By Breanna Whipple
CALGARY – Sharing a world in which musicians such as KISS, Van Halen, and Alice Cooper have all left their mark poses a challenge for modern artists – How do you create something unique enough to stand out amongst the stars? Though the answer remains ambiguous, the young minds behind Dextress, Calgary’s latest rock and roll creation, are close to cracking the code.
It has been seven years of hard work since guitarist Mark Janz formed the band at the shockingly premature age of 13, with beginnings extending earlier.
“I began playing guitar when I was 10-years-old, after finding an old nylon string acoustic in my grandfather’s basement. I tinkered with it for the summer until my parents got me an electric for my 10th birthday. I was actually interested in drums at first, which I began playing when I was seven. But the guitar was much more intriguing to me personally. It was expressive, it was versatile, and it was symbolic of excitement to me.”
Dextress’ self-titled debut showcases Janz’s extraordinary talent and ability to recapture the essence of the boisterous hair bands of the ‘80s. With an admiration for artists such as Eddie Van Halen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Steve Stevens dominating his youth, it is a no-brainer why the young rocker has his finger on the pulse. When it comes to his own taste translating within the rest of Dextress, the stars are fortunately perfectly aligned.
“All the members of Dextress come together in the common affinity for hard rock. While each individual loves this genre, we all also bring some diversity outside the Dextress sound. Our lead vocalist Eric Paulin is strongly influenced by Sebastian Bach of Skid Row and Ray Gillen of Badlands, and finds Elvis Presley an overall inspiration. Our bassist Reece Runco finds inspiration from Jesse Cook, Roy Khan, Beck, and the performance style of Mötley Crüe, while being very influenced as a bassist by Steve Harris, Michael League, and Geddy Lee. Our animal behind the kit Keith Runco is very much into death metal. He’s very passionate about Behemoth… and Benighted. His biggest influences as a drummer are Inferno, Jojo Mayer, and Tommy Aldridge.”
The 10 track debut packs a memorable punch adorned with powerful vocals, awe-inspiring solos, and anthemic choruses. Alluding to the stylistic semblance of artists such as Warrant and Skid Row, Dextress also offers up a modern twist that deserves to be the catalyst in steering contemporary rock and roll in the right direction.
“We wrote what felt right and sounded right to us, so the modern edge just came naturally due to our environment and whatever we may have been listening to at the time each song was written. The songs for this album were all written by myself and our former vocalist Jackson Taylor. It’s a very collaborative process, usually starting with a riff or chorus idea from me and some lyrics from him. All these songs were written between the ages of 14 and 18, which I think really gives the album a glimpse into the lives and growth of many teens of today.”
“We see the music business as exactly what it is… a business. In Dextress, we strive for professionalism. We pride ourselves on our organization and reliability.”
A bright future can be expected for the feathery haired quartet.
Dextress performs at their album release party October 6 at Distortion (Calgary) and October 7 at The Forge (Edmonton).Dextress, Distortion, the forge