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Feature: Glasgow's The Dunts Have Invested in Themselves, And You Should Too

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In the weeks leading up to the annual SXSW festival this year, my inbox got inundated with emails upon emails of showcase recommendations and requests to feature or interview certain bands during the festival. While some emails certainly may have slipped through the cracks, I tried my best to listen to any of the bands that I heard from— and one of those emails just happened to be from a Glasgow band called The Dunts. The Dunts are still a relatively young band with just a couple of EPs under their belt, but they immediately jumped out from the hundreds of emails I got when I took my first listen of “Dimitri,” their most streamed track on Spotify.

The Dunts have a sound that’s familiar in a way you just can’t quite put your finger on; They remind you of so many of your favorite bands without sounding derivative of them. And since forming in 2016, they have garnered buzz with their authentic, rowdy stage presence and guitar-driven, sticky melodies. I got the chance to see The Dunts perform during the afternoon on my second day at SXSW, and when I arrived at the British Embassy venue to see a room packed to the brim, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one eager to experience their raved-about live show.

Following their SXSW debut, the four band members were buzzing from the successful show as they took some time to chat with me afterwards. Guitarist and vocalist Rab Smith tells me that so far, SXSW has been the best experience of his life— and at that point, they were only three or four days into the festival. For most of the band, it’s their first time in Austin (or America in general) and it was impossible not to sense their genuine gratitude for being able to perform over here. David McFarlane says he’d been to The States before, but not since he was about nine years old. “The whole experience so far has been half like a holiday, half like working. So far it’s been amazing. I’m enjoying every single second. Even the hangover,” he says.

The band also admits there’s definitely been some culture shock coming over here, mostly in the form of huge meal portions and free pours of alcohol at the bars, but for the most part the trip has exceeded their expectations in every way. “It’s so refreshing to be here. Like with Glasgow, it’s not that people aren’t friendly, but you don’t really go around the street talking to random people. So it’s refreshing to be here. Feels kind of good for the soul,” Smith says.

Leading up to their first SXSW gig at the British Embassy, Smith says they’d all been able to check out some shows there in the days prior. “We saw how good the sound system was and I think we were all excited,” he says, but he and the band also admit there were some nerves as well. As a spectator of the show, I was impressed by how quickly The Dunts commanded the room in an unfamiliar setting; everyone listened intently, either dancing or nodding their head along to the melodic anthems. The band looked right at home as they thrashed around the stage and drummer Kyle McGhee let loose on the drum kit, and at one point, Smith even hopped off the stage to sing amongst the audience members. Despite being so far from Glasgow, The Dunts fit right in. I ask what bands have stage presence that they admire, or what kind of frontmen inspire them, and they mention another band from Glasgow, called Gallus. “He doesn’t play guitar, it’s just him singing. He’s crazy, running around,” McFarlane says of Gallus’ frontman Barry Dolan, and Smith compares him to the likes of Freddie Mercury. Smith says he also admires the frontman of Ireland’s Fontaines D.C., who played their first SXSW this year as well.

Back on the subject of the Glasgow music scene, I mentioned an article from Noisey with the tagline that Glasgow isn’t all just electronic music, which The Dunts had tweeted about. The article discusses the pub/venue called the Priory, which all of the members of The Dunts say is an absolute staple in their music scene. There’s a PA, but the Priory has no stage and it’s a dive bar frequented by musicians that have bit of grit about them, but that’s what makes it perfect, Smith says. “If it wasn’t for the Priory, we wouldn’t have met all the people that we’ve met that are best friends with us, and we wouldn’t have gotten some of the opportunities we’ve got,” Colin McGachy adds. “The guy that runs The Priory is a good friend of ours as well now. There’s a lot of UK promoters that use pay to play, but John Jokey is anti that. He’s the antithesis of that, he wants to pay bands fairly and he loves the music. It’s because of guys like him and the pubs like The Priory… It’s guys like that that make all the difference,” McFarlane says. While the Priory is a place primarily for new bands to cut their teeth, it’s mainly about the sense of community for Glasgow musicians. “You get a feeling that it’s this big fucking connected thing and everyone looks out for everyone. It’s amazing that new bands want to be a part of that community and it’s amazing to go and see them,” Smith says about their music scene.

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Another place in Glasgow that The Dunts rave about is the recording studio 7West, which the band had been working in a few weeks prior to SXSW, recording their next single, slated for release this Spring. “Bands will go to 7West and pay the money that it costs, cause it costs a lot but it’s worth it,” they say about the studio, which is run by Chris Marshall (Marshall and Johnny Madden from Baby Strange also produce The Dunts’ music). While they admit it can be pricey to record in the Glasgow staple, they all agree that any band worth their salt in the UK will go to 7West. “You have to invest. I think that’s what we do well in the industry. You really do get what you pay for,” Smith says. And as a listener, you can definitely tell that the band doesn’t skimp on their presentation when you listen to their first two EPs. There’s a cheeky, punk attitude embedded into The Dunts’ music, but it’s presented in a meticulously polished fashion that tells you about the time and investment that went into the final product.

And ultimately it’s that determination and their willingness to put in the effort and hard work that has gotten The Dunts the opportunities they’d had so far, and will continue to get. The Dunts played Reading and Leeds Fest last year and they’re slated for other UK festivals like TRNSMT and Camden Rocks Fest this summer, but they’ve got their sights set for even more in the future, like playing the famous Barrowland Ballroom venue in Glasgow and the coveted BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury. They’ve got the work cut out for them, but they’re ready to take it on, says Smith. “If there’s any wee children that are listening to this, that have music instruments and are worried about not being able to do it or don’t believe in themselves, just believe in yourself. Work hard. We’ve all come from fucking nothing. We are the proof if you keep going, keep plugging, it doesn’t matter who says no. It doesn’t matter who ignores you, if you believe in yourself, you’ll do it,” he adds.


The Dunts have invested in themselves—now invest in them too by keeping up with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and listening to their latest EP.

A Chat With: Native Sun

NYC’s Native Sun promises to play every show like it’s their last. A weighted promise, especially for a band who signed on to play more than seven shows over the course of a few days at this year’s SXSW, but one that they not only live up to, but exceed. If you’ve ever seen Danny Gomez, Jake Pflum, Alexis Castro and Mauricio Martinez play a show together, then you’ve undoubtedly felt the surge of energy that they release each and every time they get on a stage, and you’ve walked away knowing that they just poured everything they had into that performance. At least, that was my experience when I saw Native Sun play to a packed house at Cheer Up Charlie’s indoor venue on the final Saturday night of SXSW. It was a performance that inspired a crowd surfer (despite the venue’s low ceilings) and ended with Gomez on the floor of the stage.

Despite the exertion of Saturday night’s show and all those prior, when I met up with Native Sun the following afternoon, the band seemed anything but worn down as they got ready to play their final show of the festival. Perhaps it was the spiritual awakening of Austin, Texas that Pflum experienced that kept their spirits high (more on that later), but when talking to Native Sun, I got an immediate sense of their gratitude and appreciation for being able to create, play, and share their music. If you’re not yet familiar with Native Sun, get to know them more as we discuss their favorite musical discoveries of SXSW, their place in the NYC arts scene, a wild night in Nashville, and more!

