Friday, October 16, 2009

Die Mannequin ~ Kickin’ Ass Canadian Style!

Once again Canada has produced another killer Rock band with a raw, intense and in your face style of music called Die Mannequin. When Andrew from Warner Music emailed me asking if I was interested in speaking with them, I jumped at the opportunity. Being a Marilyn Manson music fan, I was already aware of the fact that this energetic group of artists was in fact the opening act on his Canadian tour this fall.

Lead Singer & Lead Guitarist Care Failure leads her pack with an absolute intense stage show that draws a music fan in so easily. She commands the stage and gives every ounce of her energy to everyone who came to see the show. Taking it as far as she can, Care even jumped into the media pit, straddled the barrier while carrying on with the song, to then later jump off of the stage again & head up the aisle to drop to her knees to rip out her solo for us. Her other band mates are Anthony Bleed (Bass/Back-up Vocals), Stacy Stray (Guitar/Back-Up Vocals), Daz (Drums). United, this group can come back to Calgary anytime – it’s a show worth seeing people.

A few weeks before the show, I managed to catch up with care and talk to her about what was going on in her world and see what is new for Die Mannequin.

TFL: So how do ya like being in a female fronted band?

CF: (Chuckles) I’m a female? Last time I checked I guess I do have a vagina (laughing) I don’t know…my vagina doesn’t give many orders to the guys so….usually I do that with the other lips. I guess it’s OK I guess I forget if I’m a man or a woman on stage – I guess it’s kinda like uh more of an a-sexual feeling. I get treated like a guy.

TFL: Do you find with gigs or working with other bands or even on tours that being a female fronted band that there is a difference in how you’re treated or looked upon or is it pretty equal?

CF: Um…It depends upon the eye of the beholder. It’s really strange like some people don’t take another look & I mean some people they don’t like to shut up and play bass guitar for a woman or when they do my sound check they put my guitar way low cause they think I can’t play it and turn my vocals way up cause they think I’m going to sing really quietly or something. I mean there’s always those obstacles but for the most part you can use it to your advantage – I mean how many other girls can play guitar the way I do and sing in a low way and sing from a guttural place I mean not many so I use it as an advantage too.

TFL: So new album ‘Fino + Bleed’ – you’ve got great vocals girl…like really impressive vocals. I think ‘Bad Medicine’ is my favorite track so far.

CF: Awesome – yeah that song was my favorite from the beginning.

TFL: Now tell me how this fabulous opportunity to open for Marilyn Manson came to your attention.

CF: I guess…we get a lot of tours but a lot of these American bands coming through Canada…I heard that Marilyn Manson had a large part in picking us. It’s kinda weird like we can open up for ‘The Anitchrist’ but we open up for Hedley in places with 8 year old girls. It’s cool that our band can kind of jump genres like that because we’re kind of undefinable genre wise. It’s really cool in that way and way cooler that Marilyn Manson had a large part and he can play with who ever the f*** he wants to play with & that he wants to play with us is really cool. The Antichrist has warmed my heart (chuckles).

TFL: When did you decide that music is what you wanted to do Care?

CF: Ole enough to be able to sit on a piano bench and loved that until I was 10, then I thought it was ‘uncool’. I was stupid to think that because piano is amazing but I started playing an old guitar I found in the basement at my parents house when I was a kid. I don’t know, it’s just in my bones…I don’t even know why I do what I do and I just do it. Music is not the place to make money these days & there’s lots of other industries and it’s not a smart decision but it’s from the heart more.

TFL: So what’s in the future for you guys? What’s on the table for Die Mannequin?

CF: Hopefully some food….um (laughing)

TFL: (laughing) That was GOOD!

CF: (laughing) Sorry about that…I was just teasing. I just go by territory to territory. I mean we go to Germany a lot, we’ve been there 6 times in the last year & they really love us there. Japan is catching on & the States…so I just take it territory by territory, month by month, grease spot by grease spot.

TFL: So if I were to pick up your Ipod or MP3 player, would there be any songs on there that might make me look at you and ask WTF???

CF: Oh for sure!! (laughs) I have everything on there…90210 theme song, a lot of Aretha Franklin, I also like the Four Tops & I like a lot of old Motown. Motown gets me ya know.

TFL: Great music is great music..I always say that. I may focus on Rock and metal but as long as the music is good…it doesn’t matter what genre it is.

CF: Exactly. I mean everyone asks me ‘What kind of music do you like?’ and I tell them I like GOOD music!

TFL: Is there anything you would like your fans to know?

