(PCM) We simply can not get enough of Toronto-based band Menage! The group is made up of siblings Basilio, Gabriel and Bela Ferreira who are truly a musical force to be reckoned with! Get ready … because Menage is poised to take the music industry by storm.
We were recently able to catch up Menage is chat about their brilliant self-titled EP, touring plans, new music and so much more!
Q: Can you share some details about the creative process behind the latest EP?
Menage: This is the first one where we kind of we had played the songs live already and were a full band. Our first album, we had the music before we were a band. I think this album was a little more catered to us if that makes sense.
Q: Do you feel that the live element of our music carried over to the recording process?
Menage: I think we started things with a much quieter type of performance, so we really wanted to show that with a three or four song EP. It’s a completely different sound and shows a completely different side of us.
Q: Do you have any plans to release a full-length album or do you think that you will stick with the EP-style releases?
Menage: I think for the time being where we’re at, we’ve noticed that since the first album that our careers are ever evolving and the band is evolving. Being out on the road with a lot of different bands and we are influenced by a lot of different sounds so we’ve found that it is always Menage at the core, but there are different things we like to play around with sonically so I think that we are always evolving. Also, the stories we are telling, basically our songs are written about day to day life and our lives change with every single note we release. It may not be major or earth-shaking but our little world and our little circle definitely changes with each release.
I feel that with EP’s it gives us a chance to give a play by play of what is going on with our career. It gives fans a chance to hear where we are at during this season or these couple months and our next EP will be out a couple months after and it might be a completely different life experience we are going through. Our songs are for the most part non-fiction and about real lives.
Q: I imagine that has got to keep things fresh for you all as a band.
Menage: Yes, definitely.
Q: I found that while listening to the EP, especially one of my personal favorite tracks “Till The End”, that the music has a very cinematic quality. Can you comment on that?
Menage: That particular one I feel like was after a cross America tour that we did and the shows whether we plan it or not become very interactive. We like to make it not about we’re up on stage and you’re down there watching, but more like an experience that everyone can share. Those are the show that we always dreamed of being part of as a fan watching other bands so, that was just one example where we wrote it and recorded it just imagining the next tour that this is going to be something for everyone to chant along with and it is an anthem of sorts. I think that was an example of writing a song different than on the first album because it was based on experiences from being on the road for so long.
Q: How is it working together as siblings?
Menage: (laughs) That question always comes up! And there is never a delicate way of putting it. I don’t think that we are any different than any other group of siblings so you can just imagine piling up in your mom and dad’s mini-van and going on a summer road trip with your siblings as a kid. There are always arguments that you are going to go through and stuff like that, so nothing changes just because you’re in a band.
Everything from what songs we are recording next, the set list we are going to play that night to arguing over the radio station that we are going to play in the car. It’s pretty simple. It’s just an extension of a normal sibling situation when you are stuck in a small confined space.
Q: I am sure that you all have varied musical influences. For each one of you personally, do you have that pivotal music moment that made you want to pursue music for a career?
Menage: It was very, very early for all three of us. We always had music playing in the house, we always watched music videos. Music videos are more exciting to us that any movie or video game could ever be and we were just obsessed from the very start. I can’t remember us ever not being obsessed with music and music videos. Our parents were not musicians at all but they were big music fans and it was just to be on the other side of the TV screen and it being just a dream come true.
When we realized that if we just work at it maybe it is possible that there is a career in there somewhere even if it is super challenging, but that was just the beginning. Even with Dave and Elliot, the other two guys in the band we all feel the same way. We have trailed off with different musical influences but I think together somehow it just works. I think we are very lucky in that aspect.
Q: I agree. Your chemistry together is amazing. I also love the fact that you have not forgotten the art of the music video. I feel like, despite there being a lack of home for them anymore the visual element is still very important.
Menage: Yes, it’s sad and we agree that music videos are definitely still very important.
Q: With all the changes we have witnessed within the music industry over the years which one would you say has had the biggest effect on the band?
Menage: I think we are still unaffected by it, we really kind of do our own thing. I feel like whatever is going on outside of our little bubble we don’t really get too affected by the business side of it. We’ve come to realize that online stuff is very important whereas all we care about is playing live in front of people … real live people. A live band will never be replaced yet. As long as people still want to see live music I think there is always a place for band and touring bands.
Q: Exactly! I always want to argue with those that say rock is dead saying ‘Have you been out to a show lately?’ without a doubt people are still hungry for it! What does touring look like for Menage into 2015?
Menage: We have several west coast shows coming up late February into late March which will take us to South By Southwest and we will probably extend from there. Most likely we will be headed east from there.
Q: Has there been any work on new music? I know that “Black and White TV” has been released.
Menage: We are in the studio right now with David Botrill and that is another crazy little dream come true that we never thought possible. He is responsible for some of our favorite albums of all time. He has worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Muse and Placebo so we’re super excited. We are just finishing off the last pre-production touches and then we start recording in a matter of days. We are in Canada right now and as soon as we are done we get on a plane and head out to California and that’s when we start the dates.
Q: That’s so exciting. I also have to ask what it was like to work with Jim Barr?
Menage: It was amazing. He is the nicest guy. Obviously, he is in the UK so it was all online and we did talk on the phone a little bit. It was long-distance, but I think he totally saw in his eyes what we wanted with his vision and we are excited to hopefully work with him again. We also have to note that on “Black and White TV” the humble star of the song is George F. Adra on the blues guitar. He is a Syrian musician, who is a friend of ours and speaks very minimal English because he just moved to North America from Syria.
He is an incredible guitarist and we discovered him through a friend of ours and when we heard him play we said you just have to be on this track! It sounded so haunting and the track itself is very haunting and everything is very dark about it and the guitar just fit in perfectly. We need to get him in more demand here in North America. He is an amazing guy and so so talented!
Q: On a personal level I look at music as a universal language that we can all speak and understand even if we take different messages away. Is there anything in particular that you hope that the music of Menage will say to listeners?
Menage: To forget and kind of let go from the depressing world that we live in and kind of take a break for a minute.
For more information about Menage, please visit: http://www.menagetheband.com/