The Return of Nick Miller’s Song of the Week: Don’t Dance (Two Left Feet)

November 30, 2007


NICK MILLER IS BACK. Those of you who aren’t familiar with the legend that is Nick Miller, check back to other songs of the week, including Nick’s awe-inspiring covers of Andrew Bird’s “Masterfade” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, as well as originals such as “Chemicals and Cowboy Boots”. Nick recently transferred from the University of Wisconsin and is now at Columbia College in Chicago, but that in no way means his musical talents have faded; in fact quite the opposite. All this time away from me has made him lonely, and reflective, allowing him to craft new, more thoughtful, more sexy music. This separation and burning desire for me has culminated into a Nick Miller original, “Don’t Dance (Two Left Feet)”. While this song has absolutely nothing to do with anything I just said, it is still undeniably the jam of the century. Nick produced the whole track himself, which I recommend to anyone with a soul. Check the line “too much time, and two left feet”. Genius. It is my pleasure to welcome Nick Miller back to All Things Go, and, since it’s been a while, I thought I’d do a little exclusive interview with him. Check his new song here, and the interview (as well as alternate song links) after the jump.

MP3: Nick Miller – “Don’t Dance (Two Left Feet)”



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Guest Blogger Claire: Grizzly Bear Interview!

July 13, 2007


Since I am thoroughly unreliable in my posting habits (see: 10 hour work days with 50 five-year-olds and a 10pm bedtime), a friend of mine, Miss Claire (not my girlfriend Claire but also cool) Wasserman, has asked if she could guest blog every once and a while for the next few weeks. I went to high school with Claire, and she’s currently attending Boston University, where she just finished her sophomore year. She’s working in LA for the summer, and has been given the opportunity to see, review, and interview a few solid bands, including Feist and Sonic Youth. Just recently, she caught up with the members of the up-and-coming GvB favorites, Grizzly Bear. Check it out.

“I thought that when Rolling Stone came to interview us, that meant we had made it. But I was still broke.” –Chris Taylor, Grizzly Bear

Post-orgy, post-make out, and post-drug trip, Grizzly Bear is the band for you. With lush vocals and eerie harmonies, listening to Grizzly Bear is like entering another world, an alternate universe where psychedelic polka-rock rules.

Grizzly Bear recently concluded their tour with Feist, a cross-country promotion of their sophomore album Yellow House. After their performance at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, I spoke with band member Chris Taylor who is the group’s jack-of-all-trades, responsible for the bass, woodwinds, electronics, and vocals (though he describes himself only as a “professional flute player” according to his Myspace page).

Though he looks like a rock star with the requisite tattoos and shaggy hair, Taylor was disarmingly genuine and honest. He was candid about in-band tension as he reflected on the inevitable frustrations that accompany their democratic and collective writing process.

Taylor acknowledged GB’s steadily increasing exposure and critical acclaim but he is reticent to admit that they have ‘made it’. GB is still very much in the beginning stages with their following largely composed of the Facebook crowd and coffeehouse hipsters. Though they have been written up in such magazines as Rolling Stone and Spin, Taylor was frank about the disconnect between positive reviews and positive cash flow, “I thought that when Rolling Stone came to interview us, that meant we had made it. But I was still broke.” When I suggest that ‘making it’ could be measured by things other than financial success, Taylor agreed that while they have yet to make a profit, he is encouraged by the creative and artistic progress they have made.

Wholly distinct in sound and instantly recognizable, Grizzly Bear stands out as one of the truly unique bands currently on the music scene. GB is musically all over the board with strains of polka, country, and gospel. Taylor discussed the difficulty of creating original music while inevitably being influenced by other musicians. Instead of shying away from the influences of other artists, Taylor argued the importance of embracing them, “Don’t be scared of being influenced by other artists. The key is in the details, like incorporating the way Pink Floyd’s drum sounds in a certain part or the way Neil Young makes transitions. It’s all about the details.”

