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SOUTHERN EXPOSURE

Toronto's MENEW records latest album in Louisiana

MENEW_Photo by Sara Manco.jpg

There’s no place like home, but oftentimes a band feels the need to go far, far away in order to get some work done.

That was the case with the Toronto-based sibling trio MENEW, which ventured more than 2,000 miles south to Dockside Studios in Maurice, La., in order to make Wide Awake Hello (RedCore Music Group).

“We wanted to lock ourselves up and just focus with no distractions and write the album in that way,” the keyboardist known as Key says. “The South had soul, and we wanted to capture a bit of that with our style of music.”

Key and his brothers — singer/guitarist Shade and drummer/singer Nathan Samuel Phillip — made three trips to Louisiana over the course of two years to record Wide Awake Hello with producer Christian Mock, who had previously engineered a MENEW EP.

While there, the brothers soaked up Louisiana’s culture, mingled with the locals and checked out a few zydeco bars. As a result, they made new friends with some string and horn players and invited them to play on Wide Awake Hello.

“Everyone down there is really friendly, and they’re really into music, so when you ask them to be part of something, they’re usually not going to say no,” Key says. “They definitely added to the vibe of the album.”

As for the overall vibe among the members of MENEW (pronounced like “menu”), it’s very good, considering how much time they spend together. And that’s a welcome break from the longstanding rock ‘n’ roll myth that big rifts often exist between brothers who are in the same band.

“When we’re writing, we’re always in the same room at the same time, just jamming out every single note together,” Key says. “We’re pretty tight … obviously, as brothers, you argue every once in a while. But then two minutes later, everything is forgotten and you move on. That’s the really big advantage of being in a band with brothers.”

— By Chris M. Junior

MENEW on tour with Filter (schedule subject to change):

* March 4: Mulcahey’s — Wantagh, N.Y.
* March 6: Jillian’s — Albany, N.Y.
* March 7: Showcase Live — Foxborough, Mass.
* March 8: Gramercy Theatre — New York
* March 9: Station 7 Live — Laurel, Del.

Photo by Sara Manco