Sexy Ester has been a mainstay of the Midwestern music scene for a long time. Hard-rocking, adventurous, and never content with being mediocre, Sexy Ester has continually pushed the envelope of the hard-rock sound into new, bold, areas. I st down with the band to talk with them about their successes, their past, and present, and their most recent album, Monomania.
(Evan Almeida): Sexy Ester recently won a number of awards from the Madison Area Music Awards – notably the ‘Alternative Album of the Year’, ‘Alternative Performer of the Year’, and ‘Alternative Song of the Year’. What do these awards mean to you? Do they act as a sort of validation of your musical ability, or are they more “nice, but unnecessary?”
(Lyndsay Evans – Singer): Well, they are definitely nice. The whole event [the MAMA Awards] is a charity to raise money – to put instruments into the hands of children – and we try to help with that. Winning is nice, you are voted on by your peers, and by fans. To know that people are rooting for you, and that they like your stuff, is great.
(Paul Kennedy – Drums): In some ways it [the awards] are validation that our hard work has paid off. Winning ‘Album of the Year’ was really cool to me.
(Roscoe Evans – Keyboards): It’s helped us along the way, to be sure, the awards help us get into new places. Bigger, and bigger, shows- that we may not have been able to play otherwise.
(LE): That’s true! New people find out about us, or hear about us, because of our MAMA Awards and it opens doors for us.
(EA): At this point in your musical career, you are pretty well established. However, who were your influences when you were just starting out?
(PK): Led Zepplin, for me, John Coltrane, any of the Phil Spector stuff, Cheap Trick, and The Police.
(LE): The Beatles. From a vocal standpoint, I would have to say Freddie Mercury, Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson. In terms of helping define our musical stylings, the new-wave bands helped a lot.
(Adam Eder – Guitar): Blondie, for sure! The Cars, Talking Heads, White Stripes, Nimbus, Michael Jackson, Cap’n Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters.
(RE): Ah, I was going to say The White Stripes, you took mine. Growing up I listened to a lot of Pink Floyd, I was into Radiohead in high school, I like a lot of the ‘fun’ stuff too, the B-52’s, Presidents of the United States of America – I actually started listening to music because of them, so always credit the band.
(Brad Schubert – Bass): For this band [Sexy Ester] I try to channel Weezer meets Michael Jackson, and I try to follow those bass parts – something that is simple, but has a groove to it
(EA): Sexy Ester has an interesting dynamic, there are siblings in the band, there’s a marriage …
(AE): Married siblings?
(EA): Trust me, I remembered to put a comma in the question, just for that clarification. But, does this dynamic ever cause tension in the band?
(LE): Roscoe, and I, get along pretty well.
(RE): I actually think that it helps keep us going as a band.
(LE): Yeah! I mean, we’re already related, so it’s not like we are going to break up, or anything. Adam [Eder] and I will occasionally pull the marriage card … to get the other person to do something [laughs]. Do you guys think that there is tension because there is a married couple in the band?
(BS): No! I actually think that it’s kind of cool. It adds another level to how we interact with each other.
(EA): All three of the albums that Sexy Ester has released have been EP’s. Was that intentional?
(LE): Actually we did release one full length album back in 2009.
(AE): Get Your Love On. It was our very first one.
(LE): We ended up going in a very different direction with our music.
(AE): Yeah, we put the name “Sexy Ester” on it, but at that point we were really a different band. So we really only have the three, main, Sexy Ester albums. We try to keep the number of tracks low, mainly so we can keep putting out music faster, going into the studio every year, it’s something that we keep in mind while recording, so we can get the music out quicker.
(RE): Also, when you put out a longer album, tracks tend to get overlooked; when the album is shorter, people tend to pay more attention.
(EA): Your latest album, which one the Alternative Album of the Year Award, was titled Monomania. What inspired the name of the album?
(LE): It’s actually a lyric from one of the songs on the album, “Spotlight”. That song is about a female singer who transforms. She is quiet, and unassuming in person, but then she transforms into this ‘rock diva’ on stage.
(EA): That’s the impression that I got from listening to Monomania. The songs seem to reflect the theme of someone having a single fixation, and having an otherwise sound mind. I thought that the theme was best expressed on the opening track, “Holding On”. I was wondering if you wrote towards the theme, during the production of the album, or if that was something that occurred organically?
(LE): The lyrics did happen organically! But, we did notice a theme of being yourself, being who you are, loving yourself. It’s really what songs like “Red Shoes”, “Spotlight”, and “The Hotness” are about. They are all very empowering songs, celebrating individuals.
(EA): What are your plans for the future?
(LE): We are writing right now, working on our next EP.
(AE): We are hoping to start recording our next EP in the fall. We’ve kind of been pulling back on shows right now – more so than we have done in the past – to focus on writing. It’s been over a year since we released the last album, and we would like to really focus on getting the next one out.
(EA): Thank you for your time.