Grizzly Bear, which began as lead singer Ed Droste’s personal project, has been called everything from “Modest Mouse on sedatives” to “Neil Young on cough syrup”. Taylor, who doesn’t read his own press, laughs when I tell him about how journalists struggle to pinpoint GB’s sound. Though Droste doesn’t like the term psychedelic because it places a label on the band, Taylor doesn’t mind it. In fact, Taylor welcomes any publicity as long as it leads to more money in the bank. Taylor is not a sell-out, nor is he driven by money; he is merely realistic about the difficulty to survive in an industry ravaged by pirated music and rapidly diminishing album sales. However, Taylor is heartened by the positive feedback GB has received, especially the surprising popularity of their breakout hit, Knife and its ensuing covers and mash-ups (Recommended are versions by Girl Talk and Born Ruffian).

What makes Grizzly Bear simultaneously exciting and frustrating is their constant build-up of anticipation with multiple crescendos and very few releases. The beauty of GB is that they force you to listen carefully; the audience at the Wiltern stood in rapt attention as Droste’s choir-boy vocals echoed throughout the theater. At the end of the concert, even celeb attendees Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had to give them a standing ovation. Grizzly Bear certainly deserves it

Thanks to Claire for taking the time to write up her experiences with the band. Stay tuned for more interviews, and more general posts from Claire in the near future. Also check out a few Grizzly Bear tracks, which I’m sure most of you have heard before:

MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Knife”
MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Knife (Girl Talk Remix)”

Buy Yellow House // Official Website 

Zack & Claire

Rx Bandits Interview

February 19, 2007

It’s a dream come true. I will be interviewing the Rx Bandits this Wednesday, February 21 on Georgetown Radio. I don’t know at what time this will be happening, but since it will most likely be during the middle of the day, I will find some way to record the interview and transcribe it onto the website. However, keep checking this post for updates on when it will occur – if you listen in you’ll be treated to some in-studio acoustic performances. Please leave any questions for the band in the comments.


Heavy Heavy Low Low Interview

January 18, 2007

Update: Sorry guys, but the band wasn’t able to make since they were held up at their previous tour destination. But if you can, definitely check out Heavy Heavy Low Low along with Murder By Death, Fear Before the March of Flames, and Thursday on the Strhess Tour. If you live in the Washington, DC area, they’re playing at the 9:30 Club tonight and it isn’t sold out yet!

I’ll be interviewing San Jose experimental-thrash band Heavy Heavy Low Low tomorrow, January 19th, at two o’clock on Georgetown Radio. I know this is relatively short notice, but if you guys have any questions for the band leave them in the comments. Thanks, and make sure to listen!

Listen to Georgetown Radio!

MySpace // Buy Everything’s Watched, Everyone’s Watching

Middle Distance Runner Interview

December 5, 2006


Middle Distance Runner is an awkwardly named quartet from my hometown, Chocolate City. These guys have just released their debut album, Plane in Flames, and have been all over the blogs recently. I’ve been listening to their music quite frequently these past few weeks, so I was obviously excited when I received an e-mail from the band asking for a review. I was able to coax an interview and contest out of the guys as well.

For those of you unfamiliar with MDR, here are a few tracks to give you a little taste:

Middle Distance Runner – Naturally
Middle Distance Runner – The Madness

Warning: This interview is incredibly immature and can only truly be appreciated by those that are high and/or are under the age of 12. Here goes…

ATG: Being that you’re from DC (my hometown as well), did any major bands from the area have a big influence on you (Jawbreaker, etc.)? What kinds of shows were you guys going before you formed MDR?

JAY: Oddly, the music that shaped me most from DC was Go-Go. Chuck Brown, EU, Trouble Funk and some more obscure bands that I can’t remember. One of them had a name that had something to do with a clock and oddly enough our studio at the time bought their old PA system.

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Boy Crazy: The Interview

May 16, 2006

After the Brand New show at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore a few weekends ago, I was fortunate to be able to sit down with Jordan from Boy Crazy and ask him a few questions in the comfort of his mini-van. I’ve got the whole interview here for everybody to read. Enjoy!

Make sure you’ve read my short write-up and listened to the band before reading the interview!

Boy Crazy – Egyptian Plover and the Crocodile

Boy Crazy – I’m Not a Tigress, I’m a Tiger

What’s your name and what do you do in the band?

My name’s Jordan and I play drums in Boy Crazy.

So the first time I heard about you guys was at the Alexisonfire show at the Ottobar. To be honest, I thought you were just some shitty pop-punk band at first. Obviously I was wrong, but do people get the wrong impression about your band a lot based on your name?

