Band member profile: bassist Giovanni Paola

A guitar player at heart, Gio has taken up the role of Madame Psychosis’ bassist with pride. He also takes pride in being the guy who orders a celebratory round of “band shots” after every gig. This week’s profile explores Gio’s obsession with music from the 90s

What are your biggest musical influences?

This is a tough one. If I were to break it down in terms of eras or decades, the Smashing Pumpkins dominated the first decade. The second decade has been all about Pearl Jam. The one constant though has been the Tragically Hip. I always seem to return to the Hip regardless of anything else out there.

What is your favourite music video?

The one that sticks out the most to me is “Do the Evolution” by Pearl Jam. The artwork in the video was done by Todd McFarlane, who did the Spawn comic books.

“Tonight, Tonight” by the Smashing Pumpkins is also very memorable. It was inspired by the silent film A Trip to the Moon. It’s a piece of art all on its own.

What is your favourite album or song of all time?

Favourite song is probably “Tonight, Tonight” by the Pumpkins. There’s a sentimental value behind that song that is irreplaceable. Favourite albums, well, there’s a tie for top spot with Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I’d then say Trouble at the Henhouse by the Tragically Hip.

Though the album that has taken over my playlist for the past couple of years is Lost In a Dream by The War on Drugs.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

Ace of Base. Yes, I said it. I also love the Cranberries. I know they shouldn’t be a guilty pleasure but there was a time in my life when I couldn’t stop listening to bands with female singers, like Cranberries, No Doubt, Garbage and even Alanis Morissette. I felt self-conscious about it as a guy in high school so I kept it under wraps.

What are you listening to right now?

I’m all over the place. I’m listening to a lot of indie bands, like M83 and Local Natives. Their new album Sunlit Youth is fantastic. Drake and Frank Ocean also make the occasional appearance in my playlists.

If not bass, which instrument would you choose to play?

Definitely guitar. I mean I play guitar, but given how much time I spend playing bass for Madame Psychosis I would love to get back to that old six-string at some point.

What was the first song you learned to play?

Run” by Collective Soul. That song was everywhere when Varsity Blues came out. “When I Come Around” by Green Day is also one of the first, if not the first song I learned.

What was the moment you thought, “I want to do this”?

The first time playing with other musicians. I was in an old band called Driving Pedestrian back in high school. It didn’t last long, but I remember there was a difference between playing on your own and playing with others. When we played it felt like nothing else mattered.

What is your favourite Madame Psychosis song?

Psychotic Break”. No question. It has melody and it has crunch. It builds to a climax and then comes back down. Great progression, powerful vocals and the lyrics are fantastic. “Dance with Me” as well. You can see the change in the crowd when we play that song.

Photo credit: Claudio Paola

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