sexta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2016

Full Moon In Vertigo with Dignitary - An Interview

Já comentei anteriormente o que escreverei novamente, Los Angeles é a mecca do novo pós punk e darkwave, a efervescente cena de lá, tem nos brindado com bandas e discos simplesmente geniais.

E é chegada a vez do Dignitary que tem data para o lançamento de seu primeiro álbum intitulado "Full Moon In Vertigo", o disco vem ao mundo dia 16 mas já pode ser apreciado no link do bandcamp da banda, além disso o Dignitary preparou uma festa absolutamente imperdível para a comemoração do lançamento. No próximo dia 18 os caras se apresentam neste evento ( que conta com discotecagem de ninguém menos do que Daniel Ash, sim ele mesmo, o gênio por detrás das guitarra do Bauhaus. Pena que estamos um muito longe desse acontecimento, não é? 

Voltemos a "Full Moon In Vertigo", o disco, ao lado do debute do Echolust, certamente a estreia do Dignitary é um dos melhores discos de pós punk do ano. Sombras de The Sound, Chameleons e claro Lloyd Cole e The Smiths, permeiam o trabalho dos caras, mas a sonoridade do Dignitary revitaliza os 80´s e os transporta para nossos dias com extrema elegância e sofisticação.

Um disco extremamente necessário.

***** Interview with Dignitary *****

Q. When did Dignitary start? Tell us about the history...
MC: Pretty boring history (so edit this down all you want!) but…I started up the first incarnation of Dignitary with Ammo Bankoff (of Brass Tax, old school friend and the cinematographer on my directorial debut feature Jerry Powell and the Delusions of Grandeur – now streaming on Amazon Video! –plug-plug) in 2011. We wrote “Demon Beside Me” together (on the Tautology EP) and we were a gothic western band – acoustics, minimal, dual male/female harmonizing like Exene and John Doe in X. And we had a long, pretentious, story-book name… The Dignitary Loss of Richard Roe. When Nick Liberatore joined on drums we went into a more electric direction and changed the name to Dignitary Loss. We played the Echo Park Rising Music Festival in Los Angeles in 2013, and for that show we dropped the Loss and just went by Dignitary. A month later, mid-way through our video for “Demon, Beside Me” the band broke up. Wrapped the video and that was that.

GH: I'm a third generation Dignitary. I met Mike about 2 years ago while working at a vegan restaurant where we bonded over comics, movies, and music. At the time Dignitary Loss was on hiatus and Mike was looking to start the band up again with a different line up.

FS: I'll tell you how Dignitary started for moi. I joined as a keyboardist in late 2013. Mike and I have been friends for most of my life so when he asked me to join there was no hesitation on my part. The band was going through a transitional period at the time and we took a break from playing shows.

MC: I resurrected the band in 2014. And wanted to go in a different direction. More New Wave. I’d been jamming with Gabe Huerta (lead guitar) and Fallon Scherzinger (keys) and Caroline Schoenberg (bass) here and there for a bit with different drummers. Never played out, tho. Fallon’s my teenhood best friend. Known her since we were kids – she was 12 when I met her. I was 15. Both grew up in the punk scene (although she was a rude girl and I was super into anarcho-punk). She volunteered at Koo’s Café in Santa Ana, CA (pretty famous joint if you look up the place: So we were always around
bands but never played in one together. We didn’t know how to play anything! Fallon took some minor bass lessons and I figured out how to play on my own – not that well, mind you. When I first started to write songs I would have her do back-up vocals. So…Asked her to join on keys. It’s simple. Root notes. Gabe I met at a restaurant/bar we both worked at. We bonded over comic books. Total geek-fest. And it turns out that just like Fallon, he too is originally from Orange County, California.

FS: We recorded some stuff, some of my backup vocals and a little of my keys are on the Tautology (Dignitary's first EP). After that I took a break from Dignitary for about 9 months.

