It’s been a steady focus forward for this talented group of guys from the start – Bend Sinister formed in 2001 and began playing as many bar shows as they possibly could in their hometown of Kelowna.
After relocating to Vancouver, selling out a four-song EP and acquiring a new drummer and guitarist, the band sought out producer Shawn Cole to put together what is now their first full-length album Through the Broken City.
“The band has always been sort of my pet project almost from high school days,” said the band’s frontman Dan Moxon during a recent chat.
“I graduated from high school in 2000, and that’s kind of when the band formed with all different members except for myself.”
There have also been line-up changes over the years.
“From album to album, there have always been different members and what-not. But this configuration – including the guitar and bass players – have been on the last four records, and our drummer has been on the last two. He’s the newest addition to the band, having been with us for almost three years now.
“But when you’ve been in a band for almost 20 years, there are a lot of people who have left the touring life to be maybe a lawyer, or a doctor or a professor,” he explained with a laugh.
In 2006, the guys switched labels to newly-formed sister division of Distort Entertainment, Distort Light.
After a few more changes to their line-up, Bend Sinister returned to the studio once again in 2008 in order to put together what was to become their second full-length album, Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers.
The EP Bend Sinister came out in 2007, and in 2012, the guys released On My Mind and Small Fame.
Their latest project, the aforementioned Foolish Games, was released earlier this year.
Moxon said as a kid he was put into the proverbial piano lessons.
“I kind of revolted against those because they were too structured with the typical Royal Conservatory. So around Grade six, I had a teacher that taught the whole class to play guitar with all of these Beatles and Rolling Stones songs. That’s what started my ambition to play music and we even started a little band in Grade six.
“We had a drum kit, bass and guitar in the class, and from there on I played jazz guitar in high school and got pretty into that world.”
He then ventured off to university to study film, but ultimately realized that music was indeed his main forte.
It wasn’t long before Bend Sinister came to be, and initially the guys had to work on defining their unique sound amongst a myriad of influences.
Initially, Moxon’s songs were a focus but a strong sense of collaboration would ultimately take shape when it came to crafting new tunes. “Everyone is taking part in the lyrical process and the arrangements of the songs as well.”
Moxon wasn’t singing right off the bat – the first couple of records were instrumentals.
“I just wasn’t comfortable being a singer, and I had never been a frontman,” he said of those early years. He did have some experience performing with a friend in a kind of Simon and Garfunkel, folk-style, singer/songwriter duo.
“Through singing with somebody else, I become kind of comfortable enough to start singing by myself,” he explained. But again, he didn’t see himself as a singer in his growing up years.
“I didn’t sing a single tune as a kid,” he said.
These days, Moxon has no qualms about hitting the stage with confidence and belting out the instantly engaging, alt-rock tunes the guys serve up so very well.
“To see the excitement and the appreciation is pretty rewarding.”
They have even toured quite extensively overseas, with stops in Sweden, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland and France.
Each time it was an amazing and creatively enriching experience as well.
“I absolutely love going to Europe – those are opportunities that you aspire to. You see other places, you get to perform and you can show your art to the world.”
In the meantime, Moxon is happy to be on the homefront with the guys doing what they do best.
“I’m happy to tour when the opportunities come around, but at the same time it’s more about the making of the music to me and having a comfortable lifestyle where I can keep being creative.”