A lot of people think it’s the New Found Glory thing. And also, a lot of the bands we play with are pop-punk, just because it’s the kind of “in thing” now and they draw really well. But it’s cool because we get to stand out as an instrumental band playing with all these different bands that aren’t like us. But yeah, Boy Crazy, everyone thinks we’re gay. It’s cool, people remember the name.

How’s the search for a vocalist going?

Very poorly. We have kids come over and it’s very American Idol. They’ll just stand there and instantly from the first time they touch the mic, the four of us will look at each other and just know it’s miserable. And it’s so hard not to laugh when kids come over. It’s so bad. I think we’re kind of at the point where we’re happy doing the instrumental thing, especially with putting a CD out and being to start some touring. I think we’re not putting so much of an urgency on finding a singer right now because the instrumental thing is working.

How many kids do you have wanting to audition for the band?

Everyday I get kids online. I put my phone number on MySpace which is the dumbest thing ever, so random people call me saying “Yo, I wanna sing! Fuck yeah!” But yeah, everyday there’s people asking.

Do you think the way your music is written it’s hard to find a vocalist to go along with it?

Yeah, everything that’s written for the CD we play live. It isn’t written with a singer in mind. You know, especially our guitar player, he basically is the voice of the band. When we’re writing we want to make sure there are melodies there that are memorable that complete the music without a vocalist. So it’s tough. When we talk to singers they’re like “Man, I have no idea what to do,” just because we didn’t really leave space for them to fill in the blanks.

How would you describe your music?

It’s tough. It’s rock and roll, I mean, that’s the easiest way to say it. It’s energetic and it’s fun. We do the electronic stuff and a lot of technical guitar.

Justin (bass): It’s not techie though. It’s very ambient. It’s a lot of, you know, dancy riffs mixed into a big rock and roll kind of feel that makes it very memorable and a very entertaining live show.

That one song on your MySpace reminded me of the Sound of Animals Fighting…

We get that a lot.

Yeah, so when you make your music do you have any influences? Do you keep any bands in mind?

It’s really hard to say because we’re all into totally into separate things. Brian, our guitarist, he’s all into Bjork and Aphex Twin, a lot stuff like that. He also does all the electronic programming. That’s where he finds his influences. But at the same time he’s into Rod Stewart and that kind of stuff. I’m the biggest Hilary Duff fan and I love Fiona Apple. Them [Justin and Stanley] back there, they’re into Every Time I Die and stuff like that, so that’s where a lot of the rock and roll stuff comes in. I guess the bands we’re into, it’s not directly influencing what we write. I don’t know, it’s really hard to say. We’re all everywhere, and that’s why I think the music is “out there.”

So how did you get Emerald Moon’s attention? Did you find them? Did they find you?

Actually, from what we heard, they were scouting the band Make Your Stand at a show in Bel Air and ended up seeing us. They’ve heard of us through some other bands. We posted a secret PureVolume page with the unmixed and unmastered songs that we had recorded for the CD just so the singers could listen when they came over and tried out. Somehow people on Emerald Moon got a hold of that and contacted us. We went out to dinner and it was pretty much it from there. It was kind of cool because we had no intentions of releasing the record with the help of a record label.

How’s it been with them so far?

It’s been good. Obviously, all the AbsolutePunk stuff and press we’ve been getting has been all through Emerald Moon. We’re self-booking a tour right now. Just by having “We’re Boy Crazy on Emerald Moon records” helps a lot.

So since you’ve signed your touring plans having probably changed.

Yeah, this summer. We’re actually booking it right now. Starting mid-June we’re going to go out for five weeks and circle the U.S. completely.

I’m not too familiar with it, so what’s the Baltimore music scene like?

The scene is good. A couple of years ago we were with another band and our friends Adelphi, who signed to Drive-Thru records, they put us on our first show as a band. Through them we met All Time Low who was on Emerald Moon and now moved up to Hopeless. Both of those bands introduced us to the scene and became our friends. It’s cool because we stick out a lot from all the pop-punk bands, screamo bands, and that kind of stuff. So when we play with them, we’re that band without a singer. We’re that band that people might remember the most. But the scene’s very strong and there’s a lot of good venues that we play constantly and the kids come out every time.

How was your record release show at Recher Theatre?

