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Volume 90, Issue 102

Wednesday, April 09, 1997



Grabbing the popular vote

Gazette file photo
OH WAIT, IS THAT THE FIVE O'CLOCK PLANE TO SAULT STE. MARIE? SHIT! Megapop, Toronto's latest act to shine in a clear, pop environment.

By Paul Fruitman
Gazette Staff

Say this for Megapop, the Toronto outfit has no shortage of confidence. Here is an indie band with the audacity to choose a name which signifies pop icon status, which has the courage to accuse Trent Reznor of jumping on the drum and bass bandwagon, and which refuses to entertain any thoughts other than those of success.

"No doubts at all," claims guitarist/vocalist Jaan Slimberg. "I mean we're not expecting to be millionaires in a year or something," adds bassist/ keyboardist Mark Leppik. "It takes a lot of hard work."

Megapop is finding out first hand how much work being a strictly independent act can be. For the past two years it has been taking the DIY course to musical success; hauling itself across the province, playing often to a group of fans disguised as an empty bar. As we sit and talk prior to the band's gig at Call the Office, it appears the soundman may be the audience for the night.

But for the most part Megapop's work ethic appears to be paying dividends. The band's debut EP titled Casino Royale was produced without financial help from anyone outside of the band.

"You have to start somewhere and we don't trust agents," Slimberg says. "It's safer to do DIY anyways." "Our focus isn't to hold onto some street credibility," Leppik adds. "But this way we know where everything is going to be headed."

There was production help though, namely from Jessica Corcoran, whose resumé includes work with Shed Seven, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Boy George. According to Slimberg, Corcoran abandoned her usually high production fee once hearing Megapop's demo.

"She couldn't believe we were from Canada," he says. "All she had heard from Canada was Bryan Adams and Celine Dion."

But with Corcoran at the helm, there is some suggestion Megapop may be following in the tradition of her production sound.

"People will think we're following that sound with Jessica," Leppik says. "Our influences are very wide ranging – underground techno to punk."

Slimberg is responsible for most of the songwriting chores and claims other people's music of any sort is not his primary influence.

"I try and stay away from influences when I write my songs," he says. "What I mean is that I concentrate on things that are happening around me, either in first person or third person. My environment. I'm not trying to say anything really – to be a political band or something."

Political or not, Megapop shows no signs of slowing down. After an opening spot with the Longpigs in Montreal, Megapop will embark on a full tour of both Canada and the United States. And this is one band which will have to continue to work, if for nothing else than to show the music world that its confidence is well founded.

"A lot of people say we're going to have to live up to a lot," Slimberg admits. "Megapop is a really obnoxious name. But we have the drive. And I think Megapop is going to go far."

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997