Cambridge roots keep Menew grounded

Community Apr 07, 2016 by Bill Doucet Cambridge Times

CAMBRIDGE – Growing up, more or less, on their grandparents’ Christmas tree farm on the outskirts of Cambridge, Nathan Samuel Phillip jokes there was nothing to do but jam in the garage with his two brothers.

It turns out that was a wise choice for the Klaas brothers – Shade (Aaron), Key (Ryan) and Nathan – as their alternative music trio, Menew, has busted out of their rural shackles and forged a path that should make fellow indie bands envious.

Since the release of their Of the Future EP in 2008, which was short-listed for four Grammy nominations, the band released two full length albums – Wide Awake Hello in 2012 and Mother Nature in 2014 – had performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, had their songs on a variety of television shows and played at the prestigious Viper Room and Whiskey A Go-Go in Los Angeles.

They’ve also shared the stage with U2, Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer and Linkin Park.

Nathan said the reason for their success is pretty simple.

“I think it’s just people connecting with the music. We’re a successful unknown indie band I guess,” he said on the phone from their Cambridge studio.

That might not be the case much longer, as Menew has recorded three new songs, staggering the release of each one on iTunes. The first is Baby You’re Like A Drug, with an accompanying video that stars Joshua Jackson, best known for his roles as Pacey on Dawson’s Creek and now Cole Lockhart on the Showtime series The Affair.

Playing frequently on the west coast, the brothers met Jackson a few years ago and they became friends. According to Nathan, Jackson said he’d be onboard for any project involving the band.

“He was into it, so we made it happen. It was a lot of fun to do it with him because it wasn’t like work at all,” said Nathan, before quashing the notion it was done to make a bigger name for themselves.

“If you have any actor like Josh or any movie star, I think people might think you’re more legit. But we’ve always worked with great people that maybe aren’t the Josh Jackson’s of the popular culture world, but are great producers and great artists. It’s always great working with good people who know what they’re doing.”

That’s where Menew has really flourished, finding the right people to enhance their British rock-influenced sound, akin to The Killers and Coldplay. They worked with Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More, Train) on their full-length discs and, most recently, with Christian Moore (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and Scarlett Johansson).

“A lot of these guys, if you can get in front of them that’s fine, but they also recognize good music and good talent,” Nathan said, acknowledging Elton John’s keyboardist, a friend of theirs, introduced them to Wallace.

“They’re not going to work with anyone they’re not inspired by or don’t like their songwriting or anything like that. That’s a compliment in itself to us.”

Despite working with great people and putting out quality music, the band still isn’t signed.

 “Some days it baffles us,” Nathan said with a laugh.

“The industry is a strange thing and if we don’t find the right guy, it’s not worth it. We’ve been offered different things but nothing worth taking. We’ve been able to steer ourselves in our career and the direction we wanted to go, and who’s ever been willing to come onboard we’ve been happy to have, but ultimately it doesn’t take a deal to do great things anymore.”

Menew – whose name is derived from two “new” signs they saw overlapping in their garage – is a testament to that, as they already plan to release their second new song, Lie To Each Other, in the coming months with an accompanying video.

What will happen to the new songs in the end is still mystery. They may turn up on a full-length disc, or an EP, or just released as a bridge to more new music.

“There’s no rules, basically,” Nathan said.

“The idea behind (the new releases) is we know the music world has changed and it’s kind of a singles world now.

“So we thought instead of spending a long time in the studio and working on a full-length album, and then it releases with one or two songs that are singles, why don’t we release singles throughout the year,” Nathan continued.

“We think we may even go old school and throw them on 45s and release them as we’re on tour. There’s a lot of thought that went behind it.”

The tour has already begun, as the band has embarked on a cross-Canada jaunt, which kicked off March 18 in Hamilton and will make its way to Dstrct in Guelph on April 9. After continuing out west and down into the U.S., the band will be back this way on June 4 in Kitchener.

“We’ve done a lot in the U.S. I think we’ve done every state except Alaska and Maine. It’s going to be fun to go through Canada and see some of those fans. It’ll be a great tour.

“The U.S. has really embraced us. But we love Canada and we love the Canadian fans. I think you just go where you’re wanted and Canada has taken more awareness to us now, so it’s great, we can do this tour. Obviously the U.S. is a 10-times bigger market and it’s smart business-wise to do that, but it’s also fun to be on Canadian soil and see the fans here, too.”

And this tour might bring them the record deal they’ve been striving for since they came off the farm. But they won’t forget where they started.

“We won’t forget how tough it’s been, and the good times and the bad times,” Nathan said.

“Probably because of where we grew up, I don’t think we would lose it because we’re grounded and our parents would remind us where we came from. The fact that we still have a studio here, we’re based here and we like to come back to write here, it will keep us in the place we need to be to write good music and stay grounded.

“It’s inspiring, being in your own little space and not having the distraction. Growing up, we were removed from the city so we didn’t have a lot of friends, so we stuck together as brothers and wrote music – that was our life.”

