With its members made up of musical heavy hitters (from Teenage Kicks, Keegan Powell, and Sweet and Lowdown, to name a few) Hamilton-based Mister Rabbit is next in line for a full takeover of the indie rock scene. Their latest single, “Anyone”, captures the feeling of being pulled in every direction both emotionally and physically. We caught up with singer/guitarist Jeff van Helvoort to chat about the song, his favourite and least favourite things about being a musician, and he tells us a story from the Teenage Kicks days about a corporate gig gone wrong.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Anyone”.
Jeff van Helvoort: I wrote “Anyone” 8 or 9 years ago at a time when I wanted to disconnect from everyone & everything, because I was being pulled in every direction by friends, past partners & even by music in general. I wanted it to come across as tongue in cheek though, so I imagined it as an early 2000s Oasis song.. It went through a few different versions over the years with different band-mates, but I’m proud of what we came up with for its official release.
FTS: What can fans expect from the upcoming album, End of History Illusion?
Jeff van Helvoort: I think that if they’ve followed our musical output through other projects, they should expect something different from those bands. It’s a combination of old & new songs written by both Mitch (our guitarist) & myself, and I think the parts that the other members have contributed help to differentiate it from previous projects of mine that I have influenced or written the majority of the music. We’ve tried to make a record that is not just one note or sound, so I hope listeners appreciate the peaks & valleys that we’ve created for our first full-length.
FTS: What’s your favourite – and least favourite – thing about being a musician?
Jeff van Helvoort: My favorite thing about being a musician is just creating & playing in a room with people who just “get” what the band is trying to accomplish. I’ve been lucky enough to play with some amazing musicians between Teenage Kicks, Secret Satanists and now Mister Rabbit and that’s the feeling that never gets old & keeps me coming back to it.
My least favorite thing about being a musician is the lack of value that is placed on art in our time due to how commodified it is – because you can access almost every recorded song in history via a monthly streaming service subscription, it cheapens the time & effort folks put into their craft.
FTS: What are some Canadian bands or artists you’ve been listening to most lately?
Jeff van Helvoort: I’m very excited about what Christian Turner has up his sleeve with his new songs – he’s such an incredible musician and his band sounds amazing live. Also always looking forward to what the Dirty Nil are doing, it’s been a real treat seeing them evolve from the Fucking Up Young days!
FTS: What was the coolest (and/or weirdest) live show you’ve ever played?
Jeff van Helvoort: We’ve only played a few shows with Mister Rabbit, so I have to default to the Teenage Kicks days for the weirdest one.. I’ve told this story a few times lately actually.
This was on the last tour before we broke up – we were on the road with the Ataris and had just played in Toronto at Lee’s, but we skipped the next night with them to play a corporate gig (to help pay off the tour debts!) downtown for a large Canadian brewery. The theme of the night was prohibition/speak-easy (keep that in mind for later).
It was in a loft above a fancy restaurant and we were told dinner was taken care of by that place, so we went down and had a very fancy dinner (important for bands on the road) and headed back upstairs to play. Because this was a corporate gig, people were not very interested in watching live music so we were more background music than anything else, which at this point in the band, was not great for Peter’s (my brother/singer & guitarist) mental health. During our last song, “cops” (actors) shut down the gig to direct everyone upstairs to see the real headliner, the Sheepdogs. Peter, being angry & young, shouted into the mic that these guys weren’t real cops, they shouldn’t be listened to & that the whole thing was bullshit & a sham. As everyone was carted upstairs, the person who booked us came up to him and said, “wow, great work with the cops & shouting into the mic! You really sold it!”.
Check out “Anyone”, the latest single from Mister Rabbit!
Follow Mister Rabbit on Instagram