Interview with Dextress guitarist Mark Janz

INTERVIEW WITH DEXTRESS GUITARIST MARK JANZ
Date: June 20, 2017
Reviewer: Olivier

BACK IN SEPTEMBER 2014, I DISCOVERED A GROUP OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO HAD A BAND CALLED DEXTRESS WITH A FANTASTIC FOUR SONG EP CALLED ‘THE DEMO.’ FAST FORWARD TO SUMMER 2016 AND THE FOURSOME WERE IN THE MIDST OF RECORDING THEIR DEBUT FULL-LENGTH ALBUM WITH RENOWNED PRODUCER GLEN ROBINSON (ANNIHILATOR, GWAR, VOIVOD). ONE YEAR LATER, GUITARIST MARK JANZ IS THE LONE MAN STANDING FROM THE GROUP THAT RECORDED THAT RECORD, WHICH HAS YET TO BE RELEASED. WANTING TO GET SOME ANSWERS, I CONTACTED MARK WHO GRACIOUSLY AGREED TO DO AN INTERVIEW FOR SLEAZE ROXX.

Sleaze Roxx: One thing that caught my eye was that since I spoke to you three years ago, it looks like you’re the lone man standing from that line-up. So I am wondering what happened to your former bandmates?

Mark Janz: Well, Chris and Marcos — we’d just finish recording our album in Montreal [Quebec, Canada] with Glen Robinson and about the week we got back, they came up to us to both Jackson and I, and said something basically along the line that they love music and they really enjoy playing it but it’s not something that they see themselves doing as a career for their life. And so, obviously, you know, it was a  bit of a shock but we came to terms just like, “You know what? That’s alright. If that’s not the path you want, then we can go our separate ways and so that’s what happened there.

Sleaze Roxx: Before you go any further, I know you guys were recording your album with Glen Robinson. So what happened with that album then since those two guys announced their departure soon after?

Mark Janz: That album is still set to be released later this year.

Left to right: Mark Janz, Christian Garcia, Marcos Rodriguez and Jackson Taylor

Sleaze Roxx: Oh! Great!

Mark Janz: Yeah. It’s still them playing on it of course. We’ve done some contracts and legal stuff regarding that. Everything is good to go. So the album will be released later this year and it’ll just be a different touring band pretty much [laughs].

Sleaze Roxx: OK [laughs]. And during the recording of the album, did you have any idea that you would be getting those news at the end?

Mark Janz: Not, not at all. I was very shocked, as was Jackson. But it didn’t hinder me as much as you’d think just because it was summertime you know. We didn’t have a lot of shows coming up after that album was recorded so I kind of took a step back and it was easy for me to evaluate and to say, “You know what? We have time to find replacements.” And things like that. It was definitely a surprise but it wasn’t extremely uncomfortable if that makes sense.

Sleaze Roxx: And frankly, when I had interviewed you guys three years ago, it seemed that you and Jackson had sort of grown up on the music that you were playing but the other two guys really hadn’t. Would you agree there?

Mark Janz: For sure. Yeah, for sure. You know what, Chris and Marcos — the Dextress genre was not necessarily the genre that they listened to on the bus or at home but they both said many times that they really enjoyed playing it. But yeah, it just wasn’t their genre of choice which I don’t believe would have had a huge impact on their decision. It might be. I don’t tick their psych that much [laughs].

Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough.

Mark Janz: They both said many times that they enjoy playing it.

Sleaze Roxx: How was it working with [producer] Glen [Robinson]?

Mark Janz: Oh, Glen is amazing. He’s a genius. He’s got so much experience. He’s a very humble guy too. He’s very personable. We felt like friends at the end of it. Within the first few days, I felt close to him. H’s worked with amazing artists from Keith Richards to David Bowie. He’s mixed things like Bon Scott era AC/DC live stuff, which is pretty awesome. You know, you can imagine walking into that studio and he’s got Queensrÿche’s ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ gold record on the wall. It’s a little intimidating at first.

Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] Sure. And how many songs will you have for the new album then?

Mark Janz: We’ll have every song from ‘The Demo’ except “Under My Skin” will be on the record. And that leaves — and then we have a few of the singles that we have released in the past. So I am saying that we have a good five or six new songs I think off the top of my head.

Sleaze Roxx: Do you have a target date when the album will be released?

Mark Janz: We don’t have a definite date yet. What we plan to do is we want to release a few more singles here over the summer. We’re thinking that if all goes according to plan, we’re looking at around a fall release.

Sleaze Roxx: And why did it take so long for the album to be released because I believe that you recorded back in May 2016, correct?

Mark Janz: Yeah. It took a while to be released just because like we said, as we got back, it was more the mastering process so a lot of e-mailing back and forth. During that time, we were seeking out new members and things like that, and trying to arrange for billings and shows and all that stuff. I say it took a long time because there was a lot of work going behind it on the band line-up side as well as making sure we have the right preparation to release an album, which came to a surprise to me because I didn’t know how much exactly went into putting out another album — whether you’re an indie band or the Rolling Stones. There was a ton that I didn’t know about that goes into releasing an album so it’s been a lot of business admin and all that stuff. So that is where the majority of the time taken has been.

