THE MENDOZAZ
Interviews

Toronto tongue-in-cheek punk rockers THE MENDOZAZ discuss local scene, new video, latest LP and more

Toronto-based trio, The Mendozaz, checked in to our pages with a special Toronto punk rock report two years ago, and they recently released their new video “GTFO”. A sing-along earworm with lyrics that may or may not consist of vague plot summaries for a couple Danny Boyle movies now features the wild visualizer, spiced up with rotoscoped pop-art style of graphic designer and illustrator, Joseph Zambri. We caught up with THE MENDOZAZ to get some more details about the concept behind the video, discuss their 2021 album “Up And At Them”, and get some updates on their local punk rock scene in Toronto.

The Mendozaz formed in 2017 as a love-letter to the 90’s punk sound. Their carefree “anything goes as long as it’s fun” attitude made their debut album “Two Days To Retirement” a staple on punk playlists. The initial single “Last Call” was championed by Canadian radio legend and music historian Alan Cross, through his Twitter as part of his ‘Favourite New Song Of The Day’ regular feature.

Hey guys! Welcome back in the post-COVID era. How’s Toronto? How thriving is the scene nowadays?

From a music fan’s perspective Toronto’s doing great. A lot of interesting new bands popped up during the pandemic. My friend started a really great non-profit called Save Toronto Music Venues. It began as an art project – photographing local bars and concert halls – then selling prints and distributing the proceeds to struggling venues. Then the art project spawned an Instagram page featuring weekly interviews with local musicians, then came the constantly growing Spotify playlist full of Toronto and Toronto-area bands, then eventually a concert series that’s still going strong to this day. They’ve been doing so much cool stuff whether its guerilla-style park shows or livestreams from undisclosed locations. The best part is that a really nice scene has formed around the organization. Personally I’ve met so many exceptional people over the past year or so, so I’m grateful.

From a venue’s perspective it’s hard to say. Toronto’s a really expensive city to operate in, so even without the pandemic, it’s a struggle. But they’re definitely not lacking for bands who want to perform.

THE MENDOZAZ

Can you share some new up and coming bands worth a check?

If we’re just talking about new bands, we’re really big fans of No Sunshine Collective, By Octopi, Wednesday Bender, Hysterics and Jerkoff Diary. Also Yeah No For Sure – which has to be the most Canadian band name possible. Debt Cemetary and Lime Ricky have been making waves as well.

The Black Void’s been around for a while now, but they’re really hitting their stride. Their new album “Sad Songs About Sentient Sextoys and Other Terrible Tales” is great.

Then there’s at least another 50 bands I’m leaving out. We have a Spotify playlist of cool bands from around the area, so if that platform is how you like to consume music, check er out. 

Ok, so back to your new music video, GTFO. Why Danny Boyle movies?

It seems like a total non-sequitur, but there’s a method to it. At least in my ADHD-addled brain. I’m a very visual thinker. I think of music in terms of colour (red tones, blue tones, purple tones, etc) and I also like to think that all of our songs tell a story (even the intensely stupid songs). This one started with the “GTFO” chorus hook and I had to build around it. When I tried to visualize its story, I thought of the first act of 28 Days Later, when Cillian Murphy’s character found himself surrounded by bloodthirsty infected zombies* and had to – quite literally – GTFO.

Then I threw Sunshine in there because I like to double-down on all my crazy ideas.

*I know they’re not actually zombies.

Ok, so paart from that, what were some of your inspirations behind the new album?

Our first album – “Two Days To Retirement” – was written very quickly. It took less than six months which is crazy-fast by our standards. And that was our set for the first six months of our existence. Then over the two years that followed we’d just add a new song or two to our set each month. So when it came time to record, we’d already written an album’s worth.

If you listen to our first record – it’s pretty clear that all three of us grew up wearing out our copies of Dookie and Kerplunk! And we didn’t mind it being so obvious because that was the point of starting The Mendozaz! But for #2 we wanted to be mindful not to continue down that path.

Can you dive in a bit more and walk us through each and every song on the record?

Sure thing! Let’s go!

