Dry the River are one of those bands where once a track of theirs comes on my player, I can’t skip it. They take you into a world of tranquility which you will not want to leave once your get a glimpse of their heart-warming music. Their guitarist Matthew Taylor took the time to have a chat with me over the phone about Shallow Bed, live experiences, dinner and plenty more!
AMBY: Well I’d like to start off by saying Shallow Bed is a spectacular debut album. What have been some of the highlights since its release earlier this year?
MT: The highlights have been we’ve been able to tour the US which has been really cool. We’re obviously just starting one now but earlier in the year we were able to tour with the Bowerbids and that was a lot of fun, they’re friends of ours and it was a great trip there. Since the record we’ve been able to play a lot of festivals over the summer and that’s been really, really fun and we’ve seen the crowds drive over the past couple of years since we have that record come out, it’s made the difference. We’ve seen a lot more people coming out to see us, it’s been great.
AMBY: That’s fantastic to hear! Now, which three songs would you say are quintessential to hear of off Shallow Bed?
MT: What about for people who have never heard the band before, maybe?
AMBY: Yeah, go for it!
MT: I would say New Ceremony, people told me the other day that that’s the song that people have much listened to and found the album over the internet somehow and so I’d definitely say that one. And Shaker Hymns for me is quite an important song for the band because that is the oldest song of Dry the River’s; it’s the first song of Peter’s that I actually ever heard. And that’s what made me kind of want to write music with him, so I’d love people to hear that one. And No Rest as well is quite an important song for the band, that’s one of the first songs we ever had and that’s always been the start, that song so that’s kind of important too.
AMBY: That song’s great!
MT: Thank you.
AMBY: No problem! And that brings me to the next question about the single first single, Weights and Measures. It displays a lot of great vocal harmonies, so how did you structure the arrangements on the song?
MT: It’s quite tricky- Because you said there’s quite a lot going on and we’ve got three vocals, we’ve got a violin and a couple of guitars, and there’s a lot of things battling each other. That’s kind of one of the reasons we chose Pete to take it to, to record the album because he’s very good at putting things in their place and making things work well while everything is happening, if that makes sense. It’s really quite an electric song so we wanted to embellish all of the parts, it’s quite a simple song, it’s really three or four chords, and all of the melody lines are simple.
AMBY: Yeah, it’s incredibly tranquil.
MT: Well at the time we sort of thought that gave us license to put lots of stuff on! So there’s a lot of instruments going on, there’s pianos and all kind of key instruments and strings. It was kind of difficult to make it all work together but I think we owe a lot to Pete as a producer. In that respect, he kind of makes it work.
AMBY: Alright, and I noticed you recorded your album in Bridgeport, Connecticut in the states, opposed to recording back in England. Why did the group decide that?
MT: It was completely down to the producer rather than the place, we really wanted to work with Peter because we really liked the records he’d done previously with The National, Interpol, and things like that so we like the sound that he’s got. And fortunately enough for us he wanted to and was willing to work with us so that meant coming out here and the guys in the band love America much more than England so, it was a no-brainer for us.
AMBY: Definitely, and it’s probably a nice, new experience too.
MT: Yeah, absolutely! I mean there’s not a lot going on in Bridgeport, Connecticut. But being so close to New York, that meant that on the weekends when we weren’t working we could go into New York and play a show there. It was just a really fun time.
AMBY: And you’re about to embark on your North American tour! So tell me one of Dry the River’s craziest tour stories.
MT: Craziest tour stories… That’s a difficult question; I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say.
AMBY: Whatever’s on your mind!
MT: Oh really? One thing that’s on my mind is recently at a festival we kind of made an unlikely friend, Brent from Mastodon.
AMBY: No, really?!
MT: Yeah, honestly. We were playing the same stage as them, and we really, really like Mastodon, we’re also massive fans of them. And their guitarist kind of had the hots for my girlfriend! So he was hanging around with us, kind of making friends with us, and he went absolutely crazy. He ended up invading the stage at the drive in, and Scott was there as well. Their drummer was to do an interview in their dressing room and Scott and Brent were faced with a load of free beer that somebody had given us. They were in the dressing room and they smashed it up, they had tore a radiator off the wall and Brent was doing bad things with a fan, and it was, yeah!
AMBY: That sounds like quite the interesting experience!