By Jenna Lee Williams
EDMONTON — A reviewer in the Needle reflects on Power-Buddies’ 2014 self-titled release: “From someone unfamiliar with the genre and wary looking at the album cover, this has definitely changed my view of what I thought garage rock was.” When asked what garage rock meant to them, Nolan Bossert explained the genre is “rock and roll with energy and a looseness to it that doesn’t really become defined by just rock and roll, with a take on old influences.“
Their sound ranges from song to song, but always remains fun, catchy and full of energy and soul. BeatRoute touched base with two thirds of the trio Power-Buddies (Dustin Sebzdan who is on keys and vocals) and Nolan Bossert (guitar and foot drums) regarding the band’s evolution and influences.
The band has changed quickly since the beginning. “The self-titled release, about half of it is me solo,” says Bossert. “It even evolved while we were recording that. Dustin added keys to songs that we never ended up playing after that point. Then there were a couple songs we knew together. So about half of the songs are just me, and half are a two-piece.”
In recent months Power-Buddies has added a third member, Cassia Hardy, on guitar and vocals. In December they put out Banana Split, a 7” split with the now defunct punk outfit Racket. That record contains material recorded before Hardy joined the duo. In addition, they have a track on an Edmonton label – Sweetie Pie Records’ – compilation, which was also was released recently.
Both Bossert and Sebzdan are involved with the label. Sebzdan tells BeatRoute a little about that track: “That’s one of the tunes that we recorded with a full band in Montreal. It is also a very old song. That recording changed how that song sounds in a way. It sounds a lot different that how we sound live. I like that idea, having a different sound live and recorded.”
Garrett Johnson has recorded Power-Buddies and is an influence on the band. “We really enjoy recording with him and he gets us. They were the whole reason I got into garage rock — Brazilian Money. I didn’t know a whole lot about garage rock until I went to their shows in Edmonton, at places like the Baby Seal Club and stuff,” recalls Bossert.
Musical influences are diverse and on constant rotation. “What I’m listening to is constantly changing. For me right now I’m listening to lots of Pavement and Replacements,” notes Bossert.
Adds Sebzdan, “I’ve always been influenced by a lot of soul music. James Brown and even Edwin Starr. A lot of old music.”
Collectively Power-Buddies tends to listen to newer music, especially fellow Canadian bands. Bossert says “Slam Dunk is one of our favourite bands collectively.” Adds Sebzdan, “Girlfriend, from Victoria, are another great band. “Johnny de Courcy is the project the three of us all bonded over. Cassia had a mini-tour set up with Johnny and we ended up landing on the bill. She ended up playing with us there too.”
They have constantly collaborated with bands that they have toured with while on the road, which is partially how Hardy (who also plays in Wares) joined the duo.
“Cassia was just on tour at the same time as us. We picked her up and she came in the van with us. We had a drummer at that point. She was touring with Strange Fires at the time. We happened to run into her and booked Wares on all of these bills we already had,” explains Bossert.
Power-Buddies are super involved with the community and are constantly collaborating. “Garage rock in the ’60s was just a community of people who were getting together and making music and having a good time and not necessarily thinking about getting famous. It was lo-fi having that loose aspect to it,” says Sebzdan.
The band will be releasing new material a few months into the new year and will likely embark upon another cross Canadian tour in the summer months.
Catch Power-Buddies as they play as a part BIG Winter Classic (which takes place at Broken City and Last Best Brewing & Distilling) on January 30th, 2016 in Calgary.AB, Alberta, BIG Winter Classic, BIG Winter Classic 2016, Broken City, Last Best Brewing & Distilling, Power Buddies