2018 was quite the busy year for guitar player Cameron Sax and drummer Greg Lewis of local band Rob Ford Explorer. The duo released an EP in April containing seven tracks of math rock perfection, performed a multitude of domestic shows, and completed a 10-day tour in the United Kingdom.
Because of the precision and intricacy of Rob Ford Explorer’s music, it takes Sax and Lewis a long time to write, practice and record. Lewis said it took them a year to go from having two songs to an entire EP. With the help of friend Quinton Bunk, the band completed three different recording sessions in order to finally complete the self-titled EP.
The tracks on the album feature complex drumming patterns, skillful use of the cymbals and guitar parts written in odd meter. It also demonstrates the two musicians’ growth and evolution in both skill and style from their first EP, Fuckboi, released in 2015.
According to Lewis, there has been a recent math rock craze happening in the UK, which made him and Sax want to take their new music across the pond this past July. Plans began to come into fruition when Sax reached out to the Scottish band Frantic asking them to accompany Rob Ford Explorer on tour.
Looking back, Sax said the odds of them actually being able to pull off this tour were pretty low considering almost the entirety of the arrangements were made through Facebook. Sax and Lewis also said that they didn’t meet any of the band members from Frantic until after they arrived at the airport, and when they got there, Frantic had to buy a car right before the tour began in order to even drive to venues. Despite the circumstances, Sax said people they met along the way were willing to help them out and Frantic was great company.
“People were so generous when we got there—letting us stay at their house, use their gear and much more,” he said.
Rob Ford Explorer also began 2019 with an eight-day California tour, performing their latest, soon-to-be-released music. According to Lewis, the new music contains a lot of technical finger-tapping—a progressive change from Sax previously playing guitar with a pick.
The band said that they’ve already recorded three new tracks and videos with the help of videographer Cameron Paris, but they’re not entirely sure if they’re going to produce another EP or if they’re going to make their new music into a split album with another band. They did say, however, that new music that has been recorded will be released over the course of the next couple weeks.
Locals will have a chance to hear the new tunes live at an upcoming show at the Holland Project, 140 Vesta St., on Feb. 5. For the bandmates, it’ll be a particularly special show. Sax and Lewis will be performing on the same bill with Adam Benjamin, a former teacher in the jazz program at the University of Nevada, Reno where the pair first met and began their musical journal together.