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Talking Bands
by Fraser McCallum

The Meds (photo: Fraser McCallum)When the Meds’ bass player Brendan Hansen handed his band’s demo to Matt Mays he hoped the Canadian rocker would react. He hoped Mays, a multi-ECMA winner and touring artist, would pass it along to the powers that be, and that just maybe some good fortune would come back the Meds’ way. Well it took eight months, but Mays reacted in a serious way to the sound of the Charlottetown group.

“Apparently he found the demo in the bottom of a suitcase while traveling in the States,” says a thrilled Hansen. “He was really impressed and got a hold of us a week later. He had been looking to produce something and liked the edginess of our stuff.” After a few beers with the full band on Victoria Row, Mays and the lads came up with a plan to record an album together in Nova Scotia and San Francisco.

The Meds began in 2006 and play a melody-first style of guitar rock, with three-part harmonies and big energy. Today, along with Hansen, their lineup includes Kyle Drake (lead vocals, guitar), Iain McCarvill (piano, backing vocals), Pat MacDonald (lead guitar), and Danny Miles (drums).

They had recorded before, at Sonic Temple in Halifax, but were understandably on cloud nine following the news of an album with Mays. After some hearty celebration, they hit their jam space for a few weeks of rehearsal. In early winter, The Meds, along with their new producer, and a rack of 17 guitars, went about recording an album, relocating to a beach-house in East Berlin (no, not that East Berlin), found in southern Nova Scotia.

“We collectively wrote some new parts,” explains lead singer Drake. “Matt helped trim the fat and tailor the songs for a more mainstream crowd. We all brought the songs to a new level.”

Lead guitarist Pat MacDonald, a St. FX jazz graduate, collaborated with Mays on a lot of the ideas for the bed tracks. MacDonald and company worked nighthawk hours for ten days yielding eleven songs and some good-natured cabin fever. From there, Drake and McCarvill flew the coop to record the vocals, joining Mays for an unforgettable week at a studio in San Francisco.

“We had a few days to mess around and explore the city…which is incredible,” recalls Drake. “The recording was the most intense vocal session I had ever done. Matt pushed me to try different approaches. He is an extremely knowledgeable, professional person. That said, he’s still a laid back guy from Dartmouth and acts no different.”

The Meds are now aiming for a summer release of their full-length, which is in post-production at Sonic. They have plans to tour across Canada with Mays, who is set to release his own album around the same time.

“Its awesome to have this kind of momentum,” asserts Hansen. “We know if we keep putting in the work, we can push this a lot further.”

Drake agrees, “We’re passionate but our feet are still on the ground. We would love to do it all full-time and know what kind of commitment it will need.”

The Meds will be playing regularly at local venues this summer. Check them out on online at themeds.ca or myspace.com/themedsmusic.

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