Native Sun is Mauricio Martinez, Jake Pflum, Danny Gomez, and Alexis Castro (Left to Right)

Native Sun is Mauricio Martinez, Jake Pflum, Danny Gomez, and Alexis Castro (Left to Right)


Now that we’re on the final day of SXSW, and it’s been a long week with lots of shows, what has been a personal favorite memory or highlight from one of your shows this week?

Danny: We played Spider House yesterday after this ridiculous band called The Sloths. They had a lot of moves. They covered “Gloria” at the end. But after the show, we stole a Link Wray poster that they had from the venue. We thought that was kind of very part of our DNA to do that. I don’t regret it. We did it for the love of rock’n’roll.

Alexis: Yesterday we played at Cheer Up Charlie’s and there was someone in the crowd that knew lyrics to a song that we haven’t put out yet. We’ve only played it live maybe four times. They were singing along and I was confused.

That’s amazing. They came to all the shows this week so they know it now!

Mauricio: I feel like that’s the same [highlight] for me. I was confused—I don’t even know those lyrics! Someone was singing them. So that was different and cool.

Jake: Hi I’m Jake—


And you’re watching the Disney Channel?


Jake: And you’re watching the Disney Channel! I’m a huge fan of Fugazi and their refusal to use a setlist and how they just kind of call it based on feel every time that they play. That’s something that I had hoped to get to with this band some day, and we had just been playing so much leading up to SXSW and during SXSW, and the last couple shows we didn’t have enough time to write a set list. So finally we were just locked in and sharing the heart beat. Calling songs out during the show. We all look at each other like “what are we doing?” and we just launch into it. That was a personal victory.


Nice! Were there any new bands that you discovered this week?

Danny: Yeah, I liked the Fontaines D.C. guys. We got to hang out with them and play pool and see some of their shows. They were really nice.

Jake: We’re gonna have a shared answer [himself and Mauricio].

Mauricio: We saw Haiku Hands. They were so fire.

Jake: I’ve never seen a band that loud. Ever.

Mauricio: They’re like Beastie Boys meets Missy Elliott.

Jake: It was a really great experience. I loved their performance. Not to mention that every bass hit was like shaking my entire skeleton.

Mauricio: Black Midi was super interesting also.

Alexis: I didn’t even have time to focus on any other sets. We were just running around for our shows.

Danny: Those were the main ones.


Your stage presence was really great at the Cheer Up Charlie’s show I got to see yesterday. People were vibing and crowd surfing—

Danny: People really react at our shows, which is something we’re thankful for. Cause you never know, sometimes where you’re doing something more intense, it doesn’t get the same reaction.

So as far as stage presence, is there anyone you look up to or really admire in that sense? Or anyone that inspires you when you’re performing?

Jake: I love Jimmy Page. I don’t think I’m as sexy, but that’s definitely maybe a starting point. I think for my own personal stage presence, the inspiration comes more from outside of music. Just life in general and what it’s like to live and how it can be frustrating and emotional and there’s a lot of pent up feelings: positive, negative, neutral, that go from when you wake up to before you can play. It’s definitely…I’ve said once before, that when I play, it’s like my body is trying to jump outside of itself.

Danny: That’s the best way to put it. Locking into the ethereal spirit of it all. Those are the entertainers that I like.

Mauricio: We’re lucky because we’re doing what we actually love doing.

Danny: Yeah, we have to fight for it so we’re gonna give it our all.

Mauricio: Exactly! If there’s two people in the show, we play like there’s a thousand.

Jake: We play like it’s not gonna happen again.

Mauricio: It’s my favorite thing to do in the world.

Danny: We’re always gonna give it 200 no matter what show you come to.

Nice! Then as far as your music, you had an EP come out at the end of last year. What can you tell me about the process behind those songs?

Jake: [The EP] was written a while before it was released. We started recording that right after the one before it came out. So our first EP was done, and we were already working the day after on recording. So they had been written a while. We kind of took our time to slowly build it from the ground up from a recording standpoint. And you know, New York City band, it’s like who’s got their basement free for two hours? How much can we get done?

Alexis: We recorded at my house.

Jake: We recorded at his house...we jumped around a bunch of different studios. We recorded saxophone in one studio, keyboards in someone else’s apartment, that sort of thing.

Danny: It was interesting, out of those six songs, four of them we went in dead set, and then “Sweet V” and “Modern Music” we kind of just decided on the spot. We had just written those maybe a couple weeks before that and just decided to go for it. So like those takes you hear of “Sweet V,” that’s the first time we made it through. It’s a very live experience in that sense. You hear him [Alexis] say “Fuck” at the end of it.

Do you guys do your own producing too or do you work with somebody else?

Danny: Not yet, hopefully soon!

Alexis: We’ve been doing demos by ourselves.

Jake: I think from like the technical definition of producing, a lot of it does land on our shoulders. We definitely have people engineering for us, and as far as like the ownership of the equipment. But it’s not like we’ve gone into a studio and we’re like here’s our song and someone’s going “I’m actually thinking we should restructure it.” None of that. We’re definitely owning it.

Danny: We’ve been working with this dude upstate called Kevin McMahon, who’s like a guru. He’s worked on a lot of records we like, like Fat White Family. Swans. He’s a weirdo. We love that.

As far as your collaboration as a band, how do you handle times when you might disagree? Or do you typically just agree to each handle your own parts?

Danny: I think we state our opinion and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

Alexis: Most things instinctually kinda work out. It just kind of works.

Mauricio: Now after a moment of playing together for a year and a half, we know how we should play for the sound we want to do. So I play the bass and I’m not gonna try to be super technical. I know how the song should sound, and what I should do. We now know our strategy.

Jake: There’s plenty of times where an idea will come into the practice space or the writing room or wherever we’re working on something, and someone will float an idea, and maybe it doesn’t land 100 percent. So yeah there’s disagreement, but just because it doesn’t make sense or it’s not a fully formed idea yet, it’s when we all figure it out together. There’s a song, ”Oedipus”…

Alexis: I used to hate that fucking song. Now it’s my favorite.

Jake: We just put it out on a 7 Inch, which we just put out here [during SXSW]. We just couldn’t figure it out. We couldn’t get on the same page, the tempo didn’t feel right. It’s not that anyone was playing incorrectly, it’s just that we were like out of sync. Then one day--

Danny: Oh, we did this kind of like art experiment, where they had us play for eight hours straight without stopping. And they documented the whole thing. On the breaks, they wanted us to jam. We started jamming on that song, and I remember Jake took a dump and came back and was like I got it! I figured out what was missing. We jumped into it and you see the process of how it all evolves.

Jake: Definitely a come to Jesus moment on the toilet.

As far as more new music, you mentioned there’s a newer unreleased song you’ve been playing here. What else have you guys got cooking for release this year?

Danny: Album!

Mauricio: It feels like its time.

