09/20/2010 § 1 Comment
I did an interview this week about the release of my comic book (which ships today! nosleepstore.com), and discuss some of my other work and new goings on with la dispute.
check it out in here:
the page is in french for our canadian and european friends (or simply multilingual friends in general)
and you can scroll down to about the middle of the page for the english version.
1 question excerpt, read the rest at the link above:
How far are you in the making process of the new full-length and what can we expect from it? I read you said it would be more organic.
We are working and we have three or four songs ready. I started the album art this week so it’ll still be green outside, but that won’t necessarily be the picture we use when the record is done. There are a lot of broad ideas for the record and it’s coming together slowly but surely. Expect a similar flow to the last full-length but less hopeful thematically and a little darker musically. It’s still a La Dispute record though, it will be familiar but new. If that makes sense.
09/10/2010 § Leave a comment
original is here. enjoy.
So first off, you’ve just released a split with Touché Amoré, how did this come about?
The TA split came about through a series of conversations between members of both bands. We’re really close friends, and the idea of working together on something – of sharing space on a record – is something we’ve tossed about since we first met. Part of it is intention. Both our bands share similar ideologies and approaches to music, so it made sense to collaborate on something. The other part is admiration. We love what Touché does, they love what we do (I hope. Ha ha), so it was an honor and a privilege to have their songs opposite our own.
All four songs on the record seem connected both stylistically and lyrically. How did the writing process work?
Way back when the idea had first started to gain momentum, Jeremy and I sat down on a porch in Chicago at a show we were playing together and discussed, pretty broadly, a few ideas that we wanted to include in the lyrics to the record. Through that conversation we set down a general concept to kind of dictate the direction the record would take, but also allow us to approach it in our own manner so that you’d see the similarities and differences in our focus and style. It ended up working out really well for both of us, I think, in that it allowed us room to work independently while still giving uniformity to the four songs. And we ended up talking about pretty similar things, which was interesting. As far as the songwriting goes, we wanted to give the record a consistent sound to compliment the consistencies lyrically, so we tried to be aware of Touché’s strong points and tendencies musically throughout the writing process to give the record a pretty steady feel despite being from two different bands. It was a different approach for us, but we’re really happy with how it turned out.
La Dispute has always been hugely supportive of other bands and scenes – tell us about The Wave and why those particular bands are connected?
The Wave is Touche Amore, Make Do and Mend, Defeater, Pianos Become the Teeth, and ourselves. The name has no particular meaning really, although it makes for hilarious water-related puns. Really, it’s something fun for all of us – like being part of a cool club in your neighbour’s treehouse when you were a kid. It came about because we’re all friends and we all care deeply about music and the community of music, and because we care about each other’s art, so it just made sense. More than anything, it’s a way for all of us support each other, and to support emotionally challenging music in general. So, much more Wave stuff will be surfing down the pipeline in the future, so keep your snorkel nearby. I’m pushing for a 5-way split and a 5-way tour immediately after the split. We’ll see. Catch The Wave.
You’ve also got another split release, this time with Koji, lined up for November. Why is the split record appealing to you as a format?
Awesome unintentional segue. The split format has existed for many years and has produced a number of really interesting and powerful collaborations. Splits accomplish a lot of things that make it immensely appealing to us. First, it’s just fun to share record space with friends and artists you love and respect. To be mentioned in the same breath as Koji or Touché is incredibly flattering, but to be opposite their songs on the same record is pretty unreal, and not just because we love their music, but because we know and love them as individuals. Second, it makes for interesting contrasts. People get so caught up on liking one specific genre that they close themselves off to the lot of everything else. Putting two different bands on the same release gives people the opportunity to branch out, to notice the similarities as much as the differences, and makes for an interesting musical examination in the process. Third, it exposes both bands to people who might’ve never heard the other were it not for the split. Now all the people who listened to us but not Koji will get to hear Koji, and vice versa. It’s a helping out a friend and being helped out by a friend thing. Really, splits are cool because you get to work with friends. That’s why they’re so appealing to us.
