7 QUESTIONS: THE SEXTONES
The Sextones have a gift for producing deep funk grooves infused with touches of soul, blues and jazz that brings back the ghosts of Otis Redding and Sam Cook. Beautifully executed vocal lines, clean guitar tones over a solid and tight rhyme section propel the music forward with power and confidence.
The long time experience level of guitarist and vocalist Mark Sexton, bassist Alexander Korostinsky, drummer Daniel Weiss and Ryan Taylor on keyboards is obvious as well and fuse the band into a single unit.
Sharing the stage with stalwart soul veterans Macy Gray, Charles Bradley, and Dumpstaphunk further give this band the street cred that it has earned from playing and touring extensively. Festival appearances have included Railroad Earth’s Hangtown Halloween Ball, Wanderlust and Brews Jazz & Funk Festival.
The Sextones is a provocative name, do you get a lot of comments on it?
Mark Sexton:We do! It seems to stick in your head, which is what you want in a band name. When we were touring as The Mark Sexton Band, people often referred to us as The Sextones. It seemed like the obvious name to go by. We want to be memorable, but also have our name say something about the music.
Your music has major groove and such soulful feel that reminds us of the old Muscle Shoals vibe, is that deliberate or does it just come out that way.
MS: That is flattering. It's both natural and deliberate. We all grew up listening to that stuff and identify with it. The list of soul musicians that we regard as influences is long. Like any young kids, we wanted to be just like our heroes so we got to work studying that music. My dad was constantly playing Stevie, Aretha and Otis at home. I guess it rubbed off on me.
To me all different types of music have soulful elements. I would consider Neil Young and Joni Mitchell as soul musicians. "Soul" most of time is synonymous with "genuinely emotive".
On your website there is a poster for The Sextones at Sundance Film Festival. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
MS: Sundance is a trip. Take a quiet mountain town and turn it into a Hollywood party for a few weeks. We were surprised to see how much of it was about not only film, but music and art. This was our second year doing it and it keeps getting better and better. Lots of bands plan carefully to make sure they route their tours to stop in Park City for Sundance. We are now one of those bands.
Did you all start as soul musicians, or did you have other influences along the way that lead you to playing that kind of music?
MS: Soul music is kind of an umbrella term. To me all different types of music have soulful elements. I would consider Neil Young and Joni Mitchell as soul musicians. "Soul" most of time is synonymous with "genuinely emotive". That human quality is what's appealing about it.
We all have different backgrounds, some of us have played in or still play in rock bands, reggae bands, metal bands, jazz groups, hip hop groups, the list goes on. We are all over the place, but I think that helps you appreciate and approach each genre with attention and respect. When we come together to play "soul" music it feels like home.
You've mentioned that you are "actively forging the path for a new generation of soul and funk", how's the road looking?
MS: The road is looking good. There are so many great bands we are working with on the road it gives you a real communal sense of support. We aren't trying to be the next "throwback soul band" we want to pay homage to the others that have paved the way, but also be modern and original with it.
MS: That's a tough one. We recently played a sold out show in Salt Lake City during Sundance. We got so much energy from the crowd we found ourselves performing in a way we never had before. It was kind of a marker for us. Ever since our shows have a new standard of performance and stage presence. It's a model we try to follow every time we take the stage, whether there's five people there or 5,000.
If you could sing on stage with any musician dead or alive, who would it be?
MS: Stevie Wonder.