Kangaroos, koalas, throwing another shrimp on the barby – it’s all in a day’s work for Mikey Bwickers.
All right, that’s not true at all. But, the 27-year-old Montreal musician is currently touring Australia with the latest incarnation of Mixylodian, the frenetic, analog synth-pop band he started in 2007.
Last year, when Aussie indie act Aleks and the Ramps toured eastern Canada, Bwickers drove them around in his 1979 Dodge van. To return the favour, they invited Mixylodian down under.
Only Bwickers could afford the trip, so the Ramps offered to learn all of the band’s songs to back him up.
“We’ve been playing two sets a night – one as Mixylodian and one as Aleks and the Ramps,” Bwickers wrote in an e-mail from “some sort of brick bunker” in Melbourne, Australia. “There’s an elaborate costume change in the the middle that masks their identities, so as to avoid conflict of interest.”
Ditching one’s bandmates might be weird for most bands, but it’s just another part of Mixylodian’s evolutionary process. What began as a solo side project has, at various points, been a nine-piece horn and string collective, a five-piece boy-girl pop ensemble, a four-piece boy band and a two-piece dance duo.
“The Canadian band has always been a kind of rotating roster of friends and lovers. Everyone who has ever played in Mixylodian… are some of the most amazing, lovely people I’ve ever met.”
Bwickers describes the music as “kinda like if you threw a dozen ‘70s keyboards down a really echoey well, but then alternately, kinda like a post-apocalyptic desert island prison where one is forced to dance all day and all night to survive.”
The songs are Bwickers’ attempt at creating something that’s more accessible than the music he wrote right after the dissolution of his last band, Dorian Hatchet, in 2006.
According to a 2008 article in Nightlife magazine, Bwickers developed a reputation in Montreal for being intensely devoted to practicing and writing music that was “just for music’s sake” that “did not pander to the audience.” Mixylodian is his way of breaking from that approach.
When asked about it, though, Bwickers’ answer is short.
“I make weird music. Sometimes I try to make less weird music.”
Whatever the case may be, Mixylodian are doing something right. In addition to opening for the likes of Xiu Xiu and the Sunparlour Players, the group has earned rave rave reviews from The Montreal Mirror and The National Post.
Bwickers is currently planning the full-length follow-up to last year’s debut EP, K.
“The Ramps and I are recording half of it while I’m out here, just for poops and giggles.”
When he returns to Canada, Bwickers will tour back to Montreal under the Mixylodian name. He’ll play the Lo Pub at the end of July.
“I’ll be playing solo, with lots of Game Boy beats and sing-songy backing tracks,” he promised.
And what else can Winnipeggers expect from the show?
“When I play live, my face scrunches up and my feet do dance moves that I am completely unaware of at the time.”
Published in Volume 63, Number 29 of The Uniter (July 16, 2009)