Interview – Dust on the Breakers
1. When it comes to music genres, can you label yourself?
In terms of genres I’ve always loved a shoegaze or ambient esthetic. This obviously influences the music I write, but I don’t think Dust fits into either genre exclusively. When a person tries to categorize music it’s important to remember that things are never black and white… There is a lot of gray. When I listen to the ep now, I think one could draw similarities to many different bands in many different genres, but I also think it has a static sense of autonomy. It sounds like my friends and I when I listen to it and that’s what I’m most proud of.
2. What’s the one thing that drove you to work and write songs?
Well, I’ve been attracted to music my whole life. I’ve always had a natural ability to remember songs and figure out melodies by ear. I’m a wanderer by nature so I love to tour. I had one of those typical artist childhoods, full of struggle and strife. Basically, what I’m trying to get at is I feel like I was tailor made to be a musician, so if I had to name one thing that drove me to music, it would be God I suppose.
3. Who writes the lyrics and how do the songs evolve when you’re writing music?
The lyrics are written collectively. Anyone who wanted or was inspired had the freedom to contribute. The songs on this EP were collectively written as well. How that took place runs the gambit from sitting in a room playing together for hours to mailing tracks back and fourth over months of time.
4. What drove the decision of doing girl – guy harmonising? It’s quite mesmerising.
Harmonies, and in particular male/ female harmonies are one of my favorite things in music, so I (Jeff L) always knew that if I ever had a project I sang in, I wanted there to be 2 lead vocals. We were lucky in this EP to have our friend Anna Slade be the female singer. It was her 1st time recording vocals and mine as well I suppose! We didn’t really know what we would come up with or how it wold turn out, but I think we really helped each other evolve as vocalists over the months we worked and played together.
5. On that subject, is there ever any competition between you for particular songs?
Not really. It really comes down to what’s best for the song. Honestly I’ve been able to have my way vocally in the group… Even to the point that I think the rest of the group has more confidence in my voice and ideas than me.. This project has played a key role in the process of me finding my artistic voice. I think it’s interesting that people get to actually experience that evolution with me through Dust.
6. You guys are almost like an indie ‘super-group’!! Was it a very organic thing coming together as a new band or has it taken a while to resolve any musical differences there might have been?
Coming together was completely organic. In the beginning, our goal wasn’t to start a band or record an album like most groups. We were just a group of musicians getting together and using the time to navigate our ways past whatever mire we were each going through at the time. Eventually, we ended up liking the music so much that we felt a sense of duty to record and release it. That is how Dust officially began.
7. Be honest: Are the instrumental ones you have in your Youtube channel be appearing in an upcoming release?
Ha, yes, there are a few of those that will end up on releases. The song ‘Beckon Call’, which is on one of the videos, will be released on the next EP! I’ve been working a bit on the song in Diary Series #2 as well. I love the poem on that one as well!
8. Who are your favourite new artists/releases this year?
Gayngs/ Little Dragon (obsessed with the song ‘Twice’)/ Villagers – Becoming a Jackal/ Northern Cree and Friends – Calling all Dancers/ Perfume Genius/ Most of that is from last year… I also just get whatever Jeff D is listening to and that usually works out well for me!
9. Here at Sloucher we think that American Reclamation is beautiful, but do you think it could be described as downbeat? Or is it more about introspection?
Well the songs on this ep are essentially a contemplation on the tension between struggle and hope. There is obviously a strong element of introspection involved, but there is also this feeling of being in awe of how beautiful life can be… Even in hard times. perhaps even, especially in difficult times. The persistence of beauty; The way it can thrive even in as arid a climate as humanity, is one of the most prominent themes on the EP.
10. There is a lot of musical depth in American Reclamation; do you think this has something to do with the fact that you took an extended amount of time to record it?
I do think there was an sentiment we collectively had during the recording of American Reclamation that allowed us the freedom to take as much time as we needed to find “our sound” via these 5 songs, and to let them mature into 1 solid voice… And I think that voice has depth in a few different ways. We did a lot of the recording at home, which really gave us the freedom to work for certain sounds for days (which we did!). Each tone has it’s own depth. In terms of the song arrangements, I think we always envisioned these songs as being very lush aesthetically. I don’t know if I’ve ever had 1 thought existing in my head autonomously. I think 100 thoughts at the same time… Lush thinking if you will. I always believed that if I was able to write my own songs, I wanted them to be an accurate representation of how I see the world and how I function in my daily life, if that makes sense.
11. Describe your live shows for the deprived fans in the UK and Mexico (that’d be all of us at the site!) who have yet to experience them (!).
Hmmm, well, we are a group made up of mostly drummers, so there are a lot of drums! We like the live shows to be celebratory, with a bit of introspection thrown in there… After all, we are Dust on the Breakers! It can’t be all beers and cheers. We gotta throw a little “shouldn’t you call your mother and tell her you miss her?” kind of feeling in with the “let’s party!” stuff!
12. What’s next for Dust on the Breakers?
We are recording 4 EP’s, American Reclamation being the 1st. We are finishing up with the 2nd now and starting in on the 3rd. After that it’s an album and touring!
Thank you very much, dear people!
Words: Sam J. Valdés López (additional questions by Tonan)