It started with a smashed watermelon on the sidewalk. Though seemingly uneventful, the tragicomic sight affected Tokyo Police Club bassist-vocalist David Monks, who took a photo.
“I don’t know why it interested me, but I knew I wanted it as the cover for the EP we were working on,” Monks says, speaking from a Starbucks in downtown Brooklyn. “Then I showed it to the band and Graham said, ‘Why don’t we call the EP “Melon Collie,” but with one L’?” Graham is keyboardist Graham Wright; guitarist Josh Hook and drummer Greg Alsop round out the band.
Thus the title to the Toronto-bred garage pop quartet’s April-released EP,“Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Part 1),”was born — the name spoofing Smashing Pumpkins’ mid-‘90s epic album, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” of course. “Part 2” will follow later this year.
But spoofing for the title is as far as joking around goes: Coming 10 years after the band’s debut EP, “Melon Collie” sees the band regrouping on a creative level after each moved away from their Toronto home base. “This is a snapshot of where we are as a band, of this new place we’re in, spread out all over,” says Monks. Not that any of these ideas were set out; it just happened, as these things do.
“It came together pretty spontaneously,” says Monks, who has lived in Brooklyn for over two years. “But lyrically, it’s kind of serious. I usually write about love, heartbreak, and guilt in a broad sense. But these songs are more refined, more specific. ‘Not My Girl’ is literally about a breakup I experienced. ‘The Ocean’ is about my family changing, and more complex relationships that develop.”
Don’t expect sprawling existential anthems a la Smashing Pumpkins, though: “I like the way there’s a rawness to the tracks that contrasts with the seriousness in the lyrics,” Monks explains.
“The keyboard solo on ‘The Ocean’ is the same as on the demo. There was no take 2 or take 50. Things usually get tested out on demos. Then you take those ideas and you build up for the recorded product. Rock and roll is the illusion of things being out of control, but really it’s very controlled in the studio. A lot of hard work goes into making something look easy.”
If you go:
Paradise Rock Club
967 Commonwealth Ave., Boston
(617) 562-8800, crossroadspresents.com