​Slim Twig Is Not A Drug-Addled Pothead

​Slim Twig Is Not A Drug-Addled Pothead
Photo: Vanessa Heins
Toronto shapeshifter Slim Twig (aka Max Turnbull) has been creating subversive pop music for more than ten years and, within that time, he has cultivated and then wiggled out from under various personas. When he half-joked that his early music was some kind of "concrete rockabilly," most people ignored the qualifier and wrongly presumed he was some weirdo roots musician.
His new album, Thank You For Stickin' With Twig (out August 7 via DFA), firmly brings him out of the rebellious motifs of the '50s and '60s, and into the shaggier, hazier realm of 1970s riffage and off-kilter tones and rhythms. And, in his latest aesthetic incarnation, Turnbull seems to really be into drugs. Specifically, pot.
"I think my reputation has started to precede me since I dropped the song 'Cannabis,' and have made mention of wanting to make music that emulates the tactile quality that we experience music in while stoned," Turnbull tells Exclaim! "I wanted to emulate that for people without them having to imbibe anything. I can see that creeping into my public image a little bit.
"But it's actually not something that's very central to me," he adds. "My experience with drugs is very limited to pursuing smoking weed. That has been something that has been an aid in terms of hearing music and perceiving it differently and picking up on different things.
"I guess I'd be lying if I said didn't like smoking weed and think it should be legalized, but I'm by no means some kind of druggie or someone who wants to be waving a pot leaf flag."
Just to clarify, on April 20, 2015 — 4/20 y'all — Slim Twig dropped a single featuring his aforementioned take on Serge Gainsbourg's instrumental, "Cannabis." The seven-inch's label is a collage of pot leaves. Why would anyone think that Slim Twig is not all about that sweet, sweet kush?
"I mean, I'm definitely open to talking about it, as long as it doesn't decrease my ability to cross borders and so forth," Turnbull reasons. "There was a cheeky quality to that as well. When I was making the record and realizing that a theme of the album was aided perception that weed can provide when listening to music or experiencing film and imagery — just that transition of perspective that allows you to see things in a different light — that was coming to me, as a theme for the album.
"That Serge song is one of my favourites and I wanted to have a hand in doing a modernized arrangement of it. It just seemed like a funny way to get people on board to hear some of the new material. I'm not shying away from that association at all but it's not how I identify myself — as 'stoner rock' — or wish to pigeonhole my music in any way."