1) Sitting By These Rocks

This song was written during a period when a lot of the older generation in my family was dying. Obviously it’s a sad time for any family when this kind of thing happens. Writing this song was a cathartic experience for me. We put it first on the album so that we could get all of the serious business out of the way and move on to…

2) GTFO

Just an evil little earworm. And an ode to two awesome movies with awful third acts. There’s no third verse in GTFO though!

3) Murder

Another “cinematic” song. A neo-noir. I imagined this one taking place by a video arcade with a shooting in the alley behind it. For the
music video we went with a more conventional slasher theme.

THE MENDOZAZ

4) Dapper Man

This one’s a bit whimsical and more of a reflection on my own insecurity than any kind of social statement. There was a fellow who had the undivided attention of a woman I was interested in. I was very jealous – and very intimidated – until I found out he was playing for the other team and actually posed no threat to my intentions.

5) Bottle Blonde

“Bottle Blonde” was inspired by a very attractive woman I saw on the train. She was very well put together: hair, make-up, the works. She clearly put a lot of effort into her appearance and it was paying off because I definitely noticed her! But I wonder if there was a period in her life when she wasn’t so attractive – or at least not as skilled in touching up her appearance – that she didn’t get as many people noticing her. Or maybe it’s not skill at all? Maybe it’s all in the hair dye?

6) Not So Nice

There’s a sketch on one of Adam Sandler’s comedy albums about two friends. One of them’s joined a satanic cult and he’s trying to convince his buddy to join him. I took that idea and ran with it. Then added hand-claps.

7) Idiot Club

Michael wanted to play around with a few bass chords and to write a weird, but poppy song. The lyrics are about trying to maintain an optimistic outlook towards future plans despite dealing with a few bumps along the road.

8) Cut Me Loose

Sometimes we get sad and the only way to feel better is to write about it.

9) FCB

I have a friend who is a stand-up comedian and she does this bit about her personality and the way people perceive her. I took her words and turned them into a song. When she found out I did this she jumped on my back and tried to choke me out. She loves the song.

THE MENDOZAZ

10) Kerosene

I wanted a brash party song to rock out with. It’s a bit indulgent and prone to hyperbole, but that’s half the fun.

11) Lasso of Truth

Another one of Michael’s. The angrier, faster companion piece to “Idiot Club” for the times when you’re not as optimistic for the future and feel like the sky is falling. The yelling vocals were intended to be a cathartic way to cope.

12) Kill Your Television

We like to throw a cover song into our set to keep things interesting for the people who come to see us over and over (we appreciate you!) This one – by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – turned out so well we threw it on the album.

13) Hidden Track

There’s a hidden Track 13! But you can only hear it if you get the physical version of the album or buy it off our Bandcamp page. I’m not going to say too much about it because I don’t want to ruin its mystique. But it’s got a huge sound and it’s more than a little ridiculous.

Ok, so what are your plans going forward?

We’re starting pre-production on album number three in a few days. That’ll be our focus in the new year. But before we get too deep in the studio we’re hitting the road and visiting as many places as we can. A lot of people are still hearing The Mendozaz for the very first time. They’ve been really receptive and we’re thrilled to be playing for them.

As far as 2022 goes, we have one more ace up our sleeve. But we’re keeping that under wraps for now.

The Mendozaz

The Mendozaz, by Brendan Albert

THE MENDOZAZ on tour:

Sept 25 – Ajax, ON – Rotilicious
Sept 30 – Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex Club
Nov 5 – Oshawa, ON – Kops Records
Nov 9 – Hamilton, ON – Doors Pub
Nov 18 – Guelph, ON – Jimmy Jazz

“Up and At Them” acclaim:

“Love it. No fat, straight to the point.” Alan Cross, Radio Host

“If you live and die by pop punk, you should definitely have this in your collection” Ty Stranglehold, Razorcake

“Catchy hooks and fast beats, foot on the accelerator and no chance of hitting the brakes.” Cody Fitzgerald, Punk Rock Mag

“The whole album is a surefire winner.” Paul Silver, Keep Track Of The Time

“Reimagining and moving the genre forward. 5/5″ Mark Cartwright, The Punk Site

“An energetic pop-punk gem” Mad Indie Media

“Definitely give this a spin” Punk Rock Rada

Toronto tongue-in-cheek punk rockers THE MENDOZAZ discuss local scene, new video, latest LP and more
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