The Daughters of Bristol ~ Interview by Kris Prudhomme
~Arrangement for the Interview by DJ Jason~
- Ok guys, for starters, would you like to introduce yourselves to readers just now getting into your music?
Joseph – I am more than just a voice for the band. I play different instruments and often use different ones to lead me in my creative song writing process. Also, if I focus and hold my palms close together I can create a ball of fire.
Edward – Well let’s see, we are a band that came alive in the Midwest back in 2002. Joseph and I were attending university together and we would occasionally work on music together as an escape from our studies. Sometimes we would grab an acoustic guitar and head out to the front steps of the auditorium and play or when hanging out and drinking with friends, they might call for an improv performance. I do recall playing, what later became the song “Four Walls,” many times before we launched the band in Jones Hall. As for our influences, well let’s just say when we starting attending university our eyes were open wide to a world of new discoveries, like music, specifically some really great post punk bands and of course David Bowie.
Aaron – My name is Aaron and I play bass in a dark rock & roll band heavily influenced by thirty year old music.
- Alright, for starters you guys are based in Seattle; I know that Portland is becoming fast known for dark punk and post punk acts ala Arctic Flowers, Bellicose Minds, Deathcharge, etc , do you have any contact with those bands or do you prefer to associate with more traditional goth acts? I’ve met a few people in the scene who enjoy both but some people don’t seem to like having punk influencing the sound anymore.
Joseph – Certainly familiar with a lot of the punk influenced acts in the area, and we have a history of performing with heavily punk influenced bands. I’ve seen Bellicose Minds and Moral Hex live, and I even want to say we were in talks before about possibly performing with Bellicose Minds. Many venues in Seattle, and PDX, have shown they have an appetite for the punk influenced acts… or at the very least see enough interest to support it. In fact, it’s not so uncommon to see the same bands perform together in different markets – despite their slight differences. We have performed with some pretty eclectic bands, but in most cases we all have some common thread the audience relates too. Whether that thread is the music or imagery depends on the fan. Yes, you need to be cognitive of who you perform with, but it’s more about what fans are looking for and who we want to draw to a show. Putting a show together takes collaboration, and at a certain level it requires some trust that the promoter knows the market and what kind of draw a show will get.
Aaron – I’m actually friends with a few people in some of those Portland bands, and we even opened once for Deathcharge a couple of years ago. Good folks all around, and I appreciate what these bands bring to the local music scene. So much of my own personal taste is heavily influenced by punk so it’s been great to see local punks take a greater interest in all things goth. There don’t seem to be a lot of more traditional gothic rock bands in the Pacific Northwest though, from what I’ve seen.
- On your site, it’s mentioned that you have the heaviest influence from British goth rock and post punk, do you maintain close ties with the bands across the pond? The UK scene seems to be doing well and I’ve confirmed with several of the musicians I know that the festival circuit is finally getting some life in it again, tour opportunity?
Joseph – We have affiliates and support through our label Danse Macabre, which is located in Germany. We have been invited to several festivals and know performing there would be momentous for the band. The challenge over the years has been lining up the right opportunities and resources that would make for a successful tour.
Edward – Yes, you are correct. The British are a big influence in our sound and style. We haven’t had a chance to jump the pond and play there yet, but we would love to. For the time being, I guess we will have to make do in Seattle, with our coffee, our rainy weather, and our soccer…er…association football. At least from what I’ve heard, we are one of the most European cities in the US.
Aaron – I’m actually not as aware of what’s going on east of the Atlantic. It’s probably a bit rude of me to not pay as much attention to anything coming out of Europe since that’s where most of our fans seem to come from. Sorry everybody!
- Much of the U.S. goth scene seems to be fairly inactive these days yet deathrock and dark punk seems to be picking up speed every day; considering the roots of goth rock in the late 70’s punk scene, do you guys appreciate this as a sign of respect for the roots of the style or do you think it’s just a passing trend?
Joseph – A quick rant if I may. The US tries so hard at compartmentalizing music with fashion and culture, which is why we get so many of these questions about trends in the scene. It’s also why there’s a different sub-culture that sprouts or a scene that takes center stage each year. These trends we identify in the scene are fashion centric rather than music. And there is something we call “Fashion Trends”. I do think the fans will grow more in the US as folks become exposed to the genre, and I think bands will continue to fuse retro music with modern day art. On the other hand, I think we will have a sense of trendiness if we measure the scene solely based on groups and fashion. Most of today’s post punk rock genre is a fusion of influences from all our predecessors who have released music since the 70’s. Regardless of the modern stylistic changes, folks in the scene can still identify melodically with goth rock/ punk/ post punk roots. So I think people will continue to listen to the music. I have no idea what myself, let alone someone else, will be wearing ten years from now.
Aaron – It certainly is a trend, but I don’t resent it for being as such. A lot of the deathrock resurgence is coming from punks getting into goth, and it probably won’t be much longer before another trend catches on in punk, but even if the majority move on and drop all their previous interest in darker rock there will still be a few truly die-hard converts who will still be into goth when they’re 50.
