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Band Crush: The Dirty Dishes

August 3, 2010

The Dirty Dishes (l-r: Mike Thomas, Alex Molini, Jenny Tuite, Jay Marcovitz) have been busy recording, performing and creating a buzz for themselves since their inception only a little over a year ago. Playing shows big (SXSW, NXNE, Boston’s House of Blues with Passion Pit) and small (basements and lofts), The Dirty Dishes strike a delicate balance between all out psychedelic and easily accessible grungy indie-rock. The band weaves in and out of low-end saturated guitar and bass riffs and super tight, staccato rhythms. All the while Tuite’s vocals fill the high end, juxtaposing the music neatly. The band will play on many amazing Boston bills in the near future, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to see what the fuss is about for yourself.

BBC: You certainly have a modern sound in terms of instrumentation, performance and production. What kind of process do you go through in putting each song together?
DD: It’s kind of different for every song but basically the songs on our first EP usually started with me sitting in my room making up weird riffs and ideas on guitar and then bringing them in to practice with my drummer Kevin Lynch when Dirty Dishes was just a duo. He would come up with really amazing drum parts to accompany my guitar ideas and then I would go home and piece everything together into a more cohesive song and write the melody and lyrics. At the time I was really into having weird crazy riffs and movement in the guitar with simple sustained vocal melodies being the glue instead of the more common vice versa. Now that I kind of got some of that out of my system our approach is a bit different. And with the addition of Alex, Jay and Mike there is room to do way cooler stuff.

BBC: There are sections of each song that have a clear ‘hook,’ and others that the common listener may find difficult to access. What do you want listeners to take away from your music and who do you find is your primary listener?
DD: Some of the songs I write are really weird and some are more accessible. We just play the songs we like. When we recorded we initially just recorded drum tracks for about 8 or 10 songs in a day. We didn’t really stick to any rules… we didn’t use a metronome (probably a bad idea.) We didn’t really plan to make an EP. We just thought we needed some recordings to replace the crappy live ones of us practicing that we had put up on our Myspace. We had big goals for the band but our planning skills in the initial stages were kind of awful.

We weren’t expecting the recordings to sound very good as they were being tracked in Mike’s basement as well as about ten other places (the weirdest place probably being some vocal tracks I did by myself in the back of my car in a parking lot under a blanket in 90 degree weather.) And given Mike’s track record with following through on things we assumed the drum tracks would just be sitting on his computer taking up space forever and that we’d never actually see them.

As Mike started to prove us wrong with his dedication to the project along with when we started mixing the first songs with Keith Freund and realized they actually had potential to sound really good as recordings I decided we needed to do a 5 song EP. So I just picked the drum tracks from the songs I thought would be best and Alex, Jay and I started tracking synth, bass, guitar and vocals for those. So we kind of did it song by song as opposed to as a whole cohesive EP which is why some of the songs are more accessible and have hooks while others are just really weird. I just picked the songs ones I liked best out of the drum tracks we had and went with those.

I’m not really sure our primary listener is mainly because it’s not something that really concerns me. We’ve always kind of felt like we’d rather have fewer fans that are actually really dedicated and into our music than a lot people who can bob their heads to our songs but don’t feel any real connection or attachment to it. But so far we’ve been lucky in that people we didn’t expect to be into our music really like it, which is awesome. We think it’s cool that we somehow appeal to people with different tastes. We are just going to continue to write and play what we like and not pigeonhole ourselves. We were careful not label ourselves before we’d produced any work.

BBC: You have been quickly gaining some great exposure, getting placed on great bills such as SXSW, NXNW, and opening for Passion Pit, and generally getting yourselves out there in many different capacities. What do you attribute the majority of your success in this realm to?
DD: Hard work and little to no patience. I actually have more faith in the direction music is going now… that if you kind of just ignore everyone and write and perform what you think is honest original music and work really hard to make it the best you possibly can people will catch on and try to help you out. The amount of time working on our songs and then working with Keith on that EP was absolutely insane. I thought I was going to lose my mind. We had nothing set up for us and no one knew who we were and I just kept thinking “What the hell am I doing with my life I’m so screwed.” I seriously thought people would think our music was too weird. But I just went with it anyway and we quickly were getting really cool offers. So yeah people have been great to us. I think it’s proof that if you work really hard and have artistic integrity people really do appreciate and want to help you. We also initially took every single show we were offered. We weren’t picky about who we played with or where or when we played which I think helped a lot. I’m also really impatient. People always say be patient but if you sit around waiting nothing is going to happen for you.

BBC: Jenny – you used to play in the now defunt This is How Rumors Get Started. How did the bridge from that project and Dirty Dishes arise and how are you approaching this endeavor differently?
Jenny Tuite: Oh dear. That’s not supposed to be public knowledge. Ha. I joined that band when I first moved to Boston to keep myself busy and involved in music. I was never really into the style of music so it was kind of uncomfortable. But I basically just saw it as an opportunity to develop my lead guitar skills and get used to playing shows, which is something I always get really nervous about. Eventually I just couldn’t play music I didn’t really feel a connection to anymore and I started my own band. But some good things came out of that experience. I met Dirty Dishes’ past and current drummer Kevin & Mike from playing in that band.

THRGS approached things completely differently than Dirty Dishes. They were very into promoting themselves and trying to appeal to a certain target audience. A lot of bands do this and for some it works really well but to me it’s kind of backwards. With Dirty Dishes we focus and work really hard on making (hopefully) good music first, then deal with all the other stuff.

BBC: So you have your EP released, a bunch of great shows in the bag, more stellar shows to come – what’s next?
DD: EVERYTHING. I have a conference call with someone from MTV today because they contacted us saying they are interested in licensing some of our songs for them to use on some shows. I don’t watch TV so in an effort to educate myself I asked a friend what was airing on MTV these days. He was like, “Dude. Your song ‘Stolen Apples’ is totally gonna be synced with some guido pumping iron on Jersey Shore.” So yeah. That’s what’s in store for us.

BBC: What Boston bands are you currently crushing on?
DD: RIBS. Keith Freund who mixed our EP has a band called RIBS that just released their first EP British Brains. It is absolutely amazing. Grass is Green is another band we really dig. They have a really fun live show and a DC influenced sound. Mike plays guitar in a band called SuperVolcano too!

***************

Listen to their song In The Clouds:
http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer.swf/track=2717810248/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/

Then Buy their E.P. here: The Dirty Dishes EP

Memorize the songs, then catch them live with The Shills, Ketman, and Driscoll at Great Scott on August 12:

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