MC: So, yeah, we never played out. Fallon temporarily left the band – although she contributed backing vocals and played keys on our debut Tautology EP. Stacy Fratelli replaced her and Ted Iisley got behind the kit – Nick (aka the Liberator) played on that EP and both the Burn and Lady in White EPs as a session drummer. Gabe and I planned a West Coast tour to support the Tautology EP and Caroline didn’t want to tour so she left the band. Instead of auditioning new bassists I asked Fallon if she wanted to take over for Caro. She didn’t know how to play bass and we had a show about three weeks from when I asked her to rejoin the band. She learned how to play bass in three weeks! Mind
blowing. And it’s not easy, simple root-note stuff either. Those are some mid-level bass lines.

FS: They needed a bass player (my absolute favorite instrument). I rejoined in late 2015. I learned my parts in about a week and a half and played my first show at Church of Fun in September 2015. It's been an absolute blast ever since. Recording, playing, touring, shalalalaaala.

MC: Gabe, Fallon, and I are the core of the band. And we play with various session musicians on keys or drums or use backing tracks when we don’t. To me the band became an official thing when the Tautology EP was released in the fall of 2015.

Q: Who are your influences?
GH: Within our genre, I'd say Johnny Marr is a huge influence. I'm not the biggest Smiths fan but I really love Johnny's guitar work. Jumping between rhythm and lead, he knew how to fill up the space around him.

MC: I’m influenced by everything and everyone and play homage to everything and everyone and I have no shame in pointing it out. I have an unintentional, bassy crooner’s voice so I love all those ‘60s and ‘70s lounge-type love songs…lots of Spanish stuff my mom would play around the house. Leonardo Favio’s “Llovia, Llovia”, Los Angeles Negros’ “Y Volvere”. Listen to that and then listen to our song “Deathstar”. I can break down our tunes and tell you what I was aiming for. I’ll be like… check out the Squeeze vocal influence on “Mississippi” or there’s this Mamma’s and Pappa’s bit over here. Jesus and Mary Chain on “Some Kind of Sickness”? Pixies on “As the Verdict”…My older brother (who was in his twenties when I was a kid) was a working DJ in Los Angeles in the ‘80s. So he was always blasting the hits when I would ride around in his car. Duran Duran, Thompson Twins… all those new romantic bands. That’s always been in my blood even tho my favorite stuff growing up were bands like Zounds and Crass. Crass bass lines are some of the best in the universe.

FS: Oohhh all the 80s greats! Siouxsie, definitely. No surprise there. The bass lines have a Gang of Four bounciness to them. Delta 5. New Order. I can listen to the Cocteau Twins in the bath until I implode into one giant wrinkle.

Q. Make a list of 5 albums of all time…
MC: That’s no concrete list! The first four, maybe, five Ramones albums. The others are good if you’re a fan but they’re spotty. So one of those first five. Stone Roses - S/T. Smashing Pumpkins – Adore. Black Sabbath – Paranoid is probably the greatest album ever recorded. The Smiths – Louder than Bombs is my favorite driving album.

GH: I was a late bloomer when it came to music. These are albums I grew upwith and can listen to from start to finish any day:
1) ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Code
2) Muse - Black Holes & Revelations
3) The Mars Volta - De-loused in the Comatorium
4) Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
5) Radiohead - OK Computer

FS: Ok, these are definitely my go-to's, but they can't be in order, that's too much emotional distress:
.Siouxsie and the Banshees: Juju
.David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
.The Gun Club: Fire of Love
.The Specials: The Specials
.Wire: Pink Flag

Meh. There's more names I wanna cram into these 5.

Q. How do you feel playing live?
MC: With my hands.

GH: It's the reason why I play music to begin with. I like to compare it to being an actor. You have a part to play and you just be someone else for 30 minutes or so. I'm pretty shy, so playing live gives me a chance to not be me for a bit.

FS: Quite honestly, for the first two songs I am at my peak of anxiety. I get so nervous. If my E string doesn't tune easily I just want to scream and then dive head first into concrete. Then, just as the third song starts, it's the most fun I've ever had. It's empowering. Even if there's only 2 people in the audience I feel like a fucking queen. If people are dancing, that emotion doubles. I always have so
much energy after a show.