CF: Yeah for sure. I wanted to make this record sound more like our live show - the spirit and the intensity We put this record together for a reason because I think that there used to be records that were worth buying where every song was listenable & shows worth going to where they actually put on a real show.

Let me assure you my friends, Die Mannequin goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to putting on a live show. Personally I’ll be a Die Mannequin fan for life. Care’s vocals have such an impact – she has her own way of belting out her songs that cannot be compared to another artist – THAT is what I love so much about this band.

Thanks so much Care for your time & special thanks to Andrew at Warner Music for setting up the interview! A very special thanks to Paul at the concert & Chad from Live Nation for being so courteous.

Welcome Die Mannequin to Backstage Live’s Rock & Roll family!

Tracy Forsyth-Lundy
Backstage Live Magazine

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stolen Songs Can't Stop Die Mannequin

A knuckle sandwich to the face is probably the last thing anyone wants after a long day but for Die Mannequin, it's a mere bump in the road to rock stardom.

At only 22 years old, Care Failure (real name Caroline Kawa) has already gone from being dirt poor and playing on the streets in Toronto to signing a record deal and touring with some of her idols, including Guns N' Roses and Marilyn Manson.

As Die Mannequin's fearless leader, Failure has quickly become a poster girl for Canadian rock. She's not afraid of the pressure or challenges that come along with being in a major label band. Hell, stolen demos couldn't even stop her from getting the band's Fino + Bleed debut out on time.

CHARTAttack recently had a chance to talk to Failure about the hard work involved in making Die Mannequin's first full-length LP.

CHARTAttack: Fino + Bleed (pronounced "Fee-No-Plus-Bleed") is both an interesting and unconventional title. Where did it come from?
Care Failure: [Bassist Anthony "Useless"] Bleed is a member of the band and is my partner in crime. We've been together as a band for six years in November. It's an amazing coincidence that I can even remember this. One day we were in this shitty hotel in Washington he found a good spot to write it in the wall. They're sort of pet names we have for each other.

After six years, how does it feel to finally have a proper full-length record out?
There are definitely some good feelings. You know how the music industry is. It's always like "What's next!? What's next!?" and you never have time to slow down and take pictures. It's pretty good to have it out, though.

Are these the heaviest songs you've ever written?
I don't think of it in terms of heavier or lighter. It'd be pretty shitty if I got worse as a songwriter. I'm trying to become more bulletproof and dangerous. The sonic tone is huger than anything I've done. I'll always give you something heavy, but I wanted to show what other songs I could write, too.

Industry pressure aside, what challenges did the band face while making this disc?
There's always so much shit. Anything and everything. Everything I had written and demoed got stolen, like, two weeks before it was due. That alone was huge.

The biggest challenge was getting every drum part and every note right. Going through that process for 20 songs is a lot harder than going through it for four or five. I really wanted the listener to go on a journey with it and listen to the album in full and wanted it to keep their attention.

Matt Hyde produced the album. How awesome was it to work with the guy who produced Slayer?
[laughing] I hate him! No, he's amazing. I can't say a bad word about him. He goes beyond the call of duty. We have this weird connection like we've been at this for years together. He even brought me back in to coach with some of the other bands he was working with.

He goes far and wide beyond what producers need to do, and he does that for everybody. He's addicted to people's talent. It's endless.

Do producers still play an important role in the success of an album?
It's less of the producers these days.

Back when you had Zeppelin and The Beatles, you had six or seven records to get it right. These days, you have one shot to get it right. You're supposed to have it right on your first record. There are a lot of people that don't understand the importance of developing a band in the early stages.

Fino + Bleed was supposed to be out two weeks before it actually hit shelves. Why the delay?
It's actually because we wanted to release it with the DVD of the band (The Rawside Of... Die Mannequin, directed by Bruce McCulloch). It just got nominated for two Gemini Awards, so that was good enough reason for us. I think we might be one of the first bands to put out a full documentary on their first CD.

Now that the record is finally out, what's next for Die Mannequin? A new single? Another video?
I guess those are the things bands do these days. There's a song called "Dead Honey" that might be the next single. There's a lot of talk that goes around and a lot of ideas as well. I have complete creative control and you always want to talk things through. You sign with a label because you want their experience, but it's a team effort. It's also a giant machine.

So would it be fair to say you don't always see eye to eye with the machine?
Yeah, we fight all the time. You can't agree all the time.

That's why the album has two different covers. I made a cover that I love, and sometimes when you make something you love, it scares people. You have to pay your dues until you get more respect. Sometimes I have to put my foot down. It's a funny relationship, but nobody agrees with each other all the time.

Trevor Morelli