Monday, March 2, 2009

The Duncan Davies Trio: Interview

Late this afternoon I sat down with the boys of the Duncan Davies Trio for "Back In 15 Minutes’" first interview. The band which is made up of Duncan Davies (lead guitar and vocals), Liam Cohl (bass and vocals) and Lewis Spring (drums and vocals) were more than ready to partake in their first relaxed interview without MTV or Entertainment Tonight shoving huge cameras into their faces. We discussed how the band met, the current state of the music industry, how Kurt Cobain was a shitty guitarist and of course, Duncan's decision to be featured on MTV’s "The City". Although Davies has received a lot of press due to his cameos on "The City", he is truly a talented guitarist and a spectacular singer. Childhood friends Cohl and Spring also provide the perfect rhythm section to compliment Davies’ interesting blend of folk/pop/jazz rock.
Here is the full interview with The Duncan Davies Trio.

Lucas = me, the interviewer
DD = Duncan Davies
LC = Liam Cohl
LS = Lewis Spring

Lucas: How did you guys meet and end up playing music together?

DD: Me and Lewis went to public school together and have known each other since we were about two or three years old
DD: We ironically tried to start a band when I was in grade 6 and Lewis was in grade 5 and we realized after our first practice that we were in a little over our heads, and that fell by the way side
LS: We actually share a mutual friend who is now our manager. He called me up and asked if I wanted to play drums for this guy Duncan and I said oh yah I know Duncan from way back in the day and so that’s how we came back together
Lucas: So it was a simple twist of fate. Who were your main musical influences growing up?
LC: I listened to lots of old folk and country music. Lots of Pete Seeger, Merle Haggard, all the classics and of course all the classic rock. Lots of Pink Floyd.
LS: I’ve always been a rocker. I fell in love with John Bonham and he’s always been my idol, but like these guys, I like to listen to everything like jazz, Miles Davis, The Fleet Foxes which are awesome. They might be my new favourite band, Neil Young too of course.
DD: I’ve always been into the singer/songwriters. The dude that could sit there with a guitar. Van Morisson, Jackson Brown and the list goes on and on.

Lucas: Yah of course. So what have you guys been listening to on the road, at least on the drive over here today.

DD: We put in road mix 1,2,3 and let them go, its everything from jazz to reggae to classic rock.

Lucas: Any favourite albums of 2008?
LS: The Fleet Foxes album definitely
Lucas: Yah that’s probably one of the best of 2008.
LC: Ahh I have no clue, my favourite album of 2008 was released in 1961.
DD: We don’t listen to that much contemporary music. I’ve been discovering older artists like JJ Cale, The Flying Burrito Brothers

Lucas: So you’re on a journey back into the classic rock archives. How do you guys feel about the old trend of college bands playing on campuses being replaced by DJ and electronic acts?

LC: I think it really sucks because that whole evolution of bands, the process that allows bands to get good and build a following has been eliminated. It’s become incredibly tough for a band to sustain itself throughout college and throughout a city and to be able to cover their expenses and to keep everyone happy, even just to get shows now is tough. Actual bands playing at bars were once upon a time more prevalent than a guy just standing on stage with a Mac and an iPod.
LS: The people want to hear a wide variety of music and often the bands can’t provide that. This generation has excess energy and short attention spans, one tempo and one volume just isn’t sufficient anymore. They love going out and getting wasted and nobody has the patience to sit down and listen to a full 5 minute song.
LC: A full song? Try a full album! Something like Dark Side of the Moon could never do now what it did when it was released.
Lucas: Different generation, different drugs.
DD: The number of people who are out there and who are willing to sit down and listen are still huge and there are enough people who are still willing to listen to the lyrics and feel something and make a connection to it. You may just have to get through the masses of hip hop fans before you get to them.
LC: There’s also 10 times as many people on the planet now to potentially be an audience but there could be twice as many people into electro now then there were 5 years ago, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t break through to the crowd.
DD: In the last however many years there have also been bad musicians who because of MySpace and the internet have been able to make it big.
LC: Yah who put no time into practicing and can just post a cut of a song. The Kurt Cobains of the world. Although he was a great lyricist and a great leader of a movement at the time he was a friggin awful guitarist.
DD: Yah he was a piece of shit player.

Lucas: Obviously the music industry is in the midst of a pretty big rough patch right now, do you guys have any interesting distribution methods for your up-coming album? Radiohead gave their album away for free and a lot of bands are following that trend, what do you guys plan on doing?

LC: Basically we plan on taking people’s money and putting our album in their pocket even if they don’t want it.
Everyone laughs
DD: we want to explore as many veins and arteries of distribution as possible. Giving it away on MySpace, selling it on iTunes, selling the CDs, if you want to listen for free on the internet it will be there too. We understand that a lot of people don’t want to pay for the album if they can get it for free and why should they want to. A lot of people are going to want to hold the CD and put in their car in their CD player.
Lucas: There is something to be said for having the tangible record, the momento, the notion of building a physical collection to pass on.
DD: Absolutely and we will see what our fans think.
Lucas: Any thoughts on the current state of the music industry right now?
DD: It’s a really exciting place to be right now, it is really up to the new generation of musicians and entrepreneurs to put the pieces back together and for us the internet poses that obvious problem but also gives us an innumerable amount of possibilities as well.
LS: I have no idea what popular music is anymore. At one point Britney Spears and the boy bands were clearly pop music but now Radiohead is doing awesome and The Fleet Foxes are blowing up too.
LC: There are billions of people around and a billion different things to listen to.
Lucas: The definition of popular music now is certainly not as universal as it once was.
LC: There are so many different microcosms within popular music. There’s hip hop popular music and techno popular music.
Lucas: And of course there is still the same top 40 hits that get played in the club every weekend and people would call that popular music, but today it is up to the individual to define what popular music is to them.
LS: And electronica is popular now, but a band like Radiohead is a real band still plays their instruments and uses electronic music as a creative tool within.
DD: I would like real music to come back
LC: Like big bands that know how to sing together and play together well and know how to interact with each other. When everyone knows how to play together there is no better sound than that.

Lucas: So Duncan, being on MTV’s “The City” was probably a tough decision for you to make
DD: Nope.

Lucas: Are you afraid the critics will attack you for choosing to be on a “reality” tv show. Do you think they will question the credibility of you and your music?

DD: Anyone who is trying to judge the integrity of the music based on the “reality” of the television show…I mean, where are your brains at?

Lucas: Are you afraid you’re going to ostracize some old fans by being on the show or you’re happy with the potential to make a ton more by using the show as a device.

DD: Really its about sharing music with people and if people to choose to listen to it and if people believe to stand for the things we represent, that’s fine, we just want to connect to people and we want to connect to them.

Lucas: Have you seen a different crowd at shows now that you have been on MTV?

DD: Certainly a lot more of the……..summer of 92s
LS: A lot more cougars, the older ladies

Lucas: To me it seems like a more than logical decision to be on a show where you can potentially reach a ton of viewers especially given the current state of the music industry.

DD: Well its weird, I wasn’t cast on the show, I didn’t get chosen to promote the music. There was this situation with my relationship with the girl that was the preface and that was how it all began, it wasn’t a planned publicity stunt or anything.

I took a few pictures during the soundcheck, and the band's manager said he would send me a few tracks from the show in a few days depending on how the mix came out, so stay tuned for that!

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