Jake: We’ve got the two song 7”. Those songs will likely be on the final product of a full record. We recorded a bunch of songs with Kevin McMahon a few months ago, which we figured would maybe be like the starting point for that album, and we have a bunch of songs that we’ve been demo-ing ourselves.

Danny: Jake’s computer is the vault.

Jake: Exactly, I’ve got to lock it up. Alexis has the back up. So now we’re demoing the remainder of the songs we have and we’re just trying to fit the pieces together and see what makes the most sense as a complete project

Danny: We want something that’s a cohesive body of songs.

Nice, so you’re definitely more into full albums that sort of have a theme?

Danny: This could go there! It’s not gonna be like a wizard theme or anything like that. But we want it to feel like a body the whole way through. The records that I think we really love, be it from all different genres, are bodies of work that you know in their own respective rights.

Jake: 100 percent an album guy, start to finish, no shuffle. An album that’s ten singles that don’t really fit together has never been my sort of thing. So a cohesive piece-- sequencing is really important to me.

Danny: We want it to sound timeless. Like this record could have been from twenty years ago or that band still could be making this music in twenty years.


Cool, and then as far as the New York music scene, we were chatting a little bit earlier about bands like Gnarrcicists and Stuyedeyed—which they’re actually playing an ANCHR showcase on Friday back in Chicago.

Danny: Where’s that at?

Thalia Hall!

Danny: Nice that’s a big one! Hell yeah. Who else is playing?

Varsity, Rookie and Pool Holograph!

Danny: Oh sick, we love Rookie! We played with them—

Jake: Oh my god! I’m so glad you brought them up! Haiku Hands, I love you! Like next time I’m in Australia, I will find you, but Rookie was the best band that I have seen! God I love them!

Mauricio: Yeah they were fucking sick.

Jake: You know how South By goes, you play at 3PM and maybe that’s just not where everyone’s at right now. They played to like I think me and Rachel, our friend. And they were just SO good. They brought it, just like their energy. They brought it like they were playing to a huge crowd.

Yeah they played the ANCHR showcase here too and people were coming in off the street cause they heard them outside.

Jake: I think that like we’re purists and appreciators of classic rock-- those are classic rock students. Those are dudes that like Rock n’ Roll!

Ok so, we’ll have to do a show with you two in Chicago at some point is what I’m hearing! As far as the New York scene, though, what are some of the best and worst parts of the scene at the moment, in your opinion?

Danny: I think it’s very privilege and image obsessed. You know what I mean, some of these bands put on a front of this griminess, but once you really know them, that’s not really them. So we try to be honest about who we are cause we’ve had to struggle for it. So that’s my biggest thing with people in New York.

Jake: The best part of New York for me is that there’s so many opportunities to play, there’s so many venues to perform at. I’ve lived in a smaller town. I grew up in South Florida where there’s one venue and you can’t play at the one venue with the same three bands every week. It’s just like at some point people aren’t gonna come. So [In New York] you’ve got so many different places you can go. There’s so many different scenes that exist and I’m on a constant personal journey of trying to figure out what’s happening that I don’t know. Cause I know the world I run in, but what’s happening somewhere else, there’s all these other different bands. I see the SXSW list of all the bands coming from New York that I’ve never heard of, and it’s like who are they? What are they doing?

Danny: Actually a great band that we really like from New York is called Yaasss.

Jake: I really like Miranda and The Beat. There’s a lot of soul in those songs.

Danny: We played with them when they did a full Shangri-Las set at this fake prom show we did at Baby’s All Right.

Jake: There’s a lot of non-musical things that sort of revolve in our world that are really cool and make it a really fulfilling place to be and to be working on music and art. We’ve got friends who are unbelievable film makers and unbelievable photographers and poets. Our friends Rachel and Natalie run POND Magazine, which is an institution. There’s so many different things that are multimedia happening that it’s really inspiring to be around.

Danny: I’d get bored if I was hanging out with musicians all day, I like stimulation from other art.

Jake: From people making zines...there’s just stuff happening all the time!

Danny: That’s why we love Chicago!

Yeah that’s very similar in that sense. Then last thing I wanted to mention, Danny you said earlier that the ride down from NYC to Austin was interesting. What were some top moments from the road trip?

Mauricio: Yeah yeah, it was fun! We stopped in Nashville to sleep there. So we went out just because we’re in Nashville, so we’re like let’s have a beer at least. We go to this dive bar/trucker bar. We played some pool, had some disgusting tequila shots.

Jake: Grossest tequila I’ve had in my life. Why does Nashville have sweet tequila?

Mauricio: It was intense. So we went back to our hotel and wanted a little more. So we got to the hotel bar and they were closed, but the lady was like I’ll open the bar for you if you play a few songs.

Danny: So we got up there and did a few songs acoustic, but then she opened up the bar. Then she liked it so she invited us on this country tour bus, and we chilled with a bunch of different people that we don’t usually get to. It was great! You get to see all different paths of life when you’re sitting there with a kid with no teeth.

Mauricio: I held a knife.

Danny: He held a knife! This woman wanted him to hold her knife. I think that’s a sign of affection.

Jake: That’s really just how you say hello in Nashville I think!

D: Me and [Mauricio] did another song and that kid was like “Is that The Stooges?” And he smiles and you just see no teeth.

Mauricio: We didn’t think they were into that shit.

Danny: Yeah he was playing like “Wagon Wheel” and then he’s like I love The Stooges! Us too, dude.

Anything else you want to shout out, or let the world know as we wrap up?

Jake: I’d like to shout out the city of Austin, TX. I’d never been here before. This is both my first time at SXSW and in the state of Texas and the city of Austin. That being said I feel like I’ve had a personal spiritual awakening while being here. There’s been a door of a room shut inside my soul and the door has been kicked open and the lights been flicked on. And I feel like I am now me again. A me that I forgot that I was. I’m not being tongue and cheek. I feel like the keys are back in the ignition and I am revved. I’m ready.

Danny: He got that oil change.

Jake: My oil has been changed.

Alexis: The van’s oil has not been changed.

Jake: I got new windshield wipers. I got new headlights, I can see!

Danny: I just want everyone to pay attention to this year. It’s a crucial time, there’s a lot of people in this country that are being disserviced right now. I just want everyone to keep their eyes open and not shut off the doors. Right now is the time to do something.


Keep up with Native Sun on Instagram and Facebook, and listen to their latest EP below!







Catching Up With: Taylor Janzen

Photo Courtesy of NBD PR

Photo Courtesy of NBD PR

Right before her debut EP dropped last August, we got to know Taylor Janzen, an indie-folk singer songwriter from Winnipeg. This year, Janzen made her SXSW festival debut, she has another EP on the way, and she’s been booked for major festivals like Shaky Knees and Winnipeg Folk Festival.

While in Austin for SXSW, I caught up with Janzen to discuss working with a new producer, her fateful meeting of Dennis Quaid, The Bachelor and more! Check out what’s been new with Taylor Janzen below.


We last chatted back in August, right before your first EP came out. During that interview, we talked about your love of Dennis Quaid, and at the time, you hadn’t met him. Since then, you were actually able to meet him! Can you talk about that experience and how that happened?

