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My musical ramblings – gig and album reviews, music news and views

Dinosaur Pile-Up – interview

Dinosaur Pile-Up

Describing themselves as ‘melody in a sea of noise’, Dinosaur Pile-Up are both heavy and anti-heavy, populist yet anti-populist, and are one of a tiny minority plugging the grunge sound in the UK at the moment.

They are Matt on guitar and vocals, Harry on bass and backing vocals, and Mike on drums. And with the debut album, Growing Pains out this week, Gigwise caught up with the band to set the rumour mill straight.

Where did the name, Dinosaur Pile-Up come from?

It came from the remake of the new King Kong by Peter Jackson. I thought it was ridiculous and there’s a moment when a herd of brontosaurus are stampeding with humans between their legs. Some guy turns around and shoots one, that trips up and the others go down like dominos, crashing at the bottom of a mountain in one big dinosaur pile up. To be honest I wasn’t serious and I didn’t think it would stick but here we are today…

You’ve been quoted as saying you listen to the first two Foo Fighters albums on a daily basis – is that true? And is that why there are traces of their sound in yours?

A lot of people home in on the Foo Fighters thing and they are great – or their first couple of albums were – but I wouldn’t say we focus in on them anymore than other bands we really respect like Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Deftones, The Beatles, Beach Boys and Rage Against The Machine. There are a lot of influences in our music and it actually kind of bums me out when people focus on the Foos too much.

Are you resurrecting grunge on purpose?

They are the records I listened to when I was a kid – I found them in my brother’s room and I loved them. Albums like Nevermind by Nirvana and White Pony by Deftones. So in answer to that it’s not so much that we’re trying to bring it back, it’s just what we listened to and it’s left a heavy imprint on our sound.

At the moment the music trend is very much biased towards electro indie and dubstep. Does that minimise your chances of success or does it make you think you stand out amongst the rest?

I don’t think I care about other bands – not in a bad way – but if people like what we are doing then that’s great. We turn on the radio and we don’t necessarily find anything that’s good, so it’s almost a shame that there’s no ‘gang’ for us to be in. Having said that, because there aren’t many bands doing what we’re doing in the UK, anyone who’s into that scene is more likely to know about us and those who aren’t are more likely to come across us.

How is Growing Pains different to your previous EP, The Most Powerful EP in the Universe?

We did our The Most Powerful EP in the World record a long time ago, but all along we really wanted to do a full album and get deeper into the process. Growing Pains is just a bigger and better version of what we did with that. We revisited the Beach Boys and The Beatles a lot when we were writing it, with a lot of harmonies and backing vocals. People don’t really do that anymore, especially with heavy stuff and there’s often no melody, so we wanted to inject that. We like to think we’re melody in a storm of noise.

You have said you like your drums to drive the riffs, not the other way round. That’s quite unusual…

It’s quite a Foo Fighters’ thing. A few drummers have really inspired how I write and play – Dave Cunningham and Dave Grohl to name a couple. I think you hear a lot more of guitars wigging out and it ends up sounding very separate to the drums. The way we play is without ego – all we are interested in is something that works.

Why did you choose to produce the album yourself? Stories have reported you turned down producers including Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters) and Garth Richardson (Biffy Clyro, Rage Against the Machine)…

We didn’t turn down the producers, more opted out of it at this point in time. It was an amazing realisation as Gil and Garth are at the top of what they do, but we thought about it long and hard and chose to do it on our own because we wanted to create a record exactly how it was in our heads. I didn’t want to argue with any producers and now I feel like we’ve done our album, so we can go on to doing that now.

You opted for Friends Vs Records for Growing Pains – does this mean you prefer indie rather than major labels?

We lie on the side of whatever’s best for the band. It’s got nothing to do with majors or indies. What the big labels asked for wasn’t necessarily what we wanted but we’ve got nothing against either.

What are you hoping to get out of the tour?

We just want to push this album as far as it will go – we haven’t really been out as a band this much before so it’s great to get a load of live dates under our belts. We’re just looking forward to rocking some great venues and building on what we already have.

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Bear with me

Well this appears to be my first blog.

I’m not really sure where to start so I might just post a few of my old reviews later so there’s at least some material up here!

All I know is that I’ve been meaning to do this for ages as my reviewing attempts for websites have been a bit sporadic and fruitless – mainly because I go to about 5 gigs in one month then none the next, so it never really gets off the ground.

At least from here I will be able to satisfy my need to ramble on in a semi-creative way about the latest albums I’ve heard, comedians I’ve seen, bands I’ve loved/hated/felt nonplussed about and general goings on in the world of music.

And it can’t be bad combining the two (well two-and-a-half if you count my, as yet, burgeoning love for live comedy) things I love to do most…

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