Montreal's Mobile loves the London vibe

The group played to a thrilled crowd last Friday during O-week, playing for their second time in the Forest City.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mobile on stage

Jonas Hrebeniuk

Sitting in his trailer backstage on Talbot Bowl last Friday, Mobile drummer Pierre-Marc Hamelin reminisces about his Frosh Week at the Université de Montréal.

“We had a frosh week, it was called ‘Initiation’ in French... I won a beer-tasting contest. They had seven different beer bottles and we had to taste one and...you have to say is it Molson Ex, Labatt Blue " all these different kinds of beers. If you fail, you had to drink the beer. I actually got all of them. We had some good drinking contests.”

After two Orientation Weeks with Sam Roberts headlining for the frosh, Montreal’s Mobile finally switched things up for Western with their dance-rock/new wave music. While it was the band’s first time playing for university freshmen, Mobile knew how to work the crowd.

“For us, I think it’s the energy,” Hamelin says. “We love playing the songs live and there’s a lot of songs that are pretty fast tempo so we just create a lot of high energy.”

Despite a dry O-Week, Talbot Bowl was covered with a sea of eager frosh dancing in the pit and sitting on top of the hill. Sophs dispersed in the crowd also got to enjoy the show while scoping for intoxicated underagers.

It was a big leap for Mobile to play for hundreds of new students since the band usually plays at smaller venues. Familiar songs like the Police cover “Message in a Bottle” impressed the crowd while the single “Out of My Head” sent a wave of spectators watching from the hill closer to the stage.

“London for us has been really good. It’s easy to say because we’re here and we could say, ‘Oh, London’s cool.’ But for real, it’s one of our best times, and even when we started, I remember one of our shows at Call the Office, and our first show was awesome. People knew us from I don’t know where. The reaction was great.”

Being best friends with your bandmates makes it easier to rock out with no inhibitions. The band members have known each other for almost 20 years.

“We’re friends from childhood. I started with Frank [Williamson], one of the guitar players when I was twelve and I had a band with Mat [Joly] when I was 13 so 15 years ago, we were on and off.”

“When we were younger, we didn’t plan about doing songs we were just jamming and improvising, we were too lazy to make songs. So we spent all our Friday nights just jamming in my basement. We started the band when I was 19, the four of us except Dominic [Viola] the bass player. Dom joined us in 2000.”

Playing together for two decades paid off when Mobile’s debut album Tomorrow Starts Today was finally released in Canada last April. Two weeks ago the album was released in the U.S.

“We’ll cross our fingers, see what happens. It’s so new in the U.S. We only started touring in the summer and nobody knows us so yeah, the response is good for a band that is not known at all. Like if we play Canada, when we play ‘Out of My Head’ or ‘Montreal Calling’ people know the songs, people know us so it’s different.

“Same thing for me and probably for you " if you hear a new band, you’re like, ‘Oh, interesting,’ but you cannot freak like crazy the first time you listen to it. But I’m pretty confident it will work.”

Mobile’s now working on its second album which Hamelin promises will be different from Tomorrow Starts Today.

“[We] don’t have boundaries, so...we want to evolve from the first album. We don’t want to do the same thing all over again. We don’t have the lyrics and vocal melodies yet so it’s mostly music, but even then it can change. We could all work together to jam the songs so it’s tough to say where it’s going to go.”

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