It was awesome. It actually sold out before the doors even opened. There were about 800 kids. Everyone responded to it well. We sold a shitload of CD’s. Everything worked out perfectly.

So I guess you have a pretty big fan base around here?

Yeah. We’ve been Boy Crazy, doing the thing without a singer for a little over a year now, and just playing every single weekend. It’s more than music for us. It’s making friends with the kids that come out and all the bands. If you’re cool to them they’ll be cool to you back and support you. It’s really good for us.

Have you been writing anything new? Any plans for a full-length?

The thing is, we really didn’t know what we were doing as far as continuing a band without a singer, so we had this music and we decided that we wanted to release something because we’ve been playing for so long. We put out the EP, we’re still working on a DVD, just something to tie us over. If we find a singer then who knows what’ll happen. If not, we don’t really know. But at practice we’re just kind of jamming and not really putting full songs together or having a set goal in mind. I guess, as far as the band right now, it’s the DVD we’re working on.

What’s the DVD going to be like?

It’s just a lot of dumb footage of us doing stupid shit, plus live footage, interviews, and stuff like that. We were going to release it with the EP originally, but we felt like it took away from what we were trying to do as a piece of art with the EP: taking a lot of time with artwork, having a story in mind of what we were trying to express. So we figured, best bet is wait till later in the summer, go on tour for a little bit, get some better footage of the band, and then release the DVD by itself.

Who did the artwork for the EP?

The artwork was done by a guy called Raymond Clecker. He’s a friend of Paul Levitt, who recorded the CD. He did two separate paintings on canvas and then we sent it out to this guy, Mario [Garza] in California. He put it into photoshop, did some magic, and made it look awesome.

Did you tell him what you wanted or did you let him do his own thing?

We wanted Ray to have his artistic freedom because we felt that was really important, for him to get his idea across. We told him what the CD meant to us and what we had in our minds. He through out ideas and it kind of snowballed from there. But a lot of it was his input, which we liked.

That’s all I’ve got to ask, but does anybody else want to say anything?

If you’re reading this, and we’re coming to your town this summer, please check us out. We just ask that everybody gives us one chance (and ten dollars). We pride ourselves on being a really good live band. We feel that we’ve put out an incredible record. If you can’t hold your own live, it’s not worth it. We try to make it as much fun as possible for everybody there and try to include everybody whether they’re into us or not. So if we’re somewhere near you, check us out at least once and hopefully you’ll enjoy it. Even if you’re not into the music, we’ll at least try to give you a fun time.


Murder By Death: The Interview

May 14, 2006

Some of you may not be familiar with a little band named Murder By Death. The quartet from Indiana, according to their bio, “layers the vocal sounds of an old saloon with the haunting strings of an Hungarian folk dance and the hard driving rhythms of pure rock n’ roll, producing what Stuff magazine has called “lush, orchestrated songs,” somehow simultaneously reminiscent of Johnny Cash and Radiohead”, whatever that means. We were lucky enough to sit down (actually an e-mail interview, but sit down sounded better) with lead singer/guitarist Adam Turla and ask him a few questions that were on our minds. The following took place between the hours of 11-12am on May 11th, 2006.

Let’s start off with a cupcake question for our readers who might not be familiar with Murder By Death. Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your sign?

My name is Adam Turla. I sing and play the guitar for Murder by Death. We are from Bloomington, Indiana. I am a cancer.

Murder by Death is a fairly memorable name. Who came up with it, and is there any hidden meaning?

It is from the Neil Simon play of the same name. It’s a murder mystery spoof, making fun of all the classic mystery novels while being a classic murder mystery story. The idea was to a have a name that sounded dark but was funny when you thought about it, (since it doesn’t make sense).

Your newest album, In Bocca al Lupo, is coming out May 23rd. Do you have any big pre-promotion plans?

We are doing a long long tour to support the record, as well as a lot of acoustic in-stores and radio performances of alternate versions of the songs. Right now on our website you can preorder the record and get a free t-shirt if thats what you mean by pre-promotion by the way.

Your previous albums have seemed to have their own unique style and theme. Where were you trying to go with this album? Does it still follow a story or theme like your previous releases?

This album is thematically about sin, redemption, and guilt. The songs are each about a different character who fits the bill. In that sense it is like an anthology of short stories all tied together by the same themes.