He was in Winnipeg, and I live there. Someone I know works at a golf course and he was at that golf course, and she told me. So I went there and I met him, and he was super nice! I didn’t embarrass myself too much, but it was the most magical moment of my life!


Did you get to tell him about your song called “Dennis Quaid”?

I did, but I had to specify it’s not about him, because it’s more of a sad song…So if he thinks that it’s about him, he’s gonna be like “why do you hate me?”


Yeah, but sounds like it was a great experience and a nice moment to check off your bucket list.

It was a great experience! Definitely a bucket list moment for me. He’s super nice. He was teaching me how to selfie basically. He’s like “the sun’s over here!”

Very cool. Last time we spoke, your EP Interpersonal also hadn’t come out, and you’ve since put out another single, called “New Mercies.” What else is on the horizon for new material?

We have a new EP coming out later this year. The first song is scheduled to come out March 29th, so it’s going to be nice and soon. I’m really excited about it because it’s full band and kind of a step up from the last one. My goal in creating music is to always make music that every project is more evolved than the last one, and this is definitely more evolved than the last EP.

Yeah you mentioned how the last EP was recorded with one of your friends. Did you work with the same producer this time?

No, I went to Omaha and I recorded with Mike Mogis, and that was such a cool experience. Just to not only be in a new environment, but to work with someone who I admire so much. That was super cool.

Yeah, he’s produced some Phoebe Bridgers material right?

Yeah, and Ruston Kelly. Super good!

Nice, anything else about the new material that you’re excited about?

I think just having the resources to do what I want creatively. Put some noises in there that I want. Make it sound the way that I really want it to. That was a really cool experience. I think also lyrically it’s a bit more— it’s a bit more in depth. Which I didn’t think we could get more in depth, but here we are!


More personal than Interpersonal. Then this is your first South By right?

Yeah, it’s my first time in Austin! It’s my first SXSW. It’s so nice! I got in yesterday, very early flight. I feel all rested now and ready, but it’s so beautiful. At home I’m still wearing a parka, so it’s crazy to me that I can walk outside without wearing a jacket.

Have you had a chance to catch any shows yet?

I haven’t been able to yet. Last night I was like I’m going to bed ASAP. It’s been really nice though, I have my band out with me. It’s my first time traveling for music with a band. It’s nice to not be by myself all grumpy at the gate. Now I have people to be grumpy with.

Oh cool, so your shows here will have a full band then. Will you be playing songs from the new EP?

For sure! We’re going to play some new songs. We’re reworking some old ones, so that’s what I love about playing with a band. You can take the songs that originally were just played solo, and I can add stuff to them.

Very cool. Is there anyone that you’re hoping to catch the rest of your time here?

I heard that Pedro the Lion was gonna be here. I have never been able to see them but I want to so bad. I also want to check out some of the Manitoba music acts. There’s a few artists from Manitoba also coming here. I want to check some of them out. Even though I could probably just go home and see them, it’s cool to see them in a different city.

Anything else on your Austin list to do while you’re here? Tacos? BBQ?


Yeah I had some BBQ. That was delightful, and I’m probably gonna do that like eight more times while I’m here.

Then as far as the rest of the year, you’re also booked for Shaky Knees festival and a few others. Will those be full band shows as well?

Yeah, I’m gonna do a full band show for Shaky Knees. I’m so excited for Shaky Knees. The line up is incredible! I also am playing Winnipeg Folk Fest in the summer, which has been a goal of mine since I started playing music. I’m so stoked to be on that line up as well. So it’s gonna be a fun summer.

Anything else you’re looking forward to this year? Any tours?

We haven’t booked a tour yet. I’m excited to also be able to see so many other acts at these festivals because living in Winnipeg, we don’t get all those bands all the time. So it’s nice to be able to travel and go to cities where there’s always a band playing.


So last question, I saw you tweeted about The Bachelor—

Oh my god! Let’s talk about this!

Well, I haven’t gotten to watch the final episode yet.

Me neither, but I know what happens.


Same! I looked at spoilers, but what are all your Bachelor opinions? What do you think about Cassie?

Ok! The minute that Cassie stepped out of that limo, I was like she is delightful. I’m so glad that she’s the winner. Also--the fence jump. The fence jump! It’s actually my first season watching The Bachelor. I’ve never seen anything Bachelor Nation until this year, when my friends roped me into a weekly Bachelor night.

I know, it’s so dangerous!

It’s lovely though! It is my favorite night of the week. I’ve seen The Bachelor Canada before, but I’d never seen The Bachelor, and I love it. I am never going back. I’m a full fan.

Did you see who the new Bachelorette is going to be?

Yes!


Were you rooting for Hannah B. or Caelynn?

I loved Caelynn. But I think that Hannah B. will be the nice, dramatic Bachelorette that we’re all looking for. I’m glad that it’s Hannah B. and not Hannah G. I have lots of opinions about The Bachelor…

Any other hot takes or strong opinions you want to share?

Hmm. Kirpa was so annoying!

How did you feel about Colton’s hair [on the Women Tell All]?

Oh yeah and Colton’s hair is interesting. He did look nice and put together for the Women Tell All. I also love Demi. She was the most entertaining. The thing with Demi is I didn’t want her to win, but I wanted her to stick around for as long as possible and she left us too soon.

Agreed! Any other guilty pleasure shows or favorite TV shows at the moment?

That’s the main one. I’m trying to stop living under a rock and finally watch Game of Thrones. It took me a while to get there. I started out and I was like this is not for me...it’s so boring. And you have to pay attention to the dialogue, which is not my strong suit. I like to do like crosswords while I watch TV, but I’m actually super into it now.


Taylor Janzen’s latest single “Shouting Matches” is out now! Listen to it below.






Get To Know: Shame

If you've ever attended SXSW, you know that it's not like any ol' regular music festival with set stages and scheduled performance times; There's super official secret shows with big name artists, last minute pop up shows, unofficial showcases by new artists in the most random places around town, and multiple sets by the same artists in a single day. This past March, I finally attended my first ever SXSW and quickly learned just how unconventional this festival can be when I found myself interviewing Charlie Steen of the British punk band Shame at 1 AM after my friend had just cut his hair (as well as his bandmates' hair) into a mullet. 

Easily one of the buzziest bands at the festival, Shame has been soaring high since the January release of their debut album Songs of Praise, which has in fact been receiving endless praise from listeners around the world. This summer, Shame will return to The States to play a handful of dates, including a show at Chicago's Empty Bottle as well as the annual West Fest street fest. Before they return to Chicago in July, get to know the band better by checking out these six facts I learned while chatting with Steen earlier this year. 

Photo by Holly Whitaker

Photo by Holly Whitaker


They Recorded in the Legendary Rockfield Studios

With the amount of buzz they've garnered and the sheer amount of gigs and festivals Shame has played, you might be surprised to find out that the members of Shame are only 20 and 21 years old. Before they started touring heavily, the band worked on writing their debut album for a few years, starting at the ages of 16 and 17. "We were still in school, and we recorded the album when we were 20," Steen says.

