Edgy, Dark Glitter: A Conversation with Mad June

mad june cafe chaos

There are few bands that can combine bubbly pop-rock sound, glitter, edgy style, dark or political themes and a healthy dose of feminism so impeccably. Montreal’s Mad June thrives on this total clash of contrasting elements. The results are especially apparent in their live performances, where their infectious songs drive the audience to let go of all inhibitions and join in on their fun.

Fun is the name of the game for the six women who make up Mad June. Though they’ve always been politically minded, lead singer Vanessa McLean said they don’t take themselves as seriously as when they first started out almost eight years ago.

“Now our goal whenever we play a show is to just have as much fun as possible with the crowd,” McLean said.

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Mad June works really hard at striving to achieve this goal. They played a show at Café Chaos last week with local bands NIL and Tracer Flare and it was a ridiculously good time. Their energy levels were very high as they performed their catchy, sing-along tunes.

Bassist Pascale St-Onge, guitarists Jessica Pion and Tania Dasrochers and keyboardist Sheenah Ko all danced and jumped around while also providing backup vocals.

Even though she was hanging out in back, drummer Lydia Champagne made her presence heard and felt. Her style of drumming is so fast and explosive, I was in total awe of her enormous talent.

McLean was all over the place, running and jumping around the stage, onto the speakers and even into the crowd to dance with fans and friends. She got the crowd to join in on many of the choruses, which are easy to sing along to even if you’re not familiar with their songs.

The grand surprise finale came when several audience members threw glitter confetti into the air and it landed on our sweaty faces and arms. Everyone loved it.

Party atmosphere aside, some of Mad June’s songs aren’t all glitter and bubblegum. For example, their single November has some pretty dark lyrics. But the tempo is upbeat and there’s a ‘La la la’ sing-along chorus.

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“I like the drastic mix of that,” McLean said. “I’m going to steal something from Metric here but they said that you can listen to just the lyrics if you want to and go ‘that’s really deep and kind of depressing.’ And if you don’t want to, you can just listen to the music and have fun.”

The thing that strikes most about Mad June when watching them perform is that they are all very comfortable on stage in front of a crowd. You can see it in the way they move and in the way they interact with each other and the crowd.

McLean said having that connection with the audience has always been important to them as an indie band.

“Indie bands need to be really good with their promo. You can’t be lazy,” she said. “Nobody else is going to do it. We’re really active on social media. We try to talk to people as much as possible and be there so when we do have a show, we’re connected with these people.”

Mad June currently has a demo that they put out around 2009. They’re currently working on an album that they expect to release in the spring of 2014. They plan to release a single every few months until then to keep everyone on their toes. Their next one will be released in August.

Photos by Chris Zacchia, for the full set, see our Facebook page

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