Review in See Magazine (Edmonton, Canada)

Interview for Sex and Guts magazine.

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CD review (in German) medienkonverter online magazine

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Interview for

The following is an interview done by Jim Hynes, an independant writer in Montreal. You may use any part or all of this interview free of charge (although it would be nice to credit Jim).

Even in their heyday as one of Canada’s most popular rock acts of the 1980s, Montreal’s Men Without Hats had a knack for doing things their own way – and for driving the music establishment up the wall in the process. Now back with their first CD of new music in over ten years, they’re doing things on their own terms more than ever.
Ivan and Stefan Doroschuk, the brothers behind the Men Without Hats (MWH), are preparing to release the self-produced No Hats Beyond This Point, a 10-song CD featuring an updated version of the synth-pop sound they made famous in hit songs like “The Safety Dance”, “Where Do the Boys Go?” and “Pop Goes the World” in the ‘80s. With no expensive studio time, no outside producers and no meddlesome major label executives to deal with, the recording experience was a refreshing and liberating one for the Doroschuks.
“It was pretty laid back,” says MWH guitarist and producer Stefan Doroschuk from his home studio in the Laurentians. “There was none of the usual budget or time pressure from a label, and we recorded in my studio, which is basically at the end of a dirt road. So we were able to relax.”
In 1992, after releasing six albums in a little over 10 years, it looked as if the Doroschuks were ready to put Men Without Hats behind them.
“We didn’t break up the band so much as we couldn’t find a major label willing to take us on,” Doroschuk says. “ It was at the beginning of the consolidation of the large record labels, when a lot of bands were let go, so we started to focus our energy on finding a new way of doing things.”
Stefan Doroschuk spent the next few years working on his second major passion after music, working with computers and setting up his own digital studio. With the studio finally in place, he and his brother Ivan decided to experiment with different styles and approaches, even recording nearly two albums worth of French material.
In 1997, Ivan released his first solo album, the electronic and almost dance-oriented The Spell. Two years later, Stefan and his long-time friend, Montreal singer-songwriter Mack Mackenzi,e then released their country-rock collaboration Ride For Glory under the name Mackenzie-Parker Gang, a CD they recorded in Doroschuk’s own studio.
Then a funny thing happened.
“A few years ago, I started the Men Without Hats website just for fun and it instantly started to get a lot hits, Stefan Doroschuk says. “People from all over the world wanted to let us know how much our music had meant to them and wanted to know what we were up to.”
With fans both old and new clamouring for new music, the decision to make a new record came easily enough.
“It’s what we do, and we have fun doing it, Doroschuk says.
Despite having their first and biggest hit 20 years ago now, the band remains surprising popular with pop music fans. “The Safety Dance”, the smash single that pushed their major label debut Rhythm of Youth to the top of the charts and saw the band nominated for a Grammy Award in 1983, still plays regularly on radio stations and music video channel around the world. The song has turned up everywhere from a Hollywood films (Biodome. The Mexican) to The Simpsons and Conan O’Brien Show.
The biggest change Doroschuk has seen in his many years in the music business has been the impact of computers, which had a huge impact on the way he and his brother have chosen to pursue music.
“Computers allowed digital music and the Internet to happen which have changed what we hear, how we hear it and even how we acquire what we hear.”
“When we recorded 21st Century in digital in 1989, the Sony digital reel-to-reel recording machine cost nearly half a million dollars. Five years later, a computer based studio could do the same thing for under $100,000. As high quality home based studios are flourishing, it’s becoming easier for anyone to potentially make a high quality record. So instead of music being based on whom the labels will give a ton of money to for recording in a big expensive studio, the playing field is being leveled, so that making a worthwhile record is becoming a question of how good a musician you are, not how much money you can get someone to give you - which is how it should be.”
Although the band expects to arrange traditional distribution for No Hats Beyond This Point shortly, they’ve taken the unusual step of selling it from their website first.
“This way people from all over the world can find it easily. And it’s convenient, you don’t even have to put your shoes on to go buy it,” Doroschuk says. “Because we’ve cut out the people who actually make the most money off CDs, the labels and the stores, we can offer ours at the same price as a store would. The fans know their money goes directly to the band, which can make money off of record sales for a change. How revolutionary is that?”
No Hats Beyond This Point is available on the official Men Without Hats website, Visit the site to hear three clips of songs from the album.


Interview for

Q9- Tell us about the "Safety Dance Remix Project".

