MENEW performing at The Grove in Anaheim in 2011
|Also known as||MNW, MENEW (pronounced MENU)|
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Alternative rock, indie rock|
|Labels||RedCore Music Group, The Orchard|
Nathan Samuel Phillip
MENEW [pronounced MENU] a.k.a. MNW are an alternative indie rock band from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. The band is composed of three brothers; Shade (lead vocals, guitar), Key (piano, synthesizers) and Nathan Samuel Phillip (drums, vocals). The group began writing, recording demos and refining their sound from a background of classical music training and British rock influence at an early age. Key explains "We've been playing music together for as long as we have been brothers."
Upon the release of their EP Of The Future in 2008, the group met much critical acclaim when short-listed for four Grammy Nominations for the release. They have since been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman and have toured and performed alongside artists such as U2, Stone Temple Pilots, and Filter.
Their official debut full-length album Wide Awake Hello released February 21, 2012, produced by Christian Mock and MENEW and mixed by Jack Joseph Puig, has received the strongest reviews of the band’s career. The first single "Don’t Give Up On Us Now" has been featured in episodes of MTV’s Jersey Shore, The Hills and NBC’s Chuck . In February 2012, they released their second video, "Wide Awake", from the album Wide Awake Hello.
MENEW's follow-up album Mother Nature released April 8, 2014 with a special release show on April 9, 2014 at The Viper Room in Los Angeles. The album features (first-of-its-kind) innovative ever-changing artwork, which uses QR codes in place of the album artwork of the physical CD, and allows fans to view the changing artwork of Mother Nature online daily. The first single and title track "Mother Nature" released in November 2013 with a provocative video gaining nearing half a million views. In June 2014, the second video "Drive" was released, from the album Mother Nature.
Formation and Early Development (Early Years-2007)
Shade (Aaron Klaas), Key (Ryan Klaas) and Nathan Samuel Phillip (Klaas) grew up on a Christmas tree farm on the outskirts of Toronto – in a rural part of Cambridge, Ontario. At five years of age, their parents enlisted them in classical piano lessons with The Royal Conservatory of Music. Instantly, the brothers became immersed in music, gaining a deep and schooled understanding of composition and theory. Shortly after, they were hosting living room concerts and singing along to The Beatles and Traveling Wilburys on makeshift cardboard instruments, calling themselves ‘The Smashers’. Nathan laughs, "I think tickets were five cents back then."
In the early part of the decade, MENEW formally came to life. The name of the band was created when the trio was rehearsing in their garage, which was filled with signs from their parents’ tree farm. When noticing two ‘NEW’ signs that had been arranged behind Nathan’s set of drums, it read MENEW. The brothers instantly recognized it as the new symbol for the band, making the newfound name into an ambigram. Shade said “We never intended it (MENEW) to mean anything. A name without language restriction.” After honing their chops through tireless jamming, intensive songwriting, and early recordings, the group had arrived at a sound of their own. It nodded to the likes of The Beatles and David Bowie as well as The Killers and Muse with a decidedly fresh and fiery spin. Shade has stated, "We mix the old with the new. We'll have a massive wall of sound, but there's simplicity to the music so it's still memorable." Key has also said, "You can hear evidence of the classical influences, but we pull them back just enough so that the songs stand on their own."
The brothers were too young to play most clubs and bars legally, so they resorted to holding their own shows in local theatres, halls and staging guerilla style impromptu concerts, most of which ended up being illegal regardless. Performing on flatbed trucks and in city streets were normal occurrences. In one such instance they rented an industrial crane, and played 40 feet up in the air over the streets of downtown Toronto. Staging the necessary fake personnel to appear as construction workers even deceived local authorities, when shutting down an entire city street and redirecting traffic. Key has stated, “We didn’t realize how dangerous this all was until we were being harnessed onto the stage.” The group’s fearless approach also landed them on stage with U2 on the Vertigo Tour at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, performing "Out Of Control" from U2’s debut album Boy, alongside Bono and The Edge.
