City Sweethearts
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City Sweethearts

Band Rock Punk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"City Sweethearts"

Members of Toronto’s newest punk export, City Sweethearts, are explaining to me why they’re not a garage band. “Has anyone accused you of jumping in on the trend?” I ask. Yes of course, they say, even if their reasons qualifying them for exemption just sound like standard band semantics. But while they may get pegged as the former, they have plans to go above and beyond what most quintets have the creativity or energy to execute. Unlike the ongoing Mark Sultan copy-cat worship, these Sweethearts are a bluesy blown-out rock band, with throw-backs to a classic ‘50s Chess Records sound and tingy Studio-A recordings.
This is a small demo with global ambitions. After years of playing in local hardcore and punk outfits (like Riot 99, Vicious Cycle, Diemonds, Bad Choice, or Action) Vassil, Curtis, Andy, Terrance and Matt have shifted focus for a more challenging project. The chance to expand out of their comfort zone is refreshing. Naysayer aside, they aren’t copying anyone else; from all their reasons, this comes across as perfectly clear.

Can you introduce yourselves and what band you’re in?

Vassil: I’m Vassil, I sing in City Sweethearts

Curtis: I’m Curtis, I play guitar

Andy: I’m Andy, I also play guitar

When I listen to the band, your vocals sound sort of Ramones-ish, like a blown out rock n’ roll recording. But the rest of it sounds a mix between Jay Retard and riot grrrl.

C: That’s a first!

Gena: What’s going on with that?

V: In terms of vocals, I’ve been a drummer for 7 years, so this is the first time I’ve been singing

C: The thing is we’ve all been playing in very different bands. I used to play in Vicious Cycle, so I just played hardcore songs and Andy played [in] Action. It was all over the place, so doing this was a completely new experience for all of us.

A: When these guys approached me to place guitar I expected- like you said- Jay Retard sloppy garage. I knew Terr [Terrance] was playing drums so it was going to be cool to be playing in a band with him again after Riot 99 broke up. But then I was really surprised because, after Vicious Cycle broke up, Curtis started practicing pentatonics and Robert Johnson riffs. I went, ‘okay, I can do Chuck Berry riffs played really poorly.’ Then what kind of sold me on the band was that it was kind of bluesy…

It is really bluesy, but is that what you intended with it?

C: That is what I intended with it

V: For me, I didn’t expect it to be too bluesy, but more power pop. I always write songs but I’ve always been a drummer so it’s kind of hard for me to express some ideas.

G: Yeah, you get stuck behind the kit.

V: Yeah, so everyone writes it off. Me and Curtis started hanging out a lot when he came to visit.

C: Vassil would throw some riffs at me and… I would just put it all together, add some musicianship to it.

V: He came down one week and stayed at my place.

C: Back when I used to live in Sudbury.

V: I showed him some ideas, so we just went from there. I guess Curtis just really blues-im-afied it. And I wasn’t expecting Andy either, but it works out really well because we’ve known eachother.

A: We’ve all crossed paths so many times before, and I guess it was only a matter of time before we started playing together.

V: It’s working out really well. We just have to find our…

C: …niche…

A: We want to be seven bands at the same time

Well (sarcastically), how can you be seven bands at the same time when there’s 5 of you. You’d each have to…embody two and a half bands…

C: We both have two hands.

A: I can play the sitar and the keyboard at the same time. We’re pretty much like the Radiohead of garage punk rock. We just haven’t let that cat out of the bag yet […] This is retirement plan rock n’ roll.

Well, this is a really big shift. Vassil, you seem to be musically all over the place with the bands you play in, but the rest of you guys have played in mostly hardcore bands. Has anyone asked you if this garage punk thing is just you jumping on a trend?

A: If that was the case I probably wouldn’t have joined this band. There are so many bands like that now. The fact that there are so many bands, there are always really cool shows to play, otherwise….

C: In terms of garage bands, I think we’re a niche of our own. In terms of where we’ve come from and where we are now, we take that point of view and brought it in. But we don’t want to play garage stuff.

V: We’re not trying to be a garage band. We know how to play our instruments which is a lot different than people that just want to play minimalist stuff. We’re actually trying to take it a step further than that.

C: It’s an amalgamation of all sounds.

