Tag: Mac DeMarco

Interview: A Q&A with M for Montreal’s Program Director Mikey Rishwain Bernard

M for Montreal (French – M pour Montreal) is an annual music festival and conference, which takes place during four days in late November. Since its founding 14 years ago, the music festival and conference has rapidly expanded to feature over 100 local and international buzzworthy and breakout bands in showcases across 15 of Montreal’s top venues.

300 music industry movers and shakers, heavyweights and tastemakers from over 20 different countries make the trek to Montreal to seek out new, emerging artists and new business opportunities – while hopefully eating a ton of smoked meat sandwiches and poutine. I have the distinct pleasure and honor of being one of those music industry folks, who will be in Montreal tomorrow. As you can imagine, I’m looking very forward to poutine and smoked meat sandwiches, as well as a wildly eclectic array of music that includes the rapidly rising hometown-based Francophone indie rock act Corridor; acclaimed London, Ontario-based DIY rock collective WHOOP-Szo; British Columbia-based psych folk act Loving; hometown-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Ada Lea; hometown-based shoegazers Bodywash; Vancouver-based dance punk act NOV3L; Cameroonian-French pop artist Blick Bassy; and New York-based dance punk act Operator Music Band;  as well as a showcase featuring Icelandic artists and a two showcases featuring locally-based and Canadian-based hip-hop among a lengthy list of others.

Before heading out to Montreal, I chatted with the festival’s program director Mikey Rishwain Bernard about a wide range of topics including Montreal and Montreal’s music scene, what music fans, music industry professionals and journalists should expect from the city and the festival and more. Check it out below.

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WRH: While JOVM does have readers in Canada, most of my readers are based in the United States. Can you tell me and my readers a couple of things about Montreal and its music scene that we probably wouldn’t know but should know?

Mikey Rishwain Bernard: Most people will identify Montreal with Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and that’s cool as shit. After that Arcade Fire movement, it felt like many creative Canadian musicians started flocking to Montreal for the cheap schools, cheap rent, vast music scene and live venues. All that hype brought a new generation of artists like Grimes, Mac DeMarco, BRAIDS and more. All this to say is that Montreal is one heck of a place for creative space, freedom and affordable rent. Aside all that, there’s an entire francophone music scene that’s considered mainstream and not to forget the top shelf beatmakers and producers, most notably Kaytranada, Kid Koala, and A-Trak. There’s a lot of government funding dedicated in arts and culture and that’s a huge factor.

WRH: This is the 14th edition of M for Montreal. What was the inspiration behind its creation?

MRB: First and foremost, M was created on a whim. It was set up as a showcase to introduce 6 Montreal bands to 12 festival buyers and media from the UK, who happened to be in Montreal, while on their way to NY for CMJ. It helped artists like Patrick Watson and The Besnard Lakes get some action. In short, M is a networking platform for Canadian artists and industry to mingle with international tastemakers. We now recruit over 100 international delegates from 15 different countries to attend in hopes to export these acts into their respective markets. Another inspiration behind M is Martin Elbourne.  He’s our co-founder. A legendary British programmer who books for Glastonbury and co-founded The Great Escape festival in Brighton. He also worked with The Smiths and New Order, and has always had been involved with new wave’s in the making. He saw Montreal as a “sexy city” and wanted to contribute to this festival to help bring Montreal acts to Europe. Since then, M for Montreal has grown into not only a platform for Canadians, but we also make a little room for international acts.

 WRH: What does a program director of a festival do? 

MRB: I curate the music and conference. Lots of listening, making offers, negotiating and waiting. On repeat.

WRH: In your mind, what makes a successful festival? 

MRB: Aside from the talent, it’s the experience. The people you meet and the memories you make. I sound like Hallmark card, eh?

WRH: This is my first time in Montreal – and it’s my first time covering the M for Montreal festival. Besides the cold weather and maybe a little snow, what should I expect as a journalist? What would other music industry professionals expect from the festival?

MRB: You’re gonna feel welcome and our locals treat our guests/delegates with a lot of respect. Quebecers are very welcoming and charming, and they’ll all share their opinions on where to go, who to meet and what to eat. Everyone is going to ask you to try poutine. Just do it, once or twice. Try it sober at least once if you get the chance. Aside from that, don’t be surprised if some women kiss you on both face cheeks.

WRH: As a music fan, why should I check out Montreal? Why M for Montreal?

MRB: Like previously mentioned, the rich music history. It’s always good to see where Leonard Cohen slept & where Win Butler got his coffee, but it’s also a privilege to discover and experience the culture and new music cooking in French Canada.

