Concordia music students are jamming their way to success
The life of a music artist may not be easy, but Concordia’s music program makes this process a lot smoother. At least that is the case for The Feedbackers, a Montreal alternative rock band founded in 2013.
The group consists of Mike Gerbasi, the lead singer and guitar player; George Flores, the bassist, keyboard player and vocalist; Chris Renaud, the drummer and percussion-player; and Antoine Bensoussan, the guitarist and vocalist, who joined the group in February this year.
Bensoussan joined the group after meeting Flores at Concordia, where they were both studying in the music program. Bensoussan told Flores he really wanted to be in a rock group. Flores, Gerbasi and Renaud were already performing together as The Feedbackers at the time. Gerbasi had been looking for another guitar player for a while. “So I’m just piecing the pieces of the puzzle together, there is a very talented guitar player that wants to play in a rock band, and here’s this band that needs another guitar player, so might as well merge them,” said Flores.
That’s when it went from the terrific trio to the fantastic foursome. Bensoussan fit in with the rock trio like a glove, and they continued creating music from there. “It’s as if he was part of the band for the past five years. We didn’t really know what we needed until [Bensoussan] came in and showed us what we were missing,’” said Renaud.
Flores said Concordia gave them the opportunity to meet and work with a multitude of talented musicians. “It’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve taken in my life to study here,” he said. “You meet so many people—the music department has such a fantastic environment. People are very welcoming, very friendly and there’s always this need to collaborate and create together. So it’s very communal.”According to Gerbasi, the University gave them opportunities to showcase their talents on stage during local shows. “The reason we had all the gigs we did for the most part is, when Concordia organized events, they asked us to play because we had a good standing with them. Or there were these things going on at a bar that the [music department] had a hand in,” said Gerbasi. An example is when The Feedbackers got a gig at the Corina Club lounge, where they performed again the year after. They also performed at the Concordia Shuffle for two consecutive years.
While they’ve come a long way musically in the past three years, the band said that the music department of Concordia definitely gave them the jump-start they needed. The band not only made changes to their sound, which has gone from pop to alternative rock, but has also changed their female lead singer to a male lead singer, Gerbasi. “[We’re] specifically making our own music original, in the way that we like and enjoy listening and playing it as musicians and as lovers of music,” said Gerbasi.
Their new self-titled EP will be released on Dec. 3. According to Renaud, all three songs on the EP define the band really well. “It’s really to show the progression of our band up to this point, and where we’ve come,” he said. According to Gerbasi, the third song on the EP, “Unholy Ghost,” brought the band closer to finding their sound. “If songs could move mountains, that’s what “Unholy Ghost” would sound like,” said Gerbasi.
Gerbasi said the themes on the EP are about letting life happen, opening your eyes to the world and being willing to grow. “Not letting yourself be carried out by life but actually pushing through it,” he said. “Not being the leaf on top of the river, but being a particle of water in the river pushing through with everything else.” This is something the lead singer said he’s learned a lot over the past year. “I like to see things in order but, when there’s disorder, I let it go. I’m working on letting things go and letting opportunity take its course and letting things happen,” he said.
The group’s main goal is to influence people through their music, according to Renaud. “We would love our music to be that influence on people. If you’re stressed, you take out your iPod and you listen to The Feedbackers. That’s the ultimate goal—we want to influence people’s lives,” said Renaud. Bensoussan wants their music to push people to become the best version of themselves. “Basically, inspire them to live at their own full potential the way we live as artists at our full potential, as our full expressiveness,” said Bensoussan. “We want to inspire people to do that for themselves, and to push their limits and to get out of their comfort zones.”
The Feedbackers will be at Piranha Bar on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. for their EP launch.