New York four-piece Dirty On Purpose actually originate from the distinctly un-rock'n'roll backwaters of Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts and Virginia. Formed in 2002, their sound collages evoke memories of My Bloody Valentine-curated dreamscapes, Guided By Voices' intrepid tales, and occasionally Motorhead-style riff explosions.
Consisting of Doug Marvin (drums/vocals), George Wilson (guitar/vocals), Joe Jurewicz (guitar/vocals) and DJ Boudreau (bass), Dirty On Purpose have just put out their debut long-player Hallelujah Sirens on the North Street Records imprint in the States. Now, having attained a high level of interest in Europe, Dirty On Purpose are looking to get themselves noticed on our shores, and will be playing their first UK shows in February 2007.
DiS spoke to singing drummer Doug Marvin about the exciting times that lay ahead for him and his band...
How long has the current line-up been together?
It was four years in September.
You're all from different parts of the US: how did you all meet up?
Our story is pretty common to most other Williamsburg bands. We all moved to New York for the same reason people have always moved to New York: if you're a creative, artistically-inclined kid growing up in a provincial town or suburb, New York seems like the most open-minded, interesting place on Earth. And it is! Williamsburg is the neighbourhood to live in if your main interests are drinking and playing in a band. We all met in bars.
What would you say are your main influences both musically and lyrically?
When DJ invited me to join, he said the sound was "like Bedhead, but more country." That's probably the least apt description of our sound anyone could come up with, but that's what happens when four guys who don't really know what they're doing start making music together. Mogwai is an influence. So is My Bloody Valentine. Unrest. Modest Mouse. The Vaselines. David Cross.
So how would you describe your sound?
Someone at a show we played last week enthusiastically proclaimed that we sound like "the best of 1992!" I thought that was a fantastic description.
Would you say the US underground scene is at its most vibrant for a while now, with people like Tapes 'n Tapes, Cold War Kids and yourselves starting to get serious recognition?
I think it's a lot more viable to be in an indie band than it was in the '80s or '90s. I used to go see all my favorite bands play in DC when I was in high school and thought it was so great that I could see Jawbox and Velocity Girl and Versus play in tiny rooms to the 100 people that cared about indie rock in the city. We're all living hand to mouth in this band, but I get the feeling that this was even less of a sustainable career in previous decades. We're on a tiny start-up record label, but we've been pretty lucky in terms of drawing crowds and getting attention from the press. So yeah, we're counting our blessings.
Your album came out in the US in July. Are there any plans to release it in the UK?
We'd like to release it in the UK. We think you'd like us!
Do you have a UK recording/licensing deal?
You're playing three London shows early next year. Are there any plans to tour the UK further, or even play any of the summer festivals?
Yeah, there's been some talk of us playing a few more gigs with Peter, Bjorn and John in April, and of us hitting the festival scene over the summer.
What do you think of the internet in terms of promoting new bands,particularly sites such as MySpace and this one?
The internet is great in terms of getting the word out quickly around the world. On any given day, we have people sending us MySpace messages from Brazil, France or the Phillipines. Who knows if we'll ever have a record in stores in those countries? But anyone with a computer can hear us. On the other hand, music coverage on the web can be way too faddish. All the sites and blogs get behind a band one minute, and turn on them a minute later. With albums leaking to the file-sharing sites, you have great records coming out that are old news by the time they hit the shelves.
Do you prefer working in the studio or playing live?
When we're in the studio, I wake up each morning with a skip in my step. Every second in the studio is a chance to think creatively, to try new approaches, to add something new to the songs. I find the whole process fulfilling in a way the road never is. Touring life is pretty monotonous. You spend half the day driving and the other half hanging out in a grimy rock club.
What are the main inspirations/topics for your songs?
I think songs are a lot more interesting when you don't know what they're really about.
Are there any of your songs which you're particularly pleased with or stand out for you?
'Fake Lakes'. It's one that we wrote while we were in the studio. We recorded it last, very late at night, drunk and stoned, on the first take. It's simple and sad and pretty and I'm proud of us for pulling it off.
Did you have any preconceptions about getting involved in the music business?
My wife Annie is in a band as well (Au Revoir Simone) and we both recently quit our day jobs and began identifying ourselves as 'musicians' rather than 'administrative assistants.' We've both always wanted to be doing this with our lives and it's exciting to actually take that leap. But it's also quite scary to leave behind health insurance and a steady paycheck. We're not 20-years-old (which is probably when we should have been doing this); we want to have kids and buy a house and actually spend some time together, but it seems we're in the wrong business for such quaint domestic ideals.
Finally, what are your ambitions as a band for 2007?
To record our next album, to tour overseas, and to play Coachella. It would be nice to make some money this year!
Dirty On Purpose play the following UK dates in February 2007:
6 London Dublin Castle (Club Fandango)
7 London Borderline
10 London Notting Hill Arts Club (RoTa)
For more information on Dirty On Purpose click HERE.