Interviewing the U of T band on their origins, sound, and next steps

Alexandra and the Strangemakers is a band made up of U of T students with a mutual appreciation for music — they’ve been making their way across campus, playing as many gigs as possible and sharing their sound with anyone who will listen. They stopped by The Varsity offices last week to chat about how they managed to come together, and their next steps as a band.

The Varsity: How did Alexandra and the Strangemakers originate?

Alex: I’ve been doing a lot of shows as a singer/songwriter, and then I came to U of T to study theatre, where I met Matt.
Matthew: I was the musical director of a production that was done last year in the UC Drama program of Hedwig & The Angry Inch… and I cast Alex as Yitzak, and it kind of went from there.

Alex: It’s been pretty much a full year of us together so far, which is exciting, but we pretty much all met in and around Toronto.

TV: What have you guys been doing recently as a band?

A: We just released our first EP, which is a collection of songs we’ve been working on together, so we’re really excited about that… We’re working on a full-length album now.

TV: What are the songs “Too Much” and “Nostalgia” about?

A: I wrote “Too Much” when I was 15, before I met any of these guys, and I was really frustrated with the way the people I knew were behaving. The line “the only things we see are the only things you show” is talking about the way people talk about themselves and the way people hold themselves in contrast with the way other people perceive them or how they actually behave. I was frustrated with teenagers being dumb, when I knew inside they’re actually good people.

M: [“Nostalgia”] is in the name; it’s about being nostalgic. I moved here three years ago…and I went back to where I used to live and there was this flood of memories that happened.

TV: What’s the hardest part about writing for the song?

A: Waiting for the song. Actually writing the song isn’t hard, but there are the moments in between where I feel so depressed because I feel like I’m never going to write a song again, and it’s about waiting for that inspiration to hit you.

TV: What makes the Strangemakers unique?

A: I would like to think it’s my lyrics; I would like to think it’s my voice, and I think as a unit we’re so strong and we’re so passionate… Tom and I have said that we want to make these songs sound like the shit. Am I allowed to swear?
M: I think the individual musicians are really unique, because we’ve all got really strange and interesting musical backgrounds. Tom and I were classical musicians at first, and I think you hear that in the sound, which I think is different.

TV: What are your future plans as a band?

A: [The album’s] a big thing, and I think it’s just about booking more shows, keep talking to more people… keep begging our moms and dads and friends to come out and see us play, and try to get the word out. But most importantly, we’re just going to keep on keepin’ on.

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