Thursday, July 9, 2015

Interview with Dick Diver

Melbourne from the Australian state of Victoria boasts a population of more than four million people and is the second-most populous city in Australia & Oceania. Melbourne from the United States state of Florida has a bit over seventy thousand people and is nowhere near the most populous city of the Floridian state let alone the United States. With me so far? Dig: Melbourne, Florida is the third LP from Melbourne, Australia band Dick Diver, featuring gentle tones, pop songwriting, and effortless harmony. It's also the first Dick Diver LP to have a domestic release for a United States audience, by the ever-prescient, ever-tasteful Trouble in Mind Records.

Dick Diver has been on an American tour for close to a week at this point, starting in Chicago and making their way Southeast, passing through Texas en route to California before careening across the pacific Northwest. Tonight they play the Nightlight in Chapel Hill with one of my all-time favorite bands Spider Bags and if you're anywhere within the Triangle area, you need to catch this show or you're going to be kicking yourself later.

I got to bother Bill Roe (Trouble in Mind co-mogul and supreme overlord of band chaufferage) and Dick Diver for a few questions while they're on the road. Unfortunately, I will not be able to catch them on this tour, but that's no excuse for you!

Jordan Reyes: How is Bill Roe as a driver? I understand that he runs a mean record label, but if you had to give him a yelp review as a chauffeur, what would you say?

Alistair McKay: We thought Bill was coming for a holiday, but he just works from the wheel. The road is great for listening to new bands he says. I looked over at his phone one time after we'd just swerved to miss a goat and it said 'LOL. Thanks for sending. Love the sound of this :D got anything else though? :D'

JR: In all seriousness, how is tour going so far? Have there been any highlights so far?

AM: Tour is great. We've been looking up famous serial killers from each city we visit. Some real sickos. Show wise, New York last night was a blast. Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today.

JR: What are the logistics like for touring in Australia - is it feasible to tour by car? Do bands tour much outside of somewhat close cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane?

AM: Lots of places to play but people are spread pretty thinly outside the cities. Last year we played a show in a town called Cockburn. It's in the outback near where they filmed the first Mad Max. population 28. I think 17 people turned out. Cockburn has 2 pubs so I guess the others went there instead. Not a lot else to do.

JR: Tell me a little bit about your record Melbourne, Florida. You guys recorded this with Mikey Young [of Total Control & Eddy Current Suppression Ring] again, right? Is recording pretty quick and easy at this point after working with him so much?

AM: We rented a place on Air BnB near the beach and set up there for a week. We took a piano down and all our other gear. Rolling hills, miles away from anyone else. It was great. We did most of the record there. We did a couple of tracks - “percentage points” and “boomer class” - and some overdubs afterwards at mikey's house and al's girlfriend's house. 

JR: How did you guys decide to release your record with Trouble in Mind? I know you went with Chapter for a domestic release. How is it having more affordable international distribution? Does this change a lot for you?

AM: Al Montfort knew Bill through Mikey Young and suggested we send him and Lisa a copy of the record as they've done a bunch of stuff we like. It's great having a label based in the states. It makes it easier to tour and to get our records over here.

JR: When I listen to your new record "Melbourne, Florida," one of the things I notice quickly is that there's not one person singing all the songs. Beyond that, these songs cover a lot of ground. Do you each write songs for Dick Diver? Are there specific themes and ideas you guys cover in a Dick Diver song?

AM: Yep, we all write songs for Dick Diver. I think everyone just writes about whatever is holding their interest at the time. My current interest right now is 90's plush toys. Love is Rupert’s.

JR: In addition to the four of you all, you had some guest appearances by way of a synth, saxophone, and trumpet on "Melbourne, Florida." Had you written these parts in before recording? Did they just come to you as you recorded?

AM: We had a rough idea of where we wanted the horns to go but the parts themselves were mostly improvised by the players Gus and oscar.

JR: I know that the name Dick Diver came from an F. Scott Fitzgerald book. Do you guys get to do much reading while touring? Have you read any good books lately?

AM: I vomit if I read in the car. I'm writing this in the car now and am close to spewing. Zadie Smith's 'NW' is a recent highlight for me. Also Javier Marias's 'Your Face Tomorrow' trilogy.

JR: Have you guys ever seen Wake in Fright with Gary Bond and Donald Pleasance? That movie blew my mind and it actually still freaks me out when I think of it. Do you think it's at all a good representation of life in the outback areas of Australia?

AM: Top movie. Rupe and I went and saw it together when they rereleased it a few years back. I remember we came out of the cinema afterwards both stinging for a beer. It was very confusing. I mean how can you still want to drink after THAT? I don't think it's representative but it might not be too far wide of the mark of a couple of joints I've visited. There's some pretty weird places. But there's a lot of outback so thankfully it's various. Like men!

JR: What all is in the future for Dick Diver?

AM: We’ll keep writing songs and making records. Hopefully we'll come back to the states early next year. Europe beckons too.

JR: Anything else you'd like to say?

AM: Thanks to everyone who's come out to see us play so far this tour. We're here having a ball for another two weeks!

Tour Dates:

Wed 07/01/15 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
Thu 07/02/15 - Cleveland, OH - Happy Dog
Fri 07/03/15 - Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia Record Exchange instore
Mon 07/06/15 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs
Tue 07/07/15 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby's All Right
Wed 07/08/15 - Baltimore, MD - OttBar
Thu 07/09/15 - Chapel Hill, NC - Nightlight
Fri 07/10/15 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
Sat 07/11/15 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
Mon 07/13/15 - Austin, TX - Mohawk (inside)
Tue 07/14/15 - El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace
Thu 07/16/15 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
Fri 07/17/15 - Los Angeles , CA - Jewels
Sat 07/18/15 - San Francisco, CA - Make Out Room
Mon 07/20/15 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
Tue 07/21/15 - Seattle, WA - Vera Project @ Local 46
Thu 07/23/15 - Missoula, MT - Real Lounge

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