It’s certainly great to see a lot of awesome splits being released recently. How do the songs you wrote for the Koji release differ to those with Touché Amoré?
A lot more low key. We tried to give this split a certain uniformity sonically as well, so we stripped things down a bit. Think, Fall Down, Never Get Back Up Again, or even some of the HH stuff. It was really challenging to switch it up so drastically from our normal volume and intensity, but it was really fun and made for an interesting end product.
Going back in time a little bit, it’s been a couple of years since you released ‘Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair’. It’s a record that we love here at Crossfire HQ, but how do you feel about it now the dust has settled?
First off, thank you. Second off, I think we feel the same way we did about it 2 years ago. We’re really proud of the way it turned out, and we’re immensely flattered that it’s mattered to some people. Honestly, we hadn’t the faintest idea what would become of it or what we wanted to come of it while we were writing it, and the fact that people paid attention and enjoyed it, or even listened to it in the first place, is pretty flooring. We put our heart into it, and we’ll always be proud of it for that reason. On the other hand, it’s been two years. We’re all very eager to see what we’re capable of writing now, and ready to start playing new songs live. We’ll always love Somewhere, and it will always be a part of what we do, but we’re ready for the next installment.
The album resists easy categorization, but I imagine journalists are still keen to try. What’s the strangest description of the band’s sound you remember reading?
Oh, man. I have no idea. Any categorization is pretty strange for us. We don’t sit around trying to think of what genre we play, or what niche we fall into, we just enjoy writing and playing the music that we do. Titles are divisive, but more than that, it’s just never been on our radar. We all listen to different stuff, so it ends up a sort of amalgamation of sorts. Anyone elses description is as good as one we’d be able to come up with. The funniest descriptions come from people critiquing my voice, probably. I’ve heard whiny Will Ferrell before. But the best will always be “entirely Fred Durst.” Brilliant.
Are there any plans in place to continue the Here, Hear series of EPs? The three existing parts have covered a fair bit of ground, where might it go next?
For as long as we make music we’ll make Here, Hear stuff. It’s one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of being a part of this band. As for where it might go, who knows? We’ve thrown out a lot of ideas, but we haven’t really set down to get started yet, and might not for awhile, but I’m sure some sort of shift in approach will occur.
Having quite a unique and potentially divisive sound, how do different crowds react to you? Would you rather play to like-minded people or do you equally enjoy the more difficult shows?
I don’t know that I often feel any difference. Most nights, no matter what show you’re at, there are people who don’t like you and people who do. Most often, the people that do make it impossible to notice the people that don’t.
You recently came over to the UK as part of a European tour, but the selection of dates was quite unusual. What was the thinking behind that, why not play a London show for example?
You’d have to ask the person that booked it. As far as I know, the dates we took in the UK happened because people in those places were willing to make a show happen. There weren’t promoters in London willing to do the show, so we went where people would do the show. We didn’t pick the locations, the locations picked us, I guess.
Are there any plans to reach the UK again soon?
No definite plans yet, but we’re working on making it happen sometime in the relatively near future, probably after we put another record out, but hopefully sooner.
What’s the status of the next La Dispute full length record, are the wheels in motion yet? What can we expect from it compared to the last one?
The wheels are very much in motion, my friend. And I’d say you should expect a lot of storytelling, a lot of groove, and a more of an organic feel than the last record. But we’ll see. It’s all a skeleton right now.
Finally, are there any bands or records from 2010 you want to big up to Crossfire readers?
The Wave, Have One On Me by Joanna Newsom, and Eyes and Nines by our dudes in Trash Talk.
Get on it.
08/26/2010 § Leave a comment
per usual, the original text can be found here.
Thanks for agreeing to do the interview, we’re stoked to be able to feature the band on the site!
No, no, no. Thank you for asking us. We’re very flattered to be a part of what you do.
