By Brittany Rudyck
EDMONTON — Edmonton’s favourite bratty punks, Switches, are back from their hiatus in time for a holiday revival! Even though lead guitarist and vocalist Tara McMahon relocated to Toronto early this fall to finish her master’s degree, the group managed to record an EP called All My Darlings to be released at the end of December.
BeatRoute bugged drummer and vocalist Tamar Dinner while she was at work to find out more about the hiatus, their new recording and the state of the music scene as a whole. She reflected fondly on the recent success of the band, divulging, “The last two years were definitely some of the funnest times ever. Playing in a band that we all felt like, ‘Hey, people kinda like us, we should keep doing this,’ kinda felt a bit different than anything else we’d been part of before. Nothing this summer felt final, but the last few shows did feel climactic, so they were really fun because of that spirit. It was like we were celebrating these last few years.”
After a few switch-a-roos within the lineup, they’ve gotten into a groove with Dinner, McMahon, as well as Marlaena Moore on bass and vocals and Stefan Opryshko manning the organ. Each member is ruthlessly prolific with several projects on the go including other bands, record labels, “real” jobs, and not to mention school for a few of them.
All My Darlings, as well as last year’s LP, I Just Wanna, was recorded with the animated Renny Wilson during the summer months. According to Dinner, the new EP has a slightly different feel, but has retained its sense of fun, mentioning, “the new tape definitely has a new vibe to it…. a little darker. There’s three new songs on it, as well as a cover that haven’t been released previously. The songs were written a while ago, but we didn’t have time to record them, and Tara was leaving. So, when Renny was in town, it worked out. We love working with him.”
Dinner went into more detail on the recording process and what fans can expect as a result, in terms of their live show, “‘Sex Cult Leader,’ the song that Marlaena wrote is on this album, which is meant to be a fun song, despite the darker tone of the album. I think our shows will always be energetic and a fun time. I don’t think we would do it anymore, otherwise. We love to have fun together and we hope that’s what we get across.”
If you haven’t caught a live Switches show, you’ve been missing out on beer shotgunning competitions, threats to throw cigarettes into the crowd, giggling and of course, messy, fast and glorious punk rock.
“It’s always hard to capture the energy of a live show on a recording, although that’s not always the goal. That’s part of why we keep choosing to work with Renny. He keeps it light.”
Shifting gears, Dinner was thoughtful in her response to a query about Edmonton’s recent loss of venues, observing, “I think the excitement is there. There’s always new bands all the time and awesome, creative things happening. People are branching out and gravitating toward the more experimental side of things. That, and seeing more women participating, and the scene becoming more inclusive. It sucks that so many venues are closing, but in some ways, maybe it creates space for us to create a more inclusive approach. Wunderbar and the Artery were absolutely inclusive, but perhaps not blatantly. So, now we have an opportunity to re-examine that.”
Switches are celebrating the release of All My Darlings on December 31st with the Wet Secrets at 9910 in Edmonton. Don’t be a punk and miss it!9910, AB, Alberta, Switches