Volume 91, Issue 77

Friday, February 13, 1998

chumping for joy


Megapoppin' it U.K. style

©Gazette File Photo
SEE, WE HAVE A PLANE TOO. Toronto boys Megapop attempt their best Easy Rider impression at The Spoke tonight.

By Clare Elias

Gazette Staff

Megapop vocalist Jaan Silmberg believes that every band has its influences and to deny this is to deny a sense of personal sound. This four-piece band has found their defining style in the Britpop culture.

"You're going to be labelled, there's no way of avoiding it," says Silmberg. Some bands have taken it upon themselves to define their own sound but Silmberg assumes this to be pretentious. "Everyone has their influences and finding ours in Britpop wasn't a mistake."

Megapop has identified with today's British sound, especially with their first release, entitled Casino Royale. "We're not a contrived band, we will not follow anything," is the singer's response to the changing scene in British music. A lot of bands keep on imitating their influences whereas Megapop is attempting to use their influences and expand upon its vibes. "We're inspired by so many different groups and sounds, I can't even begin to list them," admits Silmberg.

These differing music scenes stem from classic reggae and the underground techno movements. "We do have difficulties of trying to combine all these musical tastes within the band," says the singer. Elements of retro and indie-pop can also be detected in this album, but the defining element is still its overseas melodies. It was hard to avoid, with their co-producer being from England and also having worked with The Wonderstuff and Ned's Atomic Dustbin.

For Megapop's new line-up, they are attempting to evolve from the Britpop tone. This four-piece band has attached itself to a new wave of U.S. college music. When asked to describe this sound, Silmberg says it is difficult – but perhaps the Pixies would suffice?

Megapop's outlook to find new sounds is reflective of their belief that "The music scene of today doesn't have any meaning, nothing is new anymore." In looking to the bands of today, it would seem there is an element of regurgitation. "The ska scene has already been done and even in Matchbox 20 there are grunge undertones," says Silmberg.

But Megapop is not taking it upon themselves to create a new sound –every sound is made up of everything else, Silmberg explains. So in this melting pot of mainstream, the Toronto singer claims "There is no 'real' music scene of today."

This depressing notion does not deter the band from continuing to pursue its goal of reaching as many people as possible. "We're not looking for any particular following," says Silmberg. "We're just trying to hit as big an audience as we can." During their batting practices, Megapop derives lyrical insights for their tracks.

"Most of our lyrics are from watching and describing what we see," explains Silmberg. However, not all songs have this voyeuristic element. The band's own experiences are also musically styled into the lyrics. The track "return for refund" from their first release is a subjective account of relationships.

Megapop holds a strong view for their future. "We know what we want and then we do it." But even in this confidant stance, Silmberg admits there are still things they need to learn and listen to. London fans will be able to both learn and listen at their gig tonight at The Spoke.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1998