John Serino: “Indie Rock Is Growing Up”

When we look back at the career of Montreal indie rock musician John Serino, there is little evidence of morning routines, daily traffic or regular pediatric appointments. However the rocker’s life has recently taken a left hand turn and it seems, so has his music.

Montreal is an adverse city by North American standards. Thanks to consistent immigration and a rich French culture, this city has often been labeled a slice of Europe in the western world. Artists have been attracted to Montreal for years. As a result it boasts a legendary lineup of indie musicians which include Arcade Fire, Sam Roberts, Leonard Cohen and The Dears to name a few. “Montreal is as Indie as it gets” Serino says. “It’s unlike any other city, full of talent, originality and great passion”. John has been part of the Indie Montreal scene for years. He has collaborated with many artists and says he is lucky for having played with musicians like Jeff Martin and Alain Lapointe. He is best known as the front man for indie rock group Brewchad, which he co-founded in 2006. The band’s rise was impressive. They released their debut album in 2008 and in 2009 were ranked a top 10 Montreal band by both “Land Mark Entertainment” and “Omnium du Rock”. They gained exposure in Europe after being voted artist of the week by Belgium’s Gloom Music. By 2010 they were in regular rotation with stations such as Vancouver’s “Canadian Music Radio” and Florida’s “Butterfly Radio”. In 2011 The group was published by newspapers such as “Le Soleil”, “le Courrier Ahuntsic” and twice featured on the cover of “The Suburban” for its performances in venues such as Montreal’s “Club Soda”, “International” and “Olympia”. So, when we saw that John had launched himself as a solo artist, writing about raising kids and living in the suburbs, we were, well curious to say the least. So, we invited John to sit down and discuss the last few years of his life.

So, Where is Brewchad now?
I’m pretty sure everyone who ever played for the band is still in Montreal lol.

I mean, does your solo career mean the end of Brewchad?
Definitely not. If there is an end to that project it is not due to any of us putting out their own music. Truth be told, I had my own story to tell, and it just didn’t fit in with what the band was doing.

We noticed.
Is that a bad thing?

Not at all, it’s just very different.
To me, it’s not different at all. I’ve always written about my experiences. When I wrote for Brewchad, I touched on subjects that were relevant to me at the time. But people grow, you’re experiences sculpt changes in you, and as a result your creativity grows along with those changes. I’m just writing about what my day is like today, which is what I’ve always done. It just didn’t make sense to try and emulate what I was feeling 4 or 5 years ago when it’s not the case today. My world was darker then, and it was music which helped me through it. But, my family has changed that for me, it would just be phony to write about something I’m no longer feeling.

Has your audience changed as well?
A little, I mean honestly it seems as though the audience has kind of grown up with me, so were on the same page. But, I picked up a few new listeners along the way. I got allot of feedback from people with young families letting me know they really see themselves in the new music. That’s really cool cuz sometimes you feel like you’re the only one in a given situation.

What caused the change?
Wow I don’t know. Evolution I guess. When my wife told me she was pregnant I didn’t know what to think. I mean you’re happy but you are worried about how this will affect everything you worked for. Then 9 months go by really fast and you take one look at that tiny face staring up at you and before you know it, you’re not really worried about how he will affect you, more how you will affect him. So, you do what you’re supposed to do, put them first.

You move to the suburbs.
lol, yeah you move to the suburbs. But that wasn’t the change really, it doesn’t happen over-night. Indie music is basically story telling. So now you are in this new environment in a new routine, so you have new stories to tell, obviously their going to be different. I approached the guys from Brewchad about this but I could see that this was my own story to tell. Then one day I wrote about my wife and I having a hard time adjusting to this new situation. That turned into “Sandra Don’t Be Mad”.

So where do you go from here?
I don’t go anywhere really I’m in bed by 9:30pm lol. But if I had to guess I’d say ill just keep writing about whatever my day is like. I’m just lucky that so many people have shown their affection and seem to identify with it. I like where I am right now. I love writing and working with other artists, so hopefully I’ll get to do more of that.

We had a good listen to John’s solo work. The tempo is lighter and the pace a little softer, but his signature is clearly all over these songs. The lyrics are clever; compositions are solid and full of raw emotion. In his own words John tells a story and an honest one at that. Visit Montreal music blog to check out more of his solo work.