Sextile is back, baby. It’s been three years since the Los Angeles-based industrial goth rockers have released music, and their new LP, Push, promises to pick up right where their corpuscular, rambunctious sound left off. Longtime paragons of the LA underground scene, Sextile’s dirty, synthy EDM beats invigorated fans through the late 2010s– albums A Thousand Hands and Albeit Living present scraping, echoey soundscapes reminiscent of 80s darkwave. Following the tragic death of guitarist, synth player, and founding member Eddie Wuebben in October 2019, the band took a hiatus, during which members Brady Keehn, Melissa Scaduto, and Cameron Michel chose to focus on their own individual projects. However, the group has recently signed with Sacred Bones– a Brooklyn-based independent label representing artists among the likes of Townes Van Zandt and Föllakzoid– and plans to release Push in mid-September.
Push, which was recorded in Yucca Valley, marks a welcome sonic shift for the band: Scaduto and Keehn’s involvement in the local DJ scene inform the rhythmic soul of the album, which features faster BPMs, heart-thumping drum and bass tracks, and traces of trance music. Push is unequivocally a dance album. Squirmy singles “Contortion,” “New York,” “Crassy Mel,” and “Modern Weekend” tease the album’s acidic palette of gunky, pleasurable, dance-floor anthems. Ahead of the album release and upcoming performances across the West Coast this fall, FLAUNT chatted with members Melissa Scaduto, Brady Keehn, and Cameron Michel about Los Angeles, sobriety, and musical inspirations.
How was the creative process for Push different from A Thousand Hands and Albeit Living?
Melissa: a thousand hands was written in Brady’s sober living at the time with minimal gear & less experience. Albeit Living was written more as a band where we performed the songs live before recording them, in our friends basement. Push was made after years of being a band, collecting gear and generally being less broke and better musicians. I think now we have a better idea of who we are. Early sobriety years you are still trying to define yourself and just being young in general. With age comes confidence, and we care less and therefore are more free to experiment.
How did your projects apart from each other influence Sextile’s new music?
Melissa: Prior to Sextile's hiatus, I always wanted to be in the back playing drums in bands. I never thought of myself as a front person. But when we broke up, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to continue to make music but I couldn’t find anyone willing to write vocals to songs I had started to make so it was suggested I move to vox and when I saw at the S. Product shows that it was all the femme fans from Sextile in the front, I realized more than ever that it wasn’t just for me to evolve. It was for them too. I had gotten a letter from a fan explaining that once to me which made me cry and made me wanna stay in the front and never get in the back again! Now our music has female vocals and I think we are a cooler band cause of it.
“No Fun” is about a runaway teen trying to escape their town. Do you have any stories of rebellion from your teenage years?
Melissa: where do I start? I was born in NYC and when my parents divorced they moved us to Florida. My dad lived in this poor town in central florida, there was nothing to do but go to the mall and steal shit all day. I spent a lot of my teenage years running away from home, hitching hiking, stealing cars for fun and doing drugs. I ended up in juvie many times and then having to deal with the state of Florida court system. I had to grow up really fast, and this song was definitely written with that mindset and how I felt in that town.
What inspires you most about Los Angeles? What do you miss about New York?
Melissa: The weather keeps my head up. The audiences here are the most stoked audiences i have seen besides Mexico and France. L.A. gave me a new life and for that I thank her always.
NYC has a connective energy that we don’t get here - because in the subways, there is no class difference - We are all the same, on foot, on a bike. New Yorkers have an easier time talking to strangers than we do in L.A. There is something to be said about those who were born and raised in NYC. They truly are the realest. I miss having dates with the city itself. I’ve had some of my best adventures there and I miss her always. NYC is truly the American dream. A culmination of culture.
You say one of the criteria for the songs on Push are that you have to be able to dance to it. What are your favorite songs to dance to?
Melissa: UNDERWORLD BORN SLIPPY! Dare I say one of the best electronic tracks of all time!
Brady: Underworld - Two Months Off
Cameron: ABBA - Lay All Your Love on Me
What can we expect from Sextile in the future? What are you most looking forward to?
Melissa: Sextile will always change and evolve, and paint a new picture. I'm excited to be able to perform more for the world. It’s a privilege to preach and dance collectively. I will never get tired of it. It’s an honor.