Interview: La Dispute

Last week La Dispute released their second full-length LP for No Sleep Records, titled Wildlife. A collection of short stories from a fictional author of sorts comprise the album, complete with an author's note and all. Brian recently got to ask the band's lead vocalist, Jordan Dreyer, a few questions about Wildlife, the stories it tells, touring with Envy, and even superpowers.

Stream: La Dispute - Wildlife

Hello fellas, very nice to have the opportunity to talk. Before I delve into this, I've gotta ask. When I was reading through some of your other interviews, I read that you guys started because you wanted to cover a song by At the Drive-In. I've been an avid fan of them since I was in high school, so I'm curious now, what song did you set out to cover, and will it ever be released?
The first song we ever played (or attempted to play) together was "Cosmonaut" from Relationship of Command. I can't really remember how well it went, but I remember that we had a great time doing it. But we haven't played it since that time so the chances that it'll get recorded and released are pretty slim, unfortunately.

Stay tuned after the jump for more questions with La Dispute.

In Wildlife you've departed with the subject of love, moving onto the general struggle of finding purpose and figuring out life in your twenties, caught between youth and adulthood. Was this premeditated, or was something that arose organically as you wrote?
A little of both, I think. The decision was made pretty early on to broaden things thematically, but we didn't sit down at that instance and plot out how we'd do that; the actual themes and stories came naturally before and while we were writing. There also wasn't a conscious effort to eliminate love or relationships from the record altogether, that's in fact all there still, but we wanted to approach everything that confronts people at this time in your life, and that required a lot of stepping out from direct personal experience to discuss other people's experiences. But, again, those other experiences came up naturally in the time between now and when "Somewhere…" came out.

How much of Wildlife was autobiographical? Did any of the stories come to you by other means?
It kind of depends. There are two ongoing "voices" throughout the record, one of which pretty strictly tells stories and the other of which shows the author's personal connection to those stories. The stories are about half-autobiographical and half-fiction, although I think you could argue that even the fabricated stories are still somewhat autobiographical, while the second voice is pretty exclusively drawn from personal relationships and experiences, although connecting it to everything required a certain amount of fictionalizing (let's hope that's a word). So, yeah, that's a confusing answer. I probably just could've said yes. Ha ha. In regards to the stories, a lot of them happened in the neighborhood that I grew up in, and some of them were made up to capture a feeling or mood that was less specific to an individual and more general to a time or place.

You touch a lot of emotional, personal, and sometimes dark subjects in your songs. Whenever you perform live you have to bring it all out again, is this ever a draining experience for you, or is it more cathartic?
Both, I think. If it's draining it's more likely subconscious, although there are occasionally times when things hit you the right way and come flooding back for whatever reason, and that can be difficult. If it's cathartic it's just the release of energy and emotion that accompanies it and not the specific thing discussed in the song. The best part about playing live is being able to give new meaning to things in the moment, just by looking at the crowd and feeling that connection. It's an amazing thing.

You toured with Envy about a year ago, what was that like? Was the language barrier an issue?
Touring with Envy was one of the most incredible experiences we've ever had. I don't know that there is a more incredible band, on record and on stage, so getting the opportunity to play before them every night, and then to watch them every night, was an honor and a privilege. As for the language barrier, you adjust pretty quickly to short conversations and physical gestures (hugs, high fives, that kind of stuff) and they are some of the nicest people ever, so we got along well.

You've said that the Here, Hear series will continue for as long as you are a band. For the first two you used segments from various pieces of writing you've like, however in the third it switched to original material. So what can we expect for the future of Here, Hear?
Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. We've been so involved in making this record that we haven't really discussed any concrete plans or even any preliminary ideas. I know we'll do another one in the future, but the shape it'll take is a question mark right now. If I had to guess, more original material. The downside of quoting someone else is that people, no matter how hard you try to clarify, will confuse it for original work, and that's a bummer for everyone. Plus, the last one was the most satisfying to make, at least from my end.

On the subject of Here, Hear, you've more-or-less started a book club amongst some of the fans I've met, so it only seems appropriate that I ask; what are you reading now?
That's a crazy thought. Crazy, but pretty cool. I don't know how I've become any sort of authority, but if people are discovering new things through me than I'm on board all the way. Right now I'm reading Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace. Enjoying both immensely so far.

Any bands you'd like to recommend to the world?
Pianos Become the Teeth has a record called The Lack Long After coming out and it will be absolutely crushing. I can't stress how much that band matters enough. Everyone go listen.

And now we move on to the hypothetical questions. You've been known for having a wide array of influences, which I've always appreciated. If you had the opportunity to record a split and do a tour with any now defunct band, who would you pick?
Fugazi? Planes Mistaken for Stars? At least those seem like bands that we could tour with. If we want to get more wacky, Neutral Milk Hotel? I don't know. And Jeff Mangum's out and about again, so "defunct" is questionable there. But so many great bands aren't bands anymore. It's difficult to choose.

Finally, if you could have any super power, BUT you could only use it while onstage and performing, what power would you want?
Super human strength so that I could stay out of Brad's drum set while playing on the floor. Or Wolverine's accelerated healing so that I would be alright after stepping on glass or hitting myself in the face accidentally while playing.

Wildlife is available now in CD & LP formats via No Sleep Records.

No comments:

Post a Comment