MBaby: From the beatles to cock-fights

In Arts & Life /

By Claudia De Simone

The three members of MBaby tuck themselves into a corner of lead singer/guitarist John Cubrt’s aqua-blue kitchen. One takes a gulp of beer, one dunks some olives in a martini and they begin strumming their guitars and beating their bongo drums.With eyes closed, the guys start piping their song, Making Me Crazy. Drummer Dirty B shakes a rattle. Cubrt and guitarist Jude Haines tap their feet. The floor is vibrating.

“This is still the birth of the band,” says Haines, who graduated from Ryerson’s theatre school in 1996.

MBaby (pronounced “embaby”) has been spreading their pop vibe in Toronto clubs for over a year now.

Cubrt, 27, who graduated from Ryerson’s theatre program in 1995, formed the band last summer with bass player Nathan Monteith, 26. Cubrt’s also an actor. He’s currently working on the set of Her Best Friend’s Husband.

A few months after MBaby was born, Dirty B (a.k.a. Brad Park), 22, saw them play at a Toronto club and approached them about joining. Dirty B also drums for other Toronto bands like Slim and The Mae Cromwell Band. Haines, 27, joined in June.

They describe the band as ripe, healthy and delicious, even though the “M” in MBaby stands for melancholy.

Although Cubrt’s kitchen is an intimate place to see a show, the guys can actually rock out on stage.

“Ah, ah, ah…” Cubrt breathed as his shoulders bounced in tune with the funky pop sounds of his band at the Rivoli on Oct. 10. A long-haired brunette jumped on stage and he twirled her around like a doll. The crowd of about 40 people bobbed their heads as some got up to dance.”People, if you can feel us, say I do, I do, I do!” shouted Cubrt.

MBaby just want to play for fun, they’re not trying to write deep, meaningful songs.

“We’re not playing that kind of music right now,” says Cubrt, who writes most of MBaby’s material.

Mama’s Disease is about his mother, who is always worried about getting sick. Most of their other songs, like Making Me Crazy and Goodbye, are about girls who broke Cubrt’s heart. All three songs are on the promotional CD they sell at shows.

The CD took two nights to record and was made before Haines joined. The band’s live performances are tighter and more energetic than tunes on their CD.

The guys are experimenting with their sound and trying to find a middle ground between Led Zeppelin and A Tribe Called Quest. As of now, they describe their sound as “rhythmic soul pop.”

“There’s such an oversaturation of music in the city,” says Haines. He says bands today are either too rapcore (like Limp Bizkit) or too folky.

MBaby want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, so they listen to a variety of music including electronic bands The New Deal to Kruder and Dorfmeister. But their original songs have turned the pop sensibilities of The Beatles and The Police into jangly renditions that occasionally dip into funk.

The guys hope to tour in the next few years, but if that doesn’t work out, they’ll be content to open for Mexican cock-fights.

Until then, you can check out MBaby at Clinton’s on Oct. 18 and at the El Mocambo Oct. 25. Their website, www.mbaby.ca, will be up at the end of the month.

 

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