Of The Future (2008-2010)
MENEW introduced the world to their sound on their first independently released EP, Of the Future in summer of 2008. Christian Mock was brought in to co-produce with MENEW and engineer the record, from a long-standing relationship that stemmed from early recordings and demos recorded together with producer Rick Parashar. The title, Of The Future, came from an excerpt by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra that was included in the deluxe edition of the EP, released in 2009, which reads: “…For futurists and historians ought to be precise, faithful, and unprejudiced and neither interest nor fear, hatred nor affection, should make them serve from the way of the truth, whose mother is history, the rival of time, the depository of great actions, the witness of the past, example of the present, and monitor of the future.”
The six song EP was released under the band's own independent record company RedCore Music Group, the company that would allow them to maintain control over their career and releases worldwide. The first single from the EP, "This Isn’t Real", was released as a download in May 2008. It was later followed by the video release, directed by Lyle Christie who subsequently becomes the band’s collaborator and director for many future videos. When asked about the concept of the video, Key jokingly replied: “who wouldn’t want to kidnap their own brother, lock him in a trunk of a car, and attempt to bury him alive.” The second single, "The Future", was released September 2008, with another video directed by Lyle Christie. Later that year a live performance of "The Future" at Tattoo Rock Parlour in Toronto was released for download only along with a video of the performance.
In the aftermath of its release, Of The Future was short-listed for four Grammy Nominations including Album of the Year, Best Rock Album, Best Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Video for the single "This Isn’t Real". The single was also recognized by Billboard as “one of the best written songs of 2009.”
To much acclaim the band were invited to perform "This Isn't Real" on the Late Show with David Letterman in January 2009, marking the band's network television premiere. MTV’s The Hills also featured "Other Side Of The Ocean" in their final season in 2010.
MENEW toured extensively in support of the release throughout North America during 2008-2010, including performances at NXNE and CMW. In May 2010, the band performed at Musexpo in Los Angeles, California at the legendary Viper Room in Hollywood; a sold out show that would end the tour and lead the brothers back into the studio to start work on their next record.
Take Them One By One: aka Wide Awake Hello (2010-2011)
The recording sessions for the group’s first official full-length album, Wide Awake Hello, began in August 2010. The original working title of the album was Take Them One By One. The band began writing and pre-production in their home studio Mission Control, outside of Toronto, before entering Dockside Studio in Louisiana, with Christian Mock. The brothers have stated they jammed every note out in the same room, capturing a raw energy vital to their sound. According to Key "It's always three of us in the same room." Also stating, "We feed off of each other and it snowballs into a song. That's definitely one of the benefits of being brothers in a band. You have a natural sense of what the other guys are thinking and where they're going."
The title of the album was changed to Wide Awake Hello after the single "Wide Awake" was recorded and added to the album Spring of 2011. It was the last track included before the official release and was recorded after the Dockside Studio sessions at Emac Studios in London, Ontario. Shade said, “We felt like it was our arrival to the mass public and Wide Awake Hello represented that.”
The band would later use the original album title Take Them One By One as the inscription on the key bed of their mirror and glass touring piano.
Wide Awake Hello (2012)
MENEW’s first official full-length album, Wide Awake Hello, was released February 21, 2012. The album was produced by Christian Mock and MENEW, and was mixed by Jack Joseph Puig, with the exception of 4 tracks: "Sinking Ship", "Drowning Your Heart", "Wait For It" and "I Don’t Know Why" mixed by Christian Mock. The album debuted with rave reviews. The title and themes of Wide Awake Hello are a result of the brother’s frustration with the music industry, serving as a declaration of the band's arrival and a wake-up call.
