Mean Tangerine talks festivals, gang violence

London quartet set to host album release party tonight

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mean Tangerine members: Mike, Max, Jesse, and Brent

Gazette File Photo

TRIADS BEWARE. Mean Tangerine members (L to R) Mike Carey, Max Off, Jesse Wilks and Brent Weber are set to release their first full-length album. They also enjoy a casual yelling match with gang members.

Opening for acts such as Finger Eleven and Sloan and playing on Vans Warped Tour, Mean Tangerine has come a long way from its dysfunctional roots to being on the verge of hitting it big.

Mean Tangerine consists of Londoners Jesse Wilks (guitar), Brent Weber (bass), Mike Carey (drums) and Max Off (guitar/singer). Since forming the band when they were 15-years-old, they have released an EP, recorded songs and opened for some big-name acts. Now stationed in Toronto, they are set to release their first full-length album.

“We’ve been [playing] a lot of festivals. We played [Vans] Warped Tour this summer in Toronto and Rockstock in Chatham. Those were pretty ill,” Weber says. “We recorded [our] new [album] in December at the same studio as some of Canada’s sickest artists like Nelly Furtado or Billy Talent at the Iguana Studio in Toronto.”

Mean Tangerine can be defined as a ska/reggae band, but it’s really a blend of a bunch of genres. “We get pinpointed as like a ska/reggae band, and that’s definitely true, but we try and incorporate lots of other genres, like punk and hip-hop,” Off says.

“Max writes all the songs and shows the band, and if we like it we learn it,” Wilks comments on the band’s recording process. “If we don’t, we don’t learn it. We play the song a lot and change it as it needs to be changed before we go to the studio.

“Overall we’ve recorded at least 40 to 50 songs in the past few years, and there’s 10 coming out [this week]. We’re looking to start recording again pretty immediately; it’s always good to keep going,” Wilks adds.

The group is made up of light-hearted guys who love to joke around. “We really get our selves into a lot of weird situations. We could really talk about this all day,” Weber says.

He recalls their first trip on the road. “We got a hotel, and Jesse and our buddy Jordan went out while the rest of us partied at the hotel. Mike started yelling outside our door at these Triads and they came up and tried to break into our rooms to fight us. In the mean time, Jesse and Jordan were on their way back and Jesse ran into the Triad’s room by accident and they grabbed him and hung him over railing of the hotel threatening to kill him. It was pretty intense.”

Despite scary run-ins with gang members, the next few road trips for the band weren’t as death defying. “Playing [on the] Warped Tour was pretty good too, I guess,” Weber adds.

Mean Tangerine’s album release party is tonight at Jim Bob Ray’s and features Walk Off The Earth and Western student Ryan Conway on the turntables. Tickets are $5 and are available at Echelon, 742 Richmond Street.

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