Nathan Samuel Phillip Klaas
Nathan Samuel Phillip (Klaas) grew up on a Christmas tree farm on the outskirts of Toronto, in a rural part of Cambridge, Ontario with his brothers Shade (Aaron Klaas) and Key (Ryan Klaas). At five years of age, their parents enlisted them in classical piano lessons with The Royal Conservatory of Music. Instantly, the brothers became immersed in music, gaining a deep and schooled understanding of composition and theory. Shortly after, they were hosting living room concerts and singing along to The Beatles and Traveling Wilburys on makeshift cardboard instruments, calling themselves ‘The Smashers’. Nathan laughs, "I think tickets were five cents back then."
In the early part of the decade, MENEW formally came to life. The name of the band was created when the trio was rehearsing in their garage, which was filled with signs from their parents’ tree farm. When noticing two ‘NEW’ signs that had been arranged behind Nathan’s set of drums, it read MENEW. The brothers instantly recognized it as the new symbol for the band, making the newfound name into an ambigram. Shade said “We never intended it (MENEW) to mean anything. A name without language restriction.” After honing their chops through tireless jamming, intensive songwriting, and early recordings, the group had arrived at a sound of their own. It nodded to the likes of The Beatles and David Bowie as well as The Killers and Muse with a decidedly fresh and fiery spin. Shade has stated, "We mix the old with the new. We'll have a massive wall of sound, but there's simplicity to the music so it's still memorable." Key has also said, "You can hear evidence of the classical influences, but we pull them back just enough so that the songs stand on their own."
The brothers were too young to play most clubs and bars legally, so they resorted to holding their own shows in local theatres, halls and staging guerrilla style impromptu concerts, most of which ended up being illegal regardless. Performing on flatbed trucks and in city streets were normal occurrences. In one such instance they rented an industrial crane, and played 40 feet up in the air over the streets of downtown Toronto. Staging the necessary fake personnel to appear as construction workers even deceived local authorities, when shutting down an entire city street and redirecting traffic. Key has stated, “We didn’t realize how dangerous this all was until we were being harnessed onto the stage.” The group’s fearless approach also landed them on stage with U2 on the Vertigo Tour at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, performing "Out Of Control" from U2’s debut album Boy, alongside Bono and The Edge.