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Keeping up with Alex Korostinsky

Anthony Contini

Photo by Anthony Contini

Alex Korostinsky is a busy man.

Since helping to create the Mark Sexton Band in 2006, he has worked to improve musically and take advantage of the group’s ever-developing momentum. Korostinsky’s drive as an artist has helped make Mark Sexton Band a funk-soul staple in the greater Lake Tahoe area and beyond.

Anthony Contini

Alex Korostinsky is best known as a founding member of the Mark Sexton Band. But he has his bass fingers in many other projects.
Photo by Anthony Contini

A Reno native, Korostinsky embraces other corners of the local scene. While MSB is his main vehicle, he thrives in new musical terrain. He promotes his lo-fi shoegaze group, Synthesize Her, is producing Dead Winter Carpenters Bryan Daines’ solo album and he creates experimental funk with Whatitdo. With all of the side projects it would seem that Reno’s hardest working bassist has his hands full, but throughout an interview with Tahoe Onstage, it becomes increasingly clear that the opposite is true. He’s constantly looking for musicians to work with and more projects to begin. I recently met up with Korostinsky to find out what’s next for MSB and get an update on the status of his other projects.

Korostinsky is excited for the future of Mark Sexton Band and after hearing about what it has been working on, it’s easy to understand why. The group is nearly finished demoing a new album and he said this is the first step in taking a less DIY approach to releasing music. Once the album is mapped out and they have an idea of what it will sound like as a whole, it will begin the arduous process of sending it to producers and record labels to see who is interested in taking the release to the next level. The next level includes overseeing everything from the recording process to proper distribution and promotion of the finished product.

Since the 2013 release “Young & Naive,” (produced by Alan Evans of Soulive) the band has immersed itself in the craft of songwriting dissecting the hits of everyone from Daft Punk to Keith Urban to The Beatles.

“We’re trying to be more craftful,” he says, “and the bottom line is we’re just writing better songs.”

Aside from the songwriting, the new MSB album also will be different from a production standpoint. The group plans to record to tape at the legendary Prairie Sun Studios, Korostinsky explained that the band is “going in a nastier soul-funk path right now, and (by recording on a reel to reel machine) it’s going to sound less modern than the other albums.

“That’s what these songs need,” he explained, mentioning that he “comes from a lo-fi world and Mark comes from a hi-fi world.” This recording process will produce an album that has the best of both.

Anthony Contini

Anthony Contini / Special to Tahoe Onstage

Korostinsky’s affinity for low-fidelity recording techniques spans across all of his side projects. The always elusive Synthesize Her saw much local success with his production. He recorded and mixed the album in addition to playing all of the instruments. “For Synthesize Her, I used the worst mics and crappiest amps I could find,” he said, noting that the songs called for a certain vibe and that the sole purpose of production is to “serve the music.”

As for future plans, Korostinsky insists that he knows just as little as anyone else but when the other half of the duo, Alex Crowe, wants to work on new music, he’ll be ready.

The funk adventurers in Whatitdo, on the other hand, are wrapping up a new album that Korostinsky recorded as well. The group has been gaining popularity with the advent of an ongoing residency at The Loving Cup called Whatitdo Wednesdays. Its upcoming album, “Shit’s Dope,” was recorded in October and the trio has since been exploring it, constantly finding ways to make it “bigger and more beautiful.”

On top of the weekly shows, never-ending recording sessions and preparing two new albums, Korostinsky is also working with Dead Winter Carpenters guitarist Bryan Daines on Daines’ debut solo album. He is playing on and recording the album, much like he did with Synthesize Her and Whatitdo, yet he’s not overwhelmed. In fact, he’s restless.

He’s at a point in his life where his only desire is to create art in whatever capacity he can. With the success of these projects, it would be easy to develop an ego to accompany the workload. However, Korostinsky remains down to earth and credits the Reno arts scene for his tireless work ethic and the ability to pursue so many avenues of music.

“I really can’t afford to rest on my laurels,” he said. “Not with so many talented musicians in the area.”

Keeping a pulse on the local scene and his eyes on the future have been invaluable to Korostinsky and with so many projects ahead his future seems to be just the way he likes it: busy.

-Spencer Kilpatrick

About Spencer Kilpatrick

Author Spencer Kilpatrick graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in English. He hates the Lakers and his top three emcees are Blu, Earl Sweatshirt and Nas.

One comment

  1. One of the best people in life and so hard-working. Alex is an inspiration! Loved this write-up.

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