Dust Congress

Dust Congress Session - October 2011

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This Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: July 30, 2011
Posting Date: October 31, 2011
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Links: DustCongress.org, Facebook
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

The Trash Heap
The Noble Savage
Pets In Hell
ONE: What inspired the original drum set-up for the band? Why has that stayed the same, even while other elements of the band have changed?
Nick: Well, that’s a great question. I just started playing by myself because I didn’t know anyone else to play with at the time, and then gradually started adding instruments. The idea was to be minimalist, so we didn’t really need other percussion until the band got big enough to support that type of thing. If we had had a drummer before, I don’t think it would have developed the same way.
MB: What is the songwriting process like?
Nick Foreman: Well, that’s a great question. We just, I don’t know, I come up with something, and then we work on it together, and I bring an idea to them, and then in practice we’ll work on it a few times, and then everyone will make up their own part to add to it and stuff like that. It’s not really like…nothing is really delegated to anyone else. It’s pretty natural, I’d say.
TWO: What defines the music culture in Denton? Do you think it’s gotten better or worse over time?
Taylor Sims: Well, that’s a great question.
Nick: I don’t know. That’s tough.
Kerm Rivas: I don’t think that things really change too much. I’ve lived here for twelve years and there’s just a rotating cast of players, and things kind of ebb and flow. It’s not really a matter of ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ but just a difference in the people playing.
Nick: There’s always some good bands. I feel like what people are doing in terms of shows is what changes the most. When I first moved here, we’d have a lot more, like…not necessarily that we don’t have house shows now, but it was a lot more frequent and it seems like more people were willing to do it, maybe. Now, everyone just plays at venues, which is fine. So, I don’t know, but I’m sure that anyone will tell you that “Denton was a lot cooler five years ago!” or “Denton is going to be a lot cooler in five years!” and that’s pretty much how it’s always going to be, so…
Ryan Williams: We need more bands to move here, and then all get a house together, and then open their house to shows.
Nick: What needs to happen is for people to actually be able to make money off of it, because otherwise they’re just going to leave when they’re good. Everyone that’s good enough, most of the time, with the exception of a few people who are really brave for sticking around, they all move to Brooklyn or something.
MB: Is it possible to make money from music here? Denton is such a cheap town. Here, a five dollar show is scoffed at as ridiculous, while in Dallas ten or fifteen dollars is the norm.
Nick: Mike Seman would be the guy to ask about this, but I think that you just have to build some opportunities for money to be spent around it. You have to draw attention to it, and you have to cultivate other businesses that contribute to the same type of atmosphere. So, for instance, you know, we’ve got the bookstore, and that helps. You need other things that have culture going for you, and it’s kind of like Denton’s a little stifled and it’s got some old people running it still. We’re getting a little bit better development and stuff, and some younger people involved I suppose, but…
MB: Would you say that it’s improving?
Nick: Well, it’s got more stuff. It’s got more stuff than it had before. I guess it depends on what you mean by improving. I really thought this place was awesome when I moved here, so, I think it was fine then.
MB: Do you think people will ever be more accepting of higher prices for shows?
Nick: People will probably complain about paying more for shows anywhere, except for maybe Dallas, because there’s just a lot of people there who have disposable incomes because they work in offices and stuff. I don’t know, I don’t think we’re going to be like that. I hope not. Dallas doesn’t have it.

THREE: What is the reaction to Dust Congress on tour? What are your plans for the future?
Nick: Well, that’s a great question. We did pretty well. I don’t know, what do you guys think? The tour with Shiny [Around the Edges] was a lot of fun.
James Kerr: Yeah, people really dug us.
Nick: The shows themselves were great, really great. There was a pretty positive response almost everywhere we went in terms of people being there and listening. There were a couple of empty rooms or whatever, but that’s always going to happen, especially for someone who no one has really heard of, but, you know, it was good. The one we did with Geistheistler before that…out to the east, was the same way. I thought we did well, and the people that listened to it seemed to like it, and stuff.
Ryan: We made that guy cry on the radio.
Nick: Oh yeah!
MB: What?
Nick: We were on the radio in Florida, and some guy was like, I don’t know, just called in—
Ryan: NPR listener.
Nick: I don’t know, he just said he was listening to it, and he liked it.
Ryan: “Long time listener, first time cryer.”
Nick: Hey, we shouldn’t laugh at him, man.
Taylor: I’m laughing to keep from crying.
MB: What song made him cry?
Nick: I don’t remember.
James: “A Name as a Diamond,” I think.
Nick: It wasn’t “Open Your Eyes, The World is Shit” because we didn’t have that one yet. But, yeah, the Geistheistler tour was the same way. We played…I thought, for instance, when we played in Athens, that we did a really good job. The only problem was, everyone at the bar was in the bar area, and not watching us. There was no one in there to watch us at all, but, you know, that’s to be expected. No big deal. It was fun. The next one is supposed to be in December, so we’ll see what we can string together. I’d like to get a big mix of types of venues and stuff, not necessarily just playing clubs, but doing some DIY stuff…
Ryan: Playing in the street.
Nick: Yeah, we’re definitely going to be doing some of that.
MB: Is that tour by yourselves or with another band?
Nick: I think we’re going by ourselves, so…
MB: What part of the country are you going to hit?
Nick: We’re trying to do Memphis, Nashville, and Asheville, NC; Athens, GA; Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; and New Orleans.