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Interview
 

Dr. Manhattan - 04.02.08

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Dr. Manhattan - 04.02.08Vagrant's recent signees, Dr. Manhattan have let the cat out of the bag. Redundancies are but small stones the four Illinois homeboys kick away as they stroll a lush, unchartered path. Generic? Never. Linear and boxed-in? Most definitely not. Dr. Manhattan are oddballs, greased-up bikers in a world of squares. Computer nerds stuck in high school weightlifting class. A cucumber among a bouquet of dandelions. Ok, enough analogies. But seriously, this is indie rock that is raucous and a free spirit. It definitely deserves you attention.


First of all, please tell me your name and what you play in the band, for the record.

Nick: My name is drums, and I play Nick.

Can you give me a mini history lesson of how Dr. Manhattan came to be?

Nick: At the time, I was running the mile at the Wauconda High School track to break my own personal record of an hour and a half, when I suddenly felt a presence running near me...it was my friend, Matt Engers. Matt was a well-known track star of the high school, so needless to say I felt intimidated running on the same track as he. Matt at the time was training for the upcoming meet against Juniper West, our sworn enemies. Matt was making great time, when all of a sudden this gentleman by the name of Andrew Morrison came running at him at a great speed. I tried to yell "look out!", but it was too late. The two of them head-on collided at roughly 64 miles per hour. The accident was horrific. The speed they were traveling combined with their general ferocity melded them into one being, known as Adam Engers...somehow this all adds up to us writing music and playing in drmanhattan together, i'm not sure...i'm really baked.

Where did the name come from? Did it have to do with the comic book character?


Nick: The graphic novel, Watchmen, provided us with the tools to properly name our union now known as, drmanhattan.

Was there a point in your younger years as a band when you all realized that this was something you wanted to pursue seriously. Like, at a practice or a particularly successful first show, etc?


Nick: We realized that we should take this seriously after our first practice/jam/shuffleboard romp, when without any sort of preemptive plan or warning we wrote our first song "The Party's Opinion." We knew something felt right. Although our first show/tour was a very helpful building block in that as well.

Tell me about your local scene and how Dr. Manhattan was able to incorporate themselves into the fabric of it all?


Nick:
When we started, there really wasn't too much of a "scene." Lots of friends had gone off to college, and local bands had started to dismantle. We didn't have a real close venue or anything for kids to associate as "drmanhattan's" in Wauconda. We actually played a town an hour away, Rockford, moreso than our hometown for awhile. We just started to play anywhere that would have us. Kept our live show fun, and real, and kids respond(ed) to it. People realize that this is what we love to do and have fun doing it, so they started coming around. Our local scene now consists of shows at the Just For Fun Roller Rink in Mchenry, IL. Lots of kids come, dance, party, and have the best time... no matter whose playing. We love playing anywhere, it just seems that playing at the roller rink is what is home for us.

You have an eclectic sound. It's offbeat, it's fun and clever. How do you describe your band to someone that's never experienced an act like Dr. Manhattan?

Nick: Describing our band is like figuring out the rubik's cube... it will never happen in the history of mankind.

What artists/bands have you been most influenced by?

Nick:
Kiss Kiss, Tall Tale, Gnight Gnight, This Is Cinema, The Felix Culpa,The Brokedowns, Flowers For Dorian, From The Headline, Truman & His Trophy, Heart Shaped Hate, Owen Pye, The Most Genuine Expression, Aglet, Cant Face The Falling, Home Movies, Inspector Owl, The Montauk Project, The Brobecks, Jay Tay Live!

And what bands would you kill to jump on tour with? Tell me a dream line-up for you.


Nick: All the previously listed bands plus: The Hives, Refused, Coldplay, Queen, Gogol Bordello, Foxy Shazam, Primus, Cake, Beck, The Mars Volta...any bands doing something different and bringing it live, we'd love to tour with.

Tell me about your live show.

Nick: Organized chaos. Our live show is one that involves our energy, plus the energy of the crowd, to make the whole night a fun, memorable experience for everyone. Each night is unique in its own way. We try to include lights, visuals, and any other sorts of stage antics we come to think of at the time of the show. Most of the time if fails terribly.

Have you ever gotten in any trouble from a venue due to your stage antics?


Nick: We've upset some homophobic cavemen-types who wanted to attack us because our music wasn't to their liking, otherwise we haven't gotten ourselves into too many ordeals. Just the standard football games and nude romps.

What are your thoughts on current music?

Nick: It has very much potential. There are a lot of real good bands putting out great records and keeping their live shows fun and exciting. Shows are becoming fun again without all the pretentious perfection.

What's wrong with it? What's right with it? What do you want to change?


Nick: The separation between egotistical bands and nervous-to-move fans at shows isn't "wrong", but it should be changed. Bands need to stop acting like they are any different than the people who pay to get into the shows because the members of the bands were there themselves once. Paying to get into a show. The show-goers should shake it up. Bump into one another. Feel. Move. Love. Bands should start playing shows in basements, and living rooms again. The business side is always going to focus on cd sales, and how good the tours you're getting on are. People shouldn't focus on that. Everyone should focus on good the music is, how hard the band works, and whether or not bands are making connections with their fans/friends. Those are what make a band real.

Where is Dr. Manhattan in all of this?


Nick: Wauconda, IL. Everywhere, USA. Just trying to let everyone know our live shows emit from who we are as people. We aren't some costume or entity, we are us. You are us. We are together.

Define success for you guys? Is it selling out a House of Blues, is it being able to tour constantly? Was it signing to a label like Vagrant? When do you think you will reach a point where you can look back and say, "Ok, I've done all I wanted."