We saw you about a year ago in a warehouse in Marrickville, Sydney and you blew us away. How did you feel about the tour in Australia and how did it come about?
First off, it’s fantastic that you guys were there. We had a blast that night. All things considered, our entire trip to your fine country/continent was a blast. The people, the shows, the bands, the hospitality throughout–everything was fantastic. We really hadn’t the first idea about what to expect coming over, and we were baffled and humbled by the amount of people that came out to see us and sang along. It was honestly pretty mind-blowing. Everyone was so unbelievably welcoming, so unceasingly accommodating, and so enjoyable to be around, it was an incredibly encouraging experience for us. Second, and most importantly, the tour came about because a really great band from Brisbane called To The North asked us to come over, and because their drummer Simon put an immeasurable amount of time and effort and heart into making it a reality. He booked the shows, took care of transportation, sent records around, promoted–the whole nine yards. Without Simon, and without every amazing and loving member of that band, it never would’ve been the success it was. In point of fact, it never would’ve happened without them.www.myspace.com/tothenorth. Do it.
Your full length record, Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, seems to have got the band a whole heap of well deserved recognition, it seems like you guys have been pretty busy for the past 18 months… how are you finding everything?
Everything is pretty fantastic with us right now. We’re taking some time off to rest up and write some songs before we head out again (the past 18 months were, in fact, quite busy) and we’re enjoying it. We have amazing friends. I’m not certain we’ve garnered a “heap of recognition” but people are very good to us and we’re infinitely thankful. So, yeah, all in all, we’re finding things to be exciting and encouraging.
What have been some highlights of your recent success?
All the friends we’ve made and continue to make each day. This band has been and always will be about making friends and establishing relationships. The more trips we can take and the more shows we can play, the more people we’re able to meet, and, accordingly, the more friends we make. In bands, at record labels and such, and anyone else putting the emphasis on the community music and art creates. We get to witness the work of some of the most passionate and caring and dedicated people around. It’s awe-inspiring and we’re so thankful to be a part of it.
You are known for your intimate and passionate live shows, how have these transpired recently?
The same way they always have, albeit sometimes in unfamiliar buildings and environments. I don’t think the nature of the experience, that is, the relationship between us and the people in attendance, has altered in the least bit. It’s just the scenery is more diverse. If that makes sense.
How did you guys score the gig touring with Alexisonfire?
We’ve recently started working with a booking agency out of the Boston area called The Kenmore Agency, and our dear friend Matt, who runs the place and helps us out with tours, made it happen. Just one of the aforementioned new and fantastic friends we’ve made recently.
We imagine the tour was the biggest you guys have played, how did you feel performing in front of what we assume would be such a sizeable audience? Was there a different vibe to your usual shows?
It takes maybe a show or two to adjust to the change in venue and environment, but after the initial breaking in period you realize that, because the stages change, because the manner in which a show transpires changes, etc. etc. the spirit that really propels the act itself stays consistent. No matter where you play (be it a house, VFW hall, cafe, or 500 cap venue) there are people who aren’t interested in what you’re doing, or just aren’t interested in the whole thing for the right reason, but it’s easy most times to divert your attention away from them and focus on the people that care. And I don’t mean care about us necessarily, I mean people who care about the community.
You’ve got two split 7″coming out, how did they come about?
Conversations between friends, really. The friends with whom we’re releasing the two splits, I mean. Both artists are very close to us, as people and as musicians, so it made sense to share space on a record. We talked about it with them, formulated plans, talked to Chris from No Sleep, and here we are now–with new jams. It’s a pretty simple process that requires a lot of in between work.
The track ‘How I Feel’ on your Myspace has a notably faster and punk-ier vibe to it, what inspired it?
Partly, I think, just the mood at the time of writing, but we did make a conscious effort to focus on the similarities we have with the band on the opposite side of that split, Touche Amore, so a lot of it can be attributed to that.
