With track titles such as “A Crime of Passion,” “Let Go” and “Done Fighting” it’s obvious that there’s a story to be heard in Toronto indie collective Mohawk Lodge’s recently-released album, Crimes.
Its surprisingly pensive bio agrees. Crimes, it says, “is partially about the feeling of punching out a friend for fucking your girlfriend, but, more about crimes of the heart in general. It . . . runs the gamut of loneliness and pain and somehow finds a little light at the end of the tunnel.” Heavy stuff indeed, and the range of these emotions are audible in band leader Ryder Havdale’s weathered, baritone voice.
For his part, Havdale admits those feelings were, in fact, autobiographical: They were his reality and the inspiration for the album. And that’s no lie: Havdale threw a haymaker at a former bandmate after finding him in the act with his now ex-girlfriend.
“The record came from a dark place,” says Havdale. “But playing these songs is therapeutic and I’m finding a whole lot of fun in it now. The songs are more upbeat and fun to play. And now I’m letting go of the dark time.”
But Havdale was quick to point out the musical therapy sessions are not yet over and neither is the life of the album.
“The record just started and I’m already working on a new record,” said Havdale. “But the last record was just born (having being released in early August) and we’re going to keep fresh content coming out.”
But for the band, Crimes hasn’t yet lost its sheen, especially during its live show.
“Everyone is super energetic on stage,” said Havdale. “The record has some Fleetwood Mac in it but the show definitely has a little more of the Clash.”
Its freshest content, though, will arrive in the form of a music video for each song being released each month for the next year. The video for “Crime of Passion” has already been released and closely follows the aforementioned punch.
“The videos will be sort of like an R. Kelly thing,” explains Havdale. “Half a dozen will have the reoccurring characters of the story.”
Yes, but R. Kelly videos feature midget strippers and gay priests. Not unconscious, knife-wielding philanderers laid out on bloodied kitchen floors.
While the videos will help keep the record alive, Havdale plans to keep the defibrillator on it by working on a remix album (including some big names that he was reluctant to release) and relentless touring.
“The music industry isn’t just built on a record anymore,” said Havdale. “Records will always have their home, but now it’s built more on the band. Everyone is pretty broke these days, so you can’t put a lot of money into advertising, so the money has to be spent on touring.”
Though the band has taken a three-month hiatus, they will be making up for it by coming West for three months and then heading straight to Europe for a month.
“In Canada, people know the band before they go to a show,” said Havdale. “In the U.K., people go to shows with an open mind then decide if they like the band. Here, it’s more about the name. In Europe, people give you more of a chance then decide if they want to be a fan or not.”
And beyond the hospitality, it’ll be nice to escape the Canadian Shield, the prairies and the Rockies.
“Europe is so much nicer than driving across Canada,” said Havdale. “I love Canada but I’ve done it so much.”