Mystics: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Drunk-and-greasy fuckrock
File next to: The Cynics, Black Lips, Jay Reatard
Playing: Saturday, April 19th at Smiling Buddha (961 College St.)

From the smokestack shores of Hamilton come Mystics, high energy garage rock bathed in punk and booze. After a few years and a handful of releases (including a 45 on Boppa Do Down), Mystics have solidified themselves as guaranteed good time (and hangover). Featuring members of Hamilton greats Rocket Reducers and Sailboats Are White, they blend together their noise and punk pasts with a more traditional garage sound for a sweaty, energetic live show that will leave you dizzy and elated. Brendan Black caught up with singer/guitarist Matt Ellis this weekend to probe him about the Hammer.

Hamilton seems to churn out an inordinate amount of grainy goodness via loud bands, what do you think it is about the hammer that drives the city towards that sound?

Hamilton has always been Toronto’s snot-nosed bratty little brother. Lets not forget Hamilton brought the world Teenage Head, The Forgotten Rebels, and Simply Saucer. We have a really great rock’n’roll history in this city. I think we’re just trying to remind the big city that we ain’t that small and we got a lot to offer — and plus the drugs here are cheap, good and easy to get.

I hear tell that one of you (Matt) run a record store? Is there a very active record-buying community in Hamilton?

I run a record distribution called Loose Lips Records out of my friend’s shop, Hammer City Records. I focus on carrying garage, punk, psych and rock’n’roll. We have several record stores in Hamilton, most of which have been around for years. People buy records in Hamilton and all the shops do pretty well, I just wish people would buy more records in general.

I see Mystics has a 45 coming out in the fall, any travel plans to tour it around? A Toronto release show?

We will most likely do a Hamilton and Toronto release show and I’m hoping we can get out east for a few shows. It’s been a while since I’ve hit the road and I must say I do miss traveling in a van, eating lots of junk food, playing music and meeting new friends.

You seem to play in Toronto pretty regularly, any particular favourite spot?

Toronto has a lot of different venues, but the last time we played the Smiling Buddha, it was great. I will say that Hits and Misses was hands down my favourite record store. Pete is a great guy and I never left that place empty-handed. I wish more kids went to his store so he didn’t have to close it down.

Describe in gooey detail the best slice of pizza you’ve ever had.

When I was a kid, me and my buddies would meet up everyday after school, get stoned and head down to Vincent’s pizzeria for a $2.50 slice-and-pop combo. The crust was always crunchy, the cheese was always perfect, and the sauce had just the right amount of sweet to it. Every day we ordered pepperoni and cheese, a classic pairing. It was owned by a very nice elderly Italian woman who would occasionally give you a free slice if you were broke on that visit. Maybe it was the high school grade weed but that pizza was fucking fantastic every time.

Mystics play Smiling Buddha (961 College St.) on Saturday, April 19, as part of Wavelength #595.