A: I was fully prepared to walk into this band playing with my eyes closed, and then ‘actually, whoa’ I have to re-evaluate how to play these songs. I’ve managed to scrap by cooping out on riffs for a really long time.

V: Everyone assumes that right away, but it’s the complete opposite of what we’re doing. They just take a listen to our music and go ‘alright, they have this sound’ but it’s an old sound.

So you don’t want to be known as a …[they all start to talk overtop of one another]

C: I love classic garage, but it seems to be the thing to do today, and what we’re trying to do is not be a garage band.

A: Between me and Curtis, when we come up with riffs, I always like bouncing ideas back and forth, it’s kind of cool to have sort of a muse. Like, ‘I’ve got this riff’ and ‘yeahyeahyeah do that do this!’ and ‘oh I’ll do this’ […] Curtis will come up with something that’s really bluesy and kinda southern sounding, and I will give it a bit of New York Dolls-y edge to it. By the time the finished product comes out it’s something totally fresh.

C: I like the fact that there’s no lead guitarist in this band too.

V: Obviously in the long run, in the big picture, I would like this band get to the point where we can be touring and putting out records with a good label that supports us. We’re at step one right now, we just started like 3 or 4 months ago.

Vassil, can I ask you about The Heart Attacks?

V: If you must

You moved to Atlanta in 2008, you came back, and you moved down again. That’s a big move to make twice in the course of the year. What was the decision that caused you to come back to Toronto?

V: I was working at Steve’s Music Store, in the Drum Shop. That was my first real job that funded all my self-destructive bullshit, and I kinda got tired of it. I was playing with Diemonds, but we were still starting out too. Started getting into a genre that I wasn’t into- heavy hard rock stuff- I dig it but I don’t want to be playing full time in a band like that. I came into contact with The Heart Attacks; I got laid off, around November-ish. I got in contact with them, and they needed a new drummer, they had just got off tour with The HorrorPops, Social Distortion….I gave it a chance. They were a band that had a label, a really great booking agency. I was like, ‘well, if I join this band, they’re got stuff going, and that’s all I want to do’. As well, I needed a change of scenery. Everyone that lives in Toronto, everyone knows you gotta get the fuck out of here.

G: Well, how can you widen your scoop if you just remain in the same city your entire life.

V: That was a big thing. The guitarist was like ‘if you’re serious, come down for a week’. I paid for my plane ticket there, tried out, they liked me. They dug me right away, and I could play the stuff they wanted me too. Within two weeks I had packed everything I needed to into a suitcase and moved there. It was rough for them, they had just got off tour and they had been in the band for a while and were going through the same thing; a lot of bad chemistry for the while.

Was there bad blood in the band before you got there?

V: Yeah, they had outgrown eachother, and everyone has there own kind of dysfunctions… I don’t want to elaborate on that.

A: I think we all know what that’s all about

V: I was sick of all that shit. I was just ready to fucking do it.

A: I played in a band that I cared a lot about, for awhile, and just gradually as the years go by, people just start disappointing you. And you lose the heart to do it anymore. It’s like, take a step back and do something totally new

V: I was pretty bummed out. I had just thrown myself out there, and stuff happens. We had a great demo, were supposed to go on tour for two months and then record in L.A. for Hellcat and tour with Eddy and The Hotrods. Within a week, egos clashed. I said ‘fuck this’, there was no reason why I should be there unless I’m playing in this band. So that’s why I moved back so suddenly. It worked out, I got myself together. Then I meet Curtis, and I started talking about the band I want to be in with the people who have been through everything. I don’t regret it at all, it was a good time. I met a lot of people and got to tour through the States a lot. At least now I’m in a band I really want to be in.

For more from City Sweethearts visit

- Sound Pollution Magazine - Gena Meldazy


I'm a Mess 7'' (Red Lounge Records)

Sleeping Through Modern Time LP (P.Trash Records) available in Jan.2010



Formed in downtown Toronto early 2009 with the intentions of playing good fun catchy rock n' roll and punk, taking influences from all of our musical backgrounds. Band members have played and toured in renowned bands such as Riot 99, Vicious Cycle, The Heart Attacks, Marvelous Darlings ect. and plan for this band to succeed them all. What set's us apart is that we have a true passion for what we play and know how to play our instruments unlike alot of bands these days. We play it with heart and have fun with it. Our songs are about things everyone can relate to and no bullshit