Q. How do you describe the Dignitary sounds?
MC: Uhhhh….

GH: Dark, romantic lyrics with jumpy bass lines and reverberated guitar layers.

FS: We are headed in a direction that's a lot dancier. Poppier. You can definitely hear Duran Duran in a lot of the guitars, and one of our new songs – “Neon Blue”- reminds me so much of Flock of Seagulls' “Space Age Love Song”. All with a sad tone though. It either sounds like a sad song that has hope, or a happy song just waiting for life to take back all the fucking glory, with interest. I usually aim for my back up vocals to sound dainty and a little whispery. It's more haunting that way.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs?
GH: Mike will usually record something with his acoustic and scratch vocals and add layers to it.

MC: We do all this stuff in the apartment now – Gabe and I are roommates. I record the basic song on my acoustic to temp looped drums, do a scratch vocal, Fallon records her bass, I fix the drums, Gabe his guitar, I add my guitars and then keys and then we do all the vocals.

FS: Mike is the sole songwriter. When I come over to learn a song, I learn it by recording it, part by part. He'll sometimes come up with a bass line on the spot. My contributions are usually mistakes that just sounded better. Often both of us will look at each other and say "WHAT WAS THAT?!" And then keep it as part of a song. A lot of times I'll be in another room singing and mimicking (enter 80s
artist here) and he'll make me do it into a microphone. A song usually takes me about an hour to record, back up vocals and everything, all in the comfort of Mike's room. So when you listen to a recording, it's actually the first time we've played that song. Everrrr.

GH: Mike will bring us in to go over the song with him and we'll add parts he has in mind or our interpretation of said parts. Sometimes we'll just put certain parts of the song on a loop and just play around with the sound until we find something that stands out. The process doesn't take more than a few days from inception to final recording, depending on our schedules.

MC: I also make sure everyone records in their underwear. I like to keep things raw. There’s a bit of vulnerability when you record in your underwear. I mean, I don’t wear any. So use your imagination…

FS: And we are never just wearing our underwear, no matter what Mike tells you.

Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
MC: Well, we’re going on tour with The Electric West. And those guys rule. The Exploding Boy – listen to their “Black Album”. It’s so damn great! Egrets on Ergot and Terminal A always put on a great live set. All Your Sisters. Cold Showers!

GH: Light Light, The Echo Friendly, and The Electric West, and not just because we've been playing with them. They have an awesome sound and are a really great group of guys.

FS: I absolutely love All Your Sisters... I want to play a show with them SO BAD. They really get my pants dancin'. I also try not to miss an Egrets on Ergot show or Terminal A. They are the best live acts I've ever seen. Electric West is another show I hate missing.

Q: Which band would you love to made a cover version of?

MC: You mean which band should we cover? I wanna cover Madonna’s “Isla Bonita”. I did a scratch cover of that. It’d be cool if one of our friends’ bands cover us and we’d return the favor. Do our version of one of their songs and vice-versa. That’d be fun. Maybe I can convince everyone to collaborate on a project like this.

GH: Either Radiohead covers one of our songs or we cover one of their songs. I don't understand the question. But, yes, Radiohead.

FS: Alanis Morrissette. Pft. Shyeah.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
MC: Releasing our Full Moon in Vertigo LP next month. And we have two more albums on the way. The second, As We Part, has wrapped and gonna start getting mixed soon. The third, Neon Blue, is almost done being recorded. Just need to do guitars. Really excited about this stuff. The tunes on Full Moon – with the exception of “The One” and “Behind Distress” – or almost 3-4 years old. They’re basically leftovers from the previous incarnations of the band, finally recorded, tweaked a bit. Going forward it’s all brand new material with no links to the past. And these two sound very ‘80s. And by ‘80s I mean all-encompassing ‘80s. Not just one genre.

GH: More touring, hopefully outside the US.

MC: We need a goddamned booker. Losing my mind doing all this shit.

FS: One day at a time. Things always happen last minute. I've had plans since I was a kid. Plans are always interrupted.

Q: Any parting words?
MC: Asa nisi masa!

GH: No.

FS: Part ing wor ds.