A Fireside Chat with Dry The River

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Dry the River interview

A warm imaginary fireplace and the virtual e-mail presence of one of my favorite new bands of 2012 was enough for me to engage in a first ever conversation with a band. The band of course, is Dry the River, a band that wikipedia claimed was from East London, but as we will soon discover, was probably not the case. We talked about many things – abortion, gay rights, nazi propaganda, the grainy nude pictures of Kate Middleton and of course, stem cell research. However, that was all off the record, so instead, we will provide you the talks that were on the record.

Having played the likes of Reading, Frequency, Lollapalooza, Roskilde and T in the Park, it seems that you guys have definitely had your share of musical festival shows this summer.Which festival were your favorite and why? Conversely, which festival did not meet your expectations (was most disappointing)?

We had an amazing summer. there weren’t any bad festivals, I think they all exceeded our expectations. my favourites as an attendee were pukkelpop and roskilde, because the music there was so great. I think we’d say our favourite show was at Reading. it was our biggest crowd of the summer, and it felt , after touring the States and Europe, like a bit of a homecoming. We all had a great show and playing there holds a lot of sentimental value because we grew up going to Reading every year.

How do you guys feel about comparisions with Mumford & Sons (or do you just think it’s just a lazy comparision)? Did you ever consider filming a trailer for your debut album as well?

We don’t necessarily mind it but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. we have a drummer for one thing! it is kind of lazy i guess but it doesn’t bother us, if it means more people listen to us then people can say what they like! We have some footage of us recording the album. I’m not sure if it will ever see the light of day though! some of it is in the videos that you get when you buy the itunes deluxe version of the record.

I read somewhere that some of the songs off Shallow Bed are almost four years old. Now that you have achieved success, there must be pressure to put out another release sometime soon. With the extensive touring you have done in the past twelve months, I imagine the time you have for songwriting is fairly compressed. So the question is,
a) do you guys feel any pressure to put out another record soon? and
b) are you worried you won’t have enough time to write the songs and let them progress, if you do feel pressure to release a followup?

We can’t wait to get started on a new record. its hard to find the time to work on it with the heavy schedule as you say. We don’t feel pressure from anyone but ourselves with it, really. we’re not trying to meet anyone’s demands but because the songs are so old, we want to make another record, for us!! The time constraint is a funny thing. I think it might benefit us to work quickly, so that we don’t overthink anything. we’ve become better at self-editing too.. so I think we’ll be ok!

Did you get a chance to explore Toronto the last time you played here? If so, any highlights?

We did not get to explore when we were last in town , no! hopefully we’ll have more time on this trip.

You guys are from East London, a previously non touristy area that seems to be gaining a ton of momentum in the past half decade (probably more now with articles like this). How do you feel about that? Was East London an inspiration for your music?

To be honest we are not particularly precious about East London. we’ve been there just a few years, and in those few years, we’ve been away on tour 90% of the time. I don’t think it really influenced us as a band. a lot of places there are quite pretentious, and I personally try and avoid it when I’m home! That said, we have noticed the upturn in its popularity, and I’m not crazy about it! i went on a night out there recently and you couldn’t even get in anywhere! our house is like a little haven from it in a way. once you’re inside you could be anywhere..

Dry The River plays the Garrison tomorrow, September 25.

Interview: Ringo Deathstarr, January 18, 2011

Posted on by Allison in Albums, Everything, interviews, Music | 3 Comments

Ringo Deathstarr

Austin-based Ringo Deathstarr is one of the best things to come out of Austin since Ricky decided SXSW is the greatest event in the universe.

While touring the U.K. with David Gedge’s the Wedding Present, two of my friends on the tour could not stop raving about how fantastically legendary Ringo Deathstarr were, live. Given the number of opening acts they have seen, I took this to heart and checked out their debut EP, then moved onto Sparkler to find amazing collections of toe-tapping ambiance.

Frontman Elliott Frazier recently sat down with us to answer a few questions.

PM: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. I want to start things off by fully admitting that we didn’t know a whole lot about you prior to 2010. But after hearing so much buzz from the Wedding Present’s 2010 tour, we checked out your excellently noisy self-title debut, that I was surprised to learn was released back in 2007.

Why are we just hearing about you now?

RD: Who knows…we never really had proper labels or distribution in the United States of America*.
*(The band is on the U.K.’s SVC label now)

PM: Tell us a bit about your first full-length LP, Colour Trip,  that has already been generating a fair bit of talk. Maybe you can also let us know why you went with the British (which we in Canada are so fond of) spelling, the recording process and you know, if you ate anything particularly memorable during recording (I just had a nectarine).

RD: The British spelling is because the record label behind this whole thing is British and you know, that’s just how the Queen would spell it.

We recorded it a year ago, and we had never really been in the studio for a month straight before, so we took advantage of all the nice toys they have.  Some songs were written in the studio, some we had been working on off and on since the previous summer…A studio date here, a studio date there. But once Club AC30 got behind us they put us up for a month and we got busy.  The most memorable thing for me was just working with Jason “Computer Boy” Buntz, ‘cuz he was not too afraid to try crazy ideas, and let me tell you, we both had plenty.

PM: How do you feel about all of the Pitchfork publicity? Yay, nay, indifference because publicity is publicity?

RD: Pitchfork gave us a good review once a long time ago, and it did help. but one can’t be too concerned with Pitchfork….we do our thing, they do theirs.

PM: A lot of listeners have decided you channel  a lot of JAMC, MBV, and the other usual shoegaze suspects. But I’ve often found that when listeners peg all sorts of influences on a band, the band doesn’t even have them on the
mental list. Do you have a mental list, and if so who are they?

RD: Every time I hear a really shitty band, it inspires me to make something better. So there’s all that…plus you know, there’s plenty of music that influences us besides “shoegaze”: Black Flag, Fugazi, Ramones, Devo, Dance House Children, Descendents, Nirvana, Nirvana, Nirvana, Beat Happening, Guitar Wolf…

PM: For our SXSW attendees, where is the best place to get the best burger in Austin?

RD: P. Terry’s, ‘cuz they have vegetarian burgers, as well as a great meat burger (so I’m told). Hut’s is consistently kick ass.

PM: A lot of your recent tour dates have been in Europe, one of them with the legendary Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (what a bill..G500 fans must be peeing their pants, as I think those that don’t already like you will after the show). It must be weird to play with folks who have been doing this for decades, like David Gedge and Dean, in an intimidating way. Have you noticed a difference between the veterans and the newbies?

RD: Not really, just age I guess.  Some people are party animals, and some are not, no matter how long theyve been playing…So we just like meeting the living legends. So far they’ve all been cool to us.

PM: Finally, when are you coming to Toronto!?

RD: In the springtime, when the flowers are in bloom.

You can pick up Ringo Deathstarr’s Colour Trip that is set for release on March 8th.

Ringo Deathstarr – So High by johnout

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