start. We got a great time of people working with us. Every time something happens like having it released or like playing CMJ or POP Montreal, it’s something we hope for, we didn’t really expect.
The Concordian: Do you have any plans to record a full-length?
Alana: We’re actually more than half-way through it right now. We’re in Chicago at the moment recording with Brian Deck. We got the funding to come to Chicago and to record the album with him. We recorded the album for three weeks and we have been mixing for two.
The Grates perform Friday September, 30 at 12 a.m. at Academy Club (4445 St-Laurent Blvd.)
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