Any songs you are particularly proud of?

I like “Sometimes the Line Walks You” and “Shiola” the most.

I personally am a huge fan of everything Murder By Death, and I know you are about to embark on a massive tour showcasing and promoting the new album. Are you as hyped for In Bocca Al Lupo and the tour as your fans, including myself, inevitably are?

We are very very excited. We’ve never done an entire US headlining tour before so we are very curious to see how it goes. Hopefully people will enjoy it! On the tour we will be projecting a film I pieced together from old 16mm film clips that loosely go with the music we are playing. It has everything from matadors to old fisherman to haitian dance in it and should look pretty awesome projected behind us as we play.

Are there any venues or cities in particular you love playing in? Do you think you will be able to keep up a high energy performance while playing literally every night for 2 months?

We have toured a lot in the past so this is nothing any longer than we’ve done before. Headlining this much is a different question though, but we hope that people come out! It’s an entire US tour so we are hitting alot of great towns. We always love Chicago and the Metro so that will be fun. We like Vino’s in Little Rock, the Church in Philly, the Middle-East in Boston, to name a few.

I first fell in love with Murder By Death live. Everytime I’ve seen you in concert it has been epic. Do you think there is a big difference between your live music and your recorded work?

I think this record does the best job of capturing the live quality, so I am very happy with it. Someday I’d like to do a live dvd if we can get a good enough recording and some cool production.

Who had the idea of starting Tent Show Records, and is there any interesting story behind it?

Tent Show was an opportunity to make all the decisions about how we market Murder by Death and it allowed us to keep doing our own art and have the final say with all decisions concering MBD. So far so good!

What does the future have in store for both MBD and Tent Show? Any big plans?

Touring touring touring. We’re just gonna give this record the best push we can.

Anything else you’d like to add? Shoutouts to peeps and whatnot?

Thanks for interviewing us!

Once again we would like to thank Adam and MBD for taking the time to conduct this interview with us. Also, we would like to thank Samantha and Penny of Filter Magazine for hooking us up with the opportunity to do this. In Bocca Al Lupo will be released on May 23rd. For more MBD info check out their website.

PS: Stay tuned for a Murder-By-Death-related contest coming soon to All Things Go.

-Zack & Austin

All Things Go Presents Dert: The Interview

March 1, 2006

So, just yesterday I did an interview with Ben Elkins from the band Heypenny. I have gotten some feedback that people enjoyed the interview feature, so I decided to do another one, though maybe a little longer this time.
I had first heard Dert’s music from a post on GvB about his newest album, Sometimes I Rhyme Slow, which mixes Jose Gonzalez tracks with hip-hop artists such as Common, Kanye, and Talib Kweli. I was fascinated with the two songs I heard, so I wrote a post a few days ago about Dert (see here). I decided to ask him if he we would like to do an interview, and of course he accepted. Our conversation shifted from influences to current artists to Ted Leo (always a good conversation piece), and it is very clear that Dert is an articulate and intelligent artist. Without further adieu, I give you The All Things Go Exlcusive Interview with Dert.

Zack: First off, tell us a little about yourself. How’d you get into the whole music scene? Where are you from and whatnot?

Dert: I started making pause loop beat tapes in high school. I am from an LA suburb called West Covina. I used to rap at first, then I realized I was much better at making beats so I stuck with that. I got involved with a group called The Tunnelrats around 2001. We did a lot of projects on a label called Uprok which was a tooth-and-nails hip-hop label for a while.

Zack: So you did the beats and DJ’d for them, or did you dabble in the rapping?

Dert: I just did beats, I can’t DJ for crap.

Zack: Haha. So what kind of music influences your beats? I know on your upcoming album, Sometimes I Rhyme Slow, you use Jose Gonzalez songs, which is rare for a hip-hop mashup type CD.

Dert: Right. Well first off it’s not really an album. Like I sat around and was like this is going to be hot. It was a random idea I did over the week of my birthday in January 2006. I listen to pretty much everything since hip-hop music pulls from so many influences. It started with crate digging, going from jazz, to rock to electronic stuff to just about anything. After I started making beats, my musical palette really expanded, before that I was “strictly hip-hop.”

Zack: So, any particular bands out right now that you think are making quality original music?

