by Kaitlyn Emslie-Farrell
Greek Riots, not to be confused with the riots in Greece, are one of our very own local indie-rock bands of Winnipeg. Originally intending to start a solo project, Jacques Richer was chatting with his buddy Duncan Murta and well, it just happened. They threw together some rough demos and submitted to The Uniter Fiver. Upon hearing that they were in, they scrounged for some more dudes to play the other instruments typically found in a band and bam! Greek Riots now also includes Breandan Flynn, Mack Hatcher and Seamus Hamilton-Pattison.
“We were practicing for about a month prior to that so we were panicking,” recalls Seamus on not feeling entirely ready.
“Actually, for awhile there we had it in our heads that we weren’t going to get in. So it wasn’t a really big deal to us,” says frontman Jacques.
“The four songs we played at the Fiver were actually the only four songs we had at the time,” adds Duncan. I asked them to tell me about playing the Fiver other than the panic and Duncan replied, “Oh man that’s all I can remember.”
But he forgot about the comedy that started off the band’s first public appearance. The MC was making jokes about all the bands being pitted against each other. Jacques decided to use this opportunity to introduce Greek Riots with a joke. He shouted, “Are you not entertained?” Unfortunately in his head followed, “That was stupid.” But who doesn’t love a little silly humour by way of Gladiator references?
Anyway, it’s not like the guys haven’t played live with different bands before. But being so new, playing The Park Theatre, five people running around with cameras and press, there was a bit of extra weight on their shoulders.
“We were joking that oh we managed to sneak on and nobody noticed, right on!” recalls Jacques.
After the show they realized that damn they fit together well. And there you have it, the formation of a band. There was love at first sight with their great chemistry.
“All of us got along really well and it was like this was one in a million. Not everyone plays well together. You could have a ton of great musicians and only so many of them click,” says Jacques.
“Or they play well together and just don’t get along on a personal level,” adds Duncan.
“Yeah, like Metallica,” coughs Jacques.
Greek Riots currently have one demo track out titled “Newman.” “We took down a couple of songs just ‘cause they were kind of rough,” laughs Jacques. But on November 8th, they’re releasing their EP Cavelier. You can find “Monroeville,” a tease track from their upcoming EP, on Bandcamp for “pay what you want.”
“It’s like t-shirts and pins and CDs and the whole shebang,” Duncan tells Stylus as he’s trying hard to contain his excitement. “There’ll be merch tables and stuff, it’s so fancy.”
One of the most exciting things about this EP is that it was produced by Ron Obvious, musical producer for punk legends D.O.A. and The Subhumans, as well as local bands like Mise En Scene and Little House. The Riots say he’s got a mobile studio and he just sets it up right in your jam space. It was cool, but he was tough. If he didn’t like it, they knew.
“I feel every band needs that. You need to come up on your own and feel good about yourself. Then you need to get beaten down and build yourself back up,” says Jacques.
The Uniter Fiver was a great kick off show but The Cavern is where the heart really lies for most of the guys. Duncan recounts his first time getting to face that dream. “I’ve been wanting to play The Cavern ever since I picked up a guitar… The first time I ever got to play it was with this band. We were playing with Solhounds and The Explorers Club. It was the Saturday before St Patrick’s Day because St Patrick’s Day was on a Monday and the place was just filled to the brim like right to the window. For me, that was the biggest show hands down. And everyone jumping around, cause I guess we play the right kind of music for that crowd. I feel our best shows are always at The Cavern.”
“It was one of those classic, if you live in Winnipeg and you’re in Osborne on the weekend and it’s nice out. Just people spilling out everywhere and flooding into the Cavern,” adds Seamus.
The future for Greek Riots is a whole ton of music release and the hopes of hitting all of Manitoba’s music fests next summer. “Playing something like Rainbow Trout or Shine On would just be unreal for us,” says Jacques.
“As long as we can keep making, putting out and playing as much music as possible, that’s pretty much the dream,” says Seamus wholeheartedly.
Duncan ends things on a bit more of a serious note. “I’m looking forward to just having a box of CDs. I think that’s going to be the coolest thing ever. And t-shirts, I’m just stoked to see this crap. I’ve never had any of this stuff.” Just kidding, he was giddy.
Don’t miss Greek Riots with Naysa and Solhounds on November 8, when they release Cavalier at the Cavern!