CMW Artist Profile: Heavy Rock act, HOUNDS


Throughout Canadian Music Week, will be introducing you to some of this year’s amazing lineup. Today, here’s a look at the Toronto- and Montreal-based heavy rock act, HOUNDS. Catch them on Thursday, May 7 at The Horseshoe Tavern (9pm.)

Band Members: Mike Rokos (vocals), Patrick Mathers (guitar), Brad Bentley (bass), and Paul Ramirez (drums).
Years Active: 1
City of Origin: Toronto, and Montreal
Latest Release: Wild Eyes (EP) – Released April 2015 via New Damage Records 

Who are you and what do you do?
“We are HOUNDS. We are four people who get along really well doing what comes most naturally to all of us. We are also four guys with really busy lives. Paul is away on tour with The Flatliners quite a bit, everybody else has a full-time career at home, and Mike lives in Montreal and sings in Dig It Up. So when we actually come together to write, we make the most of our time together. We’ve all been part of other serious musical endeavors, so we really just get in a room with an idea and hash it out ‘til it feels like it belongs to all of us. We write thoughtful songs with dark, aggressive sensibilities. Every song is approached differently, but everything we do is deliberate.”

In 20 words or less, how would you describe your band?
“Rock n’ roll may be dead, but we’re still haunted by its ghost.”

Why should people care about your band?
“Obviously, music is subjective. But I’d say our biggest draw would be sincerity. Of all the characteristics a band can possess we think that is the most tangible, and the only one that really matters to us. We’re not bullshitting. We’re gonna put it all out there for you every time we plug in.”

If someone comes to your show at CMW, what could they expect to see?
“They can expect to see us pour every last ounce of energy into our set. We’ll be performing our new EP in its entirety, as well as a few newer tracks we’re really proud of. It’s our job to warm the crowd up, but we’re going to try to wear them out.”

How vital is CMW to a band in your position?
“I mean, CMW is a major example of why Toronto is such a mecca for Canadian music, and one of the greatest places in the country for out-of-town artists to visit. We’re pretty proud to be a part of the music scene in Toronto, and these types of events are pivotal to that.”

What do you hope to achieve at CMW?
“Every time we get on stage, we hope to move people. We’re really fortunate to be part of the New Damage family, so playing this showcase with some of Dine Alone Records’ heaviest hitters is a really great opportunity for us. If we can make people feel something, we’ll consider that a success.”

Lots of CMW shows will be attended by music industry professionals – how does knowing that impact the way you approach these performances?
“We hope that everyone who gets an opportunity to see us gets something out of it. One thing I think all four of us have learned over our long (respective) music careers is that whether there is one person, or 5,000 people in the crowd, and whether it’s just the other bands on the bill, or music industry icons, our approach should and will always be the same. Honestly, I think we’re all really stoked to play The Horseshoe Tavern, as well. We’ve never played there together, and it’s for sure one of our favourite places to watch live music in the city. Some of us have played there in other projects, but we really want to take advantage of the phenomenal sound and energy that always seems to be in that room.”

How much sleep do you anticipate having during CMW?
“We sleep a lot, especially Paul. He loves sleeping. There are some bands we’re really excited to check out though, so we’ll all take advantage I’m sure.”

During your stay, where will you and your band be sleeping, showering, or taking groupies?
“Three quarters of us live in Toronto, so that’s a non-issue. I’m sure Mike will stay with one of us, or friends. He’s a honourary Torontonian, with close ties to a bunch of people in the city. It’s his home away from home at this point.”

At CMW we will mostly consume…
“Some of us don’t drink, but I’m sure those that do will make up for the rest of us. It’s always great to have lots of bands coming to town though, because we’ve all got great friends who will be in town taking advantage of the amazing spots. Patios are going to be rammed. We love the energy in the city during events like this.”

CMW for us will be a failure if…
“Failure is not an option.”

CMW for us will be a success if…
“Everyone gets weird. Let’s do it.”

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