Talking about the process behind writing the album, Steen continues, "Lyrically, it was about personal sort of things you experience in that time as well social observations. Musically, it was influenced by what we were exposed to in that period. All the different bands we discovered through just being that age and being into music." Once they had written the album, the band took a trip to the iconic Rockfield Studios in Wales to record the tracks. "It was kind of like rehab," Steen says about the middle-of-nowhere location of the studio, where they resided for ten days. "We’re quite bad at distractions. So, we were on a farm, and this place is like a historic studio. Oasis, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Led Zeppelin, all these people recorded there. Not many people go there now...Because everyone seems to just record with their laptop or a studio in London," he says, pausing to describe the scene. "You have like a farm, and then you have a house up top. That’s where we stayed, we each had our own room. Then you walk past the stables and stuff like that and there’s a recording studio. I was up at the house, and I did all of my vocals in my bedroom with a bed sheet over me, onto an Apple Mac. The rest of the band, they did everything to a click [in the studio]." 

Prior to their work at Rockfield Studios, Steen recalls working their way through several different producers in order to finally get the right fit with Dan Foat and Nathan Boddy. "I’m not a musician, so I don’t want to put my foot in a shoe that won’t fit, but before that, we’d worked with eight different producers. They all had done the same method of 'you’re a live band, let’s try to make you sound like some punk band from the 80's where you record it live.' That wasn’t how it worked best. Dan and Nathan are from an electronic background, techno producers...They did it a completely unique and different way. Like Charlie, our drummer, he recorded his drum kit individually, each song. They saw it in the same way that fits our music, where the bass and the drums are the pulse and that was very important," Steen says. "We then realized through trial and error that the best way to approach it for us, was to try to create something completely different to our live sound. So they’re two different things. Sometimes people say it sounds like it does live, but to us it’s a great difference than how it sounds on the record. It’s a lot more concise," he continues. 

They Admit Their Music is Derivative, But They Still Enjoy It

One of the most compelling features of Shame's music is the incredibly raw, honest quality of their songwriting. Reflecting on their style of writing, Steen says, "With the type of music we’re doing...we’re a guitar punk band in 2018. We’re very aware it’s very derivative. There’s no way we could ever deny that. I think with us--I’ve said this before, with bands and artists we might be compared to, and those that might have heavily influenced us, we’ll never have been able to experience it. That’s amazing for us. When we get to see bands like Goat Girl and Sorry and stuff, it’s amazing that we can experience it. For us, it does feel new and refreshing." Ultimately, they were never trying to be someone else when they started writing, and they're still just trying to stick to their own vision. "At the end of the day, we never did this with dreams of like having 5-star hotels. It wasn’t ever manufactured. It was all just part of the process. We are just very passionate about music and we know that it’s been done before, but we enjoy doing it. I think the main thing is we don’t write music for anyone other than ourselves. At the end of the day, this is entertainment and we really enjoy it. We’re having a laugh," Steen adds.

In addition to being authentic, Shame strives to keep their sound and vision multifaceted. "I think one of the preconceptions of a punk guitar band is aggression. Which you know could be lost in translation from energy or passion, or humor at times. That’s something we want to separate. Of course there are issues we’re angry about, but we don’t want to be a band that just conveys one emotion. That’s not human. We want to be able to express humor and melancholy," Steen says. As they keep pushing to diversify their sound, they also keep pushing themselves to grow and adapt. "We’re very self aware. When we did that album we were teenage boys...that was when we wrote that album. We know now that a lot has changed in our personal lives, which also reflects in the general absurdity of being in a band. It’s just a weird life to live. You feel very temporary. At all times. We basically just want to adapt and evolve. We don’t wanna write the same songs we did before," he says, adding that their constantly changing environment deeply affects them as a band and as people. 

We know that it’s been done before, but we enjoy doing it. I think the main thing is we don’t write music for anyone other than ourselves.
— Charlie Steen on being in a punk band in 2018

Their Rehearsal Space Led Them to Discover Music in a New Light

In addition to recording in a legendary music space, Shame also first formed in the rehearsal space of the legendary Queen's Head in Brixton, which is where the likes of Fat White Family rehearsed as well. 

Steen attributes their early rehearsal space to some of their current habits as music fans, saying, "When we started in the Queen’s Head...This is one of the differences; Before, we’d grown up going to venues like Brixton Academy, really large venues like that and seeing bands who had already established themselves in a position of accomplishment. When we went to go to the Queen's Head, personally I was able to discover bands who were playing a lot more intimate settings. Not known world wide. The realization that great music exists with an accessibility to a more intimate setting is a sort of relief."

"These were bands who, you say what you want them about personalities, but they were characters. It wasn’t just some pop culture. When you grow up and you’ve only ever seen the bands who perform on a platform of success, you can sometimes overlook the reality of a lot of situations. Of course everyone grew up listening to The Ruts and Stiff Little Fingers. So we knew about these bands, but to get to know them. You realize they’re people. And I think their intentions to do whatever the fuck they wanted...they’d gone past the point of remorse. Which was the best thing about it," Steen continues. 

Their Stage Presence is Just an Amplified Version of Themselves

The same sense of authenticity that Shame's music has transfers over into their live shows; at SXSW, Steen often told their audiences to loosen up and smile, saying "this is entertainment." Steen says he never feels intimidated to get up onstage and deliver such a transparent show. "When I was younger, and I say younger as in like a year ago, I definitely had idolized a lot of people. Then I found that to be quite damaging because you gain this obsession and sort of like--" Steen pauses and snaps his fingers, trying to think of the best way to phrase it. "It’s unattainable identity. At that period, when we play, it’s definitely to an extent a persona. It’s who I am, but amplified," he continues. 

Essentially, their stage presence will continue to remain an extension of themselves. Steen muses further on the concept of immense stage personalities, saying, "When I would look up to all these people like Iggy Pop or Lou Reed or whatever like, it was always...if you’re constantly comparing yourself, that’s what I found damaging. I think like I was saying, I don’t believe anything can be separated from context. At this age as well, you’re in the middle of this identity crisis, so you want to absorb all of these different personalities and be these people you obsess over. Then it got to the point where I’d just rather be myself. I was just this chubby, shy stoner as a teenager. When we used to play, that was the whole point: If you’ve been insulted so much your whole life, what have you got to lose?"

Touring Has Taught Them Their Limits

Shame just finished another UK and European tour after returning from a North American run, which saw them playing upwards of five shows in a day at this year's SXSW, but believe it or not their recent touring schedule is nothing compared to the previous year. "Last year we did like 140 gigs and 57 festivals in 3 months, like whilst recording an album and doing 5 tours. By the end I got a bit broken mentally," Steen says. "It’s hereditary but I suffer from anxiety so now I can only speak for myself...On the road, I don’t drink as much and don’t do drugs as much as we used to. Every night used to be a party. I sound like an old man," he laughs. "I feel like an old man. So that’s how I kind of deal with it."

