By Emily Corley
Sex with Strangers might be the most prolific new wave/post-punk band in Vancouver. With six albums and two EPs under their belts, the band decided to make a concerted return to their dark dance roots.
“I think one of the things we’re known for as a band is exploring a number of different genres,” says vocalist and keyboardist Hatch Benedict. “But this [release] was about trying to be a little more focused in our approach. We want to get back to a little bit of that dark dance thing that we used to do – a darker sound, but still trying to keep a bit of a dance groove. It has been, for us, almost the longest time between albums. We actually started getting a little antsy.”
For Sex with Strangers, the desire to revisit the melodic post-punk sound that defined their earlier albums was a big factor in the decision to release an EP as opposed to another album after 2016’s Discourse.
“We have enough songs for an album, but we didn’t want to wait any longer,” says Benedict. “And the tracks we’ve put together here all have a similar focus and feel.”
The band has been working closely with Jason Corbett, producer and ACTORS vocalist and guitarist, who has helped them hone their latest Bowie-inspired release.
“He’s worked on our last couple of records,” explains Benedict. “We’ll go into the studio with some pretty strong demos in place. But we go in with an open mind and he pushes us and asks us to experiment with different things. He’s right a lot of the time, and that’s what’s cool. He’s just so talented.”
Sex with Strangers have a somewhat experimental approach to recording their material. “We rehearse a basic framework for the ideas, but then we flesh them out, ideally in the studio,” Benedict says. “We finish a record and then we learn how to play the record.” The band’s next challenge is to translate this serendipitous rehearsal approach to their live shows, and they are working hard to make this a reality.
Sex with Strangers are a band who thrive on the opportunity to perform and Benedict talks animatedly about their upcoming second live show with new vocalist, Hayley Ray. They are hoping that Ray’s incredible skill and the resurgence of the dark groove will accomplish the impressive feat of getting a Vancouver crowd moving.
Sex with Strangers play their EP release show at The Rickshaw June 16.Rickshaw Theatre, Sex With Strangers