Get involved with the intrigue, mystery and even a missing person! Start with a tour, visitwww.madinalake.com. The website pulls you into the past. Not exactly a sinister ghost town, though equally disturbing, this 1950s isolated lakeside settlement has a story to tell and a lesson or two. Welcome to Madina Lake.
The four residents of Madina Lake conceptualized the idea of putting together a band a year before they had all rehearsed together. “We played in two different bands under the same management umbrella and none of us were happy with our creative circumstance,” said bassist Matthew Leone who, with twin brother and lead vocalist Nathan, used to play in Chicago’s The Blank Theory, while drummer Dan Torelli and guitarist Mateo Camargo came from Reforma. “We discussed the prospect of playing together and, philosophically, our stars aligned. Three months later we were in L.A. making our demo!”
Not to worry, understanding this band does not require a graduate degree. Citing Daniel Quinn and Erich Fromm as some of his favourite philosophers, Matthew explained: “We wanted to supplement the music with philosophical insight, so we created the town of Madina Lake,” and as the band’s website implies, such a place compels a soundtrack.
“What we feel happened is, [in the 50s] everybody was emerging from the Depression and the War, and everyone was feeling great and everything was wonderful,” said Leone. “But then the American culture became obsessed with fame and vanity and things like that. And I feel like that’s been perpetuated over time, so what we wanted to do in the story is send the characters back to the 50s, which we think was a relevant time, to change the course of history.”
The band’s The Disappearance of Adalia EP is the first step to uncovering and touching on these concepts. “Adalia is the town socialite. She embodies every superficial desire that our culture has placed too high of a value on,” Leone clarified. “Her disappearance in the story represents how the lifestyle that the townspeople are enacting can be dangerous.” The first single off the record, “House of Cards,” is about “how people can convolute their lives with lies. It reflects the downward spiral that ensues as a result. We all have skeletons in our closet, secrets, dark areas of our lives that we like to keep hidden from our friends and loved ones. It’s a precarious way to live your life with the feeling that your world is so flimsy that it could all fall apart at any moment.”
A feeling Madina’s lead vocalist and bassist are well acquainted with. At the age of 12, Matthew and Nathan lost their mother in a car accident, an event Matthew describes as flipping his world upside down. He also identifies this moment as the instant when he and his brother began to evolve artistically. “Before that, we just had a typical kind of American household,” the bassist said. “Then ‘that’ happens, and it changes your foundation so much that it really spins your mind around when you start thinking artistically. Our perspective on the world changed. Then you kind of learn what’s important. It’s not important to have a cool car, to have a hot girlfriend, and nothing like that matters; love matters, and honesty, and trust”. These are just some of the notions the band members would like to share with their fans.
Step two in grasping this band’s philosophy is the upcoming full-length album, From Them Through Us To You, due in stores on March 27, coming out with a book written by Leone. “It’s a whole mystery!” he grinned.
Step three – the live gigs. “What we want to do as a band is make everybody feel like they’re not alone,” Leone asserted. “Everybody wants a sense of belonging. Even when we do our live show, we don’t want it to be band, barrier, and then the crowd; we want it to be one big circular energy that everybody’s sharing together, so we’re not any different from the audience that’s watching us.” The band had definitely reached that goal when they played La Tulipe last month as part of a Red Jumpsuit Apparatus headliner. It was amongst the crowd that these boys were found after their set restlessly distributing high-fives, hugs, autographs and high-voltage smiles.
This was Madina Lake’s first Montreal gig and the beginnings of an innocent love affair. “We played in Toronto and now Montreal, and it’s our first time in Canada and we adore it; people are just wonderful,” Matthew said. “We just want people to connect again,” he added, “and that’s what’s great about playing these countries like your country, because you can tell that people here just value their family, they value their love, and they’re passionate about things. And when we go play the U.K. it’s the same thing.”
The band will set forth across the Atlantic once again in February with hip-hop/emo sensation Gym Class Heroes, and return to North America for a full U.S. tour opening the stage for Californian punk quintet, Halifax. Here’s to hoping for a few Canadian dates! Leone smiled, “Canada is like the United States done right!”