Their intense past experiences ended up acting as a learning experience, where Steen personally discovered where his breaking point is. "The period of what I went through in December, where we ended up having to cancel this tour in Germany, I learned a lot more about myself than I have in my entire life. So I know when is too much. I know when I need a good night's sleep. Like I need a good night's sleep now, but it’s a celebration. I know what I need to do. I guess I sort of learned the value of responsibility a bit more. As a person, and this is a little bit hypocritical of me to say after saying that, but I can’t do moderation. I can’t do it at all. So I know that if I have one drink, I won’t drink until I fall asleep. And I can’t do one line. I’ll do it until it runs out. I can’t do that. If I’m not doing that, I can’t do anything. So it’s either one or the other, but that’s me as a person," he says. 

While Steen may have personally learned to rein in his limits, he also realizes as a band they have to compromise sometimes. "We’ve known each other since we were kids. Sean has been my best mate since we were 8. We understand each other very well. I don’t particularly like playing a lot of shows, for my own personal reasons. If the rest of the band wants to do it, you have to find a middle ground. After what happened we're looking through a sharper lens about how many gigs we do. So like this festival season we slashed loads of festivals cause it’s not worth flying from Poland to play to 40 people in Kent to fly back to the Ukraine the next day."

As far as the biggest lesson that Steen has learned about the band through the years, besides learning his limits, he says, "You kind of lose a lot--this might sound very dramatic, but you kind of lose a lot of human rights. And by that, I don’t mean like I’m shackled in chains in a 4x4 room. I mean, in terms of you kind of lose the things that make you feel human. Eating a meal with your mum and dad or like going for a drink with your friends. You lose people you love, your friends and family. It sort of disappears. Familiarity becomes an abstract ideology. I still don’t think I know a lot about myself. I think as people we know each other so well, we [the band] went beyond friendship about 2 years ago. It’s almost like a cult. I guess, I don’t know, you have to deal with everything you deal within a normal life, like breaking up with someone, moving out of home... you have to do that through the band. The biggest amount of privacy I get is when I go to the toilet. Fact. For 6 and a half weeks. So I think you lose privacy. But you know I’m saying all this and we fucking enjoy it and we love it. Whatever we have to lose at this particular moment in time, personally, I feel is because we want to do this. I want to do this. We want to do this to the best of our ability."

At the end of the day, it’s the biggest bullshit that a person could say ‘I’m not political.’ Everyone has politics, it’s just whether or not they choose to share them.
— Steen on using their platform as a band

They'll Always Use Their Platform in a Positive Way

Through their music, social media, and even past interviews, the members of Shame have made it clear that they'll never shy away from standing up for what's right. At one of their shows at SXSW, Steen jumped off stage mid-show to tell off an audience member who had gotten aggressive with some of the other crowd members. Touching on their habit to speak out, Steen says, "As a person, and a white man, we don’t want to...I don’t want to be the spokesperson for any problem or any inequalities with girls, or race, or religion. But as a human being, I don’t understand how you could not want to support all these people and fight against any inequality. I think we all feel it’s disgusting for anyone who has any sort of platform to not [use it]."

Steen also reflects on the tendency of the press to label them as a political band, but says they never saw it like that; they just realize it's something that directly effects them. "At the end of the day, it’s the biggest bullshit that a person could say 'I’m not political.' Everyone has politics, it’s just whether or not they choose to share them. How could you not talk about it? I don’t know, it doesn’t really make sense to me. There are a lot of great bands who will speak on these issues, and I think particularly in the current climate, in the music industry, and every industry, but this is the one we’re most absorbed in because this is our life." He continues, shouting out people like Princess Nokia who speak out on all these issues, adding, "As a guy, like who is constantly surrounded by the music industry all the time, it is without a doubt and without question, majority middle class, white men. That’s how it’s been for probably just under 100 years. With the birth of pop culture, all of these unforgivable acts of discrimination were erupted that weren’t extinguished. They shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but they should have been addressed and destroyed when it came out." 

Lastly, Steen asks that everyone remains respectful of others when they come to shows, especially one of their gigs. "At a guitar gig, like a mosh pit, it’s mainly like male aggression taken out. We don’t fucking want that at our shows. Like it’s a safe environment. I’ve never won a fight, I’ve only ever been beaten up. Honestly. We’re not the jocks, we’re not the cool kids, we’re the people who just want to enjoy ourselves and we want everyone else to enjoy themselves as well. It’s not fucking hard, it’s not a lot to ask. If you’re an asshole, don’t come to our show."


Make sure you grab your tickets to Shame's show at The Empty Bottle here and keep up with them on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram.

A Chat With: Pretty City

Melbourne's Pretty City combines the sounds of your favorite Aussie psych rock bands with bits of Britpop and shoegaze influence. Next week, Pretty City will be bringing their unique sound all the way to SXSW to play songs off their upcoming album Cancel The Future. As they gear up to take on Austin, the band took some time to chat with us about their latest single "Flying," their festival and touring survival tips, what's next for them and more. Tune into our chat with Pretty City below!

Photo courtesy of Pretty City

Photo courtesy of Pretty City


What can you tell us about the writing and recording process behind your new album Cancel The Future?

It's a really interesting journey behind the album. After a great SXSW in 2016 we came home and jumped straight in the studio. What we created we weren't 100 percent happy with. It was a very balls to the wall album and we kind of over-cooked the playing and lost something. We shelved the record for a while and began writing again. After some serious personal upheaval including relationship breakdowns, unemployment, illness, and some serious distress, our lead singer Hugh went into overdrive and basically wrote an entire new album. What we ended up with on this record is some older songs, and some brand new ones living cohesively together. I guess we decided to split the albums into themes rather than chronology. Hopefully people enjoy that aspect of it.


Where do you notice yourselves drawing influence from, both on your sound and on your stage presence?

Our influences are really diverse. Hugh draws a lot of influence from non-musical sources. He's really into architecture and listens to a lot of architecture podcasts. You can hear how well he structures songs, and I think that's a huge part of it. He kind of designs songs around feelings and has a great ear for melody. Johnny loves up-tempo anything. He's our energy machine and is really influenced by Australian bands like You Am I. Ken, our bass player grew up on punk and rock and roll, but is also heavily influenced by the Beatles, so he has a great mix of melody and energy. Myself, (Drew - drums), I'm a Pink Floyd tragic from way back, but also am really into classical music, funk and hard rock. So it's a pretty interesting mix where we kind of meet in the 90s sounds of the Smashing Pumpkins, Brian Jonestown Massacre and explore our influences from there. In terms of stage presence, we just get right into what we're doing and go with that. We don't consciously try and emulate anyone but we all love performers like Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Marc Bolan and David Bowie.


Speaking of stage presence, you’ll soon be over in America playing SXSW. How would you describe your show for anyone who hasn’t seen you?

Yeah, we're really excited to be heading back to Austin for SXSW, can't wait! I guess our shows can be summed up as fun, exciting, energetic, melodic psychedelic rock. Sometimes it gets heavy but there's light and shade. There's heaps of hair and usually cool jackets too.


What are you most looking forward to during your time in the US? Any other bands you’re hoping to see at SXSW?

