The Downtown Struts put out one of my favorite records of 2012 so far. We talked to singer/guitarist Dan about what the band has been up to.
1. Introduce yourself and your role in the band.
Hey! My name is Dan and I play guitar and sing in Downtown Struts.
2. You released your new record Victoria back in May and it's seemed to have caught on to the point where you're touring with large bands. What were your expectations for the record going into it and have they changed?
Feedback has far surpassed our expectations...well at least mine. I wasn't so sure what people would think, and I don't like to have expectations at all, let alone high expectations. That way when people tell me it sucks, I can kinda say "I know, right?" But for real, I am very stoked and appreciative of all these larger bands letting us play shows with them. Cheers to all of them.
3. You just toured with Face To Face. How was that?
It was great, they are some of the nicest dudes we've had the pleasure of sharing the stage with. The shows were awesome. I had never really heard them before that, so it was cool getting to experience them for the first time that way.
4. You're about to embark on a European tour with Bouncing Souls, Sick Of It All, and Street Dogs and then tour the US with The Street Dogs again. Does any of this seem surreal? What are you looking forward to?
It does seem pretty surreal. We're totally stoked for Europe and hitting the stage with Bouncing Souls. That will probably be the highlight of this year for me, I'm already calling it now. Growing up, these are the things you always hope for, but they never seem realistic. And now that they are realistic, you have to kind of live in the moment. Could be gone tomorrow.
5. It seems like since the emergence of The Gaslight Anthem's The '59 Sound that this folky/Americana style of punk has become popular. What do you attribute to this rise in popularity and how has it impacted The Downtown Struts for better or worse?
I think Gaslight has opened the doors in so many ways for so many bands. They are one of the groups who helped reignite the flame, and that flame is still burning so to speak. I think bands have always written and been influenced by folk/Americana, but now that it has become popular, those other bands have a chance to shine. The goal is now to pave our own way and find our own voice, now that we've been given a chance to speak. I can't tell if I answered this question really well or took a huge shit on it.
6. With the popularity of multiple mediums to sell your music, are you going to be doing any limited edition or bonus track releases down the road?
We've been throwing around the idea of doing a split between now and our second record. The hard part is finding a band who wants to join you for it. Your album release schedules have to be similar cause you don't want to put anyone out. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to release one song at the end of the year. Just one song, and try to have fun with the release. I want to give people a hint of what's to come with our second record.
7. Who produced the record and how much did you guys play a part in the production end? It's perfectly balance between being polished and still maintaining an organic and edgy feel.
We recorded with Matt Allison at Atlas Studios, and Justin Yates who also works there was a big part of our record. We went with Matt because we'd heard and own a lot of the records he's done. So he definitely took our record to that next level and we let him do whatever it took to get it there.
8. If you could flawlessly cover one song in a set, what would it be and why?
"I Know There's An Answer" by the Beach Boys. That would be an accomplishment just because of all that goes into a Beach Boys song. But really, I just love them and that record so much. To be able to sing those words and make those sounds and get lost in it would be a truly great feeling. And I hate covering songs. I'd probably cry then and there if we did "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times".
9. What have you been listening to lately?
I've been listening to that new Japandroids joint. It's pretty rad. But I'll probably fall back into a month long Beach Boys obsession because of that last question. I already started up "SMiLE" a couple of minutes ago.
10. What are your plans in the fall and winter?
After those tours you mentioned earlier, the only thing I'm certain of us getting back into writing mode. I'm sure we won't be able to stay off the road for long, but I want to get some serious work in. We've already started messing around with some demos I've recorded and I'm super excited.