You know we give our neighbors to the North a bad time every once in a while, it’s like a sibling rivalry right? We love them, but we love to pick on them even more (coming from a family that includes both Canadians and Americans, I know this first hand). However, there is no picking on Toronto, Ontario’s Mandi Perkins, the front girl for the “glitter-grunge” band, of Verona.
Now living in the sunshine of Los Angeles, Mandi Perkins is the vintage rocker chick from her looks to her clothes to her voice. Here is what she had to say to us.
Lemonade Magazine: Hey how are things?
Mandi Perkins: Its going good!
LM: Tell us a little more about your newest song, “Raining,” that you wrote for your brother.
Mandi: My brother has been battling brain cancer for three years, so I wrote that song after I had just come out of radiation with him, because I felt so bad. It was really sad and it sucked so much, so I wrote “Raining” for him, so he could listen to it when he went for chemo and went for radiation.
LM: It seems like it is really touching a large group of people who are listening to it as well.
Mandi: Yeah, I really hope when people listen to it and are going through something crappy or something difficult that it makes them feel better. You don’t have to have a sick family member or even be sick yourself, you could just be bummed out and I hope it makes you feel better. For me, music saves me, when I am really bummed out, I listen to music and I instantly feel better.
LM: What led up to the creation of the band?
Mandi: I was a solo artist with Sony and my record label basically got fired and they ended up closing the label I was on while I was still on it. For about six months I was on the label as Mandi Perkins, but I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t write for anyone. Labels are good and bad. It’s good that they give you avenues and have great advice. There are great radio teams, marketing and they help you with money, but it’s also bad, because if something bad happens to your team, it’s very political and you get stuck. You can’t do anything. I just realized I didn’t want to be put in that position again.
I wanted to form a band. During that time I went on tour, when I got back I met Toby Gad, he’s a producer who has worked with artists like Beyonce and Fergie. He introduced me to a writer he had just signed named Dillon Pace. We started writing together for some other people and then realized after we wrote a song together for the Eclipse soundtrack that whatever we were doing was really dope and we wanted to be in a band together, so we made of Verona. That was in February of 2010, so its been over a year since we formed.
LM: So you had a song featured on the Eclipse soundtrack?
Mandi: No, it almost made the cut! Everyone who listened to it loved it, but it didn’t quite make it. Its called “Torn.” We released it as a free download and in two days it had over 100,000 listens, so it all worked out.
LM: You’re originally from Toronto. What was the path like from Toronto to L.A.?
Mandi: Well, I ended up going to UC Berkley for English Literature and I knew I wanted to move to L.A. to be a singer. So when I came down to L.A., I came down for some singer/songwriter stuff and I also went to law school. I ended up getting a record deal soon after passing the bar, so I didn’t get to practice as a lawyer, but it doesn’t hurt to have a law degree.
Mandi: I mean Canada is awesome and the people are really nice. It was a nice environment to grow up in. I think being forced to be inside a lot due to the weather also forces you to be creative. You really end up appreciating the summer there! That being said, having sun and warm weather year around, being able to be outside all the time, I love it! I wouldn’t trade it for the world right now. Los Angeles gets a bad rap, but there are so many beautiful things about living here.
LM: You guys list yourself as “Glitter-Grunge” and it’s a really good description of your sound. What led you to this sound as a band?
Mandi: We ended up adding three more band members in June of 2010 and I think we just thought that we had a bit of the 70’s and you know a bit of that psychedelic sound, that atmosphere of rock. At the same time it also has this 2050, this futuristic sound to it. We really wanted something that was a little old, a little new and something totally unique. We didn’t set out to do that, but when we started playing it we were like, “Oh shit! this is something completely different!” We believe it’s very palatable and still very different from what anyone else is doing.
LM: That’s what is cool! It IS different, but not different as in boring or different as in too much going on. It’s different good. Besides what you have up on your social networking sites, are you going to be releasing any music soon?
Mandi: We just finished our first set of music, like our first EP, so we just finished doing that. We are currently doing the showcasing thing and just seeing what happens there before we release anything. I would hate to start releasing stuff and then have to take it down, that is the worst! People can definitely go listen to it though whenever they want on our Facebook and MySpace.
LM: Are you guys doing a lot of shows in California?
Mandi: We have been doing a lot of shows around America, Seattle is one of my favorite places in the States.
LM: Well, that’s good to hear!
Mandi: Yeah, we’ve done several shows in Seattle, we’ve played in Snoqualmie a few times as well.
LM: Snoqualmie Casino is one of my favorite music venues, for sure.
Mandi: Yeah, I have played there four times.
LM: Do you have any shows planned in the near future?
Mandi: We are hoping to come up through Oregon, Washington and Vancouver (B.C.) very soon. We are also hoping to play some festivals through the summer, so if you can come…check us out, because we put on a great live show! It’s an engulfing sound and I think its is just as pleasing to a 12-year old as it would be a 62-year old.
LM: What music are you into right now?
Mandi: I am really into Florence + The Machine, Muse, Metric, I am trying to think of some new artists I am really into, I was into Nicki Minaj for a minute.
LM: Florence + The Machine is so good, its crazy how she’s still a bit under the radar compared to other artists. Kind of like, Ellie Goulding who I just did a review on.
Mandi: Oh my God! I love Ellie Goulding! I just saw her show at SXSW, she was so amazing, it was really dope.
LM: What are you looking forward to for of Verona?
Mandi: I’m looking forward to finishing this EP and making the second one, which will be a spin off of the first EP. I am looking forward to touring and wouldn’t mind winning a couple Grammys! :: laughs :
LM: Well, personally I think you are on the right track.
Mandi: Thank you, Brandon Lemons.
LM: Thank you, Mandi Perkins.
Sadly, a short time after this interview was done, Mandi’s brother lost his battle with cancer. We definitely want the whole Perkins family to know we are thinking of them and this article is absolutely dedicated to them.
The of Verona album, The White Apple, is available on iTunes.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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