Sex on Toast are bringing their energy and tenacity to QMF

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Sex on Toast are bringing their energy and tenacity to QMF

Sex on Toast are an irrepressibly charming 10-man organisation who specialise in raw early ’80s funk, hard-edged new jack swing, blazing improvisation and heartfelt blue-eyed soul. Angus Leslie, front-man of the Melbourne band, amidst preparing to tour, has taken some time to chat to us about all things Sex on Toast.

Leslie reveals the band’s third EP, ‘Rough,’ is getting ready for release with its first single, ‘4U’, currently already released and available to for listening. This album is the second of their two-part ‘Rough & Ready’ series, a recording that is taking longer than expected to come together and according to Leslie, “it is all killer, no filler”, but promises to open up a new direction for the band.

The track-list in ‘Rough’ contrasts against ‘Ready,’ released in 2016, which Leslie says saw “the joyousness of a large band playing exuberant funk music, albeit with somewhat of a wink.” It had bright, lively sounds: horns, piano, and live instrumentation. Costume-wise, the band wore what they call their ‘the white look’, to compliment the sounds, and to create a hyper-real space on stage, preparing the audience subconsciously for what they would hear. In comparison, Leslie explains that ‘Rough’ is their ‘dark look’. “The record is more ‘fake sounds’: programming, less instrumentation, drum machines,” he says.

Sex on Toast have performed across Australia at events such as Woodford Folk Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Apollo Bay Music Festival, St. Kilda Festival, and the Brunswick Music Festival, as well as sharing the stage with luminaries such as Internationally acclaimed comedian Neil Hamburger (USA), Hiatus Kaiyote, The Barons of Tang, Kate Miller-Heidke, Kirkis, Vaudeville Smash, The Bombay Royale and countless others, proving to have experimented in all tastes and styles.

The band have had multiple genres attached to them physically over the years too, including funk, jazz, synth and ’80s rock, with Leslie refusing to be ‘packaged’ (“to use that rather cynical term”) as exclusively one genre, not wanting to give the audience false expectations. “Say, call yourself a funk band… and then the audience comes see you play weird noisy synth-metal,” Leslie laughs.

Already planning for the next album after ‘Rough,’ he is hopeful for a sound like something out of the ’70s or early ’80s. “I want big choruses, big vocal harmonies, big horn sections. Orchestrated funk,” he explains.

Leslie’s taste in music is necessarily discerning, although he tends to appreciate older music, not because of the cliché ‘they don’t make them like they used to bullshit’ (according to Leslie), but because he subjectively likes the sounds of the era, its strange guitar moments which “sound like a mixture between a synthesizer and an elephant.”

The energy and tenacity that make Sex on Toast undeniable is what sets them apart, and the approach the band takes towards audience inclusion—and participation is regarded as an integral part of their performances, seeking to acknowledge them and create a shared energy. Even if this sometimes leads to strange experiences — like a man who kept trying to offer them a hat – in their opinion, a great crowd contributes to a great show.

When & Where: Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff – November 24 – 26

Written by Brianna Courtney Bullen