By Jenna Lee Williams
EDMONTON — The Lad Mags are a unique beast, with soulful grooves that integrate garage and psych rock. The quintet, including Dara Humniski on keys/vocals, Ashely Hollands on guitar/organ/vocals, Candice Kelly on bass/vocals, Joe Stagliano on drums and Amelia Aspen on Guitar/keys/vocals, have had a productive couple of years since their inauguration in 2012. BeatRoute met up with them just in time to discuss their recently released 7-inch Hypnotized.
Hypnotized is available on lilac purple vinyl, the third in their rainbow discography of the format. 2013’s Trick (2013) was released on yellow, later on that year, Lover/You Don’t Love Me on red. After one listen, you will want to taste the rainbow of records (along with their self-titled tape and Halloween EP) to your burgeoning collection. As concisely put by Audio Ammunition, the band is a blend of “early Dusty Springfield or Shangri-La’s mixed with Brian Jonestown Massacre with a pinch of Siouxsie and The Banshees macabre and mystique.”
The last couple of years have been filled with plenty of recording and trips as the band crisscrossed North America. In June 2014 they were a part of the See 2 Sky Western Psych Revue tour with the Backhomes (Victoria) and the Betrayers (of whom Stagliano is also a member), while the summer saw them play Edmonton’s Hot Plains Fest and Ardmore’s Golden West Music Fest. They’ve also played Calgary’s Sled Island, and the previous fall they performed at CMJ Music Marathon in New York City.
“[The self-titled track] from Hypnotized was recorded in New York [at MetroSonic], we recorded ‘Hypnotized’ the same time we recorded the songs for our Halloween EP last year. The other track [‘Alien Bride’] was recorded in Edmonton [at Edmontone Studio],” explains Aspen.
“Shake Records out of Victoria asked us if we wanted to put a collection of all our 7-inch records,” adds Aspen. The self-titled cassette was released in June of this year, and has been warmly received by a supportive Edmonton music scene.
“Lots of really good things are happening to bands in Edmonton right now. The record that Switches just put out is amazing,” notes Aspen. “I think TeeTahs just got put on a great compilation, and obviously the Wet Secrets recently won over a hundred grand [they took the top Peak Performance Project prize].”
She adds, “Calgary has been very supportive also.”
One of their favourite shows they played was for BeatRoute’s birthday with Shannon and the Clams.
“It was super fun. I love Shannon and the Clams. I was kind of terrified just because they are so awesome. We were playing this song that we have never played for anyone before. I had this moment that I was nervous we were going to fuck it up, and had some stage fright. Then I looked out into the crowd and Shannon was dancing and then that was it,” says Aspen with a large grin.
The Lad Mags went on to play Vue Weekly’s 1,000th issue celebration on December 16th, and have more in store, giving new meaning to the idea of a long-term plan. The band is moving forward with 2015 projects, as well as projects for upcoming years.
“We are working on another video with Fish. He also did our last video [for ‘Lover You Don’t Love Me’]” says Humniski. That release debuted at number one on CJSR.
“The video we are working on is for ‘Hypnotized,’” adds Aspen. “The narrative for ‘Hypnotized’ is from the point of view from the stalker and the video [will be] related to that narrative.”
She concludes, “We have also applied to play a couple of festivals and have a long-term plan to do a European tour.”
Pick up a 7-inch and a tee at the Lad Mags’ Hypnotized EP release in Edmonton with Fist City on January 24th at Wunderbar. Lad Mags will also be playing Bermuda’s Versus event with Powder Blue, The Wet Secrets and The Betrayers at the Pawn Shop in Edmonton on February 21st.AB, Alberta, Pawn Shop, The Lad Mags, Wunderbar