On March 20th, Montreal-based punk band Starstruck Avenue released their inspirational debut album, Walk Away, at a great show at Petit Campus. Its down-to-earth members, Adam Radimiri, Felice Mendicino, Derek Mota, and Steve Mota, kindly took the time to sit down with me to talk about music, perseverance, family, and fishing.
What part of Montreal are you guys from?
Adam and Felice: East End. Rivière-des-Prairies.
Derek and Steve: Saint-Michel. We’re half from Saint-Michel, half Rivière-des-Prairies.
Adam: We’re all from the ‘hood.
How long have you been playing together?
Steve: Five years.
How did you guys meet?
Felice: Well, actually, me and Adam went to school together.
Steve: And me and Derek came into this world together.
Felice: I saw Steve playing a show with his band back in 2010.
Adam: And we decided to form Starstruck Avenue.
How long have you each been playing music?
Felice: It’s eleven years for me.
Adam: My dad always had a Fender Stratocaster. As a kid I used to freak out over it, and he gave it to me one day. From there I just always played it.
Derek: Me and my brother, we’ve been playing since the age of ten, so it’s about eleven years now.
Steve: Half our lives.
Derek: More than half of our lives.
What’s the inspiration behind your album?
Adam: Things that hurt in life.
Steve: A lot of rough times.
Adam: And stuff like that. That’s the most powerful on the album.
Felice: Also, we chose a different life than most kids our age. We’re going all in with music so it’s really about going your own way and being your own person and being yourself, believing that no matter what path you go in to keep going and being yourself.
Do you find you enjoy recording yourselves or performing live better?
Steve: Performing. Yeah, definitely.
Felice: Personally, I like recording.
Adam: I like recording too.
Derek: Recording is stressful.
Adam: Yeah, it is stressful.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Adam: System of a Down. Their characteristics are sick, man.
Felice: Angus Young from AC/DC.
Steve: Just any drummer.
Derek: A lot of musicians, but it was mostly, when I was ten, my dad teaching me music and everything.
How did you come up with your name?
Adam: It was a buddy of ours.
Felice: Yeah, a buddy of ours. We used to practice with this guy back in the day, and we came up with name together. We just stuck with that.
Adam: We played in a band with him and then he left but we stayed with the band, you know.
How would you describe your music in a few words?
Adam: I have a headache.
Felice: No, it’s loud man. Funk.
Steve: Funk, punk, crunk, runk.
Adam: Slam dunk.
Steve: Yes sir, Miller.
Derek: It’s inspiring, lyrically.
Steve: Inspirational rock.
I noticed a lot of your music has to do with not having to fit in, and how we should never give up. If you were to speak to someone who is being bullied or suffering from a mental illness such as depression, what advice would you give them?
Felice: I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there. Don’t give up. It’s only the story so far.
Adam: There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Steve: The one thing I’ve got to say about bullying is that school is one thing. Once you’re out of school, man, it’s a whole different game, so don’t worry about what’s going on dramatically in school.
What are your plans for the coming year? What are you looking forward to the most?
Derek: Recording an album.
Felice: Yeah, recording an album, but mainly touring. We’d like to get out of Montreal and see what’s out there.
Derek: Exploring new places.
What places would you like to explore?
Adam: Definitely Ontario.
Derek: The southwest.
Steven: Anywhere we can.
Felice: New York, Boston, Jersey.
Steven: So on and so forth.
Out of the venues you’ve played so far, which has been your favourite?
Derek: Olympia has to be it for Montreal.
Adam: Petit Campus is awesome too.
Adam: The sound is very good.
Felice: Actually, the last time we played at Olympia, there were about a thousand people, so it was the biggest crowd we’ve ever played in front of. The whole experience itself was just amazing.
What would be your ultimate dream?
Felice: More touring.
Adam: To win a Grammy and to live in LA.
Derek: I’d be happy to just live off music.
Steven: I just want to wake up and play music.
When you’re not playing music, what are you doing?
Adam: Thinking about music.
Steve: Playing outdoor hockey.
Derek: Working and watching The Sopranos.
Adam: In the summer, I like to fish.
Written and Compiled by Franca G. Mignacca
Header photo by Antoine Rochette