Was the DIY scene from which you have emerged something that you always aspired to be a part of, and how do you see your relationship with that scene developing as your success continues?
The DIY scene, or rather, the ethics of it, is still very much a part of what we do and how we function, though I’m not certain that was ever the goal going into it. We were really young when we started, both literally and artistically, and we really hadn’t the faintest idea of what the end goal was–we just liked playing music–and for the most part, that’s still true. We’re not aspiring to be a part of any scene or genre or sect or whatever it is people ally themselves with, we’re just trying to play music because we love to play music. And we love to play music on our terms. Having said that, excluding yourself from powerful and positive relationships with other like-minded and compassionate people because it’s not punk or whatever seems wasteful. I think, in many ways, the landscape has changed, and people need to adapt, but maintain a level of cautious discernment. I don’t know. It’s a blurry, blurry line, and I’m no authority. Really, I’m rambling, and I haven’t really touched on your question.
What I mean is, it’s a really complicated issue, and one that brings up a pretty heated argument within the whole culture. But I don’t think our relationship with that community, a community that has been so incredible to us, will change or shift unless we change or shift the idealogies and beliefs that compel us to make music in the manner that we do. And that day won’t ever come. The minute we lose sight of the reason we’ve committed ourselves to this lifestyle is the day we call it quits. But it’s so, so much more complicated than people make it out to be.
Do you have any artists/people that are constant sources of inspiration?
Too many to list. Our families, of course, and our friends. Most of us would probably say each other too, I think. And that’s not even getting into all the other artists we love.
What is next for La Dispute?
Split with Koji in November, touring most of the fall and likely winter, writing and writing and writing for a new record which is presently only a few of the smaller bones that make up a skeleton, and trying to make as many friends as possible.
We are eager to hear more from La Dispute, can we expect a full length album in the near future?
See the above question. First half of next year? It’s all very preliminary. We’ll let you know.
You seemed to get a pretty good reaction last time you were in this part of the world, how long will we have to wait for another taste?
Not long, my friends.
Is there anything else you want to shout out to us over here, or anything else you want to mention in general that is inspiring you at the moment?
Joanna Newsom, my little brother, Charles Mingus, Neil Gaiman, Karyna McGlynn’s I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, and sister’s little daughter Maddox. All pretty inspiring. Also, we miss everyone in Australia too much to describe and can’t wait to see you all again. Listen to To The North, Marathon, Quiet Steps, Bare Arms, Surprise Wasp, etc. etc.
Also, Stu Harvey always tells us he’s going to say hi when he comes to our shows and never does. What’s with that, Stu? If you see him, tell him I said that. That guy rules.
Thanks for taking the time to do this, most of all, good luck with everything – hopefully we will see you over here in the not too distant future!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
08/10/2010 § 5 Comments
(the original version with an attached review is available here.)
Jerry@RRR: Let’s start with introductions. Could you quickly introduce yourself and your position in the band?
Jordan Dreyer: My name is Jordan and I read/shout things I’ve written into a microphone.
Jerry@RRR: With the formalities out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. You just released the split Searching For A Pulse/The Worth Of The World with Touché Amoré. How did this collaboration come to fruition?
Jordan Dreyer: The initial spark was pretty simple: we (as in ourselves and Touché Amoré) are good friends who have a considerable amount of mutual respect for each other’s art, and a whole lot of common ground as friends as well. We talked about it, it made sense, and we started the motions necessary to make it happen. That is, we discussed what we both wanted from the release, formulated a plan of attack, started writing, contacted Chris [Hansen] at No Sleep, finished writing, scheduled recording time, recorded, got the artwork in order, sent it to the presses, and there you have it. A record. And one that both bands are pretty proud of, I think.
Jerry@RRR: How did the writing and recording process work for this split?
