Tuesday, November 8, 2011

La Dispute Interview with Front Man Jordan Dreyer

Combining elements of progressive rock, screamo, blues and soul, La Dispute aims to create a unique and passionate experience for their listeners. Their latest release, Wildlife, has gained a great deal of praise from critics, as well as fans since its October 4th release. The band is currently on tour with Thrice, O’Brother and Moving Mountains, delivering a must see live performance. For the latest La Dispute news, check out their site http://www.ladisputemusic.com/.
I had the chance to speak briefly with front man Jordan Dreyer and discuss the new record, Wildlife.

How has the tour with Thrice, O'Brother and Moving Mountains been thus far?

Fantastic, man. Three incredible bands, three unbelievable groups of people--every night has been
A blast to this point and I don't see how that could possibly change from here to the end. And, on
Top of the abundance of good people, the shows have all been really, really great.

Your latest LP. *Wildlife,* dropped earlier this month to rave reviews. Are you guys surprised at?
How well it's been received?

Honestly, I try not to pay too much attention. It's enough for me that we're all immensely proud
With the end product after so, so many months of work. What people think of it is kind of
Arbitrary in that sense, although I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't mean something when
Someone gravitates towards it. Obviously you want people to enjoy what you've done, and you want
People to find something in it that they enjoy or that resonates with them personally, but if no
Does it's alright. We put a lot into making this record and we're really happy with how it turned
Out. But, again, it's amazing to see people singing along and to hear from them that it means
Something to them. It's just an added bonus.

Before writing and recording the album, did you guys have a direction that you wanted to take the
album in mind?

We had a concept pretty early on, but as far as how that was going to play out we didn't pre-plan anything or pick a direction to pursue sonically, that just kind of happened naturally. Three years passed since our last full length, and with it three years of growth and experience. If anything, the record's sound and direction is just a testament to the passing of time, and three years more making music, hearing music, and making friends. Of course, having a specific concept in mind influences tone and mood a bit, so there's that, but as far as arrangement and style and all that goes, it just kind of came together.

How did the writing process pan out for this album , maybe in comparison to your previous releases?

Previously we've almost always worked music first and then lyrics but we wanted this record to be more cohesive and more collaborative so we started with a story or a theme and built the song accordingly. Some stories required structural direction, and some needed to capture certain moods, so we'd sit down at practice and discuss amongst everyone and someone would either write a part to push those things across or they'd bring out a part they'd already written that they felt fit. Sometimes they'd take the ideas home and hammer out a whole song and then bring it out at practice where we'd all give our ideas and adjust it as needed. After everything was done musically I'd sit down and put the actual words down. It was definitely a different process, but we're all pretty happy with how it worked.

How does a song normally come together for you guys? Is it a collaborative process?

Definitely collaborative, but to varying degrees depending on the song (see above). It almost starts with one person's part or idea, but we assemble the actual songs at practice bit by bit as a group.

Specifically, how did "Harder Harmonies" come together?

"Harder Harmonies" started with a part that Chad had written. I had an idea for a song and typed up a summary of the idea for everyone to read and Chad suggested the aforementioned part and we built it from that. The biggest thing to consider for us when writing that particular song was the structure, specifically the end where everything kind of falls apart, and that was very much a collaborative effort amongst the five of us.

The album seems to have an overall lyrical theme, was this intentional?

Yeah, absolutely, but a lot of different themes came out in the process that we didn't plan for, which I think is probably pretty often the case when creating anything. You never really know what will come out until you sit down and fully immerse yourself in what you're doing. And then who knows what other people will take out of it when they listen, that's a whole different conversation. It's an interesting thing, really, the artistic process or whatever, and then people's interpretation. It's one of the best parts about any art. But I'm rambling. So, as I mentioned earlier, we had a concept early on in the process and along with that concept came certain themes that definitely show up consistently and intentionally throughout the record.

Who did you guys work with during the recording process? What attracted you guys to work with them?

Friendship. But seriously, as corny as that sounds, that's the first thing that really attracted us to working with the people we did, being our friend Andrew who plays keyboards in Thursday and his friend (and Steve from Thursday's brother) Joe who is an exceptional engineer. We started talking with Andrew while we were on tour with Thursday a while back about working together and then made it happen for the two splits we did last year. Long story short, we were happy with how those two things turned out, and we built a really strong relationship in the process, so working with them on "Wildlife" was a really easy decision for us.

What would you like for listeners to take way from the album?

I don't know, to be honest. Or, maybe more specifically, I don't want to say. For the most part, the intention in writing this record was to leave it open-ended so that people could take from it whatever they wanted or needed when they listened. I have my own ideas and I'm sure my band mates do as well, but we really just want people to take from it what they want.


I had the chance to see you guys play live at the show in Atlanta, and put on an amazingly energetic show. The crowd participation was unreal! What kind of advice would you guys have for band starting up, in terms of creating a good connection with the audience?

Again, I don't really know for sure. I don't think there's a formula for success other than work hard and be honest about what you do. More and more people see through gimmicks and people will take to you on a personal level if you put yourself out there personally. Being dishonest or fake or having some sort of marketing angle might sell you records but it doesn't have any lasting power. At least I don't think so, but again, I don't know. I'm not an expert. I only know what works for us. And every band is different.

Who are some people that you have looked up to in the past in terms of live performance and stage presence?

Well, a long time ago Zack from Rage Against The Machine made me want to be in a band and a little while after that Cedric from At The Drive-In, but the bulk of the people that inspire or influence me now are all friends of ours. Kyle from Pianos, Jeremy from Touche, Chris from Hostage Calm—the list is pretty extensive. We're privileged to know a lot of immensely talented people and being around them so often is inevitably inspiring.

What do you have lined up, after the tour ends?

Nothing concrete at this point. Some time off, Europe and Australia at some point, and then a headliner in the States in the Spring sometime. Details to come.

Perfect day, driving with the windows down, what are you listening to?

Changes with the day and the weather. Right now, in the spirit of Fall and being from the state of Michigan, "Our Own Wars" by Small Brown Bike. But there are so many great records out there. "This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About" by Modest Mouse is a great one to drive to, as are "Lonesome Crowded West" and "The Moon and Antarctica." Anything Mountain Goats. I don't know. The list is endless.

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