Nick: If everything were to stop right now, we'd be able to say we were successful...but we can always improve. Selling out any venue would be a great success. Being able to tour is a dream come true. Having a label like Vagrant behind us is a manifestation of my adolescent musical ambitions. The first cd that my friend Sean showed me was "A Year On The Streets", which was a Vagrant comp that showed me new music, and led me to seeing The Hippos at the Metro for one of my first shows. The first cd that really hit home for me on an emotional level was "Designing A Nervous Breakdown" by The Anniversary. Alkaline Trio, and The Get Up Kids also have been very influential for me. It's pretty insane to be apart of the label that started that all for me. Oh yeah...the other guys like it too.

Why Vagrant? How did the deal came to be? What do you have with them that you think other labels wouldn't be able to bring to the table?

Nick:
Purely the money. They brought one of those over-sized checks that had at least a hundred zeroes. We were so focused on the zeros, we didn't see that the check started with a zero. So, we got nothing...and now we're trapped. For life. Dan Gill flew out to a show of ours and saw how amazing of people we were and signed us before we even played one note. Honestly, they just brought an honest approach and family feel to the whole situation. Nothing like a bunch of overgrown children throwing the football around and making fun of you to make you feel at ease.

Are there any labels you regularly follow? If so, which ones?


Nick: Vagrant has informed us to answer the question with "Vagrant Records." So...Duckphone Records.

What, in your opinion, is the most important thing to remember as a band on the road?


Nick: Peanut butter on bread doesn't get old, the less you pack the better, and washing your genitalia every once and then is a great idea. Also if the band you're on tour with takes you on an all-day adventure including crossing a turbine-powered river when you're not that strong of a swimmer, just sit that one out...thanks, Kiss Kiss!

What are you listening to right now?

Nick:
Zoidberg talk on Futurama. I was listening to "Interpretaciones Del Oso" by Minus The Bear, and "The Hate Yourself Change" by Neva Dinova while filling this out before though. Right now? The sounds of babies crying.

Any last words?

Nick: We made a promise to four young boys that if our album goes Gold, that we'll take them on their very first cruise. Help us make our dreams come true. Have a heart. Buy a cd, won't you? Bless your sweet, giving hearts. O'doyle rules.

"Music is a violation of our personal privacy" - Caddyshack
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 16
10:22 PM on 04/03/08
#2
Co and Ca
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Mentioning The Anniversary makes me like this band so much more. Anyways, awesome interview. I'm seeing them on 4/20.
10:34 PM on 04/03/08
#3
Julia Conny
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Mentioning The Anniversary makes me like this band so much more. Anyways, awesome interview. I'm seeing them on 4/20.

What a perfect day to see them, ha.

And thank you.
01:15 AM on 04/04/08
#4
MattAwesomeDude
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" Nick: Purely the money. They brought one of those over-sized checks that had at least a hundred zeroes. We were so focused on the zeros, we didn't see that the check started with a zero"

Ha Ha Ha! Haven't heard of this band but that was a great line!

Sounds like the dude has the right attitude about music.
03:22 AM on 04/04/08
#5
Keagan Ilvonen
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Great interview Julia! I enjoyed it.
05:58 AM on 04/04/08
#6
DItaliaO
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what DID happen to basement and living room shows?
06:59 AM on 04/04/08
#7
bloodyr0mance87
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haven't been able to pick up cuz i'm overseas. but the stuff i've heard is good. and apparently they have a great attitude about music. i think every band should read this interview and give some thought to what he has to say.
07:25 AM on 04/04/08
#8
nateisawesome
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great interview and a really great band

I love the cd
08:35 AM on 04/04/08
#9
Dr. Acula
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One of the better interviews I've read, good job!

And my first time seeing Drmanhattan was opening for Saves The Day awhile back and they were lots of fun. After the show, one of the guys gave their demo to me and I've been a fan since. Funny dudes.
09:21 AM on 04/04/08
sevinw0rds
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That was awesome. I'm going to check this band out, 60% because of the awesome name and 40% based on this awesome interview. I'm a huge Watchmen fan, I don't know if people can tell.
09:37 AM on 04/04/08
aamai4
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awesome interview.

their new album is great. i can't stop listening to it.
01:17 PM on 04/04/08
Heart-A-Tact
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Seems like a pretty nice guy. The album is awesome.

Good interview, by the way.
04:15 PM on 04/04/08
oshyjay
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I hate to be the one guy that says something bad about the band, but they aren't going to last.
I saw them live and while there was a ton of energy, the lead singer/vocalist was high out of his mind. I was surprised he could actually play the songs cause he only muttered "Oh shit...Oh god..." in between songs while laughing; at one point he was trying to grab the glare of the stage lights while laughing out loud; the bassist had to tug on his shirt to remind him to play the next song.
It was horrendous.
04:58 PM on 04/04/08
reedard
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I hate to be the one guy that says something bad about the band, but they aren't going to last.
I saw them live and while there was a ton of energy, the lead singer/vocalist was high out of his mind. I was surprised he could actually play the songs cause he only muttered "Oh shit...Oh god..." in between songs while laughing; at one point he was trying to grab the glare of the stage lights while laughing out loud; the bassist had to tug on his shirt to remind him to play the next song.
It was horrendous.

well, oshjay, i hate you be the one guy, but you've already told this story. and i was unimpressed. like i said. hugs not drugs.
11:12 PM on 04/05/08
stickfigures
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I just saw these guys live tonight. I've been wanting to see them live for awhile now to. It's pretty sweet they got to play with one of their influences (The Brobecks) as well.

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