January 20, 2004
A PUNK INTERNATIONAL INTERVIEW WITH DENVER
[b]When your first CD came out last year, I remember reading about it as a "Denver Dalley side project". Is that what it was intended to be?[/b]
That's kind of what it was. At the time I was a member of Desaparecidos, so Statistics was something I did in my free time while Connor was working on Bright Eyes. But since then it has become more of a full-time thing, because it's becoming so hard for us to work on Desaparecidos again. We're hoping to maybe record, but I don't think we're going to tour again this year. Statistics has become my main thing.
[b]I also remember reading that Desaparecidos was a side project for Connor since he's in Bright Eyes, which would make Statistics a side project of a side project.[/b]
I guess that's not how it's turning out. I guess I can see why people call them side projects, because there's a main project and then something else you're working on. I get the logic and I get the point of origin, but it's definitely changed.
[b]And solo work is sometimes assumed to be a side project.[/b]
Yeah, exactly it's not a full band out there.
[b]Well you're here today with a full band, right?[/b]
Well, normally I tour with two other guys. This tour, neither of those guys are on it; neither could make it. So it's me and the bass player from Desaparecidos and then the drummer from Despistado is going to fill in.
[b]Do you think some people will confuse Despistado with Desaparecidos?[/b]
Yeah, we've wondered that. It's a funny coincidence. We met those guys at SXSW, because we were both playing the Jade Tree showcase. And we were joking about that. It's a small world; we both have these bands that start with D and are hard to pronounce.
[b]I was surprised to see that Despistado is the headlining band on this tour. They're pretty new on the scene compared to you.[/b]
Well, they're from up here and this is our first time in Canada, my first time ever being in Canada. I think they're more established here than we are. And I'm pleased with the order. I've been in some other bands, but I'm still very new in Statistics.
[b]How's Canada treating you so far?[/b]
It's been great. We didn't have any trouble at the border or anything. I know so little about Canada, that's why I'm excited to be here. Two of my other bands went through the States so many times that it all starts to look so familar. I don't need directions to a lot of clubs now, and I know all the promoters - which is great, at the same time I was really looking forward to this because it's all new.
[b]How are things in Omaha now? You must have tornado warnings and stuff going on?[/b]
Yeah, we just had, outside of Omaha like an hour away, like eighteen tornados in one night.
[b]Must be scary...[/b]
It should be, but I'm one of those idiots that just wants to see a Tornado so bad. I know that it's horrible, but I just want to see it, like, in a field, where no one gets hurt and I can just watch it. I'm fascinated by them, but I guess it is kinda scary. It devestated some towns in Nebraska.
[b]The first images I ever saw of Omaha were the movie "About Schmidt". And it's funny because I was just talking about this movie with the band Moneen since they have a song called "Life's Just to Short Little Ndugu".[/b]
His house is just a few blocks away from my house. I grew up in that neighborhood. Where he had that camper parked is where I live. But yeah, there's not much to Omaha. The town's just big enough that you won't go crazy, but you bump into everyone you know. And when you meet someone, it turns out you had some of the same friends. Sometimes I'm super proud to be from Omaha, and sometimes I almost resent it in a way. People are like, "oh, you're from Omaha, so of course you've got three different projects..."
[b]Really, is it like that there? When I think of the Omaha scene, I just think of Saddle Creek Records. Since there's just the one big label, it's like you're assumed to be on it if you're playing music in Omaha.[/b]
That makes sense. There are a bunch of bands that are getting out there and finding labels outside of town, though.
[b]Let's talk more about the new album, since that's why we're all here today.[/b]
[b]I don't know where to start. Mainly I'm thinking that it's a lot better than the EP from last year. I mean, the EP had a few really good songs, with some kind of instrumental stuff in between. Whereas, the new CD flows so much better. It's almost like one long song, because you can't always tell where the songs start and stop, but you can hear it progressing or evolving. There's still some songs that stand out, but overall it's really complete. Now I have no idea how to phrase that into a question...[/b]
No, I like that. The EP was kinda thrown together. It was a demo, really. I actually went into the studio and recorded more songs, but those were the ones I thought were some of the stronger ones, and I thought I could make them work as an EP. I sent that as a demo to Jade Tree, and they thought we could put it out as an EP. The album, though, I definitely wrote it as an album. I wrote one song into another, and left a gap for the end of Side-A on vinyl. I don't know, I think it's fun to be able to go through to hear the one track you want to here, or hear the whole thing in its entirety.
I think on the next album, I want to do each song with vocals, and then have preroll instrumentals, so that it still ties together. Not like there's instrumental tracks and vocal tracks, but it will still flow. I like to switch it up between a more straightforward pop song, as well as a moodier, ambient instrumental piece. I feel like albums are, and I know it sounds really cliche, like the soundtrack to your life. I want to have a variety of moods to it. Some albums that you listen to are great, but every song has got the same feel to it. I want to do something more that's all over the place.
[b]How much does the artwork play into that? How much did you design or influence the artwork?[/b]
That was actually really fun for me. I finished the album, and gave it to my friend. I told him the name of it and some of the themes, and I told him to do whatever he sees in it.
[b]Both the EP and the album have artwork that's like a snapshot of where to be when you're listening to it. One, just sitting somewhere in your house, not doing a whole lot. Like, I thought it was a good CD to put on early in the morning for when you're pouring yourself a bowl of cereal. And two, just staring out the window, thinking about life.[/b]
Yeah, with the EP I definitely wanted to be sitting at a desk. That was just some office somewhere in Los Angeles. But it doesn't look like an office. It could be at home.
[b]What was the deal with the package being upside down?[/b]
I just thought that would be funny. I like how wide open the back of a CD tray is; it can hold a bigger picture. I thought it would be funny to make that the front cover. When people try open it they get all confused.
[b]What about the name "Leave Your Name"? Something to do with an answering machine?[/b]
Exactly. That's why the guy who did the layout took so many pictures of phone lines. But in a way it's the same as going with the name Statistics. I want people to be able to interpret differently. You can look at it as all the name-dropping, "featuring members of Desaparacidos", stuff like that. Or, you can look at it as what I'm doing right now. My thing was the irony of wanting to talk to someone so bad, reaching out to them, but then getting stuck with that generic "leave your name" message followed by a beep. It's one of those ironies. It can mean something different to someone else. To each his own.
[b]I interpreted the name Statistics as being something like the opposite of music. You know, it's just facts, numbers - no emotion, or anything. But on the other hand, statistics can be interpreted differently and used for different purposes.[/b]
And, it groups people that have nothing to do with each other. I mean, for one person, statistics might be baseball facts. For somebody else, it's the number of drunk driving deaths. I think for music, and film, there should be some interpretation to it. That's why sometimes I'll phrase things more broadly instead of being specific, because I like it when people give it their own meaning or apply to their own lives. Nothing groundbreaking, but... (shrug)
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