I haven't had the pleasure of seeing you guys live yet, but everything I've heard and read about your shows points to it being an amazing time had by all. In your opinion, what is it about your performance that makes you stand out at a show with a handful of other bands, or a festival like NXNE?
It's not too late to check us out! We hope that it's a great time for all, we definitely enjoy playing. I find that you can learn a lot about a band by observing the people that show up to see them....and our audiences always smell great! We must be doing something right!
Any festival plans this year?
We will be playing Canadian Music Week in May!
You're about to set off on tour, where are you guys most excited to play?
I can honestly say that we are genuinely excited to play everywhere. It's going to feel so great to finally get out and play together. Our last show was at Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati back in the fall, so we are truly coming out of hibernation....it's been a lonnnnng winter!
If you had to choose just one place..
It's our first time playing out East, so I'm not sure which town we'll have the most affinity for, but I'm confident that we are going to meet great people everywhere we go. That's why Canada is so great! Friendliest people in the world!
What have been some of the best experiences playing live as a band that have made all the crappy times totally worth it?
When people show up to see us play. I feel incredibly fortunate when people care about our band, when they come spend a night with us. Our last few festival experiences made us feel especially appreciative. Just like you mentioned earlier, people have hundreds of bands to choose from and are fitting in as many acts as they can...so we were really flattered to have great crowds our last few festival showcases.
What's one of the weirdest things that's ever happened at one of your shows?
Zombies were chasing people through an obstacle course. It was an outdoor racing event called "Run For Your Lives" and it was pretty awesome. We also played with a Grateful Dead cover band in St. Louis whose audience was decked out in tie-dye and glowing hula-hoops. Again, awesome.
I love Medicine For Melancholy's album cover, who did it?
Thank you! That is the fine work of the talented Mr. Nick Sewell. Not only does he front the mind-blowing Toronto band "Biblical", he is a creative force in the visual arts as well! He probably knows karate too.
What was the inspiration behind it? When we were recording at Rancho, we stayed in Hutch's cabin (soundman for QOTSA and Jack White) which is a few minute walk through cacti from the studio (we found out about the scorpions on the last day). There were a lot of cool books on his shelf, including one about magic. It had samples of posters in it from famous magician's stage acts. I sent Nick the record and described what I'd seen in the book and he put this together, using an image of one of the few female magicians of the time, Miss Baldwin, as the focal point.
She was advertised as "A Modern Witch of Endor" to promote her control of the underworld. Nick captured the mood of the record perfectly. We thrilled with how it turned out.
So the album really is true to it's title, I mean songs like "Bitter, Jaded & Dumb" or "Broken Spirit".. what were you going through when you wrote it?
I won't bore you with the vulgar details of my personal life, but I definitely spent a lot of time reflecting on how we can be both fragile and cruel in the same breath. We're all damaged in some way, but we should strive to cause as little damage to others as possible. "Bitter, Jaded & Dumb" was written for everyone's inner curmudgeon.
Playing in August at Y&D Square, what's that all about!? Yes! On a much brighter note, the sun and the birds are coming out soon and we were invited to be part of this fantastic summer concert series. We'll be there on Aug 29th with bells on!
What's the scene like in Thunder Bay? I've never been there. Who is your fav band from there right now to play with?
Thunder Bay is rife with talented musicians and has a great local scene. We don't get the opportunity to play there often, but when we do, we're always impressed with the bands we play with. My dad plays in a really cool Canadian folk band called The Knackers that plays around town regularly. Check them out!
Favourite Toronto band of the moment and why?
The line-up for our Toronto release party was no accident. We're playing with our favourite Toronto bands. The Lying Cheats are like ear candy. Delicious garage rock that dares you not to dance. The Mercy Now is a rock and roll hurricane. You won't know what hit you, but you'll get right back up so that it can hit you again. Mad Anthony is an honorary Toronto band. They hail from Cincinnati but play Toronto so regularly, they've probably slept on your couch. Catchy, energetic, you'll be throwing your chair in the air like you just don't care (I saw this happen in Dayton, Ohio)! Not only do these bands make great music but they're dear friends who inspire us. Even if you don't give two hoots about Bella Clava, come see these bands. They're the cat's pyjamas.
What's the biggest difference you notice between playing to Thunder Bay crowds vs Toronto crowds?
Definitely the family presence. When we're in TBay where Steve and I grew up, our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, gather like it's a family reunion and rock out. When we're in Toronto, it's Jody and Scott's families that congregate at the gig. As a TBay/Toronto hybrid band, we're pretty lucky to have such cool and supportive families in both the North and South.
What artist/bands did you discover when you were younger that made you go like 'whoa, i want to do that' ?
The first band I became obsessed with is Queens of the Stone Age. I used to steal CDs from my brother's room and listen to them on the sly when he went out. I remember feeling pretty ambivalent about most of the bands he was listening to, but Queens had me hooked from the first notes of Regular John. No one sounded like them.
Bella Clava kick off their Medicine For Melancholy release tour TOMORROW in Thunder Bay! Here are the full list of dates:
Black Pirates Pub – Thurs April 17th - Thunder Bay, ON
Avant-Garde Bar – Thurs April 24th - Ottawa, ON
Barly – Fri April 25th – Montreal, QC
Plan B – Sat April 26th – Halifax, NS
Plan B – Mon April 28th – Moncton, NB
Callahan’s Pub – Tues April 29th – Saint John, NB
Nirvana – Wed April 30th – Fredericton, NB
Le Scanner – Thurs May 1st – Quebec, QC
The Horseshoe Tavern – Fri May 2nd – Toronto, ON
Wasted Space – Sat May 3rd – Oshawa, ON
THANKS SO MUCH GUYS!!