October 31, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 35  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Mico: "we are not a fucking emo band"

By Gabriella Barillari
Gazette Writer

Calgary's own Mico is slowly emerging from the underground to sing about what is really important.

Formed in 1998, the rockin' foursome has definitely evolved into a rebellious, protesting ensemble, combining pulsating instrumentals with uncompromising lyrics. Their sound evinces a powerful blend of hardcore, punk rock and brit-pop/shoegazer sounds.

"We combine a whole bunch of different styles and influences. That's part of the reason why some people have had a hard time getting into us, since we're not so cut and dry," guitarist Todd Harkness explains.

Recently, their rigorous triple guitar assault has been narrowed down to two as they parted ways with their bass player, replacing him with Patrick May.

"Originally, we wanted three guitar players because when we recorded, we used so many layers of guitars that it made sense to have that much live as well. I actually like the two players better now since it's easier to make out everything that's going on. Plus, we finally have enough room in the van to bring our roadie 'The Griz' along," Harkness jokes.

On questioning the band about what fuels their musical desires, they had much to say. All Mico really wants is "to exist outside the trivial, vapid cookie cutter shit that passes as music and more specifically, punk rock these days."

Mico is not your stereotypical band with a conceited attitude; instead, the guys aim to dissolve that distasteful stigma and provide an alternative to all that crap.

Their brand new album, Outside the Unbearable Grows, boasts some outstanding melodic anthems. The material is catchy and clearly displays the progression of their talent. Songs like "Cheers For Subversion" and "This Freat Achievement" vividly demonstrate vocalist Johnny Stewart's lyrical style.

Mico's inspiration comes from an array of bands, including Swervedriver, early Dag Nasty, Guided By Voices and Propagandhi, to name a few. In fact, members of Propagandhi created their G7 label back in 1997.

"We have been friends with the G7 folks for some time. They are one of the few labels that strive to work outside the bullshit music industry and their beliefs and ethics are totally inspiring to us. When they offered to release our new record, we were so excited to be able to finally work with them and it's been awesome," Harkness exclaims.

The band's aim is to emphasize the important issues neglected in society by using the concept of radical politics through music, as they discuss capitalism, the environment and humanity. Believe it or not, even their band shirts are made from organically grown cotton.

"We feel strongly about certain issues and use our songs as a mode of expression for this. We don't sing songs about girls and cars, and we do care about the sad state of what's happening around us," Harkness admits. "We want to become a better band constantly. We want more people to be able to hear us and we want to establish the fact that once and for all, we are not a fucking emo band."

You can check out Mico online on their Web site, www.micoband.com, or their label's site www.g7welcomingcommittee.com. Along with Strike Anywhere, Mico will hit Call the Office Tue., Nov. 4.

 

 

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