Concert Crap: You just released your debut EP! What was the creative process like for the EP?
Dominick Sotis: Our debut EP was such a fun experience for all of us! Steven and I got into this habit early on of getting together every day after class and writing. We would sit down in his dorm with some guitars and a notebook, and just noodle around and jam on nonsensical riffs and progressions. Eventually the smoke would clear and we would have a base for whatever song we were working on. I would then play the melody on the guitar over and over while Steven wrote the lyrics, and once we had the lyrics and the melody we would bring in Dylan to complete the song.
CC: I was listening to the song “Movement” and I really loved it! The instruments sounded different than the typical stuff you hear. What’s the meaning behind the song?
Steven Spears: “Movement” was an interesting song for all of us because it was really the first song we wrote where we all got to demonstrate what each of us brought to the band musically. We left a lot of room throughout the song for Dominick to play around with solos, and Dylan’s drumming is really what brings all the pieces together. Lyrically, this song is about a guy Dominick and I had met soon after we had started writing together. From the start we had never gotten along with him, and the lyrics reflect that. The opening line, “an empty promise of conversation will bring me to the brink,” was written because any attempt we made to converse with him would just leave us frustrated, since he would ask us these questions or bring up these ideas, but seemed totally disinterested in what we had to say in response. Once we had the opening progression and the idea for what the song would be about, the lyrics came easily.
CC: Who would you like to tour with, realistically and unrealistically?
DS: In the year or so we’ve been playing as a band in Nashville, we’ve been lucky enough to meet several artists that we’d be honored to tour with. Realistically, we’d love to tour with our friends blaketheman1000 or The Wicked Lemon. These guys are extremely talented and I think it’d be a very interesting lineup if we were able to play some shows in the future with these guys. Unrealistically, touring with Jack White would be the greatest gift that could be bestowed upon us. Like Steven says in one of our live releases, “this is a Jack White house, we pray towards Third Man Records five times a day here.” Also to be able to tour with Led Zeppelin, Gary Clark Jr., or Nirvana, while unrealistic, would be a great honor.
CC: Your live shows are supposed to be really awesome! Do you have any tour plans for the rest of the year?
SS: We are currently in the process of trying to book some shows around Nashville for the fall, but nothing is set in stone yet. I love gigging with this band though so who knows what we’ll do. While we’d love to be able to play at some of the more established venues in Nashville, we are constantly keeping an eye out for any house parties we might be able to play at. Our crowds seem to enjoy the more intimate setting and we play at our best when we can interact that closely with the crowd. Our shows also tend to get pretty rowdy and I want to apologize to anyone who may have seen or heard some things I’ve said.
CC: What are some artists or albums that you’ve been listening to lately?
SS: I’ve been playing Roger Waters new “Is This the Life We Really Want” on repeat since I saw him play in Atlanta. He’s still got it, but he’s certainly reached god status by now. I also like to keep Toothbrush by Dr. Dog and The White Stripes debut album in my CD deck at all times.
DS: This summer I’ve essentially lived with the album Bones by the Delta Saints on constant repeat. These guys also came out of Nashville and I’ve just been blown away by what they’re able to do. Meeting them is definitely on my bucket list. I’ve also fallen back in love with Nirvana this summer, especially “Heart-Shaped Box” and the entire In Utero album. Kurt Cobain has always been one of my favorite songwriters, and he’s definitely a huge inspiration to me.
Dylan Hilliker: Lately I’ve been listening through a bunch of The National’s discography, as well as Hug of Thunder by Broken Social Scene, and Crack Up by Fleet Foxes. I’ve also been listening to Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples latest albums a lot.
CC: What artists, albums or songs have had the biggest impact on your lives?
SS: The White Album by The Beatles is definitely the album that’s influenced me and helped me the most in my life. The Beatles have played a huge part in my love for music. I’d say that watching Jack White perform “Death Letter” live from the Under Blackpool Lights release has been my favorite tune because it makes me want to die.
DS: Led Zeppelin has definitely had the biggest impact on my life. Jimmy Page is the reason I started playing the guitar and Led Zeppelin has always been a great companion throughout my life. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” from Led Zeppelin III has always been one of my all-time favorite songs, and while I know I can never top it, I hope we can cover it as a band soon. Continuum by John Mayer has been a revolutionary album for me since I first heard it. While Mayer doesn’t fall under the same genre we fall under, he has always been a huge inspiration for my guitar-playing.
DH: Hummingbird by Local Natives was the album that got me serious into making music and has heavily influenced my drumming. Broad Shoulders by Dikembe is also a huge influence in my drumming. Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, and Frank Ocean are definitely my favorite pop artists, but I have also been heavily influenced by jazz, as well as bands such as American Football and their influence on math/emo alternative music.
All questions answered by Dominick Sotis, Steven Spears and Dylan Hilliker
Post and interview by Madeline Cronin
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