|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
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Spinning their own melodic web
By Shawn Despres
Thought only flys and ants could make music? Boy, were you wrong. Mean Red Spiders is the latest insect to try its luck in the music industry. But instead of weaving webs of fibres, the band weaves webs of sonic landscapes, which in turn transport its listeners to another world.
Forming in 1995, the Toronto quintet went to great lengths in perfecting the sounds on their first album. While most indie bands have a tendency to rush their first disc, Mean Red Spiders decided to go a different route. Over the course of three years they took their time and recorded and rerecorded what would eventually become their debut record.
"We were in no rush," states guitarist Greg Chambers. "We tried to record the album a couple of times, going through various technologies until we found something that worked for us. We'd start things and then scrap them because we weren't entirely satisfied."
Last May, Places You Call Home was finally released by the record label Teenage USA. The album is filled with beautiful, lush, melodic pop songs and lots of white noise. The record has received many rave reviews and has done well on college radio as well. It spent two and a half months on the Canadian Campus Top 50 Chart and two months on the College Music Journal charts in the United States.
Despite their success on college radio in the United States, touring south of the border has been a problem for the band. "It's so vast, so tours in the States are money losing ventures. Maybe you'll get $50 or $75 per gig, which will cover the cost of gas to get to the next town. Generally you're not going to earn any money from it so you have to rely on grants from Factor and places like that to support the tour," Chambers says.
"So you get your grant and you have to get all of the dates lined up. The tour has to be within a certain time frame and has to be so many dates. But if one thing goes wrong your tour kind of collapses. That was happening a lot to us."
For the time being, Mean Red Spiders are concentrating on some Canadian dates. The band is preparing to start a short six-date tour through southern Ontario and Quebec, with label mates Neck, in order to help celebrate Teenage USA's first anniversary. Included in these birthday dates is a show tonight at Call the Office with the Weekend.
"We did one show in Toronto and then thought that we should take it out on the road. We were hoping to get three or four Teenage USA bands out with us but no one could fit it into their schedule. So it's left to us and Neck to support the Teenage USA's banner," Chambers laughingly explains.
When questioned about their live show's style, Chamber's response was one of honesty and confidence. "We're very sonic. We leave no sound unturned, creating a wall of sound sort of thing. I think we're a lot jumpier on stage, meaning a little faster and a little louder. We've been playing a lot lately so the show is kind of well honed."
After this mini tour is completed, Mean Red Spiders are going to concentrate on making their second record. The band has recently begun to lay down some bed tracks and hope to have a new full length album finished by September.
Get over any arachnophobia you may have because these spiders are definitely worth checking out.