- Ok, show bills, you have played with acts such as the Spiritual Bat and Attrition, Rosie and Dario are great people to work with on a personal note, are there any shows in the works with other dark acts that you want to mention that may not be known to the public?
Joseph – It was a pleasure to perform with the very talented and beautiful Rosie Garri, and to say Dario is gifted doesn’t fully encapsulate his ability. Wish I knew them better. They invite us to play with them in their home country all the time, and I would love to play a show with them again. As of late we don’t have any acts we have tied down as we have been focused on recording and other outlets.
- Record collecting, Aaron, I understand that you are avid about vinyl, what’s your take on all of the re-issues of classic albums such as Only Theatre of Pain, which seems to have a new re-release every month now haha (I’ve seen several Bauhaus re-releases as well).
Aaron – For starters, I’m actually not as super avid about vinyl as I might initially come across. Record collecting for me has been more of a matter of necessity since a lot of music I like has never been reissued in other formats. I actually have nothing against compact discs or music downloads and don’t really consider one format objectively superior to any others. I don’t really have an audiophile’s sensitive ear to tell a significant difference. That being said, seeing the classics getting reissued means they’re still in demand all these years later, which is awesome. They’re usually the albums people first become familiar with when first getting into goth (certainly was the case with me at least), so seeing them in circulation means new people are still getting into the scene this many years later.
- One thing I’d like to address as well is social media, I ask all of the bands I talk to about it and whether it’s just a waste of time or a necessary evil and have received a diverse array of responses, do you as a band think it’s helpful for getting your music our or just another way to exploit an art form that’s already been drug through the dirt as is?
Joseph – Social Media is necessary, but as an artist I don’t see it as this evil monster that needs to be slain. As a person I am concerned at a degree by how social media feeds consumerism, but that’s a rant for another time. The fact is that technology is re-shaping our world. Social media is about consumer accessibility, convenience and speed to market. If you have little market share, and you want to get your music to fans, then you have to make it accessible and convenient. For the most part this makes social media a good thing. Hopefully fans turn into an advocate for the band. To me, an advocate is one who wants to share a more intimate experience with the band such as bringing friends to live shows, purchasing merchandise, attending release parties or purchasing B-Sides on vynl. I am equally concerned that our children will grow up believing that watching a live stream video of a concert on the web is an ideal substitute for attending a concert in person. There is good in live media, but I hope we don’t lose the value of real human experience.
Aaron – Social media is great as a tool if you know how to use it effectively. It’s just another viable avenue for marketing, whether you’re an independent artist or a Fortune 500 corporation. For better or for worse, it just strikes me as our culture evolving with a rapidly developing technology. America and Europe certainly are guilty of treating music and art as cheap commercial commodities, but that’s been going on for decades and I don’t think it would be fair to pin the blame on the internet.
- A tie in question for the social media question would be, with the rise of things like Facebook, it seems that we as a society have become more self absorbed and in regards to music, it’s more about being an internet celebrity than going out in a van with your band mates and earning your stripes, not saying there aren’t still plenty of bands out there busting their hump to get it done but you have to admit it must be irritating to see those who think recognition as a band comes overnight.
Joseph – You know when a band is wholesome and seasoned – they have history and often a very committed fan base. At the same time, a band with talent, opportunity and the right image, can catapult past others with experience if there is a market that will buy their product. In my opinion, a band that carves its niche through a grass roots approach bares more preparation for success and a stronger fan base. But yeah social media is changing that and it can feel like more volume and less substance.
Aaron – I actually think it’s awesome that some musicians have managed to create an audience through the internet. It’s just another evolutionary step in the democratization of music. The early punk scene pioneered the DIY ethos of music production, running their own labels and distros out of bedrooms and basements and effectively bypassing the big record companies and gatekeepers of the music industry to carve out their own niche on their own terms. Now people are taking those DIY values and using the internet to distribute their music on their own terms while even cutting out the cost of creating physical media, making it even easier for anyone to make music for others to hear. Hell, half the music I listen to now I probably wouldn’t have been able to discover without the internet, both new and old bands. I’m certainly not going to resent others for their success just because I haven’t figured out the secret to leveraging social media to make my own music popular!
- Now, to speak of tours, I know you guys are probably busy with your daily lives and recording but do you have any plans to play anywhere else in the country, I know Convergence is on the horizon for 2015, you already put your bid in for that?
Edward – We would really love to pack our bags and hit the road in order to play some shows, but unfortunately it’s not so easy to do, since there’s a lot going on in each of our daily lives. But our hope is we at least try to play some festivals here in the states and overseas, as well as continue to playing local shows, if we aren’t able to tour any time soon.
- Lastly, any releases or b-sides you would like to mention for those wanting to get more in depth with the bands material?
Joseph – We have a 2015 release slated. It is still evolving as we comb through our catalog of recordings. So whether you like it or not world we are still here!
Edward – Yes, we always have something in the works. There’s either a single, EP, or Full Length coming out shortly.
Aaron – Holts Summit, probably. Sorry for all these single line responses, I’m not feeling particularly witty or thoughtful right now.
- Thanks again guys!