Jordan Dreyer: For us, it was a bit of an experiment—which we’ve been working towards during writing as of late—in that we shook up the writing process a little. We’d be thinking about how the approach to songwriting affects the outcome for quite some time, and this split—and another yet to be released that we worked on just about simultaneously—we’re really the first writing experiences for us in which that thought was installed in the process. First off, we tried to focus some on the common ground we share musically with Touché Amoré, which gave the split a uniformity it would’ve otherwise lacked musically while forcing us to dwell on an aspect of our songwriting that normally gets only so much time. Second off, we tried to take a very organic and raw approach to the songs. That is, letting the natural movement show, and zeroing in on the feeling it creates—on how a part affects your mood—rather than calculating and critiquing and editing to create a feeling. Additionally, Jeremy from Touché and I worked, to an extent, on giving the lyrics some thematic consistency, while also writing with each others talents and tendencies in mind.
As for recording, most of the aforementioned applies. While we love the way Somewhere [At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair]sounds on record, we really wanted to produce something in studio that better captured the honesty and rawness of a live show. It’s so easy to make something sound good these days, but capturing the spirit of a performance, of a show, is something else—and that’s really what this whole community centers around. So, in recording these songs, we tried to set up everything in a way that captured the raw, organic emotion of a live show, instead of just trying to make a pleasing studio record.
Jerry@RRR: What is the significance of title The Worth Of The World?
Jordan Dreyer: The titles were derived from lyrics in each of our songs that commented on similar themes. For me, the songs are our side of the split discussed and examined the struggle present in being a twenty-something kid with no ultimate grasp on purpose and the like. Or, more specifically, presented a shifting perspective on that struggle post-losing something that felt ultimate, that felt final. Hence the line, “the worth of the world has frozen.” Really, I think both of the songs on our side circle that line, with the end conclusion being that looking to thaw what once felt definite and life-spanning is the wrong approach, because it implies that it shouldn’t have frozen in the first place. Things happen because that’s the way things go, and not because something is working against us. On the other hand, what do I know? Most of our songs end with that question, both on this split and on Somewhere.
Jerry@RRR: What fueled the conceptual aspect of your tracks?
Jordan Dreyer: Waking up in the morning in April and finding a layer of ice on the windshield of the beaten-down old car you have to drive to work.
Jerry@RRR: Did you write the lyrics for his cameos in Searching For A Pulse?
Jordan Dreyer: No, I didn’t. Jeremy wrote them with my style and such in mind, and I did the same for the parts he performed on “How I Feel.”
Jerry@RRR: You have received quite the reputation for your lyrics. How did you come to perfect your writing style?
Jordan Dreyer: I haven’t perfected my writing style, nor will I ever. Any skill or hobby or talent or whatever is a constant work in progress and won’t ever stop evolving. I love to write, always have, but for the most part I’ve neglected it. The only thing that makes something improve is diligent practice and unceasing humility. I don’t practice enough, but I’m humbled by the myriad of artists I admire who are leagues better at pinning words to paper than I ever will be. I like to read what they do, and try to learn from it. And to always observe the things going on around me. Half of writing is finding something worthwhile to write about, and that’s pretty easy so long as you stay attentive.
Jerry@RRR: The artwork for Searching For A Pulse/The Worth Of The World was hand drawn by La Dispute’s own Adam Vass and Touché Amoré’s Nick Steinhardt. What was the inspiration for the artwork?
Jordan Dreyer: Collaboration, primarily. We wanted this entire project to be cooperative–from the music, to the lyrics, to the artwork–so they had it in mind from the beginning to work together. Conceptually, the artwork follows the lyrical theme in a broad manner, with images alluding to the similarities and differences present in both bands. For instance, location.
Jerry@RRR: Is art something Adam would consider as a side-project in the future? Could he make the artwork for future La Dispute releases?
Jordan Dreyer: Vass definitely already focuses a lot on his art, doing shirt and album designs for bands, and painting constantly. It’s fun to watch. As for future releases, he is working on the jacket for our other split, and will be doing the bulk of the artwork on our upcoming full-length, for which he already has a lot of big and really, really cool ideas that aide and add to the things I‘ve been working on lyrically. I’m excited.