WRH: I was doing some research and checking out the artists playing this year’s festival. Admittedly, I was very impressed – the bill manages to be very local centric but while being an eclectic and diverse sampling of a number of different styles and genres. There’s also a fair number of Canadian acts from other provinces, at least one American band and so on. How much work went into that? And how do you and the other organizers choose the artists on the bill?

MRB: It’s a mixture of things. We work with a lot of new kids on the block, Canadian export partners and local industry. We book bands and work with people who wanna play ball. Not for the money, but for a chance to play for some interesting people from all over the world. So, like the programming, it’s all over the place.

WRH: So once the festival ends on Saturday night, what happens next for you and the rest of the team?

MRB: The team will close out the festival and close the 2019 file. The week after M, I’m attending a conference in Saskatoon called Very Prairie… From there, I go directly into hibernation, back home, in Stockton/Lodi California (home of Pavement and Chris Isaak). I will start the new year booking another festival taking place in May called Santa Teresa. And the beat goes on.

While in Montreal, I’ll be busy with my social media accounts, live tweeting and Instagramming as much as I can. Keep on the lookout here:

Twitter: @yankee32879 @williamhelms3rd

Instagram: william_ruben_helms

 

For more information on the festival, check out their homepage: https://mpourmontreal.com/en/

 

 

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Best known as a founding member of hip-hop collective Odd Future and the Grammy-nominated, soul pop act The Internet, Matt Martians, a sometimes vocalist and producer released his critically-applauded debut, 2017’s The Drum Chord Theory, which was hailed by Rolling Stone as “pleasingly eccentric.”

Slated for an April 26, 2019 release through 3qtr Records, Martians’ sophomore album The Last Party was written and recorded as a way to heal himself after going through one of the most difficult times of his life. And while doing so, he reportedly found that you have to truly love yourself before you can sincerely give it back. Featuring guest spots from Mac DeMarco and Steve Lacy, the album’s overall sound blends modern funk, soul and electro pop. Serving as a perfect taste of what you’d expect from the new album, the sultry yet playful “Knock Knock” brings Quiet Storm-era soul, Thundercat and Dam-Funk, within a lysergic song structure full of weird time and tempo changes.

Martians will be spending the next few months touring with The Internet, and it includes a stop at Governors Ball in May. Check out the tour dates below.

Live Dates With The Internet

4/27 – Niceto Club, Buenos Aires

4/30 – Circo Voador, Rio de Janeiro

5/1 – Audio, Sao Paolo

5/4 – Campo Abierto Festival, Santiago 

5/31 – Governors Ball, NYC 

6/15 – Smoking Grooves, Long Beach

7/11 – Summerset House, London

7/12 – North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam Netherands

7/13 – Dour Festival, Dour Belgium

 

New Video: The Murlocs Strutting Glam Rock-like Take on Psych Blues

Led by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith and featuring Kenny-Smith’s bandmate Cook Craig, as well as Cal Shortal, Matt Blach and Tim Karmouche, The Murlocs specialize in a fuzzy and distorted psych blues. In their native Australia, they’ve played across their homeland’s festival circuit and have opened for the likes of internationally acclaimed acts like Gary Clark, Jr., Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Wavves and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. 

Building upon a growing profile, the Aussie quintet’s forthcoming Stu Mackenzie-produced third full-length effort, Manic Candid Episode is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Flightless Records. The album’s second and latest single “Withstand” is a swaggering and strutting blues ripper that nods at classic glam rock, complete with rousingly anthemic, shout-along worthy hooks, explosive blasts of harmonica and big, distortion-filled power chords. Sonically, the track — to my ears, at least — brings T. Rex, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and King Bee-era Muddy Waters to my mind but with a lysergic haze. Fittingly, the Alex McLaren-created video for the song draws from classic 60s and 70s rock promotional videos, as it features the members of The Murlocs performing the song in front of a psychedelic backdrop. 

Earlier this month, I caught the Brooklyn-based alt rock duo Deaf Poets play on a bill featuring Chicago-based post-punk act Ganser and the Brooklyn-based New Wave act Winkie at Saint Vitus, and as you may recall, the up-and-coming rock duo, comprised of Miami Beach, FL-born, New York-based duo of Sean Wouters (vocals, guitar) and Nico Espinosa (vocals, percussion) can trace their origins to when they met in elementary school. During high school, Wouters and Espinosa went through a long process of musical experimentation, which ultimately led to their founding of Deaf Poets — and since their formation, the Miami Beach-born, New York-based duo have received attention for a sound that effortlessly meshes elements of 70s rock with 80s punk and 90s grunge.

