Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): Congrats on the new record! What was it like writing SANCIETY after a few years since BURNING WINDOW?
Mad Ones: It was never a conscious decision to take so long between the two but a lot happened during that period, which informed the writing and recording process. For starters, I married my rock’n’roll sweetheart, (HotKid frontwoman) Shiloh Harrison – that was certainly the highlight!
There were also some events that took a chunk out of me. The tragic loss of brilliant Toronto musician and friend Chris Levoir affected me deeply. Chris and I had booked a tour together for The Mark Inside and Mad Ones to co-promote their Dark Hearts Can Hearts Radiate White Light and Burning Window and it was something we were both looking forward to. I feel like he was really hitting his stride as an artist and I know how passionately he felt about the band and how tight those guys were.
That fall of 2013, Mad Ones started work on the record but when I lost my father that Christmas I needed to take some time. We kind of did the recording in four different sections, months apart, which gave me time to reflect and tweak the sounds more than ever before and, of course, we’d do shows in between. It might be a cliché to describe the album as being meditation on love and loss but it really is, that and the world going bonkers. Pretty universal themes.
RMM: You released a few teaser singles. Did those impact the final SANCIETY record?
Mad Ones: Yeah a bit, I think it was also just the feeling it was taking a while and we wanted to get something out there.
RMM: Your sound feels more refined, but it still has that same edge that we love. Was that intentional? What inspires that sound?
Mad Ones: Yeah, I think our producer Adam King had a lot to do with that. He’s really good at the pop stuff, and I write kind of popish in the way I structure songs, but I also wanted it to be raw as hell and have a bunch of feedback and squirrely noises. He understood that and helped sweeten it with doubled vocals and things like that. Phil played awesome drum parts on it all, too, and Canterbury Music Co., where we recorded it, was the perfect place to get big drum sounds and also be able to isolate my amps so we could play the main bed tracks live.
RMM: You just wrapped up a short tour. How did that go?
Mad Ones: It was great to get back out there after a bit of an absence, especially with the new line up and to promote Sanciety, while also testing out our new material as well.
RMM: Your live show is a treasure to behold. Where do you get that insane energy?
Mad Ones: We love it. And thanks!
RMM: The crowd is always hanging on your every move. How does the audience impact how you feel on stage?
Mad Ones: There is such a bombardment of entertainment, information and obligation people have to weather in their lives… I am so thrilled that they want to make the time to come see us and to come back. We play the kind of music we would want to hear, so its vindicating and exciting to feel it connect. That pushes me to want want to make it a good show.
RMM: Do you prefer being on stage or in the studio?
RMM: Your line-up recently changed as well. How has that impacted your sound? The band dynamic?
Mad Ones: Phil was the perfect drummer for the loud rock duo we were and I’m glad we captured so much of it on record. The new line-up also plays to the strength of the players. Adam Balsam (The Most Serene Republic) is a very versatile player, great for the rockers and the low key numbers too. Russ Fernandes (The Mercy Now) is a longtime friend of mine and a musician/songwriter and I’ve been a fan of his for years. I’m really lucky to have them both on board and the added bonus is I can play a lot more lead guitar!
RMM: What’s next for Mad Ones?
Mad Ones: A proper release show for Sanciety – Fri. Jan. 20, 2017 at the Bovine Sex Club – the vinyl has arrived! Shiloh and I are launching our own label (Fortune Stellar Records & Tapes), a new Mad Ones record with new lineup has wrapped and we have a three-week tour of Europe booked for March.
Get more Mad Ones online at madones.ca.