The above lead photo provided to me by Mexican Slang is of frontwoman Annabelle Lee falling backward into a drum kit. It’s an appropriate image for one of the few young Toronto bands capable of knocking listeners on their asses.

The Toronto band has released five EPs and a terrific single, “Discourse,” each progressing in quality without shedding their early, extremely raw garage-rock sound. Speaking of raw, I found myself conducting only their second interview at this year's NXNE festival (with Lee and guitarist Nico Jestadt) dodging some nerves to decipher Mexican Slang.

If your lo-fi sound an aesthetic choice?

ANNA: It’s basically the limits of what can be done with what we have. But I generally, personally prefer a sound that is more raw and not overproduced. I want to make something that I would want to hear, if I were to discover a new band.

NICO: It doesn’t feel good playing music you hate.

ANNA: Yeah.

That’s not totally unheard of, though. I’ve met more than a few bands that clearly play a style of music they don’t actually listen to enough to understand.

ANNA: Most of what I listen to is within our genre, yeah.

MexSlangInsert.jpgWhat genre is that?

ANNA: Lo-fi is useful. Alternative rock. Some songs are punk, some a bit more noisy.

NICO: Doesn’t it say “dream-punk” on our Facebook?

ANNA: No it doesn’t!

Better than “nightmare-punk.”

NICO: I dunno. That sounds cool.

How many Mexican Slang songs are there?

ANNA: 26 have been released. Our live set is between six and seven.

I ask because the only other interview you guys have done made a point of how prolific you are.

NICO: Yeah, you’re always pumping ‘em out.

ANNA: I guess 26 songs in 10 months could seem like a lot. And there are a lot in progress.

Do you make it a point to write every day? I’m not of the opinion that this is a good idea.

ANNA: No. I’d like to. I could spend hours and hours of a few days, sometimes nothing will come for a week or two.

NICO: The least creative thing to do is to schedule your creativity.

I want to say that, among the hundreds of bands I researched for NXNE, you guys definitely stood out.

NICO: Why is that?

Maybe because you were surrounded by a lot of mediocre acts - stuff that wasn’t good, or bad, just easily ignorable.

NICO: That’s interesting. Was it the songs?

Or the energy. Have you come across a lot of similar-sounding acts in the city?

ANNA: Our friends’ (bands) who grew up with the same music as us.

NICO: We’ve made a lot of friends who play in bands that don’t necessarily sound like us, but we gravitate toward the same vibe. It’s definitely a small collective.

ANNA: [Laughs] Yeah.

What was the first positive feedback you ever got?

ANNA: The first positive reaction happened when I put out the first EP last August, and it came from (the band). I met them after it came out and they liked it so much, they wanted to play with me! The name was set, the first release was out, and the second was coming by the time we started rehearsing together.

How did the first show go?

ANNA: Really well.

NICO: I think it was the best one so far.

ANNA: It was the first show I played, ever, in my life. It was on my birthday. A lot of positive feedback.

How quickly did you settle on the name?

NICO: And what does it mean?

You’ll get asked what it means a lot ...

ANNA: [Long pause] Why does anybody care?

3 Comments | Add a Comment
i meant to pffffft the comment, not the interview.
^^^ pffffffft!
So, the ooh we're lo fi and don't want to sound overproduced is all well and good, but actually it's not good, because nobody can hear a damn word she is saying/singing. Producing a high quality recording is no longer expensive. There's no real excuse for lo fi fuzzy ambiguity other than to mask something. It's like the incense burning to cover up the smell of weed.
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