Dial M for Mikey
If you go out (to shows and Plateau bars), you’ve likely seen M for Montreal‘s Mikey Rishwain Bernard. A man about town. A bon vivant. A guy in a hat, with a year-round ‘stache. But who is he? What does he do? Learn a thing or two about him and his festival right here.
Lorraine Carpenter: Where are you from?
Mikey Rishwain Bernard: Born and raised in the dangerous city of Stockton, California (home of Pavement and Chris Isaak). I also claim Lodi, Sacramento, Long Beach and Montreal. My pops is Québécois.
LC: What is your favourite band ever?
MRB: My holy trinity = Pavement, Hella and Brotha Lynch Hung.
LC: What do you do for M?
MRB: I program/book the festival and its satellite events around the world.
LC: What does M have that no other local festival has?
MRB: Our main event has a showcase/industry side along with a festival side over the weekend. Our showcases are exclusively for the international delegates, and, unlike other zoo-style festivals, the VIPs/delegates don’t miss a band. We help introduce our delegates to the local industry and local bands and hopefully create opportunities. We want to open doors and get concrete results for the bands — that’s the point. We also partner up with international festivals to promote M stages at their festival — for example, SXSW, CMJ, Iceland Airwaves and Bumbershoot, to name a few.
LC: What is the biggest difference between M now and M when it started out?
MRB: In its first year, there were only six bands and 30 people in the audience. It was strictly a private showcase for a dozen international buyers on their way to CMJ. Now, we’re a festival with over 100 bands and 270 delegates/gold badge holders.
LC: What are some of your favourite M experiences?
MRB: 1) Booking and seeing Grimes and Diamond Rings perform the M for Mikey showcase at SXSW 2011; 2) The look on peoples faces when they saw Half Moon Run for the first time. The energy in the room was set on high, and the band’s been on a high ever since. My next major M experience will be Saturday, Nov. 17 for Sacramento’s own Death Grips ;)
LC: Briefly describe a perfect night out.
MRB: I personally enjoy a simple night of rolling down the street smokin’ endo while sippin’ on gin and juice. ■
Note that Mikey also hosts On the Rocks, the Thursday weekly at Salon Officiel (351 Roy E.) with resident DJ Pat Dynamite and guests. Tonight’s M for Montreal edition features PS I Love You’s Paul Saul.