Dextress performing “Red Eye Remedy” at the Stampede Talent Search in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on July 6, 2014:

Dextress performing Red Eye Remedy | Stampede Talent Search 2014

More information available at http://stampedetalentsearch.com SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/stsyoutube Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stampedetalentsearch Twitter: http://twitter.com/stampedetalent More videos from the Stampede Talent Search: http://youtube.com/stampedetalentsearch

Sleaze Roxx: How did you find Eric [Paulin] to be in the band?

Mark Janz: Eric Paulin, well… I always knew Eric back when we were the original line-up of Dextress. He was, as you probably know, was in Lucid Scream here in Calgary [Alberta, Canada]. He reached out to us. He said, “Hey, you guys. I dig your sound. Would you want to maybe do a show together sometime?” And obviously, at the time, we were like, “Sure” but we’re all 16 so we can’t really get into a bar.

Left to right: Eric Paulin, Jackson Taylor and Mark Janz

Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]

Mark Janz: So we held off on doing a show together until I was 18 as I was the last to go. But by then actually, Lucid Scream had disbanded. So for a while there, we didn’t hear from Eric at all until we needed a new bassist. And we contacted Lucid Scream’s old bassist Zach Mansfield and he referred us to Eric, which surprised us because, first we thought that Lucid Scream has accomplished so much more than Dextress so we were surprised that maybe, he wanted to audition for us; and, second off, he was an amazing frontman and we were surprised that he wanted to jump in on the bass. But he did and it has worked out really well.

Sleaze Roxx: Alright, so Eric joins the band and I guess it took you a little while longer to find a drummer.

Mark Janz: Yeah, it did. We went through a few fill ins. We did some auditioning but no one felt like our drummer. You know? No one felt like that until we got this e-mail from this guy in Edmonton, Alberta [Canada]. His name is Keith Runco who’s in an awesome band up there called Alterra who had disbanded recently and he said, “Hey! I’d like to come down and jam.” And to our surprise again, wasn’t just because Alterra had accomplished so much more. We were surprised that he wanted to make the three-hour drive to come jam. But yeah, when we played with him, immediately I thought he just clicked perfectly — personality wise and playing wise.

Sleaze Roxx: So that takes us to March [2017] when there was a surprise announcement that [lead vocalist] Jackson [Taylor] was stepping down but it was indicated that it was temporary. So what was happening there?

Mark Janz: Well, just like on the Facebook page says, Jackson is taking some time for personal reasons. There’s no fighting. He’s not in rehab or anything. There’s absolutely no bad blood there. We’re all supportive of him. I talk to him a lot still. It’s just — you know what? It’s just time he needs to take just realizing that the band was a little bit of a burden on what was going on in his life but all of us, we sat together and we said, “You know what? We support you. It’s probably the best thing for you. And you know what, he might come out and maybe give more details about it at a later date but that’s his story to tell and not mine.

Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough. Well, so where I thought that perhaps it had become a permanent thing is that you announced that you had a new bassist by the name of Reece who I assume is your drummer’s brother perhaps or relative?

Mark Janz: Yeah! It’s our drummer’s brother. We met him ’cause he was actually our guitar tech for our Edmonton shows. And he’s in this really awesome guitar duo called Bardic Form — all acoustic. I was really impressed with their stuff. And Keith was saying, “You know what? Reece will fill in with us for a few shows since Jacks stepped down and Eric stepped up to the mike. And then after that, just seeing as while we believe that Jacks, it’s a temporary leave, it might still be a little bit further down the road that he comes back, we figured, “You know what? We’ll take Reece in for this time here, for whatever touring and promo and things like that.”

Sleaze Roxx: So does that mean that Eric right now is just a temporary frontman?

Mark Janz: Yeah. Eric is our temporary frontman right now.

Sleaze Roxx: And had you thought that given that you have pretty much a new line-up at this point, had you thought of re-recording the parts of your former members, of the people that are currently away, and just having the new guys put in their parts instead [on the upcoming album]?

Mark Janz: Ummm. It hadn’t been discussed. Keith, Reece and Eric — basically with the album being what it is, they kind of see it as Dextress at that chapter and they don’t necessarily want to mess around with that. Like Eric said he doesn’t want to put his vocals where Jacks should be or Keith or Reece or whatever. So this line-up, as far as recording and things like that, we’re thinking more in the future as far as that goes.

Sleaze Roxx: When can we expect your next single to drop?

Mark Janz: I don’t want to give a specific date just in case anything changes but we’re looking at in the very near future — within maybe a month or two.

Sleaze Roxx: Obviously, with the album slated to be released in the fall, what are your plans after that?

Mark Janz: After that, we plan on really pushing the promo of the album. We want to really get people listening to it. We plan on doing a few release shows in Calgary and Edmonton, and just neighbouring cities if we can. Because it will be close to winter by that time, touring — as many local bands will tell you — touring in the winter is not necessarily a blast.

Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]

Mark Janz: So we might end up doing more weekend warrior style gigs. So just being down in southern Alberta [in Canada], we’ll probably do a Thursday to Sunday of say Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton and Lethbrigde — something like that.

Dextress featuring Mark Janz and Eric Paulin playing acoustic version of “Wild Is The Night”:

Dextress – Wild Is The Night (Acoustic)

‘Wild Is The Night’ from the upcoming debut album performed live and acoustic. Album version out now. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/wild-is-the-night-single/id1240792142 Debut album from Dextress coming in 2017!