Interview: Dappled Cities slam out the bangers
Sydney-based indie-rock heroes, Dappled Cities are performing a one-off Sydney showcase at Newtown Social Club in February. We caught up with vocalist/lead guitarist Tim Derricourt to find out more:
Hi and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. You have been a little quiet over the last year or two, what have you been up to during that time?
It has been quiet on the live front but in our band world we’ve been as busy as ever, making new songs, writing solo tunes (as both Light Pressure and Swimwear) and recording studio album number five. We kind of wanted to work in a low pressure, quiet way so that we made the record we really wanted to make.
In-between each release, do you try to listen and explore more musical genres so as to bring something new to the table?
Totally. I guess it’s not as conscious a thing but as you finish one era of your life, you start to discover new music that changes your ideas of how music can be done. For me, that came with listening to a lot more chilled out tracks from people like Toro Y Moi and Gene Clark, with Dave, it came through Joni Mitchell and the Doobie Brothers.
I remember seeing you guys back when you were Dappled Cities Fly and you played regularly with Gerling. Gerling have long since disbanded but you guys are still going strong…what’s the secret to your endurance?
We really have stuck with it, haven’t we! 18 years now. We are still good friends (we hang out on each others’ boats and stay in each others’ Lake Como residencies when we holiday) but we also always feel like we have something to say – like each release never feels tired for us and it just excites us to still be making music that makes us laugh or feel out life in different ways.
You have a rich back catalogue of albums and hit singles, does your music say the same thing about you now as it did when it was first recorded and released?
We have changed so much since those early days but there is a thread running through the albums. As we get older, I would say the lyrics focus on those things that come with age, like regret, nostalgia and desire – for something that might have once been – but we still are always trying to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and that has been there since the beginning – we hate the idea of sounding stale or derivative and I would say that drive to challenge has stuck with us since the beginning.
As artists evolving musically and personally through each album and phase in your life, what does your new material say about you and your current world view?
I would say that those feelings mentioned above, like regret, desire and nostalgia are far more a part of what this album is and says about us right now – that sense of regret and nostalgia for things past but desire for what lies in front of you – and then, as always, some politics thrown in for the hell of it. You can’t go through more than ten years of touring without missing some of the times gone by, but on the other hand with age comes less of that disgruntled entitlement that seemed to push us onwards and a more chilled sense of things – how life in a band can be a true joy if you let it be that.
You will be playing a one-off live show in February at the Newtown Social Club, what can punters expect to hear on the night?
We are trialing a bunch of new songs from record number five, so that’s damn exciting. Then we are just gonna slam out the bangers – loud, wild ones and a few of the songs people request on facebook (cause we’re suckers for a request)
What is more rewarding on stage, playing crowd favourites that receive a guaranteed positive response or new tracks that are played live for the first time?
I love every minute of the stage – every damn minute. I don’t know why but I can still play Holy Chord and feel just as happy as when we play a new cracker. It’s all in the vibe of the crowd, I guess, and those beams as we strike a chord from an old track really light me up.
Which of the many shows you have played over the years been your highlight and why?
Too many – but the Future is Baroque thing at Sydney Festival a few years ago (where we arranged our music with a bunch of incredible Baroque musicians) was amazing – A sold out Town Hall, with incredible lights and beautiful instrumentation – smashing!
Having started out playing at venues as under age performers and seeing the live music scene change throughout the years, do you feel it is getting harder for acts to have a strong live scene following considering the closure of iconic venues like the Hopetoun and the on/off Annandale Hotel?
Not at all – I mean, the lockout laws are an embarrassment for this city and when they are repealed, we will look back and laugh at the absurdity of the times – but there are still rad venues from Marrickville to the city where rad bands play rad songs. If anything, the push out of the venues of old (although I miss them) has made a real exciting thing happen for young bands.
Meeting so many different musicians and interesting characters throughout the years, were there any words of wisdom spoken to you that really resonated with you and altered the way you approach your music?
When we toured with LCD Soundsystem, it was really enlightening to meet an older musician, in James Murphy, who had the passion for pushing music to its boundaries but didn’t have that arrogance or sense of entitlement that comes with a lot of big artists – just that feeling that it is a privilege to be making music and you don’t know when you are going to be on the up or when you’ll be on the down – you always need to focus on the one thing and that is making music that you can be proud of.
What does music give you that nothing else does?
Struggle with reward. It’s all about the combo.
You have a new album coming out 2016. Can you explain some of the context of the material and did you find the writing / recording process easier, or did it bring about its own set of challenges?
As always, Dappled songs don’t come easy because we are hard on each other in the way that we want to push the tracks to a higher plain. But the actually recording itself was a dream, up in Byron Bay, with swims every couple of hours, friends and family around and time spent really enjoying making music – you only get to make a few albums in a career so you might as well enjoy the process.
Thanks for your time and all the best for 2016.
Dappled Cities play on Friday, 5th February 2016 Newtown Social Club, Sydney NSW. Tickets are $25.00+BF. Support comes from Hedge Fund and Phantastic Ferniture.
Interview by Courtney Dabb.