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|Interview: So Many Dynamos 27/02/2010
For a lot of people this is the first time hearing of Illinois 4 peice So Many Dynamos. However after playing with the best indie/math the UK has to offer they are now starting to make a name for themselves within the UK music industry. Most recognised in America for having their recent CD 'The Loud Wars' produced by Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) and indeed fresh signings of Vagrant Records, I caught up with the band to see what's next in their plans for world domination.
This is you're first time over here in Europe, how's it all been going?
Clayton: For sure, we expected to have a lot of fun and I have to say we're having a pretty good time.
Any dates been particularly memorable so far?
Aaron: Our show in London.
Griffin: We got to play with Tubelord and Tall Ships which was great, both really talented bands and it turned out to be just a great show.
I understand you're very much a touring band. Do you feel that it's one of the best ways to get music out there in this day and age?
Aaron: We spent the first 5 years touring constantly and we realised that it doesn't do as much as what you'd think. When we were younger and had a bit more energy we would be going a whole lot more. We used to think that if you play the same places a lot then you'd start to gain some sort of following, unfortunately it wasn't true.
Griffin: When you play a city and play to 20 people and then you play there again and those 20 people would return and bring a friend, so that was kind of our logic. That didn't happen. It took a long time to not let touring being your marketing plan for lack of a better word as touring is fun, but we've been long enough to realise the change in media. We started a band before MySpace was relevant, and now it's irrelvant for instance.
Clayton: Nowadays we have to have a reason to tour, instead of just tour for the fun of it, especially in recessions.
As you're well known in the states, but new over here did it feel like you had to start from scratch almost?
Griffin: A few people randomly knew who we were but this is the first time we had our record come out over here, so this is like the first chance someone would have been able to find out who we are. We've had a record label put our record here, now we're actually right in front of people as opposed to some abstract band who only appears on the internet.
Who were your main influences when writing The Loud Wars?
Clayton: I think at the time when we were really into At The Drive In and stuff like that. There's so many elecletic musical ideas, we really push and listen to tonnes of music.
Griffin: Battles is one of my favourites. Their new record is incredible. It was hard to hear that and not think that the bar has just been moved up that much higher. Its humbling but then still so inspiring.
Aaron: I think specially in the song writing process specially and immersing yourself in as much music as possible is important. Anything from pop hits to some shit no-ones ever heard before. That sounds really pretentious [laughs] But yeah, you can pull so many different things from parts of songs though.
Chris Walla from Death Cab produced the album, how was it working with him?
Clayton: Fantastic, such a gentlemen and a master of his craft. I don't think he planned on taking us under his wing as much as he actually did but we ended up learning so much from him.
Griffin: Never did us wrong. Via a creative suggestion or pizzeria to avoid. [laughs]
Aaron: He's been doing what we've been doing for so long. Being in an independant band and taking it from there into a huge commercial success, and its interesting to see and how to learn how they did it along the way.
Have they been an influence on you guys?
Aaron: Yeah i'd say so, I mean personally and as a business model definately.
Griffin: I actually met our former guitar player at a Death Cab show.
There is a lot going on in your songs, but it seems to flow together very logically. How does these parts come together in the recording process?
Aaron: We're kind of in a strange position as we had a member quit in August and before he would bring those ideas to the table, and we would arrange them and piece them together but he's not around more. It's much more of a democratic process now.
Griffin: We're all re-learning how to write songs together and so far we're all pretty pleased with how its working out.
Your name So Many Dynamos is a palindrome, was that a concious decision?
Aaron: Yeah it was. We were just like 'We want a palindrome for our name, lets look on the internet and see which ones are the best.' I wish there was a better story than that but that's really all there is.
I think thats what helps bands stand out when you're listening to music outside of your genre.
Aaron: Yeah absolutely.
Clayton: It's funny because we get pidgeon holed all the time for sounding like The Dismemberment Plan but I can't remember throughout these 4 years of being in a band analysing any sort of idea they did, or used that within our songwriting.
Aaron: We just like to write it off really. Theres two sides really, if you have someone come up to you after the show and they say "I really like your music, you remind me of the Dismemberment Plan" and you see the excitement from somebody thats awesome. But othertimes you will just get written off.
What does 2010 hold for you guys?
Griffin: Loads of songwriting and hopefully make it back to Europe again later in the year. We're going to be playing a showcase in SXSW which is going to be a lot of fun. We played it before but this one will be a quick there and back.
Aaron: It'll be nice just to go back home and be able to pay our bills again really!
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