Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Bella Clava

Bella Clava
Photo by Cailin Cser

Bella Clava aren’t just a band who perform their own stunts. The Toronto based foursome (comprised of Steve Suttie, Scott Hannigan, Jody Brumell, and Caitlin Dacey) are delivering heavy rock and roll with some fierce attitude. Before playing The Horseshoe Tavern tonight in their hometown, I gave vocalist and keyboard player Caitlin Dacey a call to discuss their sophomore album Medicine for Melancholy, their album release tour, Queens of the Stone Age, and headbanging accidents.

AMBY: Hey Caitlin, thanks for chatting with AMBY today. You soon release your sophomore album Medicine for Melancholy. What was the experience like recording it?

Bella Clava: We went out to California and recorded at a studio there called Rancho De La Luna, it’s a studio that I’ve been really interested in. It was a total dream come true to get to see that studio, yet alone record there. We got to stay in a cabin on site and we’d go back there when we were done recording – it was really fun because it was like camping in the desert but not as intense. Luxury camping.

AMBY: [laughs]

Bella Clava: It was really neat.

AMBY: Awesome to hear it was a good experience. What’s the significance behind the album’s title?

Bella Clava: For me, it was really the idea and feeling of everyone battling their own struggle and dealing with their own problems. Especially nowadays when all of the world is “coming to an end” and all of the impending doom and how everyone kind of deals with their own sadness. Medicine for Melancholy can mean anything and different things for different people.

AMBY: What did it mean for you?

Bella Clava: Music has been one way to exercise demons.

AMBY and Bella Clava: [laughs]

AMBY: Agreed.

Bella Clava: Being in a band and playing music over the years is something that’s kept me inspired and motivated. The fact that you can do things that you never imagined you could do; travel, tour, record. For me, making this record was such a nice therapy [laughs]. I know that’s so cheesy and cliché but it really was. So, Medicine for Melancholy was a way to sum everything off.

AMBY: After listening to the album in its entirety, I’d have to say my favourite track off the record would be A Face Only a Mother Could Love.

Bella Clava: Oh, cool!

AMBY: Just because of its grunge-inspired melody and vibe. I’m really enjoying that one.

Bella Clava: Awesome.

AMBY: When it came to recording the album, who were your biggest influences or inspirations?

Bella Clava: I do love Queens of the Stone Age, they are my favourite band. I’m also really into classic rock lately; all of the organ rock and roll groups. I actually play in a cover band called Hot Wax that plays The Dakota in Toronto. I love those kind of old groups, you know, the keyboard rock bands and I also love the angsty feel of nineties music. That’s when I was going through tough years when I was younger and all of those bands were peaking at that time. It was a really neat soundtrack because everyone felt the same! Kind of awkward… The nineties grunge feel is close to home.

AMBY: You announced that you’re taking your “Rock’n Roll Circus on the Road”.

Bella Clava: [laughs] Yea.

AMBY: This is for your Album Release Tour. What do you most look forward to regarding that?

Bella Clava: I love touring. I think it’s such a neat way to see the country since this is our first time really touring in Canada. It’s a neat way to meet people, get to know different music scenes, and I love chatting with people about music. It’s fun to find people who are really enthusiastic about music and just hang out and play. You really feel like you’re alive when you’re out and playing. It is a bit of a circus because we’re all characters.

AMBY: I really like how your Facebook “About” page says, “we perform our own stunts!” What’s one of the craziest things to happen to the band while touring or at a gig?

Bella Clava: I’m glad you can appreciate a sense of humour, because some people are really serious and wouldn’t get it… I naturally headbang a lot and am not much of a dancer and with my long hair that can be a bit of a problem. When you’re on a small stage you’re always kind of crowded together… I was headbanging and my head got stuck on our bassists’ tuning peg. I’m basically stuck to him and trying to play and act nonchalant like nothing is wrong. I eventually just had to rip my hair out.

AMBY: Oh no [laughs]. Sorry for laughing but I can completely imagine that entire scene.

Bella Clava: Yea, it was pretty funny.

AMBY: I think I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re a pretty goofy band, and I mean that in the best of ways. What do you do for fun when you aren’t making music?

Bella Clava: I love going out and seeing other bands, I know that’s still music related but I love going to shows. I love rollerblading!

AMBY: I’m an awful rollerblader.

Bella Clava: You don’t have to be good, it’s just fun to roll around with my discman.

AMBY: [laughs] For the last question, what’s something about Bella Clava that nobody knows yet?

Bella Clava: The band was initially just Steve and I, and we kind of got ahead of ourselves; we would book shows before we even had a band which was a weird way of going about things. Since the line-up change and everything, I feel we’ve finally found our truest line-up. That’s why I feel great about this record and touring with this band. BUT, if you want something funny: Steve sleeps with a snorkel [laughs].


Thank you Bella Clava, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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