Ask Kohji Nagata and Josh Awerbuck of The Maladies of Adam Stokes what their influences are and they’ll shift their focus to the
The two sit on the patio at Spacco in mid-June.
Awerbuck is a Yonge and Eglinton denizen, while Nagata hails from North York. Their relationship can be traced back to middle school, and their friendship to their days at William Lyon Mackenzie CI.
They come from very different backgrounds, but Nagata admits that’s what unites them, as well as the four other members of the band: Michael Hill, Emily Anderson, Ted Turner and Brett Harris, an Avenue Road and Lawrence native.
“I think that as far as influences are concerned it’s important to know how the band came together, because Mikey [Hill] and I were in a hardcore band, or semi-hardcore, before this,” Nagata shares.
Hill, a doctor at the Hospital for Sick Children, joined up with Nagata in 2009 to start The Maladies of Adam Stokes.
Nagata and Awerbuck spoke with the Town Crier about their show at North By Northeast at the Tranzac Club, and their work-in-progress sophomore album.
The sextet comes from varying backgrounds. Awerbuck is influenced by Brit-pop, Nagata by pop-punk, Harris by metal and Hill by art rock.
“There are still those times where we come together and write a song in 15, 20 minutes,” Awerbuck admits. “Then there are times when we rewrite a chorus a dozen times and you’re still not happy with it.
“Eventually you get it because of those different influences.”
Together, the band channels the sounds of Band of Horses, Mogwai with a little Kathleen Edwards and the Constantines.
“That’s where the whole mellow, laid back feeling comes from, because we just kind of wanted to find a place where we all fit,” Nagata said. “Nothing too aggressive and nothing too ridiculous.
“It’s just easier to layer different types of sounds on this kind of music than it is on say, hardcore, dance or something like that.”
After NXNE, the troupe gets back to work on the next album in their discography.
There’s no working title, but Nagata and Awerbuck say it will be a departure from their November 2012 release, City of Trees.
And as for that nagging question about the origins of the sextet’s band name, the diagnosis came from Hill’s studies in cardiology.
“Back in the early days of medicine there were these two doctors named Adams and Stokes, who pioneered cardiology,” Nagata offers. “They wrote this book of different heart diseases, and in Mikey’s studies — he didn’t see the book itself but it was mentioned in passing — it was called The Maladies of Adams-Stokes: Affairs of the Heart.
“We felt that was a pretty poetic title for a book about heart disease, and so we thought we’d take that title.”