Mikey Manville

The Manvils are a trip

Story by Adrian Brijbassi
Vacay.ca Managing Editor

TORONTO, ONTARIO — Travel changes lives. In the case of Mikey Manville, it helped to re-invent his.

A journey to Alberta when he was a teenager not only showed the energetic frontman of The Manvils that music was his purpose, it inspired his name. While working on a film crew for a documentary series about Canada’s national parks, Manville found himself in a little-known town with a population of less than 1,000.

Producer Paul Dalby apparently had a liking for alliteration. He nicknamed the then-17-year-old, whose real name is Michael Iwanyshyn, after the town. The “Mikey Manville” moniker hit a chord. By the time he had wrapped production on the documentaries, Iwanyshyn decided he wanted to be in music, where he could have more control, rather than film.

“When I got back to Vancouver I had a solo concert and when they asked me what my name was, I said Mikey Manville, and it stuck. I did spell it wrong, though,” he points out.

Mannville, Alberta is east of Edmonton on the Yellowhead Highway, a part of the Trans-Canada Highway system and in the vicinity of massive swaths of open territory in the prairies. It is country. The Manvils, the independent band now based in Toronto, are not. Their sound is as rock ‘n roll as it can get, with frenetic guitars, a booming drum beat and Manville’s searing vocals that made the group one of the west coast’s most talked about bands when they debuted seven years ago. Like any accomplished lead singer, Manville grabs your attention immediately with his enthusiasm, seemingly hell bent on getting the audience to pour as much energy into enjoying his music as he does in playing it. If nothing else, you will be entertained at a Manvils show.

Manvils Set to Fire Up Toronto Audiences

They were featured in a Budweiser commercial that aired during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and won acclaim for their debut album on Sandbag Records. In 2011, Manville moved back east to Toronto to find a larger audience and work with more producers. The band is currently recording a new EP — their second in two years — and plan to debut songs during a gig at the Dakota Tavern on May 9. In the meantime, Manville is getting re-acquainted with Toronto, his hometown.

“It’s a great city. Vancouver is beautiful and we miss our friends there, but Toronto has so much going on, there’s so much energy here,” he says.

Having seen so much of Canada while working on film sets and touring with his band, Manville is one of the more well-travelled indie musicians in the country. He recalls being awestruck by the scenery you happen across while rolling through the nation. “Driving through northern Ontario has to be one of the prettiest drives, especially when the leaves are changing, and it’s not something that a lot of people ever talk about when they mention Canada and its beauty. There’s so much to see in this country, it really blows you away when you think about it.”

More About The Manvils

The Band: Mikey Manville (guitar, vocals), Jay Koenderman (drums), Jason Skiendziel (bass)
Upcoming Shows:
May 9, 2013, 9 pm at the Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, ON ($7 per ticket)
Website: www.themanvils.com

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Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and his articles are frequently syndicated by the Huffington Post and appear in the Globe & Mail. He makes regular appearances on CTV News, TSN Radio and CJSF Radio, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. A former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing and fiction, and has visited more than 30 countries. He is also a judge for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and spearheaded the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list that debuted in April 2012.