Productivity is a challenging feat during the current lockdown: balancing essential jobs and excess amounts of time with the motivation to create something might be something of a foreign task, but it’s achievable with persistence.
Just ask three members of the Guelph-based folk-punk act Mac N’ Sleeze, who’ve just released “3 of the Sleeze in Quarantine,” a new album produced from the home they share. They continued to create music while maintaining social distancing from other members of the band.
The album was the work of banjo player/vocalist Cody James McDusa, Caleb Adams (mandolin, vocals) and Brian Waugh.
For people that aren’t familiar with the folk-punk genre, McDusa describes it as “angry folk music, punk music with bluegrass instruments.”
When speaking about the band’s sound specifically, fellow member Adams says “we play simple things on funny instruments, fast.”
Fast is an accurate way to describe the pace of the band’s music, with all eight songs on the new album totaling to less than 13 minutes, the average track is just above a minute and a half.
The band’s influences range from standard folk-punk acts like AJJ and The taxpayers to rap from Atmosphere’s label, Rhymesayers Entertainment. The latest album displays a variety of themes, emotions, and feelings the band has been feeling throughout the current quarantine: “there’s some stuff about depression and stuff, but then there are also songs about drinking and having fun with your friends. And we wrote a song about wanting snacks.”
Within the group there are four songwriters, though there is surprisingly little clashing.
“We usually bring it forward. And it’s, like, ‘here’s my song, these are the chords,’ and then just let everyone else write their own parts,” explained McDusa. “But then every now and then there are those times where it’s like, ‘oh, it’d be cool if we did this-and-this part,’ throwing in little ideas and try and build it a bit together.”
The variety of writing makes for a diversity of sounds, perhaps making their music accessible to a wider audience. McDusa and Adams recommend starting off by listening to their track Doodoo or one of Caleb’s tracks for someone more interested in rap.
A much easier way to dive into their music would be to “come to a show and come party” they say, “but we can’t do that,” acknowledging the lockdown.
To pass the time, members of the band who live together have been jamming, playing covers. They have also taken part in a couple of live streams to make up for the concert environment they are missing from their lives, an experience that Adams calls strange. “Yeah, it’s definitely weird – a little getting used to playing into a corner right? You’re just screaming into a corner as though there was someone listening to you. Yeah, it’s weird.”
That aid, it’s the closest to a live performance available to bands just now, and perhaps for months to come.
The new albums, “3 of the Sleeze in Quarantine.” is available to stream on the band’s Spotify. Live stream information can also be found on the Mac N’ Sleeze Facebook page.