It’s been five years since Soft Hate, what’s Memoryhouse been up to during the long break?
We got jobs, moved back to our hometown. I explored some other passions like writing, improv and stand up comedy. Most of our 20’s were swept up in music and touring and we felt destabilized. I just wanted to have friends and a salary and not be living with our parents anymore.
Do you feel the COVID lockdowns have allowed the band an opportunity to make new music or did it hinder your plans for this EP?
There were no real plans for this EP prior to fall 2020. In fact, we weren’t sure we’d be making another album — for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I just didn’t feel a passion for music anymore. But the pandemic showed me that I have a pretty hefty anxiety disorder, and I needed something to focus on, something to bury myself in. I moved from doing sketches in my living room, to obsessing over slapstick comedy, to finding a deep and unyielding obsession with The Beatles. But the interest was enough to get me back into music. Evan is also a huge Beatles fan so it became the glue that we needed to start working together again.
Where did the idea come from to do a collection of Beatles covers?
We did a cover of “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” spring 2020 and I didn’t want to stop. I just wanted to do more Beatles covers. It’s an extravagant idea that I think would only really fly right now in this exact moment. The world is dark but The Beatles have their own orbit, their own energy that we could live off. It was less about is this a good idea and more about a desperate need to find joy. So as a long winter lockdown approached in Toronto, we committed to the idea, if not just to keep busy. And we put everything we had into it.
When venues open up again do you expect to support the ep with live shows or a tour?
We’d love to do live shows again.
Can we expect any new original music from Memoryhouse in the future?
We found a lot of inspiration in this EP and I think a really interesting sound palette that we want to take forward, so Evan and I are working on new music now. We plan to release the next track as soon as it’s done, so shouldn’t be too long of a wait.
Memoryhouse reach back to their bedroom pop roots on Mania and dress up The Beatles in hazey dream pop and brushes of shoegaze. Leadoff single “No Reply” slows down the breezy shuffle of the Lennon/McCartney version adding a glistening tapestry of textures that serve as a backdrop for Denise Nouvion’s soulful vocals. If it wasn’t for the lyrics you might never guess this was a cover. Reinterpreting any cover, especially a band as revered as The Beatles can be a risky endeavor, but Memoryhouse succeed by adding tension and emotional resonance that Lennon and McCartney described more in their words than their music on “No Reply”. “This Boy” is morphed into a slow burning Doo Wop ballad dripping with reverb, some pleasant harmonies and a shy guitar solo snuck in at the end. Memoryhouse’s other half Evan Abeele pushes the production envelope harder on “If You’ve Got Trouble” adding backwards effects and industrial sounding electronic beats that contrast against Denise’s velvet smooth singing. “Not A Second Time” is perhaps the most faithful of their set to The Beatles original besides a clever guitar breakdown one minute in and “Oh! Darling” is so minimalist it’s nearly Denise’s voice alone. By pushing these songs you thought you knew to different extremes Memoryhouse make the listener think about the lyrics and what the songs are saying in a different way as well. It also keeps in the spirit of The Beatles themselves who were never afraid of pushing rock music to different extremes.
Highlights: “No Reply”, “If You’ve Got Trouble”