In the past year, we have been approached by several "dance" labels who all wanted to do an updated remix of Safety Dance. We thought that it could be fun to have new mixes for today's club scene, so sometime next year, we hope to have some new remixes. We chose a main label, Wikked, who will supply us with some DJs, but other DJs who saw our post at the site also sent in some really good mixes.

Q10- When was the last time the band performed together?

The last show was a benefit for a woman's shelter in Montreal, It was held at the Club Soda in about 1993. The band had Piggy from Voivod playing guitar and Michel Langevin (Away), also from Voivod, on drums, with Stefan on bass, Colin on keyboards and Ivan singing and playing guitar.

Q11- Out of all your performances, does one stand out as a favourite?

Probably the first time we played outdoors at the CNE in Toronto. It was our first really big show ever. We played 2 nights and attracted around 27,000 people, which set a record at the time. We were on a rotating stage, but when Ivan invited everyone down onto the floor, the weight of the people caused the whole platform to stop rotating. Unfortunately, it stopped rotating with our sound man nearly in back of us.
Another memorable show was when we opened up for Roxy Music at the old Forum in Montreal, the holy grail of performing venues for Montrealers. The legendary Donald K. Donald came into our dressing room and said to us:" I hope that this will be the first of many opportunities that we'll have together separating the public from its money". I was in awe.

Q12- Does one stand out as particularly bad (for whatever reason)?

I can't say that I remember anything really bad, but in the early days we travelled by winnabago and we once drove 23 hours straight from New York City to Minneapolis and played in front of about 20 people. Or another time, we were so tired from touring, we opened up the show, instead of headlining it, so only a handful of people saw the show, and as the night progressed more and more people were coming into the club for our show, only to find out it was over, and we were sitting at the bar getting tanked.

Q13- How goes the search for new band members?

The search has been amazing. We've had lots of very qualified people apply.

Q14- Would you consider hiring someone who plays the spoons for half a pint of Crown Royal?

Only if the spoons are digital and you bring your own Crown Royal.

Q15- If you guys had been called "Hommes Sans Chapeaus", would you have been as successful?

Q16- Your favourite Tim-bit flavour?

We're vegetarians, we don't eat Tim bits. We're against cruelty to pastries.

Q17- Ever have the opportunity to sing our national anthem? Where and when?

No, but given the chance, I'd make up my own words, it would be great fun.

Q18- Do you miss the Nordiques?

Even though I'm a Hab, I'd have to say yes, I miss the No-dicks, it was a classic rivalry, more so then any other rivalry in all of sports. Each game was a really big deal, and games against other teams just didn't seem to matter as much. But Quebec City is a hick town, I'm not surprised that they couldn't support a team.

Q19- Jose Theodore... too much pressure on him? Is he going to bounce back and have a good season?

JT is a major choker. Most Valuable Player for choking the way he did against Carolina in the playoffs last year? Gimme a break! What pressure? They think he's a god in Mtl for losing badly last year, so he didn't set any particularly high standard to get back to, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Q20- What's the next line of this classic Canuck tune:

"Cause in nothing there's something I feel
And my heart takes it straight
Or it'll break down again
In your lips I sense a danger
_______________________________ "

I have no clue, since the stanza doesn't even rhyme, it could be anything.

Q21- What are your favourite sites to visit on the internet?

We have a chat board at
so I go there to check it out, but other then that I surf different sites, usually relating to webmastering, or having to do with researching something I'm working on, like finding gear for our live shows, or looking for free software .

Q22- How did "Safety Dance" end up in BIODOME?

That's the publisher's job. Usually, a film company will be the one asking for a particular song.

Q23- What are the three languages that 'Freeways' was recorded in?

German, French and English. But in French it's called Nationale 7, after their highway, and in German it's called Der Autobahn.

Q24- Gotta ask... whose idea was it to cast a dwarf in the safety dance

That was Tim Pope's idea. He was the director of the video. He did a lot of the Cure's videos, some Neil Young

Q25- Do you have anything coming up in the future that you'd like for us to promote at

We have a new record that should be out sometime in December of this year, called "No hats beyond this point". In a little while, there will be a renewed website at , where you will be able to hear some of the new songs, as well as purchase the album and some t-shirts. Next year, we are re-mastering our first EP, the first 2 albums, freeways and some live stuff from that era into a double album that will also be available at the site. And we hope to have the Safety Dance remix compilation sometime next year. So in all, with possible live shows next summer, it should be a busy year.