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Dinosaur Pile Up

Posted by jazzles on Mon, 18 Oct 2010.

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Matt Bigland – Guitar, Vocals
Harry Johns - Bass
Mike Sheils – Drums

Jasmin – So, currently on tour, and it’s been described as explosive, what have the audience reactions been like for you and which venues have been the best?

Harry – That would be weird if I was playing a gig and someone actually exploded, the audience reaction would be like “that’s gross!!”, like, “What’s that weird smell?”

Matt – It would be like Scanners (laughing)

Harry – “It’s too much, it’s too much rock! People spontaneously exploding!”

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Matt – That would be rad!

Harry – That would be ace! Death by rock!

Matt – Sorry, what was the question again, that was totally distracting! All I can see now is people blowing up to Traynor!

Harry – How cool would that be for a music video for Traynor!? We would like go to play a gig, and the audience would be like exploding!

James – You see, now that you’ve said that, we would require a commission for that idea should it go in to production.

Mike – Yeah, 50%!

Matt – Anyway! Yeah, it’s rad that people think it’s explosive. You know, when we start the set we really get into it, which is cool. I guess Exeter and Liverpool…

Dinosaur Pile Up

Mike – and Glasgow

Matt – Yeah, Glasgow too, was pretty good.

Harry – I think if the crowd is somewhere between, this is rad, I’m 100% behind it, thank you for playing rock, because that sort of things isn’t around too much, and, the other half is, ok, we read that you’re rad, so impress us. And both of those for us is absolutely fine, but obviously prefer the first one. We’ve had some pretty good write ups, and if I had read about us, before listening to us, I would probably go into the gig with a slight “reserving of judgment”. Because when a band gets quite hyped up, you’re instantly a bit skeptical.

Dinosaur Pile Up

Jasmin – What’s it like reading articles about yourself, do you do that or do you ignore them?

Mike – No, they don’t really do that, but I read them and tell these two! We’ve been compared to some weird bands too. Well there was, no wait…bad story (laughs).

Matt – No, I don’t like to read reviews, because it’s not important to know how some journalists are judging us.

Harry – Yeah, if some of the negative, you don’t really need that. But Mike will read the reviews, Mike is the information technology guy…

Mike – Don’t make me sound too cool!

Harry – And then it gets censored! Like “it was a bad review but we won’t talk about it”.

Matt- Yeah, and it’s not a big deal. We’re not doing it for them. We’re doing it because we love doing it, and if people are into it then that’s rad. We’re not doing it for the people who don’t like it, that’s not really that important.

Mike – I take an interest in it for some reason (laughs)

Matt – Like a morbid curiosity!

Jasmin – In an interview, you mentioned the work of OK Go in their videos, and your video for Mona Lisa was awesome. How much say did you have in that, and how important is it to maintain some control over that process?

Harry – Well Matt basically co-directed it.

Matt – The control over the videos and stuff to us, now, is really important. I feel that how you present yourself in a video is how you want your music to be interpreted. If you go to someone outside of the band who doesn’t think like you, making a random video, then why should you go through all of this, writing the songs, refining them, recording the record, with this random dude saying “ok, we’ll do this for the video”. It’s your music, and the video has to be representative of you, and your music.

Mike – The guy who did the video with Matt, is one of Matt’s best friends since forever, which was good because if there were ideas that weren’t right he would just say “nah, that’s just not you”.

Matt – Yeah, the Mona Lisa video we did with him, so he’s like this weird “video” member of the band. He’s a wicked dude, great director..

Harry – And he knows us really well, so he knows where we’re coming from.

Matt – Yeah. We had to make that video really quick, so I rang Matt with this idea, and he thought it was a great idea. We both went through how we could and would do it, and then we put it through as a band, and it was, yeah, that’s how we’re going to do it. Then we just kind of made it ourselves. It’s very home grown, we made it with no budget, and the materials that we bought…

James – Well it actually looked very good!

Matt – You liked it (smiles), well that’s good! There’s a lot of videos out there that have massive budgets but for all the money, still don’t look very good. I like it when people do it for themselves, and obviously the OK Go videos..

Mike – Yeah, they have a low budget, but they’re great, and a lot of thought went into them. They come across very well.

Matt – Yeah, they’re like the next level. They’re just insane! I just think when it’s your thing, what you’re doing, you should be in control of it.

James – So you wouldn’t for example have Kevin Smith directing one for you!

Harry – Actually that would be pretty ace! I love Kevin Smith!

Jasmin – I was trying to find out where the name Dinosaur Pile-Up actually came from, and I found something on the internet but it wasn’t clear if that was the actual answer!

