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Toronto based punk rock group Die Mannequin is a young band of three that’s already enjoyed lots of success and attention. With the pending release of their first ‘real’ full length studio album, Fino + Bleed, there’s no sign of stopping either. Lead by now 22 year old front woman Care Failure (Caroline Kawa), she was 16 when first revving up her career in the music industry and awarded her own sub-label, How To Kill – a division of Warner Music.
The band started as The Bloody Mannequins releasing their first EP, sharing its title with the record label. Despite the genre difference, tracks were produced by Canadian electronic duo Jesse F. Keeler and AI-P, better known as MSTRKRFT. Failure briefly slipped away, joining Canadian supergroup The Big Dirty Band, featuring Rush’s Geddy Lee (bass), Alex Lifeson (guitar), Ian Thornley and Three Days Grace’s Adam Gontier (vocals/guitar). For Failure, the audition led to surprise, “it was a quick experience but a lasting one. I thought I’d get backups and got the whole song – I’m still like a pup but with them even more so. Maybe Alex just liked my voice, he’s a sweetie.”
That ‘whole song’ Failure snagged was a cover of Sonny Curtis and The Crickets’ I Fought The Law which was included on the soundtrack for The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie with a full video. The video featured fellow Die Mannequin Anthony “Useless” Bleed though he didn’t contribute to the track. Bleed who’s been with Failure for six years nicknamed her Fino, which is where the title of the new album comes from. The third Mannequin rounding out the group is drummer, Ghostwolf.
For their second EP, Slaughter Daughter, Die Mannequins turned to Billy Talent’s Ian D’Sa to produce two tracks as well as international producer/dj Junior Sanchez. “The producers we chose, we just got on the phone and asked ‘em,” Failure says. “There’s nothing bad to say about any of them,” adding the dance backgrounds of some enhance her process. “I like to shake it! I like to write heavy dance music, if you can dance around in your underwear, it works for me.”
Failure’s satisfied with not having rushed straight into a studio album, “EP’s are awesome, you get together as a band and become bulletproof.”
Aside from great producers, Die Mannequin was also invited to travel alongside Guns ‘n Roses for their Canadian tour, “it was like Guns ‘n who?” Failure said referencing the call. Shortly after, at performance of their own, Failure, who brings audience folk up on stage for any given song per show did so only to be informed afterwards that her guest was from iTunes. Another golden moment turned opportunity which saw Autumn Cannibalist become the free single of the week.
The lead single from Fino + Bleed is Bad Medicine, which Failure had a say in. “Getting creative control is useless if the label has veto, they wanted something else and I wasn’t feelin’ it. I’m lucky I had a say; we just have to agree in the end.” Other highlights of the new album include Dead Honey and Start It Up. Written in just a month (due to the theft of Failure’s laptop), the album is also available in a deluxe edition paired with the documentary called Rawside, directed by Bruce McDonald. Failure joked, “It’s crazy, we must be the first band to have a DVD history [in an early album], we just laugh about it.”
Failure, who writes what she knows and counts The Pixies and Queens of the Stone Age amongst her inspirations, shared her writing process. “Creativity’s so strange and different for everyone; it’s a muscle too. I write something every single day, some are shit. Remind yourself it has to be fun.”
Fino + Bleed is an unquestionably fun punk rock album which hits stores September 8.