It has been three years since La Dispute released their first full length Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair and since then the band have gathered an impressive reputation. Between releases the band put out a bunch of EPs and splits while keeping up a hectic touring schedule before writing and recording their second full length, Wildlife, which dropped in early October. In the month since the release the band haven’t stopped, but vocalist Jordan Dreyer took some time out to have a chat with Kill Your Stereo about the writing and recording the album, touring and heading back to Australia.
Hi Gloria, how you doing?
Good thanks. Thanks so much for chatting with Kill Your Stereo, I am pretty stoked to be having a chat. How are you going today?
Im pretty stoked to be having a chat as well. I am very well. It’s the evening right now for me, I am doing very well. We have a day off, just hanging out in a parking lot with the guys from Thrice so I’m having a good time.
First off congratulations on the success of Wildlife.
Thank you very much, I appreciate it.
What has the last almost month been like for you and the band?
It’s been really good. The last few months we have been on the road with three pretty incredible bands and its been a lot of fun. The record came out pretty early on in this tour so its been really fun to see how people are receiving it and there have been a few people singing along to the new songs. So, it has just been a really great time so far.
There was quite a lot of time between Somewhere At The Bottom of The River and the release of Wildlife, but in that time you guys released a couple of EPs and splits. Was that always the plan, to take some time off and focus on smaller projects?
I think that kind of just fell into place, we really didn’t have a whole lot of foresight. When we put out Somewhere it was the first big thing we had ever done so it was kind of a learning experience and process for us. Post that we just kind of toured a lot, we made a lot of friends and quite a few things sort of materialized, we didn’t really have a whole lot of time in the first two years after Somewhere came out to really commit to writing a full length. Plus I think it was really weird kinda how that record slowly made it into people’s lives, so there wasn’t really any flair until pretty recently. So there wasn’t really a deliberate plan to do the splits and everything, it is kind of just how it happened when we were touring and made friends.
Your writing style is quite intricate and poetic. Could you talk us through the writing process for Wildlife?
Sure. Well for Wildlife I think the first thing there is, I guess, to talk about is that we had a pretty specific concept going into it, musically and lyrically, and we knew how we wanted it to be structured, we knew the themes we wanted to explore more or less. This time around it was a bit different to things we had done in the past, we wanted it to be a bit more cohesive and a bit more collaborative between myself and my four band mates so what we did is we would sit down with a story that I had or an idea that I had for a mood or a theme or something like that and we would discuss it as a band and we would build the song around that just so it was more, so there was a better merge between the two things. And then after we had finished the song and had really settled on a structure I would sit down and kind of piece things together and really find tune things. So it kind of went idea, music and then the actual lyrics.
What influenced you while writing this album; music, poetry, books, etc?
I think the biggest thing that influenced this particular record was I guess, less external forces in that regard and more just experiences. In the time between Somewhere and Wildlife we, as a group and as individuals, did a lot of different things and encountered a lot of different things and a lot of different people and encountered a lot of really powerful stories. So more than anything I think the primary influence was those stories and wanting to tell them accurately, to do them justice and just try and capture the mood of our lives at the time. So I guess if I had to pick other artists or musicians or authors they would be the ones, I think, that tell the most compelling stories. But its kind of hard to think at this point to pick exactly (laughs).
What was the recording process like this time around? Did you take a different approach or have you found a formula that works well?
I think we took a different approach this time but I don’t know that it was all intentional, a lot of it was just that we had more resources to accomplish things the way that we wanted to accomplish them. We had more things at our disposal in the studio and with the people that we worked with and with the time frame that we had. So I don’t think that we changed a whole lot as far as how we approached things but I think it was just more that this time around we had the opportunity to do things the way that we have always wanted them to be done. But it is also that this time around it wasn’t our first go at it. When we did Somewhere it was kind of a learning process for us and this time around we had a better feel for what it takes to write a record and to record a record. So a lot of it was just the tools that we had at our disposal and the other part of it was that we are more experienced as a band and as musicians.
The album artwork is really cool. How did you guys come up with the concept for it and how important is the album artwork to the album?
When we write an album we want it to be something that can be delved into on every level, we want it to be something that is cohesive from the lyrics and the music all the way down to the artwork and the packaging. So it was very important for us to have it make sense and have it be in line with everything else that was put on the record. As for the actual idea for what the artwork ended up being, that’s probably a better question for our bass player [Adam] Vass who did it all. But it kind of came up through conversations between he and I about the concepts for the record very early on. So when I first started talking to him about what I wanted to be included in the record he already started working out the artwork before we had even written any of the songs and it kind of evolved over time, as we started writing songs and started changing a little bit and he kind of took it and ran with it. We are all pretty impressed with what he did and are really happy with how it turned out.