Jerry@RRR: Your last full-length release was Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair in 2008. Can we expect a follow up anytime soon?
Jordan Dreyer: We’re starting work on it now, but there’s no set time-table at this point. Everything is very preliminary. We’ll keep everyone posted as it progresses.
Jerry@RRR: People consider La Dispute to be a part of post-hardcore’s newest wave. What are your thoughts on the state of the genre? Is it frustrating to see post-hardcore associated with bands that use breakdowns, auto-tune and screams to cash in?
Jordan Dreyer: We don’t really differentiate between post-hardcore and hardcore or punk. The intention is infinitely more important than the outcome, and it’s frustrating to see so many borders built. It just encourages exclusion. We never set down to write songs as a post-hardcore band, we just wanted to make music, and this is what came out. For the most part, I think, people feel the same way too. We’re certainly not a typical sounding “hardcore” band, but people who focus on that area of alternative music have been very open to the music we make. I think, because they sense that we exist because of the principles that have made punk and hardcore such a powerful part of culture. As for breakdowns and auto-tune and what-not, it’s not really on our radar. Life would be miserable if everyone focused only the things that bother them instead of all the immensely inspiring things happening right alongside all that. And people can call things what they want, titles don’t matter. Who cares what screamo is, or what emo or post-hardcore is. Complaining about titles is just elitist posturing. Like what you like because it appeals to you, not because of what it’s called.
Jerry@RRR: What are you plans for the rest of summer and this fall? Any solid touring plans?
Jordan Dreyer: Playing some Michigan shows here and there, and hitting the road pretty hard in the mid to late fall, and on into the winter. First up, the West Coast with Envy and Touche Amore in October, then we’ve got a couple things up in the air for November. Maybe Canada? We’ll see. Then, Australia in the winter. Stoked.
Jerry@RRR: Is there something in the near future fans can look forward to?
Jordan Dreyer: Another split, as mentioned. Lots of love, always. And the promise that a full length is in the works, so keep your ears open.
Jerry@RRR: By the end of 2010, what are some goals you would like to see the band accomplish?
Jordan Dreyer: Have more fun, make more friends, see new places, write some songs. That’s about it.
Jerry@RRR: I’m out of questions! Thank you so much for doing this interview. We at Review Rinse Repeat appreciate it! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Jordan Dreyer: Only thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
04/30/2010 § 6 Comments
-next, our good friends in Orlando do a podcast at Full Sail University called Team FatKid, and they were kind enough to record an episode with us before we had to load in to the venue. check the podcast out HERE.
Hope everyone is safe and well, we’re having a good time.
now back to my book.
01/31/2010 § 3 Comments
This past January while we were in Austin, Texas we had a short chat with Adam Pfleider of Absolute Punk in a dingy green room above Emo’s. This is what ensued.
The original article can be found here.
The most recent thing you guys have worked on is the third session of the Hear Hear EP’s. What was the initial idea to start doing those?
Jordan Dreyer: The first time we had the thought was that we just wanted to do something to supplement the release of a 7″, so we kind of brainstormed over the course of several weeks and kind of came up with the idea that each person would write a song and each person would play the instruments for each song. It kind of just started as something creative for us to do and something additional for the catalog and to kind of develop more too. Initially it was something just fun for us to do. The way that we see it is that it gives a broader context to the releases that are just put out. A chance to hear specific influences in each individual.
Is this more of a warm up in going into recording later?
Dreyer: I think it was a chance for us to, as we developed as an artist, was a chance to foreshadow what was coming on the [next] record, and kind of give a little bit of a preview in a way. Obviously not specifically, because it’s a whole different process – a whole different sound. We did kind of use it to foreshadow what was to come. It was cool, because once those were out and once the record was out, people could go back and listen to [the Hear Hear sessions] and say, “Oh, that’s where that comes from. Now I can see where that was quoted or developed.”
