Toronto band Madame Psychosis have honed a fun alt-rock sound that’s about as fun as their wacky band name suggests. Led by the infectious vocals of Michelle Mondesir, the quintet offer up infectious melodies and funky guitar riffs in their lively indie-meets-rock sound.
We took a listen to their latest single Kapow, which is taken from their upcoming second album, which will be released on 20 September.
It opens up with big bursts of guitar that feed straight into a lively opening verse, then staccatoed guitars and guitars feed into a catchy verse “Kapow, Baby you shot me down, And now I don’t know what to do, Yeah I’m dying over you.” A cool little fuzzy guitar riff takes over before an upbeat verse flows straight into another catchy chorus that’s followed by a guitar solo. Check out this super-catchy track below:
GR: Madame Psychosis is a cool band name! But who is Madame Pschosis?
MP: “Thanks! We’re glad you like the name. It comes from a book called Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. One of the characters in the book, Joelle Van Dyne, goes by the moniker of Madame Psychosis. We liked it, so we adopted it as our name.
“We’re a five-piece alt-pop indie band from Toronto, Canada. Let’s just say the band started at a wedding, where a mutual friend of some of the eventual band members suggested we get together to jam. At the time we all thought ‘sure, why not?’ thinking it was unlikely to actually happen. Well, she followed up, and it resulted in a jam session with Bret (guitarist), Jaina (drummer), Gio (bassist) and our friend. Bret, Jaina and Gio continued to jam, writing songs in the process. It took well over a year to recruit Michelle, our singer and lyricist, who shortly after introduced Rene (guitar) to the band, and there you have it!”
GR: You just released Kapow. What should people be expecting from the song?
MP: “People should be expecting a good time when listening to Kapow. It’s a fast and frenzied rocker made for drives to the beach with your windows rolled down. An upbeat, feel-good slice of summer in three-and-a-half-minutes.
“Saturday morning cartoons inspired Kapow. The gritty aggressiveness of the song brings back memories of the cat and mouse chasing pursuits of Tom and Jerry, Tweety and Sylvester, and Roadrunner and Pepé Le Pew.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
“We tend to say a cross between Black Keys and Alabama Shakes, or in other words a combination of indie rock and alt-pop. With Kapow specifically, several people have mentioned similarities to Metric and Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
Michelle: “My biggest influence when writing is the world around me. I’ve written about personal experiences but also about my view of what’s happening with the people I connect with from day-to-day and what’s happening around me. I try to write in a way that everyone can relate to and understand that speaks to the human experience, be it highlights or low points. We’re all just trying to be happy and survive through all the obstacles that life throws our way.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
MP: “We each come from a different musical background so our influences vary quite significantly from one band member to the next. However, the bands that continue to come up in conversation repeatedly are the Black Keys, Alabama Shakes and War on Drugs.
“It really depends on who you ask. Michelle has a strong R&B and soul background, so she would say Whitney Houston and Jill Scott, as well as Freddie Mercury. Jaina likes The Smiths and Arctic Monkeys, Bret digs Spoon and Wilco, Rene’s a huge fan of Guns’N’Roses and Pearl Jam, and Gio loves the Smashing Pumpkins and any guitar-driven indie rock. We’re all over the place.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
MP: “We have a lot coming up! Most notably, we have a new album coming out on 20 September 20. All of our efforts right now are going into promoting the singles off the album leading up to the release. Kapow is our latest single, though we also released Crashing Down and Just Wanna Be Myself earlier in 2019.
“We also have a few gigs lined up, including our album release show in Toronto on 20 September, as well as a few TV appearances in August and September to help promote the upcoming album. We’ll likely take a break from recording over the next few months, but we have talked about a one-off single later this fall or winter.”
Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
MP: “Yes! If you’re a fan of catchy alt-pop and indie rock we invite you to give Kapow a spin. If you like it, check out our debut album Madame Psychosis. We’d also love to see your beautiful faces at one of our live shows. We promise you’ll have a good time.”