Dirty Dishes: Q&A at B.O.M.B. Fest
by Kyle Risley, published June 3rd 2011
photos by Anne Latini
The Dirty Dishes have made quite a stir in Boston over the last year. Between rocking the Converse sponsored stage at SXSW, being hand-picked by Passion Pit as one of Boston’s best bands, and being nominated as a “Best New Act” by The Phoenix, the group has garnered more than their fair share of attention. Playing their own brand of brooding shoegaze, The Dirty Dishes walk the tightrope between the snarl of rock and pop’s melodic sensibilities. Tastemakers sat down with them after their set at the two day B.O.M.B. Fest music festival to discuss their recent successes, their In The Clouds EP, and plans for the future.
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): So you all attend Berklee School of Music. Is that how you met?
Dirty Dishes (DD): No, we met out in Boston through a bunch of mutual friends. Mike and I played in a different band a long time ago… (laughs)
TMM: You’ve been making music for about two years now?
DD: Yeah, I guess so. In the fall of 2008 we were first like “Oh, let’s have a band,” but we didn’t play a show until the beginning of 2009.
TMM: Your EP (Stolen Apples) came out about a year and a half ago. How has the reception been and how are things shaping up for your forthcoming release?
DD: Well In The Clouds was really haphazard. We recorded it in a bunch of different places. Drums and guitar were recorded in Mike’s basement, bass was done in Jay’s room and we even did some vocals in the back of our van. (laughs) It was a bit weird but we worked really hard on it. I guess the reception’s been well because we’re almost out of it! We’re pleasantly surprised; we didn’t think anyone would listen to it.
The new one…we have no…we’re working on it. We’re done tracking most of the stuff. We still have to track vocals and do a bunch of shit. We have to mix it, that will take a while.
TMM: Is that being recorded a bit more consistently or are you doing it in scattered sessions?
DD: We did it all in one studio, except for vocals, in Wooly Mammoth in Waltham.
TMM: Nice. How do you like B.O.M.B. Fest so far? Have you been on the festival circuit for long?
DD: It’s fun. We haven’t done too many festivals. We just got done with a two month tour in February and March so this is one of our first festivals. Well, we’ve done South by Southwest the last two years and then North by Northeast. But we like playing outside!
TMM: How was the second go around at SXSW? It seems like it’s pretty grueling…
DD: It gets better every year. We did eight shows in three days and that was an experience. A good one, but a lot of work. It was nice having people load our gear for us!
TMM: I’ve heard that SXSW can be a bit of a crapshoot in terms of who’s coming out to your shows and if you’re reaching the people you need to reach. Do you feel like SXSW has been helpful for you?
DD: Oh hell yeah. Way more than last year.
TMM: So you feel that it was better the second time?
DD: Yeah, we had more shows, but the first time was pretty sick. We had a nice crew with other bands that are from our scene and had more friends out there. That was awesome.
TMM: Any standout memories?
DD: We did a Converse showcase that I liked because it was outside. It was on a roof right off of the main street. It was a lot of fun. The museum show was awesome too…
TMM: A museum?
DD: Yeah, the Austin Museum of Art.
TMM: Wow, how big is that space?
DD: You could fit a couple hundred people in that room. It was packed.
TMM: I saw you played a show with Mike Watt (ex-The Minutemen). Was that a full tour or just a show?
DD: Yeah, we played with them at TT The Bear’s. They were super awesome and nice. We were surprised. He came up and met us individually and the rest of the band were great too.
TMM: Was that a weird crowd to play for? He seems to play a sort of jazz/punk hybrid that doesn’t fit with your sound.
DD: The crowd was older, but everyone was so nice and the reception was good. After our first song everyone just stared. I feel like like no one clapped. But then by the end everyone was so into it. We sold a lot of CDs. We like playing for different audiences because we’ve sort of run dry our main spots in Boston.
TMM: Have you been making an effort to tour outside of Boston? Are you seeing certain cities are supportive of your sound?
DD: Maybe not a whole city, but certain shows. We played Portland, Maine and we’re going back there tomorrow and they are so receptive and good people. We did a lot of DIY spots when we toured in February and March and some places are just way more open, like Strasburg, VA. We played in Alex’s cousin’s kitchen and we were like, “Hey we’re touring and we need a place to play” and he’s like “Alright, come to my house” and we get there and he says “I thought we’d just play in the kitchen!” So we set up in the kitchen with the band we were touring with, Grass is Green, and played with Alex’s cousin’s hardcore band. The reception was unbelievable. We were all really surprised.
TMM: Aside from the EP that you guys are piecing together, what else is coming down the pipeline? Any big shows or tours that you’re lining up for the summer?
DD: We’re playing a festival in Brooklyn called the Northside Festival in June with the band that we were touring with, Grass Is Green. We’re also playing at Great Scott in late July but we’re mostly focused on recording and playing shows in the New England area outside of Boston. We love playing Boston but we feel bad making our friends come to see us… (laughs)
TMM: Will you be self releasing the EP?
DD: Yeah, probably…unless someone really cool wants to help us get it pressed and help us push it. We did the last one all by ourselves so it worked [and] it’s likely we can do it again.
TMM: How’s Band Camp working for you guys? Do you see a lot of people buying your record through there or mostly streaming it?
DD: Well, we’ve noticed that with Band Camp vs. iTunes, people are way more likely to buy the entire album with Band Camp. People on iTunes will buy a song or two and on Band Camp they’ll buy the album. Band Camp’s awesome.
TMM: Alright, thanks guys! Have fun for the rest of the day. Who are you guys looking forward to seeing?
DD: Best Coast, definitely. I was looking forward to seeing George Clinton…
DD: Oh hell yeah.
TMM: Blue Album or Pinkerton?
DD: Both. What do you think they’ll play?
TMM: Probably everything…
DD: Everything but the Blue Album. Where do you think they’re hanging out?
TMM: I figured they’d be with you guys!
DD: Well if you see them, tell them to call us.
Despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to reach Weezer.
The Dirty Dishes will be performing alongside Grass is Green at the Northside Festival in Brooklyn, New York on on June 18-19th. They’ll also be at Great Scott with Craft Spells and Garden & Villa on July 31. You can download their debut In The Clouds EP at Bandcamp.