This interview was conducted with Kenny Choi of Daphne Loves Derby on Saturday, November 5th, 2005. Thanks to Trae Vedder of Fontana for setting it up!
AP: Thank you so much for doing this interview, we really appreciate it.
Kenny: No problem.
AP: How’s the tour going?
Kenny: This tour’s amazing.
AP: Any crazy stories?
Kenny: Not really. Just like playing in front of really big crowds, it’s crazy—we’re not used to that.
AP: So how long have you been on the road for?
Kenny: Let’s see, I think almost a month now, just three shows left.
AP: Do you like being on the road or are you getting sick of it?
Kenny: No, not at all. Well, I do want to go back home, but I’m not sick of it.
AP: Do you listen to any of the band on the tour?
Kenny: Yeah, Copeland’s one of my favorite bands. This is one of my dreams come true, to tour with them.
AP: So On The Strength of All Convinced came out around July or so; how’ve things been since then?
Kenny: Better than we expected—I mean, we got on this tour. We never expected to tour with Copeland or bands this big so early, and for a debut album it did really well being on a label that no one knows.
AP: Right. So the album came out through Outlook Records, which I must say, I, and I think quite a few other people were intrigued by the decision to sign to them. What were some of the reasons you ultimately signed with them?
Kenny: Main reason: we were afraid that we could just be like a burn-out band and kind of disappear after one CD or something. For bands on the popular labels, it’s easier for that to happen because you kind of get an automatic fanbase just because of the name of the label, but it’s not necessarily permanent fans. So we kind of just wanted to work hard and earn it, you know?
AP: How did Outlook find out about you guys?
Kenny: I guess over the internet, like one of the A&R guys heard us.
AP: Would that have through pureVOLUME or something?
Kenny: Yeah, probably.
AP: Speaking of pureVOLUME, you guys have exploded on there. To be honest, I hadn’t really heard of Daphne Loves Derby, but then all of a sudden you guys had like two and a half million plays on there or something. How did that happen, and how has that helped or hurt you guys?
Kenny: Well, all of our fan base is grassroots pretty much. We didn’t spend any money getting our name out there—it was all people who found us and then told their friends to check us out, and it kind of spread. That’s the only reason we got sorta big on there.
AP: Going back to the label thing, there were all kinds of rumors that many big indie/emo labels were interested in you guys. Did you have any concerns signing to a label that hadn’t really worked with any “emo” bands in the past?
Kenny: Definitely. We knew there’d be a lot of problems, and there are, but it’s worth the fight. Instead of getting that instant access, we wanted to build up our fan base and move from there. But yeah, we were worried, because they’d never worked with anyone like us before.
AP: Have you been happy with the distribution and promotion and things like that?
Kenny: Yeah, definitely. Fontana Universal distributes it, so it’s in every store.
AP: Have you guys ever talked with Trevor?
Kenny: Yeah, when he’s not playing football, we talk with him a lot. But since this is football season, we do text messages and stuff.
AP: So is he pretty involved with the label, or is he kind of there just to have his name up there?
Kenny: When he’s not playing football, he’s a little more involved. Otherwise, there’s other people who run the label that do most of the work.
AP: Any of you guys going out for the NFL now?
Kenny: Haha, yeah maybe. Maybe.
AP: Seeing as how you guys gained a lot of fans through the internet, how do you feel about downloading?
Kenny: For bands on major labels, it really does hurt them because major labels spend a lot of money to promote their bands, and if people download it, then the label loses a lot of money. I guess it hurt our label too, but for a band that’s small like us, that’s kind of good, because on tour, more people come out to see you.
AP: You guys are pretty young, but you definitely have a more mature sound than most other bands in the emo scene. What all did you listen to growing up, and what are you listening to now these days that kind of helps shape that sound?
Kenny: When I was growing up, my dad would always make me listen to like the Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel, ABBA, and that kind of stuff. I guess but now we listen to what everyone else listens to know. Some of my favorite bands are Death Cab and stuff like that.
AP: Did you guys ever study music theory or stuff like that? I’d say you guys have pretty interesting chords—do you use music theory to help come up with those, or is it more a little of just messing around?
Kenny: The most any of us has done was like choir at school. We just kind of mess around.
AP: Do you have a top 5 for the year?
Kenny: Plans by Death Cab For Cutie, Volcano by Gatsby's American Dream….umm, if I could look on my iPod I could tell you very easily.
AP: So you guys recorded with Casey Bates; how’d you guys get involved with him?
Kenny: Well we’re really hardcore fans of Gatsby’s, they’re like the hometown heroes. So we did some research and found out that Casey was involved with them. So we made our EP with him and it went really well, and so we just played it safe and went with him again.
AP: Did he do any arranging or anything like that, or was it more straight up engineering?
Kenny: Just engineering. He’s really young—I think he’ll be amazing someday, but right now I think he’s perfect for up and coming bands like us, really mellow.
AP: One AP member was wondering if you guys have started writing any new material.
Kenny: We like to write when we’re home, but we kind of mess with ideas on the road. So nothing serious yet.
AP: What's the stuff like so far compared to your other releases?
Kenny: It’s a little more groovy I guess. I guess like On the Strength it sounds like we tried too hard, I don’t know. It was a little bit of a learning experience, so everything will be different on the second album.
AP: What do you mean by everything?
Kenny: Just the whole mood of it, the lyrics.
AP: What are your plans for 2006 besides touring?
Kenny: Besides touring…
AP: Haha, yeah, I know that’s like most of it…
Kenny: We’ll start pre-production on our new album. If we have time, and can find the right people, we’ll start working on it.
AP: When would that be?
Kenny: Probably in the fall, then we’d release it in 2007 or something.
AP: How’d that thing with G4 go? I don’t get that channel so I didn’t get to watch it.
Kenny: Oh it was awesome, it was fun.
AP: I’m a total nerd, so that sounds like my kind of channel.
Kenny: It was kind of weird, but our label made us do it. It’s kind of cool though, because after that at every show someone’s like ‘Hey I saw you on G4, and I came to check you out!’ So it worked, haha.
AP: One AP member has three questions for you: acoustic sets or full band sets?
Kenny: I think full band is more fun because you get to dance more.
AP: Small crowds or big crowds?
Kenny: For some reason, we always have fun at the really small shows, and the other bands have a crappy day. But, big crowds are more fun in the end.
AP: Kanye West or Jay-Z?
Kenny: Kanye West.
AP: Ok, this is kind of a weird question from another user, but here goes nothing: “My friend Kelsey King from Newton, IL proclaims to have written a song with Alex who used to be in the band. She said they wrote two to three songs together. The two I remember are “Come Winter” and “Tennis Court Soundtrack.” Now, I don’t know if this was true, so I’m just wondering if she did, and if you guys could clarify that for me.
Kenny: Haha, no.
Kenny: There’s always weird rumors.
AP: Yeah, that one's kind of weird.
Kenny: That’s kind of random actually.
AP: Haha, oh well.
AP: One final member question: what do you think of your #1 fan and message board administrator Johnny Arguella, a.k.a Jawknee?
Kenny: That guy’s awesome; we stayed at his house n stuff. Haha, I don’t know.
AP: Haha, yeah, I don’t know what you’re supposed to say to that.
Kenny: He’s a good guy.
AP: That just about wraps it up. Thank you so much!