Dert: Well I don’t know about the newest or freshest bands because that isn’t really my scene, but right now I dig Broadcast a lot, Bloc Party, The Arcade Fire…um that Tapes n’ Tapes group is tight too. Oh and Wolfmother, they are super hot. The EP has such a grimey sound to it. But I can’t vouch for rock bands because I may like something that rock fans think is complete crap.

Zack: Yeah, we’re big into Bloc Party, and Arcade Fire as well. I think that some music blogs, newspapers, and websites (*cough* Pitchfork *cough*), put too much emphasis on whether or not a band is cool or hip, and not whether or not the music is actually good.

Dert: Yeah, those Pitchfork guys are a bunch of bitches. Oops, I am sending this [album] for a review…whatever. I mean, they dissed The Mars Volta and those guys are the illest. I think it’s too much soul for them.

Zack: Yeah. I think they realize their audience will eat up whatever they give them.

Dert: Tastemakers gone bad.

Zack: At least they gave love to my favorite group of all time, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists.

Dert: Oh really, I have to check them out. (Zack’s Note: After the interview, I introduced Dert to TL/Rx, and he enjoyed them. Even more proof that everyone loves Ted Leo)

Zack: So, new topic. Mashups have become huge in 2005, and now into 2006. What do you think it is about mashups that people love?

Dert: I don’t know what mashups people love, I am not all that hip to all of them. But I think it’s a new spin on an old concept. Hip-hop has been doing that for years. Listen to Paul Boutique or Midnight Marauders or any classic hip-hop record and listen to the records they mix together. I think the Grey Album [DJ Dangermouse’s breakthrough album mixing together The Beatles White Album and Jay-Z’s Black Album] was a great IDEA but to me that isn’t a mashup. It’s just a remix with a Beatles sample. The Linkin Park thing with Jay-Z was pretty wack, but so is Linkin Park. I heard this one that mixed all of Queen’s music with hip-hop, another great idea but not the best execution.

My friends from Antagonist Records, The Legion of Doom, are doing some really dope rock mashups.

Zack: Yeah, we actually just made a post about Legion of Doom (here), they do some interesting emo/hardcore mashups, and I believe they have a new CD coming out soon.

Dert: Yeah. I did a little drum programming for one of their tracks on the myspace page that KRS-One rapped on. It was originally (slower) and for his new album but it was scrapped.

Zack: What programs do you use to make your beats? Or does a true artist never give away his secrets?

Dert: I started with an mpc 2000, now I use a mpc 1000 and for other sounds and efx I use logic pro 7. I love everything native instruments does. Shoot I want to get free gear and sponsorship, I will tell!

Zack: They can probably hook that up. I try to make some beats with Reason, but mine are absolutely horrible. So, if you could work with anyone in the hip-hop or rock/indie scene right now, who would it be, and why?

Dert: Anyone on the Sometimes I Rhyme Slow CD. Those are really some of my favorite emcees…except Kanye West. His songs just happened to have some dope guest features. I think I could make a wonderful album with Jose [Gonzalez] as well. I really admire the Stones Throw Crew, they are the new Hieroglyphics or Diggin’ in the Crates. I wouldn’t mind working with Goapele on the soul side of things. And also Pigeon John. That guy is amazing. both of our crews (Tunnelrats and La Symphony) go back a lot but I have never hooked up with him. Now he is getting too big so i better get big too!

Zack: You hinted that you aren’t a big fan of Kanye. Is that because you think sometimes he might sample too much and is slightly unoriginal, or do you think it’s his arrogance?

Dert: His arrogance is sickening. Sampling is a core element of hip-hop so I will never criticize someone for sampling too much. I dig his tracks, especially Late Registration (he beat me to working with Jon Brion!) but his emceeing, while it has improved, still irritates me. I mean look at J Dilla, so humble, so quiet, so brilliant. Your music will speak for itself.

Zack: I don’t mean to make you look like a jackass, but are there any other rappers or hip-hop groups out there that you think are fake? For instance, I don’t exactly think D4L or Dem Franchise Boyz’s songs can be considered music.

Dert: Haha. Everyone that knows me knows I love to criticize. I am not a hater, just picky. D4L and DFB are the equivalent to Kris Kross or Vanilla Ice back in the day. It’s music geared to 8th graders and younger. Due to corporate radio, you can’t hear much expression on commercial radio.

