Weekend Riot Club

Hamilton rockers Weekend Riot Club are on a roll. The band (Melissa Marchese, Mike Chetcuti, and Paul Fontes) just released their new album Psychotropia, had a big album release party at The Casbah, made the cover of View Magazine, and are set to play Supercrawl in September. But first, sure to be another highlight of their year, you can catch them at the epic A Mid Summer’s Dream festival on August 17th.

What is A Mid Summer’s Dream, you ask? For more info, check out my previous post about the festival. Here are the main details:

A Mid Summer’s Dream
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Gage Park, 1000 Main Street East
2PM – 10PM
(But please bring a non-perishable item for the food drive!)
Facebook event page
Twitter @hamontcolour #MSD
Watch the promo videos on YouTube

I chatted with Weekend Riot Club’s fiery frontwoman Melissa to get the scoop on the band and what we can expect from the festival.

Official poster for A Mid Summer's Dream
Official poster for A Mid Summer’s Dream

IHH: Weekend Riot Club just released their debut full-length album Psychotropia in June. It’s a great album and represents the band perfectly! You’ve been playing shows and recording EPs and singles since 2010 – that time must have really helped with figuring out your sound and shaped your identity as a band. Going in, were you confident in what you wanted the album to be?
Melissa: Going in we had no idea we were even going to be making an album. Thank God we were working with Nick Blagona on the project. He believed in our songs as much as we did and really cracked us open and helped us learn to trust ourselves and our instincts. Soon five songs turned into a collection of 12 and it was an adventure the whole way through. We were all pleasantly surprised how it ended up coming together.

People tend to label and categorize music and make comparisons, but you have a really signature and distinct sound all your own. What are some of your musical influences?
Thank you! While we were making the album were listening to so much Foo Fighters! Wasting Light had just dropped and we were rippin’ it non-stop. But everyone in the band comes with very different and very common influences. It’s a pot pourri of Nirvana, Incubus, U2, Imogen Heap, Pearl Jam and tons more.

I have yet to visit Jukasa Studio – what made it a good fit for the band to record the new album? What did producer Nick Blagona bring to your sound?
Nick brought honesty and presence to our sound. He brought with him warmth and edge. The best thing about working with Nick is that he really believed in the path we were on and the man knows how to have a good time. Jukasa was definitely the place for us to go when we did – the studio is big and beautiful and fancy and warm, and at the time, Nick was working out of there. Our latest work is out of Nick’s own Psychotropic Studios.

You also recently recorded and filmed some material live off the floor at Porcelain Records, which is still on my to-do list to visit! Did you want to capture what your live show is like with these recordings?
We’ve grown so much as a band in the last three years and we just wanted to have a more accurate representation of what we do today for the internet world. The live recordings at Porcelain turned out great. All four of us in one room, no bells or whistles. Nick was behind the board and Craig Watkins (The Store) filmed the whole thing. The vibe there is fantastic and we just flew through the album. It should give people a great idea of what our live show is all about.

How does songwriting work within the band? Being a three-piece, it seems like you have a really tight-knit dynamic and a great chemistry.
Thank you, the chemistry between the three of us is something quite magical…which is probably the reason why we’re still searching for *the* bass player to join us… haha. We’re all on the same train of thought when it comes to the themes and topics we play about. Mike’s a bit of a mad scientist when it comes to the songwriting. He’ll tinker around with melodies and riffs throughout the day. Once they’re developed enough, he’ll hunker down in the basement, aka the lab, and cut a rough demo. The whole band then comes together and takes it from there.

Photo from Weekend Riot Club
Photo from Weekend Riot Club

Coming up next for you is being part of the A Mid Summer’s Dream on August 17th. The festival is all about inclusion, creating joy, and it’s a peace festival and food drive. There is an innocent and magical quality about it. It’s a beautiful event for Hamilton. It must have been an easy choice to say yes to play, but do the festival’s values especially resonate for the band and make you want to be part of it?
Of course, yes! It was very easy to say yes to this. I met Mark [Gowland] last year at the Green Smoothie Bar and heard about what he was doing with The Pure Creation Company. It’s so freakin’ exciting to meet people that are psyched about life and helping to spread love and joy. This is what we’re here to do, right?! The festival will be a beautiful day to come together and share all of these values… to just spend time groovin’, laughin’ and livin’ together.

The bandshell at Gage Park is such an iconic landmark to Hamilton – it’s so great to see it used for an outdoor festival like this. Have you played that stage before? I’m sure it will be a blast to unleash your energy up on that bright blue stage!
We played the stage a few years ago for ArtsFest, what a time! It’s one of the nicest outdoor set ups around. It’s classic Hamilton, Gage Park. Such an amazing set up… it’s great that it’s being used for this festival. I’m very excited to be able to be up there once again.

What can we expect from your performance at A Mid Summer’s Dream? Are you doing anything different for this festival?
Wearing white and drenching ourselves in colour… that’s something we’ve never done before. We’ve also been working on some new tunes for our next album so you might hear one or two of those.

Hachey the MouthPEACE is also part of the Mid Summer’s Dream lineup. I saw you perform an acoustic set featuring Hachey a couple months ago at The Casbah. That was really cool! Maybe we’ll see a collaboration at the festival?
Thank you! Hachey kicks ass. Yes, let’s do that!


Favourite place to eat in Hamilton: Chuck’s, Work, La Luna

Favourite breakfast food: Kale

If you were an alcoholic beverage, what would you be? Vodka Soda

Your go-to karaoke song: “Sweet Child O’ Mine”

If you could speak flawlessly with any other accent, what would it be? Minion

Favourite word: Thanks

Favourite concert/live performance you’ve seen: Colm Wilkinson – Copps Coliseum

What is on your playlist right now: Eminem – Marshall Mathers LP

If you could detour to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Mysore, India

Favourite mode of transportation: Flying

What’s one thing on your bucket list: To figure out how to love and forgive everyone

My thanks to Melissa for taking the time to chat with me! Can’t wait to see Weekend Riot Club take the stage in a storm of colours on August 17th for A Mid Summer’s Dream.

– Kristin

MSD 2013: The Event of the Summer (Part 9 of 9) from Brandon Di Luca on Vimeo.

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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