Only a few nights before their show at East Atlanta venue 529, Greg Sullo of Dinosaur Feathers discussed the latest news surrounding the indie pop band, as well as some future release plans.
As announced recently on the band's blog page, you guys had your equipment stolen in January. Can you give us an update on the situation?
Greg Sullo: Unfortunately, we haven't been able to recover any of our gear. However, we have been using a lot of different fundraising outlets, which has been incredibly successful. We had a Kickstarter campaign, and ended up passing our goal. We've had a fundraiser concert which was basically a big house party! Played with our friends and ended up raising a bunch of money there. So between those two efforts, we've been able to collect enough money to at least get the gear so that we could hit the road again, keep this tour going. That whole process has been really great, especially to see that there are all sorts of people that support us. Everybody from family members to complete strangers have been donating to the cause. It turned out to be a very rewarding experience from what was a pretty crappy situation.
People have described Dinosaur Feathers as everything from Animal Collective to Beach Boys meets Vampire Weekend. What makes you guys different from those groups?
It's funny, I don't know if we necessarily think about that when were making the music. Anytime you have a band with a lot of harmonies, there's a chance to get a Beach Boys comparison. I can definitely understand the similarities, which is a good reference point, because a lot of people know those bands. For example, it's easier to say we sound like Animal Collective than it is to say we sound like The Ruby Suns. Especially with the first album.
Can you tell us how your sound has evolved since Fantasy Memorial?
It started off as sort of a solo bedroom project. But with the new album, we've been able to branch out from a more pop oriented sound to more rock and roll focused. It's also been a lot more democratic, the rest of the band giving a lot of input towards the creation of these songs.
In April, you will be releasing a new album entitled Whistle Tips. What should people expect from the new record?
It's kind of an eclectic collection of songs. I wouldn't say its as focused stylistically as the last album, there are a lot more different sounds. We've expanded into new ideas and territories, branching out into something more than just pop song structure.
The SXSW festival is coming up in just a few short weeks. What was the band's experience like playing the fest last year?
Most of what I remember from last year is playing a house party for some friends of ours around north Austin. It was crazy, the cops came like three times, we were supposed to play at like 6 in the evening, we ended up playing at like 2 in the morning at somebody else's house cause we got moved! It was a gloriously fun mess of a night. Other than that, I remember there being a lot of really tight security as well. Also last year, we didn't have any new material coming out, so we weren't really working hard to get new shows. This year, were really excited to be apart of the festival, and to be apart of some excellent lineups.
In the digital age, more and more bands have the platform to reach new listeners. Do you think this makes it more difficult to keep people's attention, or does it create more opportunities in the long run?
I hope this isn't a copout answer, but I think it's both. There are definitely more opportunities to reach people that we couldn't do years ago. For instance, through the internet, we've been able to book national tours, just by making all the connections we've made. At the same time, every band out there has the same opportunity, so there's that many more bands in the public. Which is a good thing, but it can make it hard to get people's attention, and harder to keep their attention once you get it!
What's the song writing process typically like for Dinosaur Feathers?
It sort of varies from song to song. Most of the songs on Whistle Tips are more collaborative efforts. But generally speaking, I'll just sort of work on an idea, and then kinda roughly pitch some things together. And then bring it to the band, and we'll either move it down or expand certain parts, bounce different ideas off one another.
How did the group form?
I guess its been four years now. I'd been living in New York for a little while. I had a drum machine, and was experimenting around with songs in my bedroom. Then picked up some people, started playing shows, and things sorta took a life of its own.
Is there any current artists from the Brooklyn scene you guys follow regularly?
We've got a lot of friends from Brooklyn whose music were really into. Our buddies Shark?, we often share our new recordings with each other, and that feels great. Life Size Maps, Radical Dads are some bands were really into. There's just so much going on in the city all the time, so many new bands always coming out. It's a great place to discover new music.
When Dinosaur Feathers play a show, what do you want the audience to take from it?
That's a good question! I think that feeling you get when you go to a concert, where you just kind of get caught up in the music. That connection you have. As an audience member, I appreciate when your just there and really getting into it, dancing or listening along. You feel that strong connection with the audience and the band.
You can check out Dinosaur Feathers along with openers Grandchildren at 529 on Sunday, March 4th.
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