Safe Sax, an eight-member ska band formed by MacEwan music students, released their first EP “Practice Makes Perfect” at the beginning of January.
The group had been creating music together for about a year before their debut album release.
At first, their band name started out as a joke between horn players, but eventually, the meaning morphed into something a little more serious.
“It started out as more of a meme and we chose it because it was funny in our eyes, but now it’s starting to become this mantra that we pursue,” said Alex Bauer, the band’s guitarist.
Bauer started forming Safe Sax through networking with other music students at MacEwan, such as Katie Chapman, their trombonist and Leela MacDonald, their lead vocalist.
“The thing about MacEwan is that the quality of talent in that school is impeccable. It’s kind of hard not to start a band, especially when you’re friends with everybody that you go to school with,” said Bauer. Chapman was new to the ska genre when she was introduced to the band by Bauer.
“It’s just great music that gets me moving. I listen to it in the morning to help me try and get out of bed. I’m really enjoying it and I’m so thankful to Alex for bringing me into this,” said Chapman.
According to Bauer, Chapman has been doing a great job so far with all the new content he has given her at practices, which involves a lot of experimental jamming between the eight members.
“Band practices are freakin’ wild. Having all this great energy with everybody, it’s insane. I love it so much. Everybody’s just a ball of fire,” said Bauer.
The band’s EP includes three high-energy songs with charismatic vocals from MacDonald and a rap from their keyboardist Tanner Reid. It perfectly captures the carefree, mischievous and creative spirit of ska. By listening to it, it’s easy to tell how much fun the band has together while practicing and performing.
“[Ska is a] very happy, easily danceable genre full of optimism and love and peace. The idea around ska is that everyone is welcome, everyone is there for a common cause,” said MacDonald.
In the future, Safe Sax is looking forward to safely practicing together again, playing at festivals and busking in the summer. They are confident that a full horn section in popular busking spots such as Whyte Ave would be awesome for Edmontonians to see. In the meantime, the band is working on new ways to create visual media and advocate for sexual health.
“Our message is Practice Safe Sax. [We want people to] be safe and know that we can’t wait to see them [when we can perform]. It’ll be a massive party, dude,” said Bauer.
Safe Sax looking forward to performing live and working towards advocating for local non-profits that encourage safe sexual health.
Follow them on Instagram @safesaxska or catch them on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.