The album was preceded by lead single, "Don’t Give Up On Us Now", released October 2011. The track was featured on NBC’s Chuck - Season 3 Finale and prominently in episodes of MTV’s Jersey Shore in 2011 along with tracks "Fighter Orphan" and "Never Let Go". The official video for "Don’t Give Up On Us Now" (directed by Lyle Christie), filmed from a unique first-person perspective, met critical acclaim. Rob Capps, Sr. editor of Wired magazine, called it “A masterpiece…The best video of the year!” Nathan said "The video is a life cycle. It ties to relationships and not giving up on someone or something. Everything can be interpreted in various ways. Each listener can hear a song and make it their own." The second single and video for "Wide Awake" was released February 2012 and was later featured on Coldplay.com. Shade has stated, "The song is about that feeling of not fitting in. It's like time is speeding up while the world is slowing down. We're here to wake everyone up though." The third single and western themed video for "Never Let Go" released May 1, 2012 and featured the band as down-on-their-luck cowboys who dress in drag to join a women's poker tournament. "The Neon Light / In Debt" video released September 10, 2012 as the fourth and final single / video from the Wide Awake Hello album.
Prior to the release of the new album, the band resumed making live performances, which initially consisted mostly of festival appearances, most notably Rock On The Range alongside Stone Temple Pilots, Three Days Grace, Finger Eleven and Godsmack. As well the band performed at NXNE in June 2011 and a headlining slot for the Frank Zappa Fest / Manifesto, along with other bands such as Ween, in Baltimore in September 2011.
The Wide Awake Hello Tour started before the release of their album, touring extensively throughout the U.S. as a direct support act for Filter and Fuel. In 2012 MENEW went back on the road with Filter touring the east coast U.S. that included a sold out show at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City on March 8. MENEW’s performance on the tour received high acclaim: “…if Muse, Coldplay and The Killers had a genius, dirty lovechild - it’s name would be MENEW.” In March 2012, the band played SXSW in Austin, Texas which coincided with several dates in Florida including performances on NBC Miami and Daytime NBC Tampa. The remainder of the year the band spent touring Nationally across the U.S. starting at New York City's Irving Plaza and ending at Roxy Theatre, Hollywood.
Mother Nature (2014)
MENEW's second full-length album entitled Mother Nature was released April 8, 2014. The album was produced by Christian Mock and MENEW, mixed by Jack Joseph Puig. The album touches on a wide range of themes; from broken relationships to corrupt society and politics. The release of the record included a special release show at the Viper Room in Los Angeles with west coast U.S. dates including a second L.A. date at the legendary Whisky A Go Go.
Inspired by the ever-changing conditions in Mother Nature, the band incorporated innovative ever-changing artwork into the physical copies of the album (the first-of-its-kind). Fans can scan QR codes–which take place of the album artwork–using a QR code scan/reader with a mobile device and view the digital artwork online. 24hr continuous live still cameras automatically upload photos online daily, and the nature scapes (album artwork) can be followed as they grow throughout their lifespan. Fans can see the artwork change daily and watch Mother Nature take her course. The CD also features a bonus track, which can be scanned and downloaded to your phone or device via a QR code inside the album booklet.
The title track and lead-off single "Mother Nature" takes a direct look at the problems with today's society and media, as seen in the provocative music video, released November 13, 2013. The video carries a comedic undertone and has a strong lyrical message. It was directed by the band's long-time director Lyle Christie. On June 10, 2014 the official video for "Drive" was released. A story about a past relationship, as the character drives through the landscapes of his mind, holding on to the memories he once had, he is faced with the reality he's trying to escape from.
- Shade - lead vocals, guitar
- Key - piano, synthesizers
- Nathan Samuel Phillip - drums, vocals, percussion
- Tyler "T-bone" Lawson - bass guitar (2007–2011)
- Jesse "Wilfur" Filice - bass guitar (2011–present)
- Early Years-2007: Early Recordings / Demos
- 2008: Of the Future EP
- 2012: Wide Awake Hello
- 2014: Mother Nature
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