The Northwest continues their hit parade of independence with Walla Walla by Seattle's Dude York hitting us with a first listen to “Hesitate”. You may remember the Dudes from their Escape from Dude York 7″ from the now defunct Sounds of Sweet Nothing, and lately the three piece of Peter Richards, Andrew Hall, and Claire England have been rolling with producer José Diaz for almost a few years now to bring together their Dehumanize full length for Help Yourself Records coming in January 2014.
West Coast home woven songwriting is met with the Pac North's garage geared songs about keeping it real. Big beat and horns make for the back drop of apprehension and confessionals. “I need someone to stick it out with me, to hang out with me, to talk with me”, Richards and Hall lament in the guitar graced wants of a wallflower, “sometimes I feel so depressed, I don't know what to do next”. England keeps the bass line running to underline the song's quest for confidence, “I see you laughing with the other guys, in their coats and ties, I go in insane, I never thought I was the jealous type, to start a fight with you”. “Hesitate” hinges on the how we hold ourselves back while making a move and stand to take risks on our own volition.
Peter Richards and Andrew Hall from Dude York talked to us about their upcoming album Dehumanize, the origins of their name, the core tenets of confidence from their new single “Hesitate”, everything between the I-90's connection of Walla Walla and Seattle, and everything else in between.
Describe for us the road to Walla, Walla to Seattle…how did you go from jamming together to create some big concept pop with horns, attitude and all?
Peter [sings, plays rock guitar]: The primary road between Walla Walla and Seattle is I-90. If you've been on a highway, you can imagine what it looks like. I am best at listening to music in my car, so I drove back and forth as much as possible.
“Hesitate” is a song about taking risks. Our goal is to record the maximum song, to have all cylinders firing. We try to record as many elements as possible, and while that used to translate into eleven tracks of guitar, we've expanded our orchestral vocabulary and are trying to challenge each other. Now it seems all ideas are possible and perhaps worth pursuing. We are done holding back.
Andrew [rock drum, occasional bonus instrumentation but not the horns on this song]: One time I drove an hour off I-90 to see a wheat combine demolition derby, which is also where I saw a grain truck roll over, catch fire, and have its engine replaced in a period of about five minutes.
As far as music goes, this venture started in a closet full of broken amplifiers and wrecked drums in a house that was robbed five times in twelve months. We moved to Seattle because no one actually got off the West Coast as planned. We made some records as fast as we could, then we slowed down.Now we're getting back up to speed.
How did you all come up with the name Dude York? New York music fanaticism? Dude-bro appreciators?
P: It spoke to a nonsense we were all feeling. You have an experience and it almost means something, but then close up it's gibberish. Don't you ever get that kind of nonsense feeling?
A: Peter claimed the name for this band after I used it for a noise band that lasted exactly one week; it just kind of stuck.It mostly makes me think of a city exclusively full of dudes, which with every passing day sounds more and more like the most depressing place on Earth.
So what was the story of hesitation and apprehension behind, “Hesitate”?
P: I love to be happy, but sometimes doubt clouds my whole outlook. I had a realization one night on a weekend getting worked up by overwhelming feelings that the only way to answer a question is to ask it. “Hesitate” is a reminder to be true to yourself, to conquer negativity.
It could also be about the feeling of optimism at the beginning of a relationship, the elation of discovering new love, or a love note to musicians like Jonathan Richman and Jens Lekman, to deep voiced crooners who always sound like they are telling the truth.
The world has been waiting for your album Dehumanize…take us behind the music, dehumanization and all.
P: Dehumanize is our most representative recording to date. It is based on the deleted YouTube video “Dilbert 2” and Black Sabbath's Dehumanizer, their first album with Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals and the first reuniting with Geezer Butler. The bulk of recording hours took place in one of the coldest rooms I have ever been in. We spent a great deal of time discussing the music of Lil B and the phone-work of Longmont Potion Castle. TYBG.
A: This record got started in October of 2012 and wasn't finished until this last November. We made it in a teen activity center in Redmond and a former guitar luthierie in Seattle's University District. During the time in-between we took some weird trips to Oregon and the Midwest, tried to grow gardens in confined spaces, fed cats who paid us back in scars, tried to figure out why the Arcade Fire street team tagged the dock at the beach and every corner of my street, survived punishing headaches, and made this record. One day it was finished. Now we're here.
Challenges in recording your first full-length?
P: Dehumanize took four times longer to finish than any other project we have done. The biggest nightmare was coordinating schedules. Everyone involved was working at seemingly opposite hours. Impatience and excitement go hand in hand.
A: Doing everything in our power to escape the trappings of revivalism given the tools we've chosen to work with. Realizing somewhere along the way I didn't know what we were doing – like at all – and that that was okay. Doing everything in my power to not die at all times, which was easier done than said.
Triumphs in recording your first full-length?
P: Andrew always says, 'there are too many bands, can't waste anyone's time.' This is something I dwell on often. Everything reveals new, more exciting territory.
A: Listening to the test pressings for the first time. Help Yourself promised us studded belts and Red Bull in exchange for signing, and that was definitely triumphant, but to be honest, we haven't received either the studded belts or the Red Bull yet. Maybe this should actually be listed as a 'challenge,' now that I think about it…
Give us the report from the indie Northwest scenes.
A: A lot of people here have made tremendous records in the last year or so. Gone Banana by Mega Bog, Soft Approach by Iji and great music by my friend William who performs under the name Punishment are all worth getting. Heatwarmer consistently blows me away every time I see them. La Luz and Chastity Belt put out great albums that connected with a lot of people and that's been super inspiring, since two years ago it felt like no one here gave a fuck about electric music, and I think labels like Help Yourself and Couple Skate are changing that. FF and So Pitted are great guitar bands with records coming out sometime next year, as is Neighbors, whose singer/principal songwriter/guitar guy/everything-er, José, produced Dehumanize. Sick Sad World and Wishbeard are both also pretty cool.
Even just in Seattle – I can't pretend to know what's up in Olympia, Portland, or Vancouver, though I've seen good bands from all three of those places and I have had more disastrous experiences either in or trying to get to Portland than any other American city – I feel like there are a ton of shows every week and a disproportionate number of them are more worth seeing than they might let on. I don't know how the usual city problems – increasing rents, practice spaces and venues getting demolished to build more condos in 'hip' neighborhoods, etc. – will change this.
Dude York's debut album Dehumanize will be available January 28, 2014 from Help Yourself Records.