“We want to reclaim rock and roll from its suckiness.”
And so it begins.
I’m sitting at a popular local watering hole with Chris Boyne and Jake Stallard from Kitchener, ON’s Sexdwarf, trying to get them to talk about their band, their new album and their musical philosophies in general.
It’s a bit like pulling teeth.
“We want world submission,” proclaims Stallard.
How do you describe your sound?
“It’s everything and nothing all at once - except without the bad stuff,” offers Boyne, the group’s frontman and main songwriter along with Stallard, who handles backing vocals and bass.
“Our music comes from growing up with classic rock and throwing other stuff in. We’re the Max Webster of the 21st century,” Boyne says with a shit-eating grin.
I try to get them to narrow it down a bit and together we come up with:
Classic rock meets the experimental quirkiness of Ween, meets the memorable melodic pop of The Monkees, with a dash of a trippy version of Tom Petty.
Well, for now.
The influences keep changing, even as we’re sitting here talking about it.
As songwriters and big music fans themselves, they draw on a lot of different styles and influences, but they both agree on one thing: “Substance over form, definitely,” says Boyne.
“We care more about caring (about the music) than anything else. We want to save the future of rock and roll.”
Sexdwarf is made up of Boyne, Stallard, Joe Dunn on keys and Jamie Butcher on drums and percussion. The band formed a few years ago, in 2007, when, as Boyne says, “I stole them from another band.”
He’s referring to Stallard’s earlier band, The Lowdown, which also included Dunn and Butcher.
“Yeah that’s right,” recalls Stallard, “we fired the other members (after they moved away, he says, with a smirk) and rest of us just kind of came together as a band.”
And after six years together, Sexdwarf has just released their first album, Sexdwarf has Disappeared into the Mystic Dawn (2013) on Ontario indie label Busted Flat Records (www.bustedflatrecords.com).
With a lucky 13 number of tracks, the album is a hybrid of their influences, with soaring guitar and catchy melodies. It’s a unique kind of ear candy that’s fresh and original, with smart lyrics that rocks hard when it wants to, but is danceable all at the same time. A strong album front to back, highlights include Thomasina, Love is a Boner and Centre of It All.
Says Mark Logan, of Busted Flat Records:
“After years of seeing the industry hype derivative, uninspired bands, it is refreshing to hear a band so utterly original, inspired and free of affectation. Listening to the Sexdwarf album brings me back to my early days as a music listener when I could go into a record store, buy something on spec and be utterly blown away.”
Local radio personality Coral Andrews (Coral FM, of Sound FM in Waterloo), adds:
“Sexdwarf is sonically lovely and amazing and quirky. My favourite songs I like to play on the radio are Thomasina and Love is a Boner. They make me smile.”
So what’s in the near future for Sexdwarf?
“We’re working on promoting the new album and working on a single for radio,” says Stallard, adding that they are working on new material bit by bit.
The group has upcoming shows throughout the summer across Ontario in London, Waterloo and Toronto.
What do you want people to take away from a Sexdwarf show?
“Those guys look good sweaty and gross,” says Boyne.
Stallard: “I would definitely not sleep with those guys!”