Sexy Ester on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2013
photo by Nick Berard
Firmly establishing themselves in the Southern Wisconsin scene since forming in 2009, Sexy Ester is a Midwestern PoMo Blondie, mixing classic rock and New Wave into poppy melodies with synth hooks and a relentless beat. They cleaned up at last year’s Madison Area Music Awards, taking home eight trophies including Artist of the Year, Vocalist (Lyndsay Evans), and instrumentalist (Keyboardist Roscoe Evans). Their new release, “Monomania”, came out last month. We took a few minutes to talk with Lyndsay about the new album.
MI: So, tell me a little bit about how you guys all met?
LE: We all knew each other in our town before we came to Madison. I’m from Gratiot, Wisconsin. A tiny town. Adam (Eder, guitarist) and Brad (Schubert on bass) are from a town right over the border in Illinois. We met while he was in a goth/electronica band in high school. We just started writing songs together for ten years after that. We moved to Madison in 2002. We did acoustic stuff together and decided to start playing out live. We originally had a harmonica player and it veered towards classic rock. We’d already been in Madison for 7 years when we started Sexy Ester. But when we added the keyboardist (Roscoe, Lyndsay’s brother) it really pushed us in a New Wave direction. A little over a year and a half ago, our original drummer left to run for office and is now a District Attorney in Northern Illinois. Our new drummer, Jenna (Joanis), well, Adam describes her as adding an element of danger
MI: What were the bands that you connected on?
LE: We were huge Beatles fans, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who. It was later that we started to love the New Wave bands and we started getting compared to them a lot. Roscoe listens to the unknown bands and Ween, Brad likes Metallica. Everyone brings in different sort of styles. We never set out to be a New Wave band it just sort’ve happened. People started comparing us to Siouxsie, but I hadn’t really known those bands beforehand, so it really evolved without me even knowing.
MI: How did you get involved with Girls Rock Camp, and what does it mean to you?
LE: Beth Kille contacted me about GRC and asked if I’d be willing to be a coach. The first camp I coached a was a Ladies’ Rock Camp, and it was a blast! I couldn’t believe that these fearless ladies formed a band, wrote a song, and performed it in three days! It was magical for me. And GRC is that times 10. These young girls do the same thing in a week. It is so inspirational and motivational for me. I love every minute of it.
MI: In what ways has providing that instruction through GRC influenced you personally and professionally?
LE: I’ve met a lot of amazing women and girls. We’re sort of a community. I believe this is my third year with GRC and I had no idea how many great female musicians there were in Madison before that. That networking has opened doors for all of us, I’m sure.
MI: As an instructor for GRC, what advice do you have for aspiring young musicians?
LE: Don’t give up. Be yourself. Give it your all. And put on a show. Also, we are all here and willing to give advice. Anyone can contact me with questions. I’d be happy to share my knowledge and experience.
MI: What are the themes behind “Monomania”? Is there something that really connects the release together?
LE: A lot of the songs are about uniqueness and who you are and not being afraid of that. About finding yourself. One of the songs was inspired by a drag queen that I know. I did a call on Facebook asking people to message me about something that they always wanted to do, but never did. In the choruses, I list off all the different things that people wrote me. “Silver Shoes” is the name of it.
MI: What’s the title mean?
LE: It’s being infatuated about one thing. One of the songs on the album is “Spotlight” and the title comes from the lyrics of the song. Inspired by Rick from Local Sounds’ story when we first started playing out. It’s about someone who’s quiet and unassuming in person but transforms into a rock star onstage. And I hear that from people all the time, that I’m shy and introverted when I meet people, but when they see me onstage it’s a different person.
MI: What are you guys looking forward to over the next year?
LE: We’re going to play the WAMIs (Wisconsin Area Music Awards) on April 14th. We’re really busy right now which is awesome, playing every weekend and trying to get out of the city more. We played Chicago, Milwaukee, La Crosse, and trying to get into The Cities. This last year after our MAMA wins, people started to pay more attention to us and doors are opening up for us more.
MI: What bands are you listening to in your media player right now?
LE: Blondie, The Beatles, Lady Gaga.
The release party for Monomania will be at the Inferno in Madison on Saturday, March 30th. Baristacide and Tiger Clutch open the show. Lyndsay calls their stage set an “energetic live show. Fun. A mix of dance, rock, and pop. We have catchy hooks. We like to have fun.” It’s sponsored by Rökker Vodka and Max Ink Radio and will be hosted by Madison comedian, Alan Talaga.
Also Catch Sexy Ester on April 7th at the High Noon Saloon in Madison and find them in May at Bratfest.(2986) Page Views Sexy Ester Online:
• Website • Facebook • Wiki
CD: Monomania Record Label: Slothtrop Records