There is such a high chance of albums being leaked nowadays but you guys streamed your album for free before the release. I’m not sure if it the leak or the stream came first but was that always the plan and what made you decide to do that?
Yeah definitely. It actually was funny, our record hadn’t leaked early and then it ended up leaking the day we were putting the stream up so that was an interesting coincidence for us, so we did hurry it a little bit. But no, I think like you said there is a high probability that albums leak, I spose it is an inevitability at this point in time, and I think it is just a lot better for you to control that rather than leave it to an outside source so it was very early on when we had a release date that we decided when we wanted to stream it, that we wanted to do it a week before the record’s release and we wanted to do it on our own terms so that it wasn’t just somebody putting it out there, we wanted to give it to people ourselves.
We have heard you guys will be heading back to Australia next year, is there anything more you can tell us about that tour?
(laughs) Im not sure how much I am at liberty to divulge right now, and part of that is it’s just very in the early stages of making that happen. There’s definitely plans and we definitely have some dates picked out and we definitely know how we are going to do it but there’s still all the technicalities of it and just making sure that we can do it in that time frame so we definitely are coming back, I can say that with great certainty and its not that far off. And I’m really excited to come back, that’s definitely something I can say for sure, we are all really excited to be coming back to Australia. Its one of our favourite places to be.
You were last here at the beginning of the year, you stuck to some smaller venues but shows sold out pretty quickly, will the next tour be much of the same venue wise? Is it important for you guys to play smaller, more intimate venues?
I think it is really important to us in a couple of regards. For it’s just, I think its just more fun for everyone involved when there is a level of intimacy, and its not necessarily something you cant have at a bigger venue but I definitely thin it is easier to achieve in a smaller venue. But in another regards it is important because it helps you keep control over things, you can set reasonable ticket prices and play without a barricade and you can do things the way that you want to. So I think this time around it is definitely something that we will be considering but it is also important for us to be able to accommodate for everybody that wants to come. So we are going to try our hardest to keep things intimate and reasonably priced but we also want everybody to be able to come out and everybody to be able to get into the show. So we are currently in the process of trying to figure out how to do that, whether its to play more shows in each city or what, we are not entirely sure right now but we are definitely figuring it all out.
As you said before Somewhere At The Bottom received more attention later on down the line, but you guys have continued to be on people’s radars. Did you ever expect to be as well received as you have continued to be?
I don’t even, I don’t know that we expected anything. This isn’t something that we ever intended on doing for as long as we have and it’s our first go at it, it’s our first attempt at being a band, we’ve never really done anything else. So I don’t know if I ever really expected anything really, I think when you expect things too much you set yourself up for disappointment, so we have kind of just gone with the flow. I mean, every time that people come to see you, you are kind of shocked and encouraged at the same time and I don’t think that’s changed for us when there’s ten people at the show or when there’s three hundred people at the show. It is just incredible that people pay attention and that people care and we are very, very thankful for everything that comes to us.
You guys have toured everywhere. Is there one place that really stands out to you, and that you love, or would love, to head back to?
You know, I think we all have a special place in our hearts for Australia because it was the first place that we went overseas which I think is quite abnormal for most bands because almost everyone goes to Europe first and then a few tours down the line goes to Australia but we had the opportunity to come to Australia before we had ever been anywhere but the States, so I think that’s something that and the friends that we made there and the experiences that we have had in Australia are pretty dear to our hearts. But really anywhere that you have the opportunity to go, whether its five minutes outside of your hometown to play for people or in Europe is one to not be taken for granted. In general I think we are all pretty blown away by every tour that we have the opportunity to do and everybody that we have had the opportunity to meet.
What does the rest of the year hold for La Dispute?
The rest of the year. Once we are off of the tour that we are one right now there will be a lot of down time for all of us, we are taking the rest of the year off so we can do other things and hang out and see friends and I guess rest away the year and a half we spent preparing this record and putting it out. And then shortly after that we will be doing Australia and doing Europe and then doing a headliner here in the States, so we will have some time off then back at it.
Not much time off it seems.
No (laughs), but a lot more time off then we have had in a very long time.
Thanks so much for having chat. I definitely look forward to catching you guys when you are down here. Is there anything else you wanted to add?
I can’t actually think of anything, I think we covered quite a bit. Thank you for doing this Gloria, I appreciate it.
Well thanks so much, and enjoy the rest of the tour.
Will do and we will see you in Australia soon.