I just can't wait to get back to Austin. It's such a great city and SXSW is really just like musician heaven. Music and ice cold beers! What's not to love about it?! In terms of bands, I'm really excited to see Girl Skin and Blonde Maze, both of whom are playing the Glamglare showcase with us. I've seen some clips of them and I can't wait check them out.


What are some of your music festival survival tips, or any essentials that you need for touring in general?

I think drinking plenty of water and sunscreen are my tips for surviving any festival. Having said that, it can be pretty hard to get enough sleep at SXSW, so I think there's a bit of an ethos of go hard then go home and collapse - haha.


In addition to SXSW, you also have an upcoming European tour...which cities are you most looking forward to playing in and visiting?

Yeah, we're off to Europe in mid April for our biggest tour yet. We're really excited to be playing all the cities we're headed to, but I think Hamburg, Vienna and Graz are the ones we're most looking forward to. They're wonderful cities and so full of culture and history. Can't wait. 


What are some other bands from Melbourne that we should be all be listening to now?

My favourite Melbourne band is called Destrends. They are incredible musicians and put on amazing shows, definitely check them out. A band called Plotz are also another favourite. They're heavily influenced by Radiohead, but make music in a more overtly psychy way. They have some amazing songs. Also a band called Moody Beaches. They're really fun, engaging and hooky psych/surf/punk rock. It's a winning combination.  


What else can we expect from Pretty City in 2018?

We're actually recording our 3rd album in Portland in March, so you can probably expect a single or two from that later in the year.

Keep up with Pretty City on Social Media below:

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

A Chat With: Molly Burch

Austin-based (via Los Angeles) singer songwriter Molly Burch has been out on the road this past month, in support of her debut album Please Be Mine. Recorded live in just one day, the album really showcases Molly's retro-inspired, alluring vocals.  Prior to her show at The Empty Bottle this Thursday with Tim Darcy, we chatted with Molly about everything from her recording process to playing SXSW to her thoughts on The Backstreet Boys. Get to know all that and more in our chat with Molly Burch...

Photo Credit: Dailey Toliver

Photo Credit: Dailey Toliver


ANCHR Magazine: Congratulations on releasing your debut album Please Be Mine last month! How does it feel to have your first album out into the world, and what have been some highlights since the release?

Molly Burch: Thank you so much! It feels like a dream come true. Some of the highlights have been touring with my band and having a record release show in both my hometown of Austin and also my label's home, Brooklyn.

Please Be Mine  Album Artwork

Please Be Mine Album Artwork

AM: Where did you pull influence from for your songwriting on the record?

MB: My main influence has always been women vocalists. I've been singing all my life and when I started to write songs I would focus on the voice first above all else. Billie Holiday, Nancy Sinatra, Peggy Lee are all women I've been listening to since I was a kid. 

AM: Do you think that moving from LA to Austin had an effect on your writing and your sound?

MB: I think the act of moving to a new place and having the independence and solitary time had a big impact on my songwriting. 

AM: As far as recording, I know you recorded a lot of your album in a live setting in one day. What were some of the biggest challenges with recording in such a high-pressure scenario?

MB: I don't recall any challenges. It was a pretty simple and relaxed process. I wanted the recordings to reflect how we sounded live and my and I felt comfortable with the songs enough to track live. It was a really fun and relaxed day!

AM: I recently talked to Tim Darcy and he mentioned the tour has been going great. What have been some of your favorite shows and cities to play in while touring with Tim?

MB: Are you trying to make me blush? Ha! I adore him and his band. We're having such a great time. Every city has been super wonderful. I think we all really enjoyed playing D.C. 

AM: What’s your favorite way to stay entertained on the long drives during tour? Any new music, podcast, or book recommendations?

MB: We've been listening to a lot of music. To name a few, Hand Habits, John Andrew & The Yawns, lots of jazz, a couple podcasts here and there. This leg of tour I brought to read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield and "The Girls" by Emma Cline. Also, my dear planner will keep my mind occupied. Couldn't live without my planner.

AM: You just played SXSW last week.  As an Austin resident, what are some of your tips for first time SXSW festival goers?

MB: Yes, we just played SXSW. Not sure I have any tips! Haha. As a performer it can be extremely overwhelming on the brain. I like to rest us much as possible between shows and not over do it. It is hard to stay sane with all of the stimulation. 

AM: On the same subject of SXSW, what are some of your other favorite bands that played the festival this year?

MB: Tim Darcy! WAND, Living Hour, Jay Som, Jess Williamson, Hand Habits and Mega Bog. Also, saw Kevin Morby play an acoustic set and was very happy about that!

AM: Since your bio mentions that you grew up with Hollywood musicals, what is your all-time favorite musical?

MB: Gypsy!

AM: So, this is kind of cheesy, but since your album is called Please Be Mine, I thought it might be cool to do a lightning round of “Please Be Mine or Decline” of some kind of polarizing things to get to know you better. 

MB: So fun! Would be happy to.

AM: Coffee?

MB: BE MINE

AM: Scary movies?

MB: DECLINE

AM: Snowy days?

MB: BE MINE

AM: Nutella?

MB:DECLINE

AM: Spicy food?

MB: BE MINE

AM: Country music?

MB: BE MINE

AM: Pineapple on pizza?

MB: BE MINE

AM: The Backstreet Boys?

MB: DECLINE

AM: Cilantro?

MB: BE MINE 

AM: Rom Coms?

MB: BE MINE


Make sure you grab a copy of the beautiful album Please Be Mine hereIf you're in Chicago, you have two chances to see Molly in the upcoming weeks. She'll be playing with the equally awesome Jude Shuma and Tim Darcy this Thursday at the The Empty Bottle. Grab tickets, starting at just $10, here. You can also see her at Schubas on April 7th! 

A Chat With: Tim Darcy

Last week, we chatted with the Montreal based singer-songwriter Tim Darcy, who has just released his debut solo album in February. After previously releasing two albums with his band Ought, Tim is currently on tour in support of his new album, called Saturday Night. Tim took some time to chat with us prior to his show in Richmond, Virginia. Before the tour stops at The Empty Bottle on March 23rd, get to know Tim Darcy as we chat about his departure towards solo music, his nomadic lifestyle, his favorite poets, SXSW, and more! 

Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill

Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill


ANCHR Magazine: Your debut solo album just got released last month. First of all, congrats! Second, how has the response and reception been?

Tim Darcy: It’s been great. I’m really stoked about it. It’s really amazing to me still...some of these songs I’ve been carrying with me for quite a while. The record’s pretty different from Ought. All the way up to the friends I made it with, to [Jagjaguwar] wanting to put it out, and then now hearing from people who really like the record has been really special and awesome.

AM: So what are some of the main differences between working now on your solo music and being in your band Ought?

TD: In the band we do everything collaboratively.  Pretty much all the songs come out of long jams that we do together. Writing solo is utterly different, and it’s just me composing alone. There’s a lot more freedom in that to sort of follow a really intimate moment. Also freedom to play directly to my influences. I had a really great opportunity making this record, working really closely with two friends who produced the record. To experiment and sort of follow each moment as far down the rabbit hole as we wanted to go. So those were some of the differences.