Zack: But, Kris Kross totally made me jump, jump. I was feeling the backwards clothes thing. I think i just noticed a trend of Jermaine Dupri backed groups.

Dert: Dogg, I went to school one day with my clothes on backwards! Dupri knows how to make a hit, I cannot criticize him. He does what he does very well.

Zack: Have you ever contacted any artists about doing possible collaborations? Like, for instance, Talib or Common or someone along those lines? Or should i say, have any of them contacted you?

Dert: Not yet. Talib’s name was thrown around as possible collabs for KRS-One (an album Dert is working on). The hip-hop industry is pretty hard to navigate. It’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s not like the indie scene where everyone is cool with each other

Zack: I know we talked about this much earlier, but you said you grew up around LA. How much did the birth of West Coast Hip-Hop influence your music styles growing up, and your current music style?

Dert: I fell in love with hip-hop by listening to NWA, Ice Cube and Ice-T. the original kday was IT. Then it was the Pharcyde, Heiroglyphics, the Likwit crew. LA hip-hop has been a major influence on me, Not necessarily “west coast” stuff like Dre or Tupac. That just wasn’t my style. It just sucked because some of the strongest groups out of the west were always mistaken for “east coast” groups by those who were not aware. I think LA hip-hop was a little more laid back too.
Zack: I didn’t know Del and Heiroglyphics were from LA

Dert: Yeah. That production changed my life.

Zack: Do you have any plans to make beats for a particular artist, and maybe go on tour with them, or is that not something you’re interested in?

Dert: Touring isn’t really my deal. I am more of a studio lab rat. I am doing my darndest to get on with cats right now, it’s just hard to breakthrough without a big name.

Zack: Speaking of which, how did you come up with the name Dert?

Dert: Ah man! Well first I was called D-Illicit in attempts to be hardcore. But nothing about me was illicit so I came up with Dert. Which just started as a stupid acronym “Don Eternally Represents to The Fullest” But now the name to me just is a reflection of my personality according to what people have told me. Pretty much being well grounded, down to earth and willing to do hard work and not being concerned about getting full recognition for it. In the trenches.

Zack: I think the switch from D-Illicit to Dert was a good one. So, where do you see yourself in the near future? What’s up next, after Sometimes I Rhyme Slow?

Dert: I am working on my 2nd instrumental project tentatively called BlackBerd. I produced a majority of the next KRS-One project. I did an album with a new group called the Footsoldiers which is featured on that KRS album. I also did tracks with this cat Braille from a group called Lightheaded. And a random thing, a remix for the band West Indian Girl. Hopefully SIRS will get some more remixes coming my way too

Zack: Well if it does, I’ll be glad to buy them. Thanks again for granting us an interview, and we here at ATG wish you the best in the future. Any last words?

Dert: Thanks. I want say what’s up to my boy Ryan who introduced me to José González. And to José and Imperial Records, I hope you don’t send me a cease and desist. Haha. Lastly, shouts to my crew and family the Tunnelrats and watch out for this female rapper named Zane. She is going to hit a lot of people. I have a track from her on my Myspace page, its called Plan B

Zack: I’ll be sure to check it out

I hope everyone enjoyed the interview. Here are two tracks from Dert’s upcoming album, Sometimes I Rhyme Slow, which will be released on March 7th. I have an advanced copy, and I demand that all of you purchase the album when it comes out, as it is well worth the price.

Dert – The Light + Heartbeats (Common feat. Erika Badu) [download or die]
Dert – 2 Words + Slow Moves (Kanye West feat. Mos Def & Freeway)

Be Dert’s Myspace Friend


All Things Go Presents Heypenny: The Interview

February 28, 2006

Ok, so I have gotten plenty of emails and IMs about a band I posted on a few weeks back, Heypenny. I wrote a little bio about these guys and gave some sample songs, but you people just couldn’t be satisfied. Thusly, I have asked Ben Elkins, the creater and mastermind behind Heypenny, if he would kindly grant us an in-depth interview. Being the good guy he is, Ben accepted. Without further ado, I present to you Heypenny: The Interview.

Zack: So first start off by letting all of your readers know a little bit about you. Where are you from? Where did you get that beautiful voice?

