Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Dinosaur Bones

Dinosaur Bones
Photo by Jeremy Jansen

Toronto’s Dinosaur Bones are releasing their sophomore album Shaky Dream on August 6th. The first single off the record, Spins In Circles, is beautifully ethereal and holds warm vocals and dazed, ringing guitars.  AMBY had the opportunity of speaking with Dinosaur Bones’ vocalist and songwriter Ben Fox, so have a read as we talk about getting their ducks in a row, hailing from Toronto, and having fun.

AMBY: Hi Dinosaur Bones, what’s the band been up to?

Dinosaur Bones: Hey AMBY.  This is Ben. Since getting home from recording our latest album, we’ve spent a lot of time stuffed in our jam space wrestling the songs into form, figuring out what the fuck we did in that whirlwind blur of an album session.  More recently, we’ve been playing some festivals, a few shows here and there, and really just getting our ducks in a row for the release of this record and the fall ahead.

AMBY: If you had to describe each member in one word, what words would you choose?

Dinosaur Bones: Dave – “Thinker”, Branko – “Talker”, Josh – “Joker”, Lucas – “Smoker”

AMBY: Your latest album Shaky Dream is coming out August 6th. What was the best moment you had while recording it?

Dinosaur Bones: We recorded this album in Dallas, Texas.  Over American Thanksgiving, we took a trip out to Big Bend national park on the western edge of Texas to spend some time in the desert.  I remember dangling my feet off the edge of a cliff overlooking the Rio Grande river which acts as the border with Mexico. There were guys laying out in the shade on the far bank with horses tied to trees.  One of the guys saw us and road his horse across the river and up the cliff to come say hi.  It was a pretty surreal experience.

AMBY: What influenced the album name?

Dinosaur Bones: We wanted a title that reflected where our heads were at in the time surrounding the making of this album – on a personal level, not as a band necessarily, but as people.  It came about from us sorta taking our temperature as we were going into the studio, and even more so when we got back home.  As people getting to make music that we believe in alongside our best friends, and embarking on this new chapter with a new body of work and a new set of collective and personal challenges ahead, we were feeling grateful, impatient, optimistic, terrified.  All of the above.  Shaky Dream is the vessel we’ve stuffed all these hopes and anxieties into.  It’s a little sketchy, and it could burst at any minute, but I think it’ll hold.

AMBY: What are your favourite songs off the record?

Dinosaur Bones: It’s always changing, which is a good thing, I think.  I’m really happy with how songs like “Spins In Circles” and “Pacifist In Camouflage” turned out on the record.  Although, if we’re talking about a live setting, “Nothing Left Between The Lines” is definitely a favourite.  It’s one of those songs where when it’s over I feel like I just got something off my chest.

AMBY: The new single off the album is amazing! What’s the story behind Spins In Circles?

Dinosaur Bones: The song came from catching myself in a sort of cynical, negative place, and being strangely content with it.  Embracing it, even.  It’s about feeling nihilistic, but finding optimism and liberation in that “fuck-it-all” spririt.  So the song wound up with this sour sentiment being delivered in this sunny, playful package.

AMBY: Does hailing from Toronto have an influence on your sound? And if so, how?

Dinosaur Bones: To be honest, I don’t think so.  Toronto is a great city for music, and we’re constantly inspired by bands in the city doing great things.  It pushes us forward and motivates us.  But truthfully, I don’t think it has as effect on the music we make or how we make it.  Does Toronto have a sound? I personally don’t think so.  But it’s definitely got a lot of talented and motivated bands across all genres making great music.  We’re certainly inspired by that.

AMBY: What’s the best part of being in Dinosaur Bones?

Dinosaur Bones: We know how to have fun.  I can tell you from experience that a lot of bands are a drag to be around.  We’re not one of those bands.  We really know how to make the most of things.  We truly appreciate how amazing it is to get to do the things we get to do, and we do our best to soak it up and make it count.

AMBY: What would a movie based on the band be called?

Dinosaur Bones: “Is This My Beer?”  Or, alternately: “That’s Totally My Beer”

AMBY: What’s your favourite release of the year so far?

Dinosaur Bones: At the moment, I’d have to say the new Kurt Vile record, in all its weirdo-folk-poet glory.  I just got it recently, so I’m probably still in the honeymoon phase, but I can’t get enough of it.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Dinosaur Bones that nobody knows yet?

Dinosaur Bones: If I told you then people would know.  Nice try.

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Thank you Dinosaur Bones, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout

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