.:.VISIONS OF YOU.:.
An Interview with Sextile
Certainly, one word that would be fitting for Sextile’s interview below would be laconic. Hailing from Los Angeles and having signed to the exceptional Felte imprint for the release of their debut album, A Thousand Hands, which features an ultra powerful single in ‘Visions of You’, this youthful quartet seems ready for a bigger post-punk audience. For now, Sextile were generous enough to briefly share their views on several relevant subjects with us. Enjoy!
Heathen Harvest: Thank you for accepting this interview. Could you please tell our readers about how Sextile came to be?
Brady Keehn: Well, Melissa (Scaduto) and I moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, and we all ended up meeting and becoming friends because of mutual interests. We all started playing together and formed Sextile very shortly thereafter.
HH: Listening to your debut album, many diverse influences come to mind. Could you please tell us about what influenced your sound?
BK: The 39 Clocks for their minimal dark psychedelia, Death in June for marching heavy tom drums, Spacemen 3 for their beautiful two-chord drone, Daniel Ash for everything that he has ever done, Throbbing Gristle for keeping it the weirdest and influencing weirdos to make art even weirder, and Brian Eno for being a mutant.
HH: Modern post-punk projects like yours often cite Death in June as an influence despite the project’s often misunderstood controversial nature, all the while neglecting the rest of neofolk as an influential genre. What is it about Death in June in particular that is so impactful to you?
BK: Well, I wouldn’t say neofolk is too much of an influence on us. It’s really Death in June’s first three records that were the most impactful—The Guilty Have No Pride, Burial, and Nada!—and we feel safe saying we would not classify those under the neofolk genre. What’s impactful about those records for us are the use and the sound of the drums, the samples, the use of guitar, and its tone. Song structure, the production … the list goes on.
HH: The raw power of “A Thousand Hands” shows off an intense recording experience. How did you get on with each other while recording the album? How long did it take you to record?
BK: We got along great. With the exception of two songs, Brady recorded it himself and then mixed the entire thing. It took about a month to write, record, and mix the whole the album. Some were one-takes, but most were not, as some of the writing was taking place during the recording sessions and basically tracked out with one instrument at a time.
HH: From the story behind the album title, ‘A Thousand Hands’, to songs like ‘Mind’s Eye’, there’s definitely a metaphysical side to Sextile. How does this influence you as a musician, and how do you feel it best comes out in Sextile?
BK: A Thousand Hands was based upon an experience Eddie (Wuebben) had, and ‘Mind’s Eye’ was written by Melissa about her own experiences. But each song questions being, reality, and events that take place. And we are influenced by the emotions that come from these questions, being human, and dealing with life. In terms of how it comes out in Sextile, we would say it best comes out in our live shows. Sometimes our shows can be a chaotic mess.
HH: Beyond messy, how would you describe your performances? What has the feedback from the audience generally been?
BK: Dark, dangerous, and intense? The feedback has been very good; people seem really into the music, and we meet more fans excited to see us with every new show, which is cool.
HH: Are you satisfied having signed to Felte? How did the collaboration with the label happen?
BK: Very! Jeff Owens, the owner, is amazing. He has become like a father figure to us! It’s really nice and he does so much for us. He has filled many roles: tour manager, booker, general manager, label owner, public relations, etc. The collaboration happened after our first show at The Echo in Los Angeles when Jeff approached us with the opportunity to be on Felte, which was great. Things just took off from there.
HH: For your most recent video, ‘Visions of You’, you collaborated with Jesse Kelly. What was the idea behind shooting the video on VHS?
BK: We just felt that it looked better. It has its own vibe; the way it has a classic look and saturates the colors, it fits the music better.
HH: What is your opinion on the recent tragic events in Paris and the ‘hate continuation’ of Syrian bombardments?
BK: All of it is very sad from all angles. The attacks on Paris are really unfortunate. We have some friends that lost some friends and it’s just tragic. What’s been going on in Syria in the past couple of years has been terrible, and the West doesn’t seem to be helping with bombing campaigns and funding terrorists. The racism that has resulted stateside because of these conflicts is really a bummer. Ignorant people base their opinions on propaganda and media, and it makes for a lot of closed-mindedness with other races and ethnicities. It’s ridiculous.
HH: Are you on tour at the moment? What are your plans for 2016?
BK: No, we are not on tour at the moment. We are coming close to playing our last shows for the year. For most of December and January, we are going to focus on writing new material for the next album. We will be playing SXSW this year, and we will be opening up for Modern English in the spring.
HH: You’re clearly short-spoken, which is to be expected from an artist who bookends an album with a track like ‘Introvert’. While most of your music deals with personal matters, is there anything specific that you’re hoping your audience gets out of your music?
BK: They’re allowed to get whatever they want out of it. We all want to make music we want to hear, and it’s great when other people like it.
HH: What’s your opinion of the impact that the internet has on spreading your music to a broader audience? In the 80s, bands like yours were trying to gain publicity from tape-trading and by playing an immense amount of live shows.
BK: The internet really gives musicians and bands, good or bad, the ability to get their music to more people in a shorter amount of time. Yet the downside of this is that it’s easy to chew a project off and spit it out before it has fully formed, and then it’s over before it even really began. At the same time, there is an overload of music coming from everywhere on the internet. It’s not like someone occasionally bringing in a tape to Rough Trade and Geoff Travis distributing it, people being able to focus on the release, and the music taking on a life of its own. Ultimately, good music does take on a life of its own. Additionally, because of the overload of music on the internet, it is just as important today to play an immense amount of live shows.
HH: The last words belong to you, please use this space to say whatever you feel is left unsaid.
BK: First, thank you. Second, we are working on new material that we hope to share with everyone in 2016.