Ben: I come from fayetteville, arKANsas, like i said. Weird, I always thought I didn’t have a beautiful voice. When you’re unsure about your hypothesis, you say it softly, or sarcastically. I guess that’s like my singing, but not the sarcastic part. Both my mom and dad have really good singing voices. They used to play folk clubs together before they got divorced and tore my life to shreds. thanks for bringing it up!
Zack: Ouch. Anyways, lets move on. You live now in Nashville, which many consider the home of country music. Has that infulenced Heypenny’s style of music? What other bands have influenced your sound?

Ben: Nashville is definitely the home of country music, but there’s a ton of other music that goes on here. there’s some really good indie stuff going on here, not only really good, but really popular. It’s a good scene. (i.e. a band called brother sister and she lived in Nashville for a year last year and they’re great). Also Be Your Own Pet and The Spinto Band are up-and-coming bands from here, not to mention the Features. Anyways, enough about other people!

As for Heypenny, I’m not thinking that the country music that goes on here is going to influence what we do musically. I do love going down to the honkey-tonks and hearing the real deal country music though. Robert’s is by far the best one if anyone’s interested. Old-style. But a good song is a good song no matter what genre. I’m fascinated by good songs. I love Kanye West’s new album, a few really good songs on that. And I’ll go to these “songwriters in the round” deals here (of which there are tons) and a few of those songs will be really good songs.

For “Use These Spoons” (Heypenny’s debut album) the main influeces were the obvious ones: Wilco, Coldplay, The Beatles, and Iron & Wine. But these days oddly enough I’m liking more raw stuff, like The Arcade Fire, live Wilco, The White Stripes and the Jackson 5 or any motown stuff. I don’t know, stuff that seems like they put a mic up in the middle of the room and caught a moment. You should here how off-beat some of that motown stuff is, like”wrong” by today’s recording standards.

Zack: Yeah, I’ve been to one of those songwriter things in Nashville, and it’s quite an experience. It was at the bluebird cafe (which you’re probably familiar with). So, to go in a different direction, do you have any plans for touring?

Ben: Yes definitely. Actually I just wrote a guy an email about this. It was pretty long. I’ll try and get the important stuff. I’ve been working on some other music projects, co-producing, which has been taking up most of my time, but now that’s over and we’re starting to play again. We’re actually playing tonight. But as for the show itself, I don’t know what I should say. Come see us.

Zack: I know every band has a strange story about how they got their name, so I have to ask. How did you come up with Heypenny?

Ben: Sing along now…”If you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny (pronounced heypenny) will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you.”

Zack: It all makes sense now. So what do you see for Heypenny in the future? Is this a serious project or something you do for fun, or both? Do you see yourself doing serious touring and promotion? Pretty much, what can we expect to see from Heypenny in the future?

Ben: Hmmm. Really, all we want is to take over the world. And well, we’re going to start by figuring out how to get instant messager (Zack’s Note: this interview was done over gmail due to incredible technical difficulties, A.K.A. AIM sucks) . No, really, I’m not sure what’s in the future. I’m Just looking forward to playing a lot, and well I guess the result depends on fine folks like yourself there Zack. you’re definitely helping us along.

Sorry, I hate giving lame answers like that.

Zack: How flattering, thank you. Well I can’t think of anything else to ask you. Thanks again for granting us the interview, and all of us here at All Things Go wish you the best of luck in the future. We also hope you come up and play a show here in Washington. Maybe we could set something up. Before we go, do you have any last words? Shoutouts? Hollas?

Ben: Yeah, I just thought of what to say about touring that’s a little more informative. Hopefully you all like watching these two things on TV: Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood on PBS and Avalanches on the Discovery Channel. I hope you like these two things cause if you do, you’ll like our show. Good talking with you Zack.

A great man, a great band, and a great interview. We here wish nothing but the best for Heypenny. Warning, everyone get ready, because Heypenny is ready to take over the world.
Also, if you didn’t read our previous post on Heypenny (or click the link at the top of the post), you can find it here. I hope you all enjoyed the interview.

I am reposting the tracks just to make sure you download them. I also HIGHLY recommend you buy the album, as these are by no means the only strong tracks on the album.

Let It Rain [download or die]
Walnut St. Bridge [download or die]
Parade [download or die]