If you go
What: Thee Dang Dangs (with Ringo Deathstarr)
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25
Where: hi-dive, 7 S. Broadyway, Denver, 303-733-0230
More info: hi-dive.com
The surf might be a thousand miles away, but Thee Dang Dangs does not care.
Neither should you. The Denver band's surfy, garage-rock sounds like a dirty bar on Venice Beach. It makes them stand out around here and lands them gigs on both coasts, plus everywhere in between. It also got them a spot opening for the excellent Ringo Deathstarr next Tuesday at the hi-dive.
We gave singer and guitarist Rebecca Williams a call to talk about making music the way you feel like making it.
Maybe you've been asked this before, but are you all originally from Colorado?
I am, and Matt, the bassist, is originally from here, and he's our second bassist in this band.
What about the other guys?
I wanna say that Scotty, I know he was born in California and grew up in Reno. Ray, the other guitarist, is from Cleveland.
It just seems like it has to be asked, given the kind of music you make. How did it come about?
I guess when Ray and I first met, he was in a different band and I was in a different one, and I was doing really shoegazy, surfy stuff. I don't know how or when that happened, but I started using a lot of reverb in my stuff. Ray and our first drummer were doing more psychy stuff. When it came together it was garagey, surfy.
I appreciate your awareness of being a "Landlocked Surf Rock" band — giving a song that title, putting a snowboard-tracked mountain on the Stone Coast EP. I think it reflects a certain attitude, that you're going to make surf rock because you want to, regardless of location and trends.
We obviously have a certain sound, but we don't like to feel like we're boxed in in anyway. A lot of bands have this dirty, gritty "Lips Around Your Spine" kind of song, and then do this doo-wop shoegazy thing, and then turn around and do something like "Landlocked Surf Rock." I like that it was just natural, not being boxed in.
Your sound might get equated with southern California, but I'd be willing to bet that your influences are San Francisco bands.
We get that frequently, and honestly, when we're told we sound like someone — it's an artist thing, I'm like, 'Damnit, I don't wanna sound like someone.' And it's a compliment because someone likes that band and you want to relate a band.
As far as influences, Ray grew up with his dad's kind of '60s, '70s stuff, and I grew up, strangely enough, with Latin music. Whatever evolved is what it is. It wasn't like, 'Let's make this kind of music.' It just is what it is. I wanna say I'm influenced just by humanity, you know, everyone around me. When I think about it, when I'm asked in interviews, now I think it's more that my songs are kind of a mind tornado. Some songs, or maybe a couple, are about one specific thing, but really they're about this whirlwind of thought because that's how my brain works. As far as bands that we like, we listen to anything from old '90s rap to, Latin stuff and Middle Eastern, for me anyway, and a lot of '60s. If I were to venture to say something is influencing me subconsciously I'd say the '60s and Latin influences.
Is the influence of humanity where For The People comes from?
I one day kind of was really super fed-up with — it was kind of a big middle finger to whatever the press wants to put us in, whatever box. 'You sound like Thee Oh Sees or this or this.' It's not for the press. It's for me sitting down with my guitar and creating something. It's about people who come to a show and know your song and want to talk about it. It's about those people who really understand. It's not about, 'Oh, you should have done this.' It's the way I feel. I can't change a creation to appease the masses. It's for us and for everyone who understands.
For The People is half a year old now. Are you working on anything new?
We're working on new stuff, yeah. We're planning on having an EP out this month, but we've just been so busy, and we would never do this before, but we're kind of playing a lot of shows right now to save some money for a touring band on the next tour we're playing in June. We just got a practice space, which is huge because it's so hard to find a practice space in Denver.
Right now, live, we're playing three to four new songs, I believe. A couple of those will be on the EP and I probably have another five or six songs that I'm working on. Those will probably be on the EP.
We'd love to have it out next month. We just found out that our practice space, the guys who run the space have a record studio right next door or upstairs, so we're thinking about recording with them. It'd be easy to go just upstairs and get it done. I'd love to have it out before April, unless everything gets crazy.
Contact Ashley Dean at 303-473-1109. On Twitter: twitter.com/AshaleyJill.