Cambridge roots keep Menew grounded

Community Apr 07, 2016 by Bill Doucet Cambridge Times

CAMBRIDGE – Growing up, more or less, on their grandparents’ Christmas tree farm on the outskirts of Cambridge, Nathan Samuel Phillip jokes there was nothing to do but jam in the garage with his two brothers.

It turns out that was a wise choice for the Klaas brothers – Shade (Aaron), Key (Ryan) and Nathan – as their alternative music trio, Menew, has busted out of their rural shackles and forged a path that should make fellow indie bands envious.

Since the release of their Of the Future EP in 2008, which was short-listed for four Grammy nominations, the band released two full length albums – Wide Awake Hello in 2012 and Mother Nature in 2014 – had performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, had their songs on a variety of television shows and played at the prestigious Viper Room and Whiskey A Go-Go in Los Angeles.

They’ve also shared the stage with U2, Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer and Linkin Park.

Nathan said the reason for their success is pretty simple.

“I think it’s just people connecting with the music. We’re a successful unknown indie band I guess,” he said on the phone from their Cambridge studio.

That might not be the case much longer, as Menew has recorded three new songs, staggering the release of each one on iTunes. The first is Baby You’re Like A Drug, with an accompanying video that stars Joshua Jackson, best known for his roles as Pacey on Dawson’s Creek and now Cole Lockhart on the Showtime series The Affair.

Playing frequently on the west coast, the brothers met Jackson a few years ago and they became friends. According to Nathan, Jackson said he’d be onboard for any project involving the band.

“He was into it, so we made it happen. It was a lot of fun to do it with him because it wasn’t like work at all,” said Nathan, before quashing the notion it was done to make a bigger name for themselves.

“If you have any actor like Josh or any movie star, I think people might think you’re more legit. But we’ve always worked with great people that maybe aren’t the Josh Jackson’s of the popular culture world, but are great producers and great artists. It’s always great working with good people who know what they’re doing.”

That’s where Menew has really flourished, finding the right people to enhance their British rock-influenced sound, akin to The Killers and Coldplay. They worked with Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More, Train) on their full-length discs and, most recently, with Christian Moore (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and Scarlett Johansson).

“A lot of these guys, if you can get in front of them that’s fine, but they also recognize good music and good talent,” Nathan said, acknowledging Elton John’s keyboardist, a friend of theirs, introduced them to Wallace.

“They’re not going to work with anyone they’re not inspired by or don’t like their songwriting or anything like that. That’s a compliment in itself to us.”

Despite working with great people and putting out quality music, the band still isn’t signed.

 “Some days it baffles us,” Nathan said with a laugh.

“The industry is a strange thing and if we don’t find the right guy, it’s not worth it. We’ve been offered different things but nothing worth taking. We’ve been able to steer ourselves in our career and the direction we wanted to go, and who’s ever been willing to come onboard we’ve been happy to have, but ultimately it doesn’t take a deal to do great things anymore.”

Menew – whose name is derived from two “new” signs they saw overlapping in their garage – is a testament to that, as they already plan to release their second new song, Lie To Each Other, in the coming months with an accompanying video.

What will happen to the new songs in the end is still mystery. They may turn up on a full-length disc, or an EP, or just released as a bridge to more new music.

“There’s no rules, basically,” Nathan said.

“The idea behind (the new releases) is we know the music world has changed and it’s kind of a singles world now.

“So we thought instead of spending a long time in the studio and working on a full-length album, and then it releases with one or two songs that are singles, why don’t we release singles throughout the year,” Nathan continued.

“We think we may even go old school and throw them on 45s and release them as we’re on tour. There’s a lot of thought that went behind it.”

The tour has already begun, as the band has embarked on a cross-Canada jaunt, which kicked off March 18 in Hamilton and will make its way to Dstrct in Guelph on April 9. After continuing out west and down into the U.S., the band will be back this way on June 4 in Kitchener.

“We’ve done a lot in the U.S. I think we’ve done every state except Alaska and Maine. It’s going to be fun to go through Canada and see some of those fans. It’ll be a great tour.

“The U.S. has really embraced us. But we love Canada and we love the Canadian fans. I think you just go where you’re wanted and Canada has taken more awareness to us now, so it’s great, we can do this tour. Obviously the U.S. is a 10-times bigger market and it’s smart business-wise to do that, but it’s also fun to be on Canadian soil and see the fans here, too.”

And this tour might bring them the record deal they’ve been striving for since they came off the farm. But they won’t forget where they started.

“We won’t forget how tough it’s been, and the good times and the bad times,” Nathan said.

“Probably because of where we grew up, I don’t think we would lose it because we’re grounded and our parents would remind us where we came from. The fact that we still have a studio here, we’re based here and we like to come back to write here, it will keep us in the place we need to be to write good music and stay grounded.

“It’s inspiring, being in your own little space and not having the distraction. Growing up, we were removed from the city so we didn’t have a lot of friends, so we stuck together as brothers and wrote music – that was our life.”

