M for Montreal is now in its fifth year of bringing journalists and music industry insiders from around the world to Montreal in order to expose them to the silly amounts of great music this city has to offer. While it has become an international launching pad for many local (and close to local) acts, the benefit for the rest of us is simple: from November 17-20 we get to see some great shows…
When trying to figure out how best to explain this event to you, we figured we might as well just go straight to the source. So we touched base with “M for Mikey” Rishwain Bernard, the fest’s program director and man-about-several towns who seems to attend almost every great party happening anywhere in North America…
So how and why did M for MTL get started?
Mikey Rishwain Bernard:Seb Nasra (Vega Musique, Avalanche Productions) and Martin Elbourne (venerated UK concert booker, ex-agent for New Order and The Smiths, co-founder of Womad) were looking to set up a Montreal showcase for European festival buyers who were on their way to CMJ in New York. The goal was to have them discover new music from Montreal.
MB: How has this event changed since it started 2006? What do you think it has done for music in this city?
MRB: It has grown internationally and now sets up showcases at CMJ, SXSW and The Great Escape. We’ve put many bands in contact with International players- We Are Wolves, Duchess Says, Think About Life, DD/MM/YYYY and Coeur De Pirate were all chased by UK Festival buyers and labels
MB: When you guys take M for MTL on the road, how is it received? How do you get all these people excited to come to Montreal?
MRB: Last year, we collaborated with BrooklynVegan at SXSW and 3000 people came out for Andrew WK, Local Natives, Holy Fuck, Think About Life, Besnard Lakes and more- it was voted one of the best parties at SXSW. But how do we do it? We feed them Poutine & Schwartz’ & 4 star Restos. They all think Montreal is a sexy city that they dream about visiting. We just make sure to keep them warm and entertained. But really, who doesn’t love Montreal?
MB: Ok, so what are the big shows that people have to see this year?