These are definitely stripped down. Is that the idea, was to keep the Hear Hear tracks very minimalist?
Adam Vass: I think it ended up that way, because each of us took a song individually. You would have this very elaborate soundscape in your mind that would evolve. [Being limited in what we could do], my songs are definitely a reflection of things I’m into and things that I like. I feel like, if it wasn’t just me, if there was a quartet of strings that I could get involved with it, then I would do so. It’s kind of a combination of necessity and influence.
Dreyer: Comparing it to the studio recordings, there’s only so much we can do, recording it in warehouses or basements instead of recording it in a full fledged studio. I’d say it is born out of necessity.
Vass: I also think that makes it more interesting. I feel like it’s more direct from a mindset…You kind of just get your gut from it.
Dreyer: I think when you put boundaries and limitations on something, you can have a more interesting end product and it’s more fun to see. [Like] if you wrote a poem and omitted the letter E.
How did the involvement in Well House Community Living of Grand Rapids come about?
Dreyer: We had been talking awhile about how we could put something back into the community. The whole housing crisis issue in Michigan has been prominent, and has been for a long time. We’ve been witnessed to it in Grand Rapids for some time, so we’ve been talking about doing something more than just taking the money for ourselves. The first thing we thought was about giving it to the homeless in our community. We didn’t want to give it to a national organization because we wanted to know where the money was going and to see the fruits of the labor. The gentleman who put out [Vancouver], his sister is very involved in homelessness outreach in various different levels of Cedar and Grand Rapids. We did decide to do something in Grand Rapids. We contacted her and talked to her. The most encouraging, the most inspiring, the most beneficial way to give back I guess.
How has the housing situation directly or indirectly effected you guys?
Dreyer: I think for Brad and I, [we] work in a hardware store. We’re cousins. Our parents own a hardware store, and our grandparents owned it before them. The way that we’ve seen it in the whole six-seven years, the whole “building” being on the decline, and we live in a fairly lower class neighborhood. Seeing people coming into the store and working with foreclosure and business going under. None of us have been homeless or anything like that. It’s hard to avoid if you live in the state of Michigan. It’s a little bit easier if you live on the West side instead of the East side. It’s something you see every day. It’s almost like when the recession became the front of the media onslaught. This isn’t just happening. It’s been happening for years where we come from, and not just in Michigan, but [all over] the Midwest.
Brad Vanderlugt: Indiana too, where Adam is from.
Vass: I’m from a town called Valparaiso, which is a town that is really well off, upper middle class, but that’s only a few minutes from [destitution].
Dreyer: The whole Midwest is tied to so much of the [material] industry, that factory work has propelled the Midwest for years. There is suffering because of the collapse of General Motors, and it’s not only effected Michigan, but that area in general.
On a positive note, it seems the Midwest is doing well with their local music scenes. Do you feel like there is a general sense of a “scene” happening there? Has it been there, but not well received or talked about until recently?
Vass: I think it’s been there, and it’s not that it has not been well received, it hasn’t been as outgoing. People are really trying to work for something now. A big “this is our community, our area.” We’re Southwest Michigan, and then I’m from West Indiana, and then Chicago is an hour West from where I’m from. The whole lakefront area is very well connected now. Even in the past three years, seeing it from when I was living in Indiana to now, it’s continually growing. As we branch out, we make friends in other places and connect. You just kind of see this web, this community growing and growing.
Dreyer: I think in general. Lately, in the past couple of years, I’ve always learned in school, the predator versus prey relationship. The predator always preys down and once it gets to a certain point, it seems to shift. In general, it seems like people are becoming more into the business of community and music that has been around and not really tapped into since the last time it happened. People are becoming fed up with the majority of certain scenes and the commercialization of punk. I think you see a general shift.
Speaking of community, you guys just got off of tour with Thursday. What do you think of a band like Daitro saying what they said about not wanting to tour with Thursday? Is there a negative outside perception to bands that eventually become successful on a rooted sound?