While in their hometown, the duo cemented a place in South Florida’s indie scene, playing some of the area’s best known venues, including Churchill’sBardotGramps and Grand Central, ultimately being named “Best Band of Miami” in 2014 and one of the “20 Most Influential People of Miami” in 2015 by The Miami New Times. Adding to a growing profile, “Degenerate Mind” off their debut album 4150 was part of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 video game soundtrack and was featured as part of Classic Rock Magazine‘s 2014 compilation CD. Along with that, the duo became a regular presence at iiiPoints Festival, where they played four consecutive years on bills that have included Mac DeMarco and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Additionally, they’ve opened for Matt and Kim and shared stages with Andy RourkeThe EttesPujolJennie Vee, The Peach KingsThe Psychedelic FursThe Growlers, and Dorothy.

Like countless hungry bands before them, the members of Deaf Poets recently relocated to New York, and unsurprisingly, their soon-to-be released EP Change & Bloom is reportedly inspired by the events and personal experiences that have transpired before and during their move, arguably making it one of the more personal and honest efforts of their young and growing catalog — and while the EP will further cement their reputation for swaggering crafting hard-hitting, power chord-based, arena rock, the EP’s latest single “Cigarette,” features a moody and expansive alternating quiet, loud, quiet  song structure centered around effortless time signature changes, tribal-influenced drumming and some impressive and forceful guitar pyrotechnics, revealing an ambitious band experimenting with both their sound and songwriting.

 

 

New Video: Danish-born Los Angeles-Based Artist Dinner Releases Americana-Inspired Visuals for “Un-American Girl”

Anders Rhedin is a Danish-born, Los Angeles, CA-based producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who may be best known for a brief stint collaborating with Danish-born singer/songwriter and guitarist  Jannis Noya Makrigiannis in Copenhagen -based Choir of Young Believers, an act that had multiple chart topping hits in Denmark and was named “Best New Act” in 2009’s Danish Music Awards. Since relocating to Los Angeles several years ago, Rhedin started his own solo recording project Dinner, which received attention with the release of his debut EP collection and his full-length debut Psychic Lovers. 

With his sophomore effort New Work, which is slated for a September 8, 2017 release through renowned indie label Captured Tracks Records, Rhedin had a desire to do things differently.  “I just needed to get back to the approach I used when I was still self-release cassettes back in Copenhagen,” Rhedin explains in press notes. “I spent way too much time on the previous record. I was sitting in front of a computer screen alone for seven months working on it, obsessing over it. This time, I wanted to work very fast in order think less. I wanted to collaborate more. I hoped that other people’s presence would keep my perfectionism in check.” Rhedin enlisted Regal Degal’s and Ducktails’ Josh Da Costa to co-produce New Work, and the album features guest spots from Tonstartssbandht’s Andy White, and unlike the previous album, an array of American-born and-based musicians including Blouse’s Charlie Hilton, Infinite Bisous’ and Connan Mockasin’s Rori McCarthy, The Paranoyds’ Staz Lindes and Sean Nicholas Savage. The recording sessions found Rhedin, Da Costa and company working during the late night, off-hours at a  studio in an industrial section of downtown Los Angeles, with material being recorded on the spot — with little preparation time. “A lot of my favorite music is American. I thought it would be fun to go a little bit less Euro on this one,” Rhedin says in press notes. “I’m pretty Euro by myself, some might say. I wanted to add a different color.” 

In between sessions, Rhedin recoded and overdubbed material in his apartment with a 4 track recorder from the early 80s. We did very little editing, we just tried to record what was there. You’ll hear a lot of first-takes on the record,” Rhedin informs us in press notes. “The best part of the process was driving home early in the morning though the empty streets of LA, listening to the night’s recordings. Because it was such an immediate experience.”

Reportedly, New Work and its first single “Un-American Woman” was inspired a by William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell” and Rhedin’s own personal experiences. “‘Un-American Woman’ is a song I wrote just before I stopped going out, just before I stopped sleeping around with woman,” the Danish-born, Los Angeles-based producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist says in press notes. “The song seems to be about disillusionment and a fear of being stuck in a certain lifestyle. But it also also touches upon the potential transformational aspects of ‘bad things.’ Nothing’s black or white, good or bad. There is just life-force moving. A constant movement. ‘The road of excess leads to the place of wisdom’ in the words of Blake.” 

Sonically speaking, New Work’s first single manages to be a mischievously anachronistic and effortless meshing of Joy Division and The Smiths-like post-punk, 60s guitar pop and psych pop with Around the World in a Day-era Prince, as the song manages to possesses a similar moody Romanticism paired with an ability to craft a slick and infectious hook. 

Interestingly, the recently released visuals for the song were shot in and around Las Vegas and manages to evoke the song’s haunting loneliness and swooning Romanticism; but interestingly enough the video features Mac DeMarco’s brother Hank dancing with his ballet troupe, and a sequence featuring a bunch of young people roughhousing in a seedy motel room. It’s decidedly American but from an outsider’s point of view.