Since the release of their magnum opus, ‘Wildlife’, La Dispute have unwittingly captured the hearts and souls of their listeners. A fan base unceasingly devoted to a band whose lyrics are as confronting as they are involving and whose musical ability single handedly blows genre conventions out of the water. Although unusually silent on the music making front, the band have been furiously touring since 2011 and are currently touring Australia once again. Killyourstereo.com caught up with drummer Brad Vander Lugt to find out what the band are up to.
So, what’s the band up to today?
Well, we’re all at home, so we’re doing different things. Jordan’s at a baseball game, Zack is on tour with another band right now, so we’re just doing our own thing at the moment, but we’ll be shortly in your fine country and we’ll kick off the tour.
You’ve spent a few years touring now off the bat of Wildlife. Does it get to the point where you’re sick of it, or is it just as thrilling as when you first started?
You know, we try to switch it up a bit and play different songs, so we’re open to doing that this tour, to playing some songs we don’t typically play and we may play some new songs too, depending on how much we rehearse them. There’s obviously some songs, especially older songs that you get sick of playing, but when you’re in the moment you muster up the energy and it’s not tedious.
I’ve always noticed that smaller venue shows are quite a lot different from larger venue shows. How much do you think venue size and type effects how much or little you are able to interact with fans?
It certainly has an effect on the show, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a larger venue, because I think it’s a different type of energy. As long as the crowd is reacting and we’re reacting back to them, then no matter what venue you are at then you’ll have a good time, because there is this mutual energy that makes the show special.
In the year and a bit you’ve been touring off Wildlife, is there any show or moment during that time that really stands out? Any disasters or really memorable moments?
Yeah, we’ve had some really great shows touring on this record. A couple of our hometown shows that we did a couple of months ago were really fun because we don’t get to play Grand Rapids that often. There was also the tour in Europe with Title Fight – that was an incredible tour, just hanging out with those guys. There have been some really good ones this year; we’ve been really fortunate to tour with some really great bands. It’s always a new experience because you’re with different people every time you do it, and I think there’s always something special every time.
There have been a lot of bands lately having their albums leaked early on the net, something that seems to be inevitable in the Internet age. A lot of bands in heavy alternative music seem to have accepted this. Does this affect the way you think about making music? Is it still as worthwhile?
Yeah, you have to accept it; like you said, it’s unavoidable these days. Obviously, the way that the music industry has changed over the last ten, fifteen years, you can access anything. I think you do have to approach it different. Some bands choose to embrace that and some bands don’t like it at all. We lean more towards the embracing it, and I think a lot of our peers have too. It’s something you definitely have to think about when you’re putting out a record, and in a sense take control of it. Some bands will post an early stream themselves, so that way they are giving the stamp of approval, so you can listen to it. I think that’s a good way to approach it, without feeling like you’re losing anything.
Wildlife was an album that seemed to focus a lot on storytelling and the rehashing of experiences, is that a reflection of the way you guys tend to approach music as a band?
I think it certainly was a major theme on Wildlife, I think with every record we’ll probably have a little bit of that, maybe not to the same extent as on Wildlife. Jordan took a lot of stories that are true stories and I think that’s why its so prominent on the record, they were things that happened close to where we live in Grand Rapids, Michgan. I think every record we put out will have that to a certain degree. It’s just more prominent on Wildlife because those were the circumstances and the themes that Jordan chose to touch on and talk about.
The band have been pretty silent on the music-making front since 2011, Are there any thoughts at the moment to enter the studio for a third full length or maybe even an EP?
Yeah, we definitely are going to record another record, I’m not sure when that’s going to be, but we are working on writing right now. It is in the works. We certainly like to take our time with every record to make sure it’s the best that it can be and its everything that we want it to be. So, there is a lot of time involved that I think, especially for our band, we need that buffer period to make sure we can make the record we want to make. Direction isn’t really something that we think about, it’s just something that happens. It’ll come out naturally. We’ve never wanted to force anything; we kind of just let it happen, I think that’s a better way to function. It’s a natural progression rather than trying to capture something that you’re forcing along.
Your Hear, Here collection contains some of your best material. Can we hope to see any more additions to the collection, or have the band considered doing anything equally as experimental?
Yeah, definitely. We are not working on anything like that right now, because we’re going to focus on a full length, but I’m sure that there will be a Here, Here VI sooner rather than later.
Since you guys released Wildlife, there has been a huge influx of melodic post hardcore bands similar to your own doing some good in the scene. Are there any bands out there that you would fancy working with in the future or just admire from afar?
We are lucky to have a lot of friends making great music right now, so we generally look to our friends with a lot of respect and hold them in a very high regard. All those guys work super hard. We all listen to various types of different music, so the common ground is our friends, and being influenced by what our friends are doing. We all learn from each other, so there is a pretty good community.
So, on the inside of the Wildlife album art there are the words “To – for everything” that seem to be dedicating the album to someone, and if you look really close you can see it says ‘Helen.’ Any chance you can tell us who Helen is?
That’s Jordan’s story to tell, and not mine. Sometimes things are better left to mystery and I do think that people look a little bit too far into these things. It does have significance to a story he is telling. You will probably here a little bit more about that in future work, Jordan has been known to continue stories or themes onto future albums.
Having been to Australia a couple of times now, what would you say is best part about coming here?
We just love the country, we have so many friends there that we look forward to seeing every time. The shows are always great and it’s a beautiful country, it’s a combination of many things, and I think when you have so many friends there, it makes you want to come back year after year. We are very much looking forward to coming back.
Lastly, what kinds of things do you like to do separate from the band/ do you think you’d ever pursue music outside of La Dispute?
Yeah, all the guys keep pretty active with hobbies and things like that. Chad makes guitar pedals and he just recorded an EP of his own songs that I think he’s putting out soon. Jordan really likes baseball; he’s at a baseball game tonight. Zack does his art, and he is touring with another band hostage calm right now, I work on music on my own Kevin is getting into building guitars. We definitely have hobbies that we all pursue outside of the band. The only way to really stay sane is to have a life outside of the band as well.
Thanks so much for your time, Brad it has been great chatting.
All right, have a good day, bye.