Vass: I think that was just a mistranslation. The initial thing wasn’t as abrasive as it was. At the same time, it was still pretty abrasive, even at the very core of it. Geoff [Rickly] had a pretty well written retort to that in saying that’s the kind of thing that really hurts the scene. You don’t need elitism at all. When we spent time with [Thursday], we realized that they were just as important to the scene as we are. Just because they’ve been very successful with their time as a band, that doesn’t remove them from the things that they have done and the things that they continue to do – to help music and the D.I.Y. community and the post-hardcore genre. They continue to write intelligent albums, even when they were on a major label. That’s really respectable. That’s very important, to continue to stay what [they] are, after their success. The fact that other bands can’t really see that, or would shove them out because of that, it’s not cool.
Dreyer: I think if anyone had anything bad to say about Thursday, and would have met them, carried a conversation with them and found out how genuine they are…
Dreyer: That’s something you always have to reconcile – what’s punk and what’s not punk, what’s right and what’s wrong. When something gets popular ,there’s always going to be a backlash from the people that were there prior to that. That sense of elitism and egoism only serves to build walls and create boundaries to exclude people from the greater good of their purpose to really just connect and have an impact and exchange positive ideas to coexist. When you distract from the greater good, you really take steam out of the movement.
Within this new community, this web you speak of, as you are touring across the United States, are you seeing any sort of elitism?
Dreyer: Honestly, I think for us, in the past two years, I think it’s been the opposite. Where there was a time where we were booking shows, playing shows where certain people thought we should be. I think [the idea of elitism] has dissipated. I think we’ll have to see what happens in the next year, for us and all those bands. I don’t know, (to the band) you guys can either confirm or deny that. I feel like our specific scene in the Midwest, the network that Vass has talked about, has become more cooperative than previously.
Vass: I feel like [that negativity] might still be around, but it’s never really affected us. Either the people we involve ourselves with aren’t part of that, or I can’t really think of a time when it affected us in recent memory.
La Dispute’s sound is very reminiscent of bands like Thursday and mewithoutYou, but it’s almost put together like a lot of the European acts. How does the writing process work for the band?
Vanderlugt: As for writing music, a whole song will come together, usually all the music will come first. If anyone has a part, we’ll bring that in and expand on that. Vocals are usually the last thing. I don’t know if that changes it.
Dreyer: To this point we’ve started somewhere musically, and finish the song before I put down anything on it. I’ll usually have a pretty specific idea of what I want to talk about given the mood and feeling of what I want to talk about. Lately, we’re at least attempting to shift that and work more as a unit rather than two separate entities. We haven’t really done much of that yet, but we haven’t really had much time to write since we’ve been out and about doing things.
Do you think that will change the sound of La Dispute, or shift into a more progressive territory that you are looking forward to?
Vass: We’re really pulling for the latter there. [Laughs] I think it’s an experiment right now, because we don’t know how it is going to come out. We’ve basically been writing music in tidbits we call “skeletons.” It can go in a lot of different directions, but they have a core that Jordan can write to them. We’re not taking it further than that until Jordan begins to contribute what he has written, so we can all build into it. That way, we figure it can be a more cohesive product. Like I said, we haven’t done it, so we don’t know how it’s going to come out. That’s the idea now.
Dreyer: I think regardless of what the end product is, I don’t think it won’t sound like us…There’s been a revolution thus far, and it’s always managed to sound like us. I think even if it takes in another direction…
Vass: That’s how it always has been. Everything we’ve put out has been a progression of us.
Dreyer: For us, it’s more important to be true to what feels natural than to force ourselves to stay inside the mindset of what we had previously. I think it’s more us to push our process than it is to say, “We don’t want to compromise our sound, so let’s continue what we had.” it’s more satisfying to us to push our sound creativity. I don’t know. We’ll see. We’re all very excited to see where our sound will be going. It just feels natural.