The Sextones Are Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter
Reno, Nevada’s own The Sextones are no strangers here at Okayplayer, as the family of “music renegades” have expertly executed soul riffs from coast to coast. Consisting of Mark Sexton (guitar / vocals), Alexander Korostinsky (bass), Daniel Weiss (drums) and Ryan Taylor (keys) — The Sextones have made indelible impressions upon stars and talents such as Ziggy Marley, renowned funkologist Alan Evans (Soulive) and Macy Grey.
Fueled by a lush and definitive sound, their latest effort, Moonlight Vision, has caught not only our attention, but music lovers of all different backgrounds. Through whetting the audiophiles’ appetites with songs such as “Drunk Off Your Love,” “Analog Girl” and “Can’t Stop” (which you can see the video for underneath) — The Sextones are easily giving you tunes to groove to for these hot + sticky summer months.
Fresh from their handful of festival performances, we were fortunate enough to talk with Mark Sexton, the band’s soulful vocalist, as he represented The Sextones as this week’s First Look Friday subject. We chat about the group’s obstacles, what made them tight-knit as a family and premiere the official video for their stand-out funk cut, “Can’t Stop”.
Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that those in music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?
The Sextones: We approach our music with an old fashioned mentality. We put a lot of thought and care into preserving what makes soul music great. It’s the human qualities, musicianship, emotion and attention to detail. We do lots of homework and with what we have learned we are carving our own path in the new soul movement, borrowing from the past but still trying to do something fresh and original.
OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?
TS: There is something powerful about hearing a raw live performance from your idols. It sticks with you forever. We as a band all have different influences, but we agree there is some inexplicable magic in certain live recordings. Some that we have listened to incessantly include: Tower Of Power Live at Ultrasonic Studios (1974), Stevie Wonder Live at Beat Club (1973), Donny Hathaway Live at the Troubadour, and some board mixes from D’Angelo’s Voodoo tour in 2000. Hearing them perform with nothing to hide behind. There is an incredibly high level of musical intuition you can hear, they know the right thing to play for the moment. These musicians are always playing the perfect part to best serve the music as a whole, not their ego. They never do anything half-assed, it’s all about the big picture.
OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?
TS: Starting out, we were just naive high school kids who wanted to make music that was different from what other bands in our hometown were doing. Back then it was all about having fun, and maybe impressing a few girls. We have had so many learning experiences together, and still learn new things as we advance into new territory. Sometimes we learn the hard way.
We still very much see ourselves as growing artists. It’s been a slow evolution trying to find our sonic individuality as we grew from kids to who we are now. We have our struggles, but the incremental growth we see reassures us we are on the right path. Once we reach a goal we shift our focus to the next hurdle. It’s been lots of hard work and seeing our music featured in the press is such a rewarding feeling after all these years.
OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police and racist occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe — how can your music (and/or others) help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?
TS: Music is a very powerful voice, and in these unstable times music definitely has a role in shaping the opinions and attitudes of the public. Historically, through our country’s most difficult moments has come the most beautiful and honest music. Music is a safe haven in hard times, but also it can ignite political and social movements. We aim to address social injustices but also troubles that are unique to the world that our generation lives in. We love that our music defies demographics and brings people together. As The Sextones grow to larger audiences, we have the responsibility to use our music as a positive influence.
OKP: What have been the most definitive obstacles that you’ve overcome in your career thus far?