Madame Psychosis is a five-piece female-fronted alt-pop & indie rock band from Toronto. Members include singer Michelle Mondesir, guitar players Bret McCaffrey and Rene Ip, drummer Jaina Tharakan, and bass player Giovanni Paola. Madame Psychosis’ new album “Survivor” is out now!
Starting strong with “Just Wanna Be Myself”, this intro track is brilliantly creative, this is something you notice from the offset. It brings in unpredictable guitar and drum-work that quickly gets you feeling like you’re in the center of a live jam. The whole thing is expressive and freely meandering, yet there’s a clear method to the set-up. “Just Wanna Be Myself” is the perfect introduction to an album that grows more and more impressive as it moves along.
“Not Supposed To Be Here”, follows the opener and immediately changes things up. The lyrics stand tall, this delicate melody and the references feel extremely vulnerable and appealing for their desire to connect with their listeners. The lightness of the music captures your affection thanks to its stark contrast with the weight of what came before. Michelle Mondesir’s voice is beautiful and very genuine to listen to. Previously featured on BuzzMusic is the contagious cat and mouse like groove “Kapow”, a definite stand out single and an excellent indicator of Madame Psychosis’ dominance and musical ability.
With the next track “Rad Racer” there’s an apparent sadness but it’s intertwined with optimism and a hopeful search for the future. The song takes you on a journey with it, loaded with imagery and self-reflection, you feel enjoyably involved in the experience as a listener. “Crashing Down” is an absolute highlight and a definite personal favorite. A simple yet addictive melody is accompanied by intriguing, questioning lyrics, and the minimalist strum of a guitar. Things begin on a strong foot and grow to be all the more immersive and musically wonderful as the song pours through. “White Roses” is a stunning pop-rock track with a beautiful sense of depth and a brilliant hook.
“Don’t Care” is another highlight! Gorgeously deep and raspy vocals quietly calm and entrance the listener, while deeply considerate and heartbreakingly honest lyrics drive a concept through. “Free” afterward leads with a falling then rising array of lightly strummed chords, space and emotion again stand tall in this setting. You get so much clarity from this project as if these are the songs that had to be sung, the thoughts that had to be shared. “Survivor” is a classic playlist and not a moment has been wasted or included purely to fill a space. “Give It To Me” undoubtedly stands out for its cinematics and the gritty nature of that driving bass. A simple yet captivating, poetic song works hypnotically to envelop the listener.
The title track comes afterward and completely redirects you yet again. “Survivor” features incredibly expressive lyrics and a delicious melody, plus a musical build-up that intensifies superbly. To finish off an incredible project, “It’s So Easy” offers a further hit of nostalgic, nineties alternative rock, right before the upbeat rock bounce brings the album to a finish. That vocal tone and the style of these songs offer a distinct thread throughout, mood-wise though there’s plenty of eclecticism at work, and for these reasons, the album makes for a wonderful playlist to escape within. The musicianship on this project is consistently flawless, whether the moment is high energy or more of a subtle, intentional gathering of layers, Madame Psychosis know precisely how to bring about the right pace while still managing to impress.
Check out “Survivor” here and keep scrolling for more with Madame Psychosis!
Hey, Madame Psychosis welcome back! Congratulations on the new album! What is the concept behind “Survivor” and what does this release represent for you?
Hello again Buzz Music! Thanks for having us back. We are very excited about the new album!
Conceptually, the 11 tracks on “Survivor” reflect our inherent ability and need to survive the obstacles that life throws at all of us. The album speaks to the human condition, whether it is life’s highs or its lows. Musically and thematically, “Survivor” captures this ebb and flow, moving between fun, upbeat tracks and darker, more reflective pieces.
Collectively, “Survivor” represents growth - growth as individuals, as songwriters and musicians, and as a band. This album really demonstrates how far we have come writing, recording and performing over the past two years. It captures a much higher level of maturity that we believe is palpable when you listen beginning to end. It is not a secret. We are very proud of this record.
Michelle, did you hone your vocal style over time or have you always had a natural ability to sing with rock and roll grit?
I started as an R&B/soul singer so naturally, my vocal stylings were a cross between smooth n’ sultry (R&B) and powerful/gritty (soul). Although I never necessarily saw myself as a rock singer, I suppose my “soul” side was already honing me to sing the gritty rock genre. Every day is a learning experience, and I enjoy pushing my limits and learning what my vocals can do.
If someone only has time to check out one song from your collection, which would you recommend and why?
Great question! If you really only had time to check out one song from our entire catalogue, the majority of us would unquestionably say “Kapow”. It’s a fun and infectious little number with a great groove and sing-along lyrics. It just seems to resonate with people regardless of their musical tastes. “Kapow” really captures the energy that the band can create collectively.
Having said this, “Survivor” is also a track we’d recommend. It captures a range of emotions, is gritty, yet uplifting, and fundamentally underscores the primary theme we write about: how to survive life’s obstacles. It is not a coincidence that it’s the album’s title track.
“Crashing Down” has a strong lyrical depth to it! Do you always write in this manner? Do you ever worry about divulging too much through your songwriting? Or do you think it’s better to be vulnerable?
Thank you! I prefer to write in this manner, though songs like “Kapow”, for example, aren’t quite as lyrically deep. It really depends on the subject matter. I’ve always felt that songs with a strong emotional message need more depth of imagery to truly reach the soul.
I don’t worry about divulging too much because I’m not always writing about personal experiences, though some songs are deeply personal. I often write based on my experience with the world around me. Most of the time, I’m writing about the human condition and how we are all inherently vulnerable, whether we are willing to admit it or not.
How do you remain on track to continue writing new content so consistently?
It’s not easy, that’s for sure, especially leading up to a release, which requires so much work behind the scenes. We’ve always been good at sharing ideas, chord progressions, riffs, melodies and so on over our band group chat. This has really helped us stay on track with consistent writing and keeping the pipeline full of potential new material.
We’ll listen to whatever is being shared, provide feedback and generate additional ideas. We’ll then put it on the backburner and eventually jam to it once there’s a break in our schedule, usually between gigs and releases. These jams end up being the starting point for a song’s development. We’re happy to say that we have a few songs in the hopper already that we’ll consider releasing in the future.
Where is the best setting to listen to your songs, and what do you hope people take away from them?
Also a great question. Our responses vary, so we’ll break it up by band member:
Michelle: The best setting to listen really depends on the song, but many songs are introspective and therefore great for listening in headphones or blasting on your speakers in a solitary place. However, our upbeat songs are great for long car rides.
Jaina: On your drive or commute. It’s a good way to boost your energy and mood before you arrive at your destination :)
Rene: I don't think there's one specific setting. I'd say wherever someone enjoys listening to music, be it their home, in their car, while they're working out, and so on. I hope the listener hears how much the band has enjoyed writing the tracks and the journey the album presents when listened to front to back.
Bret: Anywhere the volume is high, and the beers are cold. I want people to have fun listening to our tunes.
Gio: It depends on the song, but a road trip would be perfect. There are fun, upbeat songs, and more reflective, melodic tracks, so a road trip would provide the right setting to hear the ebb and flow of the album. I hope people have fun listening, while emotionally connecting to the album’s musical journey.