THERE is something fascinating and unique…
bubbling inside the Sedge camp. I have been speaking with the Canadian band about their latest album, Psychochondriac, and the themes that inspired it. They talk to me about their formation and the artists they were raised on; how their latest album differs from their earliest work; if Canadian music gets the attention it warrants – whether there are any new artists we should check out.
I ask the guys what their tour plans are; if they are coming over to the U.K. this year; when music came into their lives; how the guys chill away from their music careers; if there is a treasured memory from their time in the industry – they all nominate a song to end the interview.
Hi, Sedge. How are you? How has your week been?
Rob: Hi. The week's been great. Thanks for asking.
Mitch: Hello. I’m good. The week has been going by quickly...
Brian: Hi. How are you?
James: Good. You?
Dean: What’s up? The week’s been movin’, boy.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Rob: We are a five-piece rock group from Toronto, Canada and just released our second album, Psychochondriac. Our style of Rock has been referred to as Garage/Grunge: 1990s-style Rock and Roll.
Your sophomore album, Psychochondriac, is out. What is the story behind that title?
James can answer that…!
James: The title is a combination of ‘hypochondriac’ and ‘psychosomatic’: being so afraid of life you make yourself sick.
Can you reveal what themes and ideas inspired the songwriting?
The themes are just random thoughts, fears and stories meshed together.
How do you think the new album differs from your earliest work? Do you think you are bolder and braver as a band?
Rob: The new album definitely shows the growth of the band as a whole.
The first album had songs that James had written years before while the new album showcases songs written by the band as a whole – and it’s definitely a bolder sound because of it.
James: The new stuff is a bit heavier and a lot more collaborative. It’s a good progression...
Mitch: We have really been exploring options for parts. We would try out various arrangements and not really settle until we were all happy with a song structure. I think you can hear the growth of us as songwriters and a band as a whole.
Did you all come into music at different times? When did the band come together and gel?
Rob: Music has always been a major part of our lives. We’ve been together for a few years now and have gelled since the start.
Mitch: There’s a bit of an age gap between the five members of the band; so we would have all been raised on different music. I’m eight years younger than my brother, James. I was listening to Smash Mouth while my brother was listening to Thrush Hermit. But, as we grew older, our musical tastes started to cross paths. Then, we started playing music together.
Toronto seems a popular area for new musicians! What is it about the city that inspires creativity?
Rob: The city has a great music scene and not only for Rock - it’s probably the fact of so many styles/influences of music the city has to offer.
Mitch: The city is just so diverse that I think artists of any nature can fuse multiple influences together - and some of it is groundbreaking stuff. There are amazing artists of every genre in the city.
Do you think Canadian music gets the respect it deserves? Is it quite hard getting your voice heard above American peers?
Brian: Canadian music is misrepresented by mainstream radio/T.V., in my opinion. I feel like popular music is in a bad spot lately… (“Am I that out of touch?! No, it’s the children who are wrong”).
Dean: I feel there is great music made in Canada: I just don’t think many people get to hear it.
Rob: I don’t think so, as Canadian music is known worldwide. Even if you look to Rap/Pop with Drake and Beiber - if you have good music, it will make it out.
Mitch: I just think that it harder for bands to tour here...
In the States, bands can go from state to state and tour their set and sell their merch. and spread their name around. In Canada, you can drive sixteen hours and still be in the same province. It’s difficult for bands to get over to get Visas to go over the border in order to play shows and sell merch. I think Canadian music itself is super-diverse in the sense that it makes me think of multiple genres all at the same time
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Rob: Right now, we have shows lined up around Toronto and the rest of Ontario. It would be great to be able to tour outside of Canada - but nothing planned yet.
Mitch: Yeah. We’ve got a couple gigs lined up this spring around Ontario. Hopefully; we’ll get something going in the summer, as well, around Quebec.
Do you think you’ll come to the U.K. this year?
Rob: We’d love to make it to the U.K. Can we stay at your place if we do?
Mitch: I would love to convince all of our wives/girlfriends to vacation there and, somehow, we sneak in a couple of gigs during the trip. Sadly, I don’t see us visiting this year. Hopefully, we just keep doing our thing and word spreads - and we can gain some new contacts and go out by 2020.
What does each of you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
Rob: To keep on playing shows and having fun; getting our name out there more and promoting the new album as much as possible.
Mitch: To keep playing shows and spreading the word. I’d love to get back into the studio soon also.
Dean: Tour the world - 2020 goals.
James: Get into the studio again...
Brian: Play as many shows as possible.
Have you all got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Rob: Our record release-show in Toronto a few weeks ago was really fun. The crowd was great and wouldn’t accept the fact we had to stop playing! They continued on until we played an encore - and almost got us to do a second one…
James: We drink beer and quote The Simpsons.
Brian: Abbey Lane and the jam space.
Mitch: I love getting together and writing songs. It’s super-fun and I look forward to it every week. We are all so accepting to trying each other’s ideas. It’s always a fun time.
Dean: The time we spent together jammed with our gear in an S.U.V. while on a mini-tour of Montreal and Ottawa was a time I relished in every way. It was one of the best times of my life.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Rob: Don’t rely on anyone but your bandmates: sometimes it seems hard to get your voice out there but keep the D.I.Y. attitude going and never stop.
Mitch: GRIND IT OUT. Put in all the work with getting shows and making contacts and messaging blogs; same regards other artists and networking - and social media and all that. It’s weird to think that all of that goes with being in a band (especially when you just wanna write and play music) - but being in a band comes along with all these other responsibilities in today's day and age.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind as a band?
Rob: Unwinding as a band usually ends up in our jam spot working on new music!
Mitch: I like to watch cop movies and taking long walks on the breach.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Rob: The Kinks - Dedicated Follower of Fashion
James: Courtney Barnett - History Eraser
Brian: The Fall - Frightened
Dean Crone: It’s cold outside, so I always have an amount of Reggae and Brenda Fassie to create an Illusion of warm. Brenda Fassie - Weekend Special
Mitch Heron: This is from the solo project of the Garage-Rock band Harlem’s guitar player, Michael Coomer...Lace Curtains - Police Brutality