Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Mandates

     The Mandates are a pressure packed Rock n’ Roll powerhouse blasting out of the streets of Calgary. Some of the other press the band has received describes their sound as very “New York” and I couldn’t agree more. The songs drip with Ramones heart and glow with Dead Boys power. The best testament to this lies in the band’s debut full length, which they released in March of 2013. The album will make you want to fight that fancy dressed jerk that keeps hittin’ on your best lady friend. Then steal that same douche bag’s car and drive it really fast right through the front doors of that convenience store that humiliated and kicked you out earlier for trying to buy cigarettes and beer with your fake I.D. Every impulse a great Rock n’ Roll record should bring out of you. 

Interview by Jay Castro

Please introduce yourself and how do you contribute to the Mandates Rock n’ Roll machine?
My name is Brady A.K.A. Kirch N. Destroy, I provide guitar and vocals in the Mandates, in addition to being one of the primary songwriters.

The band is based in Calgary, are you all from that area originally?
I’ve been living in Calgary for over 15 years, our bass player Jimmy grew up in Ontario, but I think we all consider ourselves true Calgarians. Jimmy and I both have been a part of the music scene here for over a decade and each of us have some pretty strong feelings about what it means to be musicians in this city/province.

How did you all meet and start playing music together?
About four and a half years ago, I quit my main rock outfit and had wanted to start a new punk/power-pop band with a former band-mate and best friend, Sarah. She just happened to be dating a really awesome and motivated punk rock guitarist named Matt Sikkins, and after acquiring the very young and very talented Warren “Tahoe” on drums, being a friend of my newfound accomplice, Matt, we went through a few line-up shuffles before finally asking one of our hometown heroes, Jimmy James to play bass. Sarah had already moved across the country and Jimmy was the perfect man to round out our sound. Matt and I were on such a similar plane musically back then that at one point we nearly wrote the exact same song for each other to learn, coincidentally.

The press I read about you guys all describes you as having a very New York sound. Did you have this particular sound or a different concept in mind when starting out The Mandates?
When we first started out I think my playing was influenced by a lot of 70’s bands, though not exclusively from New York. Of course we were in love with The New York Dolls and The Ramones and Television and Blondie and all things CBGB so I think if our sound is “New York” it was because of our profound appreciation for that scene. That said I think we took as much influence by the U.K. and L.A. bands of that time, and even more so by contemporary Portland acts like The Exploding Hearts and The Nice Boys and The Clorox Girls. I think it was listening to those Portland bands and their incredible songwriting that got me really fired up in the beginning.

As influences, you listed overpriced pizza. Please explain.
In Calgary, it seems like everyone leaves the inner city after about 6 or 7 pm to go back to the suburbs where they live. I think it’s for this reason that most districts shut down early and late night eating is awfully hard to come by. Lack of competition in the after-hours pizza market has led Calgarians to be forced into paying over double what you’d pay in cities like Vancouver or Montreal for a late night slice, not to mention it’s usually cold and crusty and you might as well eat some garbage. Frustration and discontent with the very underpins of urban life is the basis for any great Rock n’ Roll band.

And speaking of delicious eats, Discorder actually compared The Mandates and your music to a pizza. Do you feel this is an accurate description of your music as a food dish or do you fancy yourselves as some other tasty edible treat?
I really enjoyed reading that piece. I think that’s a fairly accurate comparison, especially considering the sheer number of pizzas consumed during the year and a half that I lived with Matt. We had a stack of pizza boxes in our kitchen that was taller than me. We called it “Pizza Mountain” and it got too big so I had to move it outside.

What other than music and pizza influences your songwriting? Books, movies or anything like that ever inspire a Mandates song?
Most of our songs come from life experience I think, or more likely just daydreams. There’s one called “I Stayed at the Arcade” about a girl who is really good at playing Centipede, I think that’s the closest thing to pop culture inspiring one of my songs so far. There’s also a song called “She Gets Her Kicks from Terry Six (Not Me)” about trying to play like Terry Six from The Exploding Hearts/Nice Boys in order to win over a babe. I guess we also have a song called “Daggers’ Girl” that’s a reference to the 1986 skateboard flick “Thrashin’”.

You recently released your Self Titled debut LP earlier this year. Where was it recorded and are you happy with the finished results?
We recorded it with our friend Ryan Sadler who also did our previous 7”. He had a pretty cool studio in his basement and we learned a lot from the recording process this time around. We decided we weren’t completely happy with the mixes we had come up with so I got a hold of Pat Kearns in Portland who has done records with Exploding Hearts and Nice Boys and Clorox Girls and many more amazing bands, and he mixed and mastered it for us at his studio, Permapress. I had done a record with him in 2008 and I was really happy that he remembered me well, and was interested in doing a mix for us. We were really pleased with how quickly and efficiently he nailed the final sound we wanted.

If you guys could tour with any band/musician from times gone by, who would it be and why?
I would probably have to go with Blondie, so I could meet and then marry Debbie Harry.

I don’t like using the term “guilty pleasure” because I don’t think anyone should be made to feel ashamed of anything they like. However with that being said, what do you listen to that you think a lot of fans may be surprised by?
That answer is probably career suicide, but I think people might be surprised how broad our appreciation of genres extends. Jimmy listens to Top 40 all the time and a really awful new song will come on the radio somewhere and he knows every word and it blows my mind. Matt likes some Reggae and Ska and I like traditional folk and maritime music. We all like Taylor Swift.

What music have you unleashed on the world and where can people go to hear it or buy it?
As The Mandates, we have a 7” vinyl called “Take You to the Dance” from a few years ago, in addition to our self-titled debut LP that was released earlier this year. Find everything available free for streaming at and buy it from that website to support the cause.

What does the band have in store for us in the near, or not so near, future?
We just recently finished recording what will be at least two new 7” records (out in Spring, 2014) and we’re recording a new LP with Pat Kearns in March 2014, hopefully on shelves by the fall. We’re off to the Fall Down/Get Down festival in Vancouver next month and we hope to do some international touring in the Spring as well!

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