Montreal's The Mission District to launch new album this fall
Originating from Montreal, The Mission District fuse Eighties-style synthesized power-pop with pure punk energy. With a sound perfectly suited to soundtrack a John Hughes teen movie, The Mission District have already earned a devoted audience through shows with Simple Plan, McFly, Saving Aimee and Elliot Minor. They’ve also earned the unlikely but very welcome patronage of celeb blog king Perez Hilton who described the youthful Canucks as “a beautiful hybrid of California and British pop rock.”
Vocalist David Rancourt and guitarists Travis Barfoot and Rob Rousseau paid their dues by playing in a local pop-punk band that was inspired by the likes of Green Day, The Clash and Jimmy Eat World. They hit the Warped Tour and became local scene favourites, but the trio considered the experience part of their induction into the music industry and soon set about searching for a new sound.
Joined by old friend, classically trained jazz musician and lapsed saxophonist Antoine Rochette on bass and keyboards, the early days of The Mission District focused on jamming and working towards that new sound. ““We started off as an indie rock band, but we figured we were far better at writing pure pop,” concedes Rancourt. “We wanted to write music with catchy choruses that gets kids moving rather than playing to a bunch of hipsters with their arms folded.”
As The Mission District took shape, the band were plagued by the inability to find a suitable sticksman to the extent that Rancourt considered becoming that rare beast – the singing drummer. As the affable, energetic vocalist jokes, “I almost had to pull a Phil Collins.” A fate worse than Genesis was averted with the recruitment of Mike Hand, whose music tastes are essentially “anything before 1980.”
Unleashed into the public arena, Perez Hilton’s praise gave the band a platform to launch from and gigs with the likes of The Bravery provided both the exposure and the credibility to attract the interest of a plethora of record labels. Following a chance meeting with a Relentless Records representative at a Paramore gig at South by South West, the EMI imprint was impressed enough with the band’s demos to ink a deal.
The Mission District set about recording their upcoming debut album ‘Youth Games’ with producer Andy Green (Keane, Go: Audio, The Feeling) and mixer Mark Needham (Metro Station, The Killers). The result is a collection of killer tracks such as ‘So Over You’ and ‘The Best Of You And Me’ that bristle with the energy of their punk past while adding subtle nods towards the likes of The Cure, Duran Duran and Weezer. “We wanted to create a very youthful, energetic record. It’s like a coming of age record. It reflects back on the last few years of our life and mixes fact with fiction,” affirms Rancourt.
The band have since relocated to London and have been freshly enthused by the local music scene. “People are so open-minded and listen to all these different genres of music,” evaluates the quietly charming Rochette.
Aside from constant touring, the boys have also focused heavily on using the Internet to spread The Mission District gospel. From Hand’s tour diaries to the upcoming web TV show at www.youthgames.tv, the quintet are eager to use any networking tool they can. “We’re really trying to build one-on-one relationships with people who are really passionate about our music and our Internet work has played a large role in that as we like to keep in touch with people,” explains Barfoot. “We live in an Internet age and people want more information, they want to know what the real story is behind a band.”
The Mission District’s ascendancy has commenced effortlessly with a growing legion of diehard fans and they possess all the necessary attributes to become Canada’s next global success story. “It’s OK to be a band and make pop music and be proud of it,” concludes Barfoot. Rancourt concurs: “The great thing about our sound is that it’s universal and international.”
David Rancourt (vocals), Travis Barfoot (guitar), Rob Rousseau (guitar), Antoine Rochette (bass / keys), Mike Hand (drums)