I'd like to thank Craig from Rise Records for making this interview possible, the users who submitted any questions, and the band for answering them.
Please state your name and your role in the band.
Any story behind your band name?
We get asked this question a lot. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a story behind our name. We had booked our first show before we even had a band name. Our initial list of names was pretty ridiculous. Our singer, Jonny, had wanted to name a previous band, Dance Gavin Dance. But the thing is he doesn’t really know where that name came from. So we just agreed to it, thinking we would change the name as soon as possible, but we didn’t, and the name just stuck. We like it now, it definitely grows on you.
What was it about Rise Records that made you decide to sign with them?
We had liked/we are friends with previous rise bands and seeing how the label was taking off, and the success of other rise bands, we were definitely interested. Bands in our area and people affiliated with rise told us great things about the label, so we were more than happy to sign on.
You have a new album coming out May 22nd. Can we expect anything different that this record had that your first one didn't?
Yes! Where to start? The new record is basically the real deal of what our band is. With the first release we were in between bands and members and didn't really know what our sound was. At the initial formation of the band, which spawned from other projects, we weren't really that serious and messed around for a good six months with four of the songs off the EP. We solidified our lineup and finished off the EP with the two robot with human hair songs and that was basically the start of us finding out what the band was. That was a little over a year ago. The new record we wrote from September-December '06. With writing this record we had all established our place in the band, and were confident what we could do as individuals. In terms of how we wrote this record, each person in the band set out to write the best parts they could, no one catered to, or dumbed down their parts to create a certain type of sound or leave room for a hook, or think well if I do this then I might confuse the listener. Writing the record was really a battle between musicians seeing who could one up the other. Our mentality was basically, if his part is that good, mine just has to be better. This is seen in the new record, for the fact that the cd really keeps going the whole way through. There aren't really any points where there are no vocals, or two guitars aren't battling leads, or drums aren't going off in even slow parts. Even with that said, the record is still dynamic and mood shifting. There are even harder and softer parts than the ep, and typical song structure is not something that we kept in mind. Our favorite part about this record is that we did what we wanted, we made what we thought sounded the best to us and i think people are going to get it , and know that it is not contrived in any way, and we take pride in that it sounds like Dance Gavin Dance
Besides being signed to a label, how has the recording process or experience changed from recording Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean to Downtown Battle Mountain?
Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean was recorded with a local engineer/producer/friend. We had recorded some demos of songs off Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean with him and he asked us if we wanted to record our ep at basically an extremely discounted rate, pretty much free, but we had to work off of his time schedule. So we recorded sporadically over four months from around march ‘06 to June ‘06, at random time schedules. A lot of the vocals were done late night, like 1am to 6am. But we finished it, and had 1000 copies pressed ourselves. Shortly following that Rise offered us a record deal. We still have some of the 1000 self pressed, so if you are at a show in the next few months, you can get one. For Recording Downtown Battle Mountain, we had the opportunity to record with Kris Crummett, who had previously recorded some great bands, i.e Fear Before the March of Flames, and Anatomy of a Ghost, as well as Drop Dead, Gorgeous. We recorded for two weeks from January 7th - January 21st in Hillsboro, Oregon, outside of Portland. We stayed in a motel a couple blocks away from the studio. The recording process for the full length was much more intense than the EP. We recorded every day as opposed to whenever convenient and it was freezing cold and snowing most of the time we were there. We had access to a lot of really nice equipment, namely too many high end guitar heads to count. This recording was much more thorough, all the way around, nothing was overlooked, and even the smallest details were made perfect. Kris was really easy to work with and made Downtown Battle Mountain sound amazing. He was definitely the perfect person to help capture our sound.
I've noticed that a lot of your song titles tend to be humorous sentences rather than a regular one word title. What are the usual influences behind these names?
Yes, only a few of our song titles actually relate to the song lyrics. Instead our titles relate to not the substance of the song but usually something that happened while the song was being, played, written, or recorded. For example, a song off of Downtown Battle Mountain is entitled, “Strawberry Andre” because after consuming this champagne, it prompted sarcastic lyrics to be written about wealthy single middle aged Americans.
Is their any plan for a music video to be released in the future? If so, for which song?
Unfortunately no. But we hope to do something in the future. I think people would get a much better idea of our bands personality if they saw a music video of us. Of course the concept and directing would have to be of our own influence.
If you were to pick one Dance Gavin Dance song to have someone that has never heard of your band before listen to (whether it's on the new album or not) which one would you choose and why?
If to show someone a song so they would get a balanced/accurate impression of our band and then maybe go on to listen to more, I would have to say, “And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman” off of Downtown Battle Mountain. Mainly because it is a good well rounded song for us and shows many aspects of what we do and what we’re about.
When someone makes an ignorant comment about your band, what's your reaction? Are you affected by it or do you just ignore it?
Yeah none of us really care. If someone thinks our band sucks or says something condescending etc. we usually find it pretty funny. People like things, people hate things, everyone has an opinion.
What are the bands or artists that have inspired you to make the music you do today?
We all have such varied music taste that it would be quite a long list, but maybe a few from different genres would include: At The Drive-In, Cursive, Explosions In The Sky, MF Doom and Radiohead.
You're heading out on tour with Drop Dead, Gorgeous and The Devil Wears Prada in June. What's your favorite and least favorite parts of touring?
Favorite part would probably be the constant reminder that your job is to drive across the country playing your music and having fun. Least favorite part would probably be getting sick and running out of money.
What are your future plans after this tour?
Our future plans are to keep touring, and then tour some more, followed by more touring.
We want to keep writing. Our song writing moves quickly, and we would like to have a lot of songs to work with for the next record. If touring wasn’t so necessary we’d probably be able to and want to release a new record every six months.
only heard of the band by name, not by music. but i listened to the song they said to listen to, and I liked it. cool deal, good interview joe.
but i dont know about them wanting to make a record every 6 months, to me i think a band should live off of a record for atleast a year, you created something and should respect your work and appreciate it to the fullest, in my opinion. but yes good interview.