Canadian indie rock band Moneen has sometimes been tagged as an emo outfit--but such a descriptor hasn't necessarily rankled the five guys who make up the band.
Founding member Kenny Bridges says he's more worried about Moneen actually making it to the venue and not losing any more members. He took some time to talk about Moneen's recent difficulties as the band prepares to play tonight at The Door on a great bill with Say Anything, Eisley and Miniature Tigers.
Moneen has been through some tumultuous times recently. Have things calmed down?
Well, this newest form of the band has been on tour for about a month, and things have been adventurous. We just bought a new van for the tour, and we've already had two major breakdowns. We had to cancel four shows and leave half the band in Salt Lake City for about 10 days while Hippy [guitarist Chris "Hippy" Hughes] and I jumped on a plane and played acoustic for about 10 shows. Since then, the other guys finally flew out and met us back in Toronto so we could do a show as a full band. We had to rent another van and just continue the tour.
Salt Lake City isn't exactly the best place to be stranded.
No, it's not. They were stuck in this tiny hotel room for a couple weeks. They did find a movie theater that let you bring in drinks, but that got old after two days. After that, they didn't know what they were going to do with your lives.
The band's most recent record, The World I Want to Leave Behind, is stylistically quite a bit different than previous albums, yet you've been quoted as saying that it's not a reinvention of the band.
This new record has some songs that are a lot more stripped down than anything we've done in the past. We've never done an acoustic song before and now with "Waterfalls" we have. That song is a huge leap forward for us as far as simplicity goes. On the other hand, songs like "The Glass House" and "The Monument" are more intense than anything we've ever done. It's always something that we wanted to do. In the past, we haven't done real riff-heavy stuff because that didn't seem like us, but then on this record we got a new drummer [Steve Nunnaro] and he brought a lot of new stuff out of us. He let us know that Moneen is what we make it. I mean, we're not going to start playing reggae songs or anything. We just jumped head first into these intense songs. We still like playing the more atmospheric stuff from the past, but now our show feels more complete.
Some critics and fans have labeled this album as mainstream. Does that bother you?
No, I think it's laughable that someone thinks we've gone mainstream. If that's the case, maybe we'd start selling lots of records. Maybe we'd get played on the radio. We are happy to appeal to a different sort of fan. Actually, I think, for the most part, the reviews have been pretty good. We're never down on ourselves about anything. We've been at this for a decade and we are at the point of making records for ourselves. Nothing can ever stay the same. You have to keep changing things up. But we are not anywhere near mainstream.
Does the term "emo" carry so much baggage that you want to distance yourself from it?
From where that term started in relationship to us and where it is now, I'm not even sure what that term means anymore. When I think about emo, I think about the late '90s, Jimmy Eat World, Sunny Day Real Estate, that kind of thing. Now, I hear about people wanting to ban emo because it's such a depressive, gothic kind of thing. Now emo seems to apply to what would have been the industrial kids back in the day. If that's the case, then we don't fit into that category at all. We are not a dark, depressing band by any means.
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With emo today, there seems to be a lot more thought put into what the band wears on stage as opposed to what the music is going to sound like.
Exactly. It's weird because I can't connect the dots as far as the fashion of the music and what I think of as emo. When we first started touring, everybody referred to us as Toronto emo. Back then, we were actually proud of the term, but now, it's changed and I am unsure how I think of the term.
You've kept some form of the band together for a decade. What's your motivation?
We just have this goal we've been working on and it's the United States of America. We've been banging our heads against that wall for so long. Now, it feels like time has stopped ever since we starting pursuing that goal. We are not looking for world domination, but we want to have the same kind of success here as we do in Canada. If that happens, we will be so happy. We're not frustrated, but we'll just keep touring until that happens.
Moneen performs tonight at The Door with Say Anything, Eisley and Miniature Tigers.