Cambridge roots keep Menew grounded

Community Apr 07, 2016 by Bill Doucet Cambridge Times

CAMBRIDGE – Growing up, more or less, on their grandparents’ Christmas tree farm on the outskirts of Cambridge, Nathan Samuel Phillip jokes there was nothing to do but jam in the garage with his two brothers.

It turns out that was a wise choice for the Klaas brothers – Shade (Aaron), Key (Ryan) and Nathan – as their alternative music trio, Menew, has busted out of their rural shackles and forged a path that should make fellow indie bands envious.

Since the release of their Of the Future EP in 2008, which was short-listed for four Grammy nominations, the band released two full length albums – Wide Awake Hello in 2012 and Mother Nature in 2014 – had performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, had their songs on a variety of television shows and played at the prestigious Viper Room and Whiskey A Go-Go in Los Angeles.

They’ve also shared the stage with U2, Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer and Linkin Park.

Nathan said the reason for their success is pretty simple.

“I think it’s just people connecting with the music. We’re a successful unknown indie band I guess,” he said on the phone from their Cambridge studio.

That might not be the case much longer, as Menew has recorded three new songs, staggering the release of each one on iTunes. The first is Baby You’re Like A Drug, with an accompanying video that stars Joshua Jackson, best known for his roles as Pacey on Dawson’s Creek and now Cole Lockhart on the Showtime series The Affair.

Playing frequently on the west coast, the brothers met Jackson a few years ago and they became friends. According to Nathan, Jackson said he’d be onboard for any project involving the band.

“He was into it, so we made it happen. It was a lot of fun to do it with him because it wasn’t like work at all,” said Nathan, before quashing the notion it was done to make a bigger name for themselves.

“If you have any actor like Josh or any movie star, I think people might think you’re more legit. But we’ve always worked with great people that maybe aren’t the Josh Jackson’s of the popular culture world, but are great producers and great artists. It’s always great working with good people who know what they’re doing.”

That’s where Menew has really flourished, finding the right people to enhance their British rock-influenced sound, akin to The Killers and Coldplay. They worked with Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More, Train) on their full-length discs and, most recently, with Christian Moore (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and Scarlett Johansson).

“A lot of these guys, if you can get in front of them that’s fine, but they also recognize good music and good talent,” Nathan said, acknowledging Elton John’s keyboardist, a friend of theirs, introduced them to Wallace.

“They’re not going to work with anyone they’re not inspired by or don’t like their songwriting or anything like that. That’s a compliment in itself to us.”

Despite working with great people and putting out quality music, the band still isn’t signed.

 “Some days it baffles us,” Nathan said with a laugh.

“The industry is a strange thing and if we don’t find the right guy, it’s not worth it. We’ve been offered different things but nothing worth taking. We’ve been able to steer ourselves in our career and the direction we wanted to go, and who’s ever been willing to come onboard we’ve been happy to have, but ultimately it doesn’t take a deal to do great things anymore.”

Menew – whose name is derived from two “new” signs they saw overlapping in their garage – is a testament to that, as they already plan to release their second new song, Lie To Each Other, in the coming months with an accompanying video.

What will happen to the new songs in the end is still mystery. They may turn up on a full-length disc, or an EP, or just released as a bridge to more new music.

“There’s no rules, basically,” Nathan said.

“The idea behind (the new releases) is we know the music world has changed and it’s kind of a singles world now.

“So we thought instead of spending a long time in the studio and working on a full-length album, and then it releases with one or two songs that are singles, why don’t we release singles throughout the year,” Nathan continued.

“We think we may even go old school and throw them on 45s and release them as we’re on tour. There’s a lot of thought that went behind it.”

The tour has already begun, as the band has embarked on a cross-Canada jaunt, which kicked off March 18 in Hamilton and will make its way to Dstrct in Guelph on April 9. After continuing out west and down into the U.S., the band will be back this way on June 4 in Kitchener.

“We’ve done a lot in the U.S. I think we’ve done every state except Alaska and Maine. It’s going to be fun to go through Canada and see some of those fans. It’ll be a great tour.

“The U.S. has really embraced us. But we love Canada and we love the Canadian fans. I think you just go where you’re wanted and Canada has taken more awareness to us now, so it’s great, we can do this tour. Obviously the U.S. is a 10-times bigger market and it’s smart business-wise to do that, but it’s also fun to be on Canadian soil and see the fans here, too.”

And this tour might bring them the record deal they’ve been striving for since they came off the farm. But they won’t forget where they started.

“We won’t forget how tough it’s been, and the good times and the bad times,” Nathan said.

“Probably because of where we grew up, I don’t think we would lose it because we’re grounded and our parents would remind us where we came from. The fact that we still have a studio here, we’re based here and we like to come back to write here, it will keep us in the place we need to be to write good music and stay grounded.

“It’s inspiring, being in your own little space and not having the distraction. Growing up, we were removed from the city so we didn’t have a lot of friends, so we stuck together as brothers and wrote music – that was our life.”