Out Of Control, a new alternative rock band from Ottawa, performed live at Cafe Dekcuf on Thursday, April 4 on the occasion of the release of their debut EP entitled Lights at the Arcus Amphitheatre, entirely produced by the group.
The emerging band, comprised of members Finn M-K, Josh McKinnon, Jared Asser and Rhian Meaney, presented songs from the EP to a live audience for the first time along with previously written but unreleased material.
Harea Band, a pop soul trio made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Harea, bassist Andrew Richer, and drummer Mike Giamberardino, started things off with a 45-minute set performing songs like Reality, Our Love’s Been Cooking and Her Soul Remains among others.
Harea Band was followed by Monday I Retire, whose sound combines influences of alternative rock, pop and blues. The local 5-piece band, made up of members Mackenzie Di Millo on lead vocals, M.J. Heney on guitar, André Morrill on bass and Ben Di Millo on guitar and piano, performed songs from their Worn & Reeling EP including Grace’s Blind, the No Name song and Goodbye. It’s worth noting that lead singer Mackenzie Di Millo has a lovely soothing voice reminiscent at times of Norah Jones’ and Selah Sue’s tone.
Soon after Monday I Retire’s set, Out Of Control came on stage to officially launch their debut EP. By then, a significant crowd made up of around 5o people had gathered at Cafe Dekcuf to check out the show. With little on-stage experience but fired up from the adrenaline, Out Of Control started their set by thanking everyone for their presence. Finn played a beautiful piano introduction after which he presented the first song from the EP, Minefield that he partly sang amongst the crowd. The group played originals along with covers and made sure to include unreleased tunes for the public to discover. As the leading figure, Finn’s stage presence and live vocals were great, while the other group members somewhat blend in the background without standing out as much.
All in all though, Out Of Control gave a consistent and energetic performance to a crowd that seemed quite pleased with the group’s music.
Before the start of the EP release show, I caught up with the band to get to know them. Here is the result of our conversation:
Elly: Who is Out Of Control and what does the name of the group represent?
Out Of Control: Out Of Control is made up of Finn M-K on lead vocals, piano and acoustic guitar, Josh McKinnon on lead guitar, Jared Asser on bass and Rhian Meaney on drums. The name was a group decision, we were talking about what we do, which is giving live performances essentially, and what’s the best way to convey a great live experience. One of our lyrics actually mentions out of control and also we thought, well what do we want people to do at our shows? It’s to get out of control.
Elly: When did Out Of Control form and begin to make music?
Out Of Control: Finn was basically looking for a bassist, and he was also jamming with Josh and Jared through our Music Program, so we got to know each other that way, and then we went through six drummers before Rhian joined the group, and he’s actually the student of a previous drummer we had who just couldn’t commit the time. We officially started as a group in September 2012 and decided to get serious from there.
Elly: What are your major musical influences?
Out Of Control: We all have very different backgrounds! It goes from classic rock and hard rock to anything from Foo Fighters and Jimi Hendrix. Finn has more of an alternative and progressive rock background like Coldplay and even more ambient stuff. Rhian is more into jazz and latin and Jared is more into alternative rock of the Jack White variety and anything that’s groovy without being overstated. Some of this stuff is close enough in genre that we can borrow from it and it all comes together in Out Of Control to create alternative rock music.
Elly: My favorite songs on the EP are Lion’s Soul and We Are All Still Young. Could you tell us the story behind them?
Out Of Control: Lion’s Soul was Finn’s idea originally, it starts off with a minute of piano. He got one idea where Coldplay does this cover of Beastie Boys’ Fight For Your Right, it’s very low-key and totally weird. He played around with the chords in a similar way and came up with the main sound for the song. The big question was: do we add drums? Finn thought it would be nice to have a song without drums. We think it worked out really nice in the middle of the EP because it’s low-key, it gives the listener a chance to relax for a bit, and then we pick it right back up again.
We Are Still Young came from wanting to write a song with a chanting part, because it’s always cool when the crowd sings along so we had the idea and then put it away for a week or so. Josh was doodling with the sound on his guitar and came up with something pretty cool. The song is so simple, it’s three chords and it’s a 7-minute song, a total build up song, and we wanted to have the bridge to be kind of separate. So we got 15 students from our music program that get together for recital every Friday and we brought all of our mics and set them up at school so that after the recital, we asked everyone to come record with us for our new EP. It was so cool, a really great experience. Also, two of the guys from Harea Band were there so they got to record some vocals on the EP.
Elly: Where can people purchase the EP?
Out Of Control: At our shows and online on our BandCamp page.
Elly: Now that the EP has been released, what are the next steps for Out Of Control? Any tour or shows coming up?
Out Of Control: (Laughs) A tour would be a bit unrealistic at the moment for us, but we’ve got some shows coming up around the city like at the Mercury Lounge next Thursday (April 11) and later on at Carleton University. There’s so much you can do when you’re local so we’re really pushing our stuff on the different platforms online right now to get people to listen and know about us. We’re putting energy into releasing our songs online and setting up pages and we hope people will like what they hear. We’re not trying to make money, right now we just want to break-even and get known and for people to enjoy our music. Then, if we start making money, that’s a bonus.
We put on a pretty engaging live performance and bring tons of energy so we invite everyone to check us out at our upcoming shows!