AM: You just mentioned that you had the freedom now to follow your influences, so who would you consider your influences?

TD: The year leading up to making this record, the most immediate stuff, I was listening to pretty exclusively folk and ambient music. So that was kind of interesting. I was listening to lots of ambient music in the van, and that was an interesting moment to feel those come out on the two instrumental pieces on the record, which isn’t something I had prior to this. I’d been writing solo music for a long time, pretty much since I got my first guitar. I never had done ambient stuff. [My] influences really pull from a lot of different areas. I love...when I was first starting out, I was into really kind of big names in folk stuff, like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell...As time goes on I love other artists who are very lyrical, but kind of more adventurous with their sonic pallet.

AM: Nice, so then talking a little more about the tour that you’re on with the record, have there been any highlights, like favorite shows that you’ve played or maybe something that you got to see while you’re in a city for the first time?

TD: Totally, last night was actually amazing. That was one of my favorite shows in DC. This great venue, Black Cat. It was really just a great show. I’m out with this three piece, two good friends, and great musicians.. Charlotte, who plays on the record, is drumming, and then a friend Rachel is playing bass and viola. So she’s doing like the guitar stuff on the record on viola. It works really awesome live. Part of what’s been awesome is we had a few weeks in Toronto to kind of put the show together, but even when we first had those release shows...We had shows in New York and Toronto then we flew to Europe for a week, all those shows were great. Now we’re doing this run down to South By [SXSW] and back, and everything’s really leveling out and clicking...great musical chemistry. It’s partly because of that and partly because the crowd was awesome [last night], it was really dope. A highlight? Right now I’m loving the fact that I’m in a t-shirt. The first show of this tour was in Montreal and it was like -3 Fahrenheit and we were just freezing our faces off. Then 5 days later and I’m in a t-shirt.

AM: So you just mentioned SXSW, you’re going down there then?

TD: Yeah, so that’s the midway point [of this tour]. We’re actually doing these whole three weeks with this artist Molly Burch. She’s based in Austin so that’s pretty cool.

AM: Are there any other bands showcasing that you’re hoping to see out there?

TD: Yeah, we’re playing like 5 shows so I don’t know how much time there’ll be, but there’s a couple of other friends who are playing. I toured with a band LVL UP. I haven’t seen them since their new record came out, and I really like that record. Our friends Priests are gonna be down there. I gotta look at the sched and see who’s playing. Do you have any hot tips?

AM: There’s so many people...I just interview Alex Lahey last week, she’s really good. She’s from Australia, singer-songwriter...really cool lyrics, relatable lyrics. There’s a couple bands from Chicago playing...Post Animal is really good, NE-HI...Rag’N’Bone Man, he’s from Brighton, England. This is his first time over in the states. Sorry for that tangent of SXSW artists!

TD: No, I’m stoked to have some names to look up!

AM:So are there any other cities that you’re looking forward to on the rest of the tour?

TD: I’m so stoked to go to Savannah, Georgia. I’ve never been. I really feel like I’m gonna really dig it. I’ve heard from a lot of people that it’s an amazing place. I just watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It’s really good, it’s got Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. It’s based on the book, which is based on a true story. The movie is awesome and it just seems like a kind of freaky, southern, cool, mysterious little place. I’m excited to check it out.

AM: Nice, I haven’t been either so that sounds awesome, and I’ll check that movie out too. So while we’re talking about traveling and all that...you were born in Arizona, and you’ve lived in Colorado and New Hampshire. Now you’re based in Montreal, so do you think moving around a lot has kind of influenced your songwriting?

TD: Yeah, I think so. I was actually talking about this with the band last night. We’ve all...3 out of the 4 of us are American so we were talking about having moved around a lot. It’s funny, like also the internet is such a kind of stir-stick. Those things are still really significant, but I feel like I, and so many people, consume so much media and so much art. But in an amazing way, like even you just recommended me an artist who’s from Brighton, who now I’m gonna see in Texas. So the world feels very mobile in a way that I think is really awesome. As far as the southwest influence, my mom really brought a lot of that with us to New Hampshire. That filtered into my consciousness much more strongly, in a really significant way.

AM: What made you settle in Montreal then?

TD: I went to school there, and that’s where I met the guys in Ought. The band got signed, so we stayed there. It is a really great city...it’s cold, but it’s an awesome city and rent is cheap. So that’s been the zone.

AM: I haven’t been, but it’s towards the top of my list. Do you have any recommendations of things to do and good spots for music?

TD: Definitely go in the summer. It’s amazing in the summer. Casa De Popolo is my favorite small venue. There’s always really great stuff happening there. As far as bars and stuff, go to Little Italy and Jean Talon Market. You can get like the best fruit and vegetables and a bottle of wine and go sit in the park. That’s kind of an essential Montreal experience. You can get like a baguette and cheese and it’s legal to drink in most of the parks. It’s so beautiful...go to Park De La Fontaine. You gotta try poutine if you haven’t. 

AM: You’re like a Montreal expert now! So talking more about your songwriting, you’ve been writing poetry since the third grade. Do you have any certain poets or favorite poems that got you into writing?

TD: Totally, I love poetry. It’s such a long standing art for me. I kind of still enjoy it in a really organic way. There’s never been a period in my life where I’ve really like put it down. I definitely would recommend...I really love poetry that sort of has almost like a cosmic depth to it. Where it feels like it’s reflecting on something large, like through little moments. I was describing this in an interview a couple weeks ago and they said that kind of sounds like your whole vibe, and I said I guess you’re right, I’m really into that. So there’s this Polish poet, Wisława Szymborska, check her out. She won the Pulitzer Prize. There’s this poet Charles Simic, who’s Yugoslavian. I really love his stuff. I think a poet who has consistently almost made me come to tears is Emily Dickinson. I think she has a kind of like, the way she writes can be a little dense, but once you get into the flow...you know how when you’re reading a novel, and the first couple of pages, you’re not totally in the flow of the way the person writes. Then you get a chapter in, and you get it down? I think with her poetry, once you get down with it, there’s almost a surrealism about life and the human spirit and stuff.

AM: Very cool. I think the fact that you’re so into poetry makes you a better songwriter. It’s cool how poetry can be so wide ranging as far as the different styles. So last question, any other bands you’re really into at the moment? Anyone you’ve been rocking out to on tour?

TD: We just bumped that band Bitchin’ Bajas from Chicago. That is the best driving music. It’s so good. We’ve been listening to the Molly Burch record, that’s really good. Just such beautiful songs. I guess the most recent thing is the Luke Temple album, the new one. The first couple songs I was like yeah this is cool, then sort of half way through it got super heavy and like, adventurous and deep in fear in a couple of those tracks.


Chicago, get your tickets to Tim's show on March 23rd now. In addition to Molly Burch, he's playing with ANCHR Interview Alumni Jude Shuma, so you don't want to miss out! You can see all of Tim's other tour dates here. You can also grab Saturday Night here