Dim Locator

Dim Locator - January 2013

Dim Locator Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: January 17, 2012
Posting Date: January 21, 2013
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Links: Facebook
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Would You Ever Come Back To Me?
Precious and Grace (ZZ Top)
ONE: How did Dim Locator get started?
Will Kapinos: I was in band called Jetscreamer, in Denton, for a number of years…about 8 years. There were a couple of different versions of it, but the most well-known version of it lasted about 8 years. I was in the band with my ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, and then when we split, the band split up, and…I don’t know. I joined another band called The Make Believers for about a year and a half, but I just really wanted to…I really had the need to do my own thing. It was kind of an experiment to see what it would be like to play as a solo act, which I had never done before. I had always been in bands, and I decided to do something that was kind of a one-man band type thing, because I didn’t want to just be a solo, acoustic guitar, singer-songwriter type person. I wanted to do something that had a little bit fuller sound. So, that started in about 2009, in earnest. You know, booking gigs as Dim Locator, and I tell this story all the time, but Dim Locator, I took the name of it from an old Birthday Party song, which was Nick Cave’s first band, in the 80’s. Just, in my opinion, one of the greatest bands of all time. I mean, that stuff is like classical music to me. The song ‘The Dim Locator’ was actually written by Rowland S. Howard, who was the guitarist in The Birthday Party, and it’s just the coolest song ever, and, I don’t know, I just always liked the name. I think I started using it as an avatar on a message board, and then I liked the name so much, and other people seemed to like it, so I just kept it as a solo act. And I always liked that it has kind of an oppressive feel to it, you know? So, I’ve always kind of liked that.
DJ: How did you develop your set-up to be different from the usual one-man band or singer-songwriter?
Will: Well, basically, most of it is the electric, slide guitar, distorted, and I have an electronic drum set up that I play with my feet, and that’s all there is to it. But, I’m able to get…I wanted something with rhythm to it, and other people did too, actually. The real inspiration was when I was playing some gigs with Captured! by Robots, and, that’s…I don’t know if you know much about them, but that’s the ultimate one-man band, because it’s one guy with a whole band of robots that he built. So, my first couple of gigs were opening up for him, and he’s a real friendly dude. His name is JBOT, and JBOT was telling me, ‘Man, I really like your stuff. I really like that blues, slide-guitar, Texas stuff that you do, but I kind of want to hear a rhythm to it,’ because I didn’t have anything going on, and I said, ‘Well, JBOT, do you have any extra, you know, drum-monkey-robots lying around that I can use?’ And he said, ‘No, listen. What you need to do is, you do the research, you build your own drum-monkey. Figure out how to do it.’ And then, you know, because he has a robot that’s a gigantic— a big, stuffed monkey that bangs cymbals together. So, he’s like, ‘No, you build your own drum monkey. You can do it.’ And then we just joked about how, if I built my own drum-monkey, we’d be on the phone with each other all the time, asking, ‘Okay, what’s going on with your robot now? Let’s try to figure this out.’ But, I never built my own drum-monkey. I just kind of built my own little stomp-machine that does a bass drum and a crash cymbal, so…It’s good enough for me. It’s more akin to…I don’t know if you’ve heard of Bob Log III. He was my initial inspiration. He was in a kind of postmodern, avant-garde electric slide guitar blues band called Doo Rag, and he went solo, and he just…you know, he’s got the kick drum, and various drum machines, so…I don’t know, he’s kind of the sci-fi hillbilly character, and I’ve always liked that, so that’s kind of what I was wanting to go for. I don’t really know if that comes across. I’m more of just kind of…that was my initial thing, but now it’s just evolved to, you know…I just concentrate more on the lyrical content, and just trying to write good songs, right now. It’s not so much stomping hillbilly-type stuff anymore.
TWO: As someone who has been in and around the Denton music scene for a long time, how do you think the music scene here has evolved? What do you think keeps it going?
Will: I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been here…a pretty long time now. I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but you know, I’ve been living here almost 20 years now, and I’ve been really heavily involved in whatever music scene has been going on the whole time, and it changes every year. Every year it’s different. It’s different people…So, it really has a life force to it that keeps it fresh and keeps it evolving, and I’ve always found it really fascinating.
DJ: What do you think is behind that? What do you think keeps it fresh?
Will: I just think new blood, and new ideas…Denton’s kind of a transient town, so people move here to go to school and to play in bands and stuff, and then move on, and then more people move in. So, that’s the main thing. Denton has always been a really good place to experiment and kind of hone your craft. It’s not really so great as far as like, wanting to get…you know, get famous, or get into the real music industry machine, but I think that might be changing a little bit, especially with the 35 festival. The identity…that may change. We’ll have to see. But it used to be like, people would get their start in Denton, and then they generally move on to New York or Austin, you know, to…to get signed by record labels and put out records and tour and stuff. All that stuff. I mean, now, with like True Widow and Pinkish Black, I mean, they’re doing as good as anybody locally has done in a long time, and they haven’t had to move— even though that’s Dallas and Fort Worth, not so much Denton, but still, I spend equal time in all three places, so I kind of consider it all one thing, even though I probably shouldn’t. Denton, to me, has its own flavor, and Fort Worth and Dallas have their own flavors, too, but Denton is kind of the…I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s the warmest and cuddliest, as far as what you’re wanting to do, I think. Dallas is a little more cutthroat than Denton or Fort Worth would be. Just a little bit, though. It’s a big city, so I think that’s to be expected.
THREE: What does the future hold for Dim Locator?
Will: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that a lot myself lately. I feel like I’m kind of at a crossroads in some ways. I’m planning on digging my heels in and getting an album done this year, because I’ve just been dragging my feet on it for so long, but I’d like to get a good, solid album that represents…mainly, me as a songwriter and stuff…but I do plan on getting that finished this year, just to have it done. I don’t know if it’s going to lead me anywhere, or get me signed or anything, but I don’t really care about that. I just want to get it done so I can have my record, and I can…have it documented. I’ve done some experimenting with playing with some other people this year, and I enjoyed it, and other people seemed to enjoy it, too…It’s always been my goal to have my own band again, you know, so it would be really cool to have like…I’d like to be part of a band where I’m the singer and the writer and the star, you know? That’d be cool, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not. But something like that might happen. It would be cool to have a Dim Locator band situation, but we’ll see. I’ve been kind of feeling the need to, maybe, get the record out, get these songs done, and then move on with it. Move on from the one-man band act. One of the most interesting gigs I played this year was opening up for a guy called Dent May, and I got booked on the gig because for years he was a solo act, but, kind of unexpectedly— he put out a record on Animal Collective’s label, Paw Tracks, but when he showed up for the gig, he had a full band behind him, and it was great, man. It sounded like New Order meets The Beach Boys, and it was really cool, and the band was really swinging, and he just got his buddies to learn the songs and go on tour this year to do his new record, and I find that pretty inspiring, and the guy really changed his sound into something that worked well as a band, and was original, so…I don’t know, that dude is pretty inspirational to me, I think. I want to do something like that.
– Interview and transcription by Dale Jones.