Matt – Yeah, I watched the remake of King Kong. Which was pretty bad! It was ages ago, before this band, or even the idea of this band ever existed. Anyway, there was this part in it where this stampede of dinosaurs, the front one is shot in the leg or something, and it trips up, and then all these huge dinosaurs trip up, roll down this hill, and it just ends up in this massive pile up, and everything in between them survives. I thought it was ridiculous, and as a joke I said, I have to start a band called Dinosaur Pile-Up. It was funny as an idea, but when I came to actually writing the songs and stuff I didn’t have a name, and I kind of like the fact that it just popped back into my head. It was there, so I just used that. I obviously like it, and people always say it’s a weird name and ask where it came from, but to me it was an offhand comment. I like how it was effortless.

Jasmin - The album, Growing Pains, are there any personal favourites, and what are the stories behind them?

Matt – Hmm, well I don’t really have any obvious favourites, Harry what’s your favourite?

Harry – “Maybe It’s You”. Actually now that I’ve said that, “My Rock ‘n’ Roll”, everytime we play it, it’s just fresh.

Mike – Yeah, I love playing that. It’s my favourite to play. But I really like Traynor as well.

Matt – Yeah, I guess I like Traynor because it’s all out, and because it’s cryptic. I always write fairly obviously, and I don’t like always like that. So I like Traynor because it doesn’t make any sense. But it does for me obviously!

Jasmin – Random question, spotted on your Myspace “Stay on target” as a quote, so Star Wars, are any of the trilogies stand out for you or all good?

Matt – Well, I only like four, five and six.

Mike – Yeah, I totally agree with that.

Harry – I think we’re all traditionalists in that sense!

Matt – Star Wars, life changing!

Jasmin – What so far has been the biggest challenge for Dinosaur Pile-Up?

Matt – Well, making the album was obviously a big challenge, but it’s one that I’ve always wanted to do and that was rad. But one of the biggest challenges was us three getting it all our s*** sorted out and the songs written, and getting on tour and stuff.

Mike – Yeah, working in this format was quite a challenge. This is all I’ve known though.

Matt – Yeah that was a challenge. And like learning all the songs and stuff in a weird way because there was already a record ”done”. So yeah that was a challenge, but it was one of the coolest ones as well.

Harry – Yeah it was fun!

Jasmin – What are your thoughts on the current music scene?

Matt – Well, I think we’re definitely on the outside of what’s cool and what’s going on and stuff.

Mike – To be honest, I don’t really listen to a lot of new music and stuff. I used to, but since we’ve been doing this, just don’t really get time to do that. I don’t know, in fact, I don’t even know what’s at “number 1” at the moment.

Matt – I never really did listen to the popular stuff anyway.

Mike – What have we listened to lately? We listen to a lot of CD’s given to us by other bands of their own stuff.

James – I spotted the Weezer DVD in the Tour Bus.

Matt – Ah, did you spot that in there!?

Mike – Yeah, we watch a lot of DVD’s when we’re on the move.

Matt – Today, we’ve been listening to “The Hives”! They’re ridiculous (good)!

Mike – Their light shows are incredible.

Matt – I like how they’re old school, like punk, but with a rad style, I think they’re really good.

Harry – “Would you like some punk with your rock?” (laughs)

Mike – Oh, we watched that Jools Holland DVD too. And we have to listen to loads of Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots because (points to Wayne, Tour Manager), because whenever he does the monitor mix that’s what he plays.

Jasmin – Who has been a musical influence for you, or indeed, supportive of what you’re doing in general?

Matt – That’s a good question. Yeah, my mother has always been pretty supportive of what I do and stuff, but being a kid who was just obsessed with everything guitar, and maybe isn’t that great academically, it’s pretty sweet of her to be supportive. I’m pretty sure when I was younger she was pretty much freaking, worrying herself to death about what I was going to do. It probably seemed a bit of a nightmare scenario. Idols wise, people like Dave Grohl, because as a singular personality he’s done a lot. I’m not really into the stuff he does now, but I think what he did ages ago was rad. Songwriters in general, people who managed to release album after album each with well written songs like The Beatles, and people who thought differently, who literally threw stuff out the window and did what they wanted, people like Jimi Hendrix. They were just like the next level.

Harry – Yeah, I’ve always been encouraged to just do my own thing really. My parents are like, well, hippies essentially! They’re both musical, mother was a ballerina teacher and my dad was a guitar teacher. It must have been pretty frustrating to watch me go to Uni really and, not go in, and be a general nightmare! I consider myself a punk rock kid at heart really. Just want to go against the grain really. It’s probably a bad thing, but I have a habit of getting into things that others don’t like. I want to challenge stuff all the time. I want to challenge myself like, every day. So I like the Iggy Pops, the Jimi Hendrix’ and that’s kind of reflected in us, we were all into skateboarding, into rebellious activities.

Mike – Musically, a lot of the bands I like are down to the drummers. So I used to be really into bands like Tool, Deftones, Dave Grohl, John Bonham, that kind of thing. Personally, my mum has just kind of let me get on with whatever it is I want to do, and she’s always been there to help if I need it. And my girlfriend too.

Jasmin – Music has been something you’ve always wanted to do?

Mike – Yeah. Ever since I picked up a set of drumsticks five or six years ago, I just thought “this is it”.

Jasmin – Thank you for you time!