Monday, 13 January 2014

Thee Dang Dangs: Interview

Thee Dang Dangs performing in 2013.
Formed in 2012, Thee Dang Dangs have releases several records, including an EP and an LP. We caught up with the band to find out how they created the first album, and what is in store for later one's...

(See our review of Thee Dang Dangs latest album, For The People, here.)

Where/when did you guys meet up and start playing?
Rebecca: Ray, the guitarist, Shawn our first drummer and I met at a local restaurant/pub in Denver. It was a chance meeting and somehow I heard him talking about their band, or my friend told them I was in one. It was something along those lines. At that point the bands we were in were sort of drifting apart, for various reasons. After one show in particular Shawn and Ray came up to me at the end and said if I ever wanted to jam with them sometime to let them know. I said okay, Invited someone I knew that played bass and we started "jamming". After a few times there was a show lined up with Spindrift, so we had to come up with a name and more material. Those were the beginnings. We just sort of happened. Ray and I are the only original members at this point. We've really grown together in the short year and half we have been together as a band. Matt, the bassist is a friend I had met at a show two of our previous bands had played together. When the need arose for a new bassist he was the only one we really auditioned. Scotty, the drummer, I met through a mutual friend who introduced us over text. Or rather, she gave me Scotty's number and I met with him. He's great. So is Matt. Very talented musicians and good people. 

Where do you guys draw influences from as musicians, which influence the music which you then create and whom inspired you to pick up your respective instruments?
Ray: I draw from everything I hear. I appreciate most genres. I picked up piano and trombone young, started with guitars and synth's and drum machines in my teens. I've always spent as much time making electronic music as rock music and love both. I don't believe that one genre is superior to another. Its all personal preference and what you are in the mood for. 

Rebecca: I was a preacher's kid who was always  fascinated with musical instruments from the age of four. I got my first little mini instrument kit at that age, and a keyboard at nine. By ten or eleven I was playing music in church and picked up the guitar when I was about 11 I guess. Drums when I was probably about that age as well. I learned everything I know by ear. It's a feeling thing for me. I played Latin music growing up in an all Spanish church, and for a time only wrote poetry and songs in Spanish. When I was 12 and started getting better at the guitar I started playing things that were more rock 'n' roll driven. I adore weird rhythms, and simple rhythms that really stand out. I'm inspired by moments and human emotion most of all, I think. Things that make you feel intensely. Mediocrity inspires me. Striving to never be in the realm of the mediocre. As far as what inspires me in the moment, it a whirlwind of my thoughts. What I'm feeling right then manifests itself into what I start playing. It's no one, or few things in particular. 

Scotty: I'm influenced by Jon Bonham, Gene Krupa, Danny Carey, and Dave Grohl. 

For the new material off your latest album, for the people, the tones have been varied and interesting both live and in the studio. Tell us about some of the guitars(including basses)being used on-stage and in the recording room(with addendum regarding other instruments, e.g: Drum kits)? 
Ray: For drums on the recording we used a kit our producer had in his studio. It consisted of floor tom, bass, snare, hi hat, and two cymbals. This is how we play live as well. -
Ddrum Dominion Maple Kit.

Ray: What amps and pedals are being used? For guitars I use a Fender Jazzmaster with a holy  grail reverb, big muff , a custom tremolo, MXR Carbon Copy delay set to short slapback , and wah. My amp is a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. I use the dirty channel on the amp mostly, very little use of the Big Muff Pi. I tend to push the Grail hard as well on some songs to give a nice effect. 

Rebecca: I use an Epiphone Les Paul and a Fender DeVille 4x10. I love it. My pedal board just has my tuner pedal and a Holy Grail Reverb pedal for guitar. I also crank up the reverb on my amp. For live vocals I had an additional Holy Grail on my board that I used a DI and adapter to run it through the mic. I've since got a TC Helicon voice tone create XT. I really like it. I have a lot more control over the mix, delays, wet and dry signal for overall mix through PA, and other subtle sounds such as a sort of telephone megaphone sound. For bass a Mustang was used with an in-studio amp.

What were the recording sessions for for the people like? Where/how is was recorded, what in-studio effects you had, where it was mixed, ect, ect.
Rebecca: We recorded the albums that are out with Alex Anderson. He's a great guy and really knows what we like. We recorded everything live and on For the People did very minimal overdubs. Stone Coast was recorded in about five hours including vocals which I did separately due to the inability to isolate them during recording of the instrumentals. We did the same on For the People. The only difference was we used two mics, a condenser which was clean and another with reverb and a little dirt on it. For the People was recorded in about four or five sessions. Around 2-4 hours each session. I hate recording vocals separately, it feels a little unnatural to me, but we got the best result that way. I was in a little corner with my back to Alex so I could let loose a bit. Everyone else left the room. I think Ray may have come in once or twice.

What lessons have you learned from the albums you've made, including for the people, and what future projects does the band   have planned?
Rebecca: As far as learning experience we had some things happen in the studio I think we will avoid next time, just making sure things really sound exactly how we want them to. They did for the most part for sure, but as the artist you hear things you want to change a bit. As far a future plans go, we are releasing a cassette with a label out of LA called Lollipop. They've put out rad stuff by Dagha Bloom, Dead Coast, Froth, and other great bands. It will be rad to have something out with their name on it. We played a show with some of the label's founders and they are all awesome guys.  We also plan on releasing an EP in February or March, and are planning a Spring tour with Ancient River (in the works), a summer tour to the West Coast and maybe late summer back East. We're also wanting to do a fall tour. An LP should be ready by the Summer as well.

Ray: Record a new album, with a bigger focus on quality sound, fleshing out soundscapes a bit more on the next record. Also another Denver Psych Fest. This year I am booking a lot more shows on my own and bringing band's in that I like. 

Lastly, where can people find out more about thee dang dangs and show their support?
Rebecca: Our main page is You can also look for us on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, etc.

You can hear Thee Dang Dangs latest single here:

You can find a review of the band's latest full-length, For The People, here.

Interview conducted by Dan Sharman on 13/01/2014.

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