Care Failure: this is what success sounds like

Die Mannequin started their own record label, How to Kill Music, as ‘an excuse to be a family’

Ghostwolf, Anthony Bleed and Care Failure make up Die Mannequin and started the record label How To Kill Music to foster more music community in Toronto.
Ghostwolf, Anthony Bleed and Care Failure make up Die Mannequin and started the record label How To Kill Music to foster more music community in Toronto.

Care Failure, the dynamic front girl of the alternative rock band Die Mannequin, doesn’t have a degree to fall back on but doesn’t care—musical success is Failure’s only option.

“I’m a slave to music,” Failure said. “I have no choice really. My parents put me in piano when I was in diapers. It was the best thing they ever did for me.”

But she didn’t stick with the piano for long. When she got a bit older, Failure decided to ditch the piano—a decision she still regrets—and teach herself how to play guitar.

“There was always something inside me. Whether it was my dad singing me to sleep or seeing Nirvana on TV for the first time, I’ve always known,” Later this month, Die Mannequin is releasing their first album, Unicorn Steak, which is the combination of her two EPs, Slaughter Daughter and How To Kill. But Die Mannequin’s release is more an act of convenience rather than an artistic endeavour.

“I know this must sound lame to you, but it’s a lot easier just to sell one album,” the 21-year-old rocker said.

Failure plays with Ghostwolf on drums and Anthony Bleed on bass to create Die Mannequin’s gothic rock indie pop sound. Managed by Shull Management, Die Mannequin signed with EMI in 2006, and began their own record label, How To Kill Music, which is distributed by Warner Music Canada. With her label, Failure’s hoping to create a new community of musicians in Toronto she feels is lacking.

“I’m not involved in the metal scenes and as far as punk, that was me sleeping outside of stores when I was 16—I’m not 16 anymore. The record label is really just an excuse to be a family,” Failure said.

Along with hopes of a musical family, Failure has also been fostering a community of fans through the powers of Myspace. She often posts updates in the blog section of her page. But Die Mannequin’s blog is more than just posted tour and CD release dates: the band includes pictures and personal accounts of their touring. Myspace has also given the band fans from unlikely places.

“Going to Germany for the first time we really noticed it. We were really bummed because we thought no one would know us but at every show a bunch of kids were there and it was great,” Failure said.

On their upcoming tour the band will open for Sum 41, and chances are people won’t be buying tickets just to see Die Mannequin. But opening for larger bands is something Failure and her crew are used to: they opened for Guns N’ Roses in 2006. Being a “supporting band” isn’t something Failure has a problem with. “I love being the opening band,” Failure said. “I like surprising the kids that come early.” Failure’s spirits are high although there are still some difficulties when you’re the only band on tour without a rider.

“We’re really poor,” Failure said. “We’re the only ones on the tour still in a van with a trailer for all our stuff.” She finds it challenging to get inspired on the road as well.

“It’s fucking hard to write on the road,” Failure said with a laugh. “There are six people in one hotel room and if one person is watching TV it’s hard to whip out a guitar and start to write.” But these problems don’t get Failure down. When asked if it’s hard being a girl in the music industry she just laughs it off.

“I’m standing around with my band and my roommate—who’s a girl and helps sell our merch—a guy came up to us and shook both the guys in the band hands and completely ignored me and my roommate. He just assumed we were groupies,” Failure said.

“It’s not as much a challenge. Having a vagina just means I have to rock out twice as hard, right?” And rocking out twice as hard is something she’s willing to do.

Die Mannequin are opening the sold-out Sum 41 show on Wednesday at Stages.

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