Melbourne, Australia – A couple weeks ago, I featured one of my favorite upcoming Australian acts, Sex on Toast. The 10-piece recently released their EP Ready on April 1, and I had the chance to get their thoughts on a couple of things. Take a look at the interview below!
Sex on Toast is clearly a band that way beyond just the typical “out of the box” sort of band. Some thing that really struck me about the band is that there are 10 members. What is everyone’s role in the band, and why a 10-piece band? Is there something about being a large band that goes beyond the typical 4 or 5 people band?
Why yes! Having a larger band means you have broader possibilities in terms of arrangement and orchestration, having two keyboards has always meant that all the stuff I could hear going on in my head involving interlocking piano, rhodes or synthesiser parts co-existing with some horn blasts and as well as a 3 part vocal harmony. All this shit can all occur concurrently if you have ten people doin’ stuff at once!
I will list every band member and their roles.
Louis King: Guitar, Shoe Concepts
Nick Piestch: Trombone, Gas Boy
James Bowers (Merlin): Keyboards, Chinners
Gareth Thomson: Drums, New Car
Zak Pidd: Vocals, Percussion, Semi-Nudity
Bovril Harrison: Trumpet, Os Crobi
Johnny Bassoon: Sax, Bassoon, “Gidday Darlin’”
Ph*l*p Ian Starr: Keyboards, The Ability to Draw a Prism
Alan Starr: Bass, Moog, Magic Wand
Me: Crying, Waving, Crying.
My first Sex on Toast track was “Oh, Loretta!” and it’s honestly one of my favorite songs. During the second half of the song, the name changes from Loretta to Rebecca. Is there a reason for that name change? In the music video, it seemed like the name Rebecca just slipped out and you guys just kept rolling with it.
Loretta is meant to be a kind of “oh baby you’re the only one for me” tunnel-vision seduction kinda jam. It’s the sort of a love song, where it claims to be all about one girl but after an abrupt shift in the second verse, the listener comes to realise that the person singing it is a massive two timer, and is maybe offering the same “sweet talk” to everyone, albeit with the same rather strange compliments…
It was definitely a conscious choice, maybe a libidinous choice though? Sometimes you can fantasise about being some sort of amoral lothario and express it through song.
The music video for “Oh, Loretta!” is also one of my favorite things on the internet. What’s the inspiration behind the whole video concept and general design of it?
I wanted to do something that resembled Soul Train with us playing on it. Through conversations with the director Yoav Lester, we quickly realised it couldn’t just be some pastiche- we had to actually add our own unique flavour to it. Yoav and I are both enthusiasts of things like Troma or “melt” horror films from the 80’s. He had the idea to create a situation where the audience becomes sick and “touched by the funk” and one of them gets to close to me, his head explodes and he dies. Then we needed a host. We jokingly suggested Molly Meldrum. Yoav with his infinite hustling ability managed to swing it and on the second day Molly turned up on set and I must say it one of the more unique days of my life. He’s a gentleman and a total larrikin.
Which bands and artists inspire you guys as a band? Your sound is unique, especially for this era of music. I love the retro-ness and ode to the “oldies” genre.
I’m not sure what the “oldies” genre is but we are definitely influenced by music from the past.
We’re interested in re-contextualising certain eras of music to fit in with who we are as musicians and people.
Also I feel like things like producers from the era of Quincy Jones,George Duke et all… really inspires us to no end. Musical geniuses who were really seriously into cool chords and detail in arrangement, that featured amazing live playing from everyone on the records. That’s why in the sleeve of our first album, there’s a million credits. I would always get a kick out of going through Stevie Wonder or Steely Dan credits or what have you and see names like Lenny Castro on percussion or Joe Sample on piano, Jay Graydon…. ect… We try and draw from any unique but maybe lost era of music, and add our own distinctly grotty Melbourne spin to it…
“Hold My Love (Part 2)” is my second favorite track on your new EP Ready. The brass is gorgeous, the lyrics are amazing, and everything about the song is just fantastic. What was the main inspiration behind this song?
Hold My Love Part 2 is a rework of an older tune from our first album called Hold My Love.
It’s kind of inspired by the feel of Stevie’s Isn’t Lovely, but there’s also a cool arrangement of Steely Dan’s Reelin’ In The Years that had a big influence on the overall colour of it. The horn stuff is definitely that quasi-jazz via funk arranging style that Steely Dan had on their records.
I’d almost say it became it’s own thing though and is a very West Coast 1970’s American sound. With regard to the lyrics, thanks! They are a bit different in Part 2…
Part 1 is the yearning slow jam, where you’re searching for a recipient of a love that you might harbour but have nowhere to put. Part 2 is the joy of realising you may have found love. The lyrics are ever so slightly different…
What artists are you guys listening to? Do you think there are other acts that have the same or even similar sound that you guys have?
I’ve been listening to a lot of records produced by the Minneapolis duo Flyte Tyme, who were and still are Janet Jackson’s go to producers. They worked with Prince in The Time and are badasses. Their records “Saturday Love” By Alexander O’Neal and Cherelle and “Tell Me If You Still Care” by SOS Band are both sparkling gems of recorded perfection. Also Rhythm Nation 1841 by Janet is flawless from start to finish…Anything with their names on it (Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) is worth hearing.
Favorite album of 2015?
Choose Your Weapon- Hiatus Kaiyote. A sprawling masterpiece with some beautiful and sometimes bizarre sonic detail and that holds some true emotional weight. 10/10!!!!!
Most underrated and overrated act/album of 2015?
Gee I’m not sure… I don’t like Tame Impala that much? Am I allowed to say that? They’re not that bad though really… Everyone should just do their thing, I get why people like it…
Underrated? Hrmmmmm…. I feel like Ainslie Wills should be about 500 times more famous than she is. She’s the shit. She should be able to buy sports cars from those songs!
Huge thanks to the band for the awesome interview! Check out Ready EP