One thing you need to know about The Standstills: They don’t.
“Yeah, our band name is underselling what we do onstage,” admits singer-guitarist Jonny Fox, front half of the hard-hitting blues-rock duo. “But we think it’s better to undersell than oversell.”
That brings us to another thing you need to know about The Standstills: There’s a lot you don’t need to know. Like where they met and whether they’re a couple and blah blah blah. You want a backstory, write one yourself. Just make it good. ’Cause in an era of social-media oversharing and celebrity-selfie books, Fox and Couture want to put some much-needed mystique and unpredictability back into the rockroll. “We want to go back to basics,” he explains. “Back to when bands were rebels. It was supposed to be dangerous and not so safe, but still a lot of fun. We get that people want to know more. But we’d rather let our music speak for us.”
And it speaks volumes. Especially on their new EP From the Devil’s Porch, out INSERT RELEASE DATE on eOne Music Canada. Produced by James Robertson and mixed by Juno winner Eric Ratz, it’s the Oshawa twosome’s fourth, fiercest and finest release: A wicked six-pack of juke-joint hoodoo, British blues bombast, cowbell-thwack boogie and modern-rock swagger. It all comes anchored by Couture’s relentless thunder-wallop. Lashed by Fox’s monstrous riffage. Dusted with harmonica from Canadian blues icon Paul Reddick and organ from Arkells keyboardist Anthony Carone. And most importantly, topped with Fox’s wailed tales of riding with women from New Orleans, battling for your immortal soul and running from (or with) the prince of darkness.
You want to know more than that, give it a spin. You want to know more about The Standstills, here’s everything the sly Fox is willing to share:
They understand less is more.
“With these songs, we’re stripping away the fat. The stuff we did before was more progressive, more alternative,” he says of the band’s previous releases, which include their self-titled 2009 EP, their 2011 album Human Element and the 2012 followup Pushing Electric. “This time it’s more focused. Instead of putting every idea we had into a song, we have one idea and dig into it.
The Devil’s Porch is wherever you want it to be.
“I’m a big fan of lyrics that mean different things and make sense in different scenarios. So it’s all open to your own interpretation. Whatever you view it as, that’s what it is.
It’s all about the groove.
“That’s what we’ve learned from all the shows we’ve played and how we’ve seen crowds react. When we hit that groove and see everybody get locked in with us, that’s it. That’s exactly what we want to do and where we want to be. That’s doing it right. Hitting that groove and taking that simpler approach makes everything way stronger.
You’ll love them live. But maybe not as much as they do.
Fox admits he and Couture “love the stage. And when we have the right guy behind the board, the drums are the biggest thing ever, because there’s nothing else to fill that space. I would love to be on the other side of the stage to hear how big the drums and guitar sound. We pride ourselves on our performances and the dynamic energy. We let that energy take the songs where they need to go. We just need people to hear that.”
Sometimes they make out.
“It depends on whether it was a good show or not.”
Now you know.