Interview: The Dirty Mags

SCENEFEST: The Dirty Mags

Hours away from their late night set but enjoying the Festival, I sat down with vocalist Mike Kaminski and drummer Peter Gosling from The Dirty Mags for a chat during S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival. The band is currently based out of Toronto and has only been around for about a year, but they’re already on indie label White Girl Records and constantly playing shows.

Mike describes their sound as “grunge rock and roll with pretty melodies,” to which Peter adds, “Dirty beautiful.” They’ve heard some Strokes comparisons, but Peter indicates that they’re “not necessarily going for that,” and, though it’s nice, they don’t really want the comparisons.

Instead, they want to build their own reputation on their live show.

Mike describes their live show as “a manic, chaotic party.”

Peter follows, “Magic and chaos” and Mike adds, “With beer in the air.”

With only a couple songs available to stream on their MySpace, their live show is really the only way get a feel for the band. The guys must be doing something right, since they earned a slot at Edgefest as the Indie Online winner. After playing both CMW and NxNE and a whole slew of dates in between, the band is also travelling for another festival in September – Rifflandia. Not to mention Toronto’s Festival of Beer.

The band has been writing and working on new material, though. Mike says, “Up until now, it’s kinda been our guitarist who comes in with a skeleton and we’ll all kinda jam it out and I’ll write the melody and lyrics over it.” But now the band is trying to take an approach that means everyone brings a song to the table and they’ll hash it out together later.

As they continue to demo and work on new material, it’s really their live show that they’re focused on. Mike indicates that they’re looking to release an EP, but Peter says, “We’re making a name for our live show and then hopefully when the EP does come out, we’ve already got a little bit of backing.”

Peter comments on their recent busy schedule. “We’ve just been on the road for the last month, so we haven’t had any downtime to relax. It’s just been party, play music and meet people, networking, which has been great.”

Their networking and building of relationships is exactly what brought them to our chat in the first place. We sort of randomly ended up in the same place, as they were there to catch a set by pals in The Archives that we also happened to see. Supporting friends and bands they respect is something they think is important.

Peter describes it almost as a “barter system,” but thinks that, more importantly, supporting other bands is actually inspiring. He says, “I think everyone’s goal is the same goal at the end of the day. We’re not going to mention what that goal is, but that’s what we all want. That is what inspires us. Local Music. It’s so great to see other people that you know playing music and doing it well because that inspires you to want to do it as well.”

While they’re serious about their music, these guys know how to party too. When I ask about a drunk story, Mike says to Peter, “You must have some.” Peter then remarks, “I have too many.”

But then Peter comes up with a story. “We went up to Justin’s, our guitarist’s house. We were partying, we got wasted, doing some experimentation. I thought I could wrestle and take Mike down. So a good friend of mine rubbed me up with Vaseline to grease me up and I tried to take Mike down and he destroyed me. And, just for the record, I stand 5’5” and he’s about a foot taller than I am and he ruined me. And Justin, our guitarist, who is built like a brick shithouse, cinderblocks for hands, took down this asshole (points at Mike) way down. So I didn’t feel like such a goofball. It was good.”

Peter emphasizes, “But a friend of ours who’s not in a band, he just came out of nowhere with Vaseline and rubbed me all up like a bar of soap, so if he tried to squeeze me, I’d go up in the air.” By this time, I’m in hysterics at his excellent choice of words.

While Peter claims their shot of choice is probably Jameson (“If we’re going to drink, drink the good shit.”), Mike claims he’ll “drink whatever.” Peter then says, “We don’t really complain. Beggars can’t be choosers, you know?”

Peter ends with this final messages. “If we’re in your hometown/area, come drink a beer with us, hang out with us and watch us play. And then let us sleep at your house.”

Laughing a little, he adds, “We like sleepovers. We like to cuddle.”

The Dirty Mags will be celebrating the anniversary of their first show on July 26th. Although they don’t have anything in particular planned on that day (or perhaps there’s a secret party I don’t know about), the band will be playing on July 30th at the Silver Dollar. If you see them then, buy them shots!

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Categories: Interviews, S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival 2011


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