Q&A: Miami Act Modernage on Reuniting (or Not?), Tonight's Show at Green Room

Miami act Modernage's rise to local prominence echoed that of the South Florida indie scene itself. When the group first formed in the early aughts, its sound reflected one that was very of its time: heavily Anglophilic, influenced by rock from across the pond from the previous two decades. 

As the area's rock club kid thing exploded, Modernage, suddenly, was everywhere, hitting the local dance-party scene hard. Over the years, the quartet, led by frontman Mario Garibaldi and guitarist Xavier Alexander, released a handful of videos and audio releases to local fanfare.

Some time over the past year or two, though, the group faded into a hiatus as tastes -- both of fans and its members -- changed and the guys got busy with other projects. So it came as a little surprise to see Modernage listed as Green Room's entertainment for tonight's edition of the weekly Digital Love party

Not only is the band back in action but it's reappearing north of the county line in which it first scored local acclaim. We caught up with Garibaldi and Alexander for the scoop about the band's current activity and possible future. Read what they had to say below.

County Grind: When did Modernage last play a show?

Xavier Alexander: The last show was April 2011, at Bardot, which was packed and was a blast.
What have you each been doing musically or creatively in the meantime?

Alexander: We've all been doing our own thing. I kind of lost focus on what I wanted to do with myself and the band, leaving a lot of demos half-completed. Our drummer of five years, Sean, started a band called Missing People -- which played Churchill's this week -- and is no longer playing with us.

Mario has begun his electronic project Hunters of the Alps and played Bardot recently. Izzy, our bassist, has been playing with Crown Company, who are close friends of ours. Garcia, our keyboardist and second guitarist, has been playing with Mario in Hunters.

What was Modernage's official birth date? What still draws you back to the band after so many years?

Alexander: I don't know the exact date, but Mario and I met in 2003. Although our output has been small, I think our material has gotten better and better over the years. Whenever we considered disbanding, we almost felt an obligation to release the songs we've left unheard. It's funny, but it feels like they have a life of their own.

Is this a reunion or a return to increased activity or just a one-off? Is there, or will there be, new Modernage music?

Alexander: I'm not sure what this is, to be honest! These guys have got a lot of great projects going on, and I lose focus easily, so who knows? The idea is to become more active, playing shows every month or two. We'd love to finally put out an album since we've got some of the best songs we've written just waiting to be released. Our set list now contains mostly unreleased material which I feel is up to par with the best local bands in South Florida.

Why play this comeback show at Green Room rather than somewhere in Miami?

Alexander: Broward has always been welcoming to us and very supportive. Some of the best times we've had as a band, and personally, have been in the 954.  A few months ago, I visited Andie Sweetswirl's party at Green Room and was impressed by how much fun it was. It just felt right to play somewhere different and less pretentious.  

What's next for all of you? What's the story behind Hunters of the Alps?

Alexander: I look forward to an active 2012, which should see more of a live presence and a release. Mario can answer in more detail, but Hunters is a project he's been contemplating for years.

Mario Garibaldi: Hunters explores sounds I have been a fan of for many years. Most of my writing is synth-based and sometimes clashed against the sound Modernage had carved for itself. It will be interesting to see how it develops. I do plan on keeping both projects separate from one another because they are two very different things.

Modernage, with the Guards Themselves. 10 p.m. Thursday, January 26, at Green Room, 109 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Free; age 21 and up. Click here

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Arielle Castillo
Contact: Arielle Castillo