La Dispute

Few bands do it like La Dispute. The way they craft their music is captivating, using tasteful musicianship and vocalist Jordan Dreyer’s screams, whispers and wit to create a music tour de force. In an e-mail interview, Review Rinse Repeat talked to Dreyer about their recent split with No Sleep Records labelmates and friends Touché Amoré as well as some future plans. Here is what went down:

 

 

[email protected]: Let’s start with introductions. Could you quickly introduce yourself and your position in the band?

Jordan Dreyer: My name is Jordan and I read/shout things I’ve written into a microphone.

[email protected]: With the formalities out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. You just released the split Searching For A Pulse/The Worth Of The World with Touché Amoré. How did this collaboration come to fruition?

Jordan Dreyer: The initial spark was pretty simple: we (as in ourselves and Touché Amoré) are good friends who have a considerable amount of mutual respect for each other’s art, and a whole lot of common ground as friends as well. We talked about it, it made sense, and we started the motions necessary to make it happen. That is, we discussed what we both wanted from the release, formulated a plan of attack, started writing, contacted Chris [Hansen] at No Sleep, finished writing, scheduled recording time, recorded, got the artwork in order, sent it to the presses, and there you have it. A record. And one that both bands are pretty proud of, I think.

[email protected]: How did the writing and recording process work for this split?

Jordan Dreyer: For us, it was a bit of an experiment—which we’ve been working towards during writing as of late—in that we shook up the writing process a little. We’d be thinking about how the approach to songwriting affects the outcome for quite some time, and this split—and another yet to be released that we worked on just about simultaneously—we’re really the first writing experiences for us in which that thought was installed in the process. First off, we tried to focus some on the common ground we share musically with Touché Amoré, which gave the split a uniformity it would’ve otherwise lacked musically while forcing us to dwell on an aspect of our songwriting that normally gets only so much time. Second off, we tried to take a very organic and raw approach to the songs. That is, letting the natural movement show, and zeroing in on the feeling it creates—on how a part affects your mood—rather than calculating and critiquing and editing to create a feeling. Additionally, Jeremy from Touché and I worked, to an extent, on giving the lyrics some thematic consistency, while also writing with each others talents and tendencies in mind.

As for recording, most of the aforementioned applies. While we love the way Somewhere [At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair]sounds on record, we really wanted to produce something in studio that better captured the honesty and rawness of a live show. It’s so easy to make something sound good these days, but capturing the spirit of a performance, of a show, is something else—and that’s really what this whole community centers around. So, in recording these songs, we tried to set up everything in a way that captured the raw, organic emotion of a live show, instead of just trying to make a pleasing studio record.

[email protected]: What is the significance of title The Worth Of The World?

Jordan Dreyer: The titles were derived from lyrics in each of our songs that commented on similar themes. For me, the songs are our side of the split discussed and examined the struggle present in being a twenty-something kid with no ultimate grasp on purpose and the like. Or, more specifically, presented a shifting perspective on that struggle post-losing something that felt ultimate, that felt final. Hence the line, “the worth of the world has frozen.” Really, I think both of the songs on our side circle that line, with the end conclusion being that looking to thaw what once felt definite and life-spanning is the wrong approach, because it implies that it shouldn’t have frozen in the first place. Things happen because that’s the way things go, and not because something is working against us. On the other hand, what do I know? Most of our songs end with that question, both on this split and on Somewhere.

[email protected]: What fueled the conceptual aspect of your tracks?

Jordan Dreyer: Waking up in the morning in April and finding a layer of ice on the windshield of the beaten-down old car you have to drive to work.

[email protected]: Did you write the lyrics for your cameos in Searching For A Pulse?

Jordan Dreyer: No, I didn’t. Jeremy wrote them with my style and such in mind, and I did the same for the parts he performed on “How I Feel.”

[email protected]: You have received quite the reputation for your lyrics. How did you come to perfect your writing style?

Jordan Dreyer: I haven’t perfected my writing style, nor will I ever. Any skill or hobby or talent or whatever is a constant work in progress and won’t ever stop evolving. I love to write, always have, but for the most part I’ve neglected it. The only thing that makes something improve is diligent practice and unceasing humility. I don’t practice enough, but I’m humbled by the myriad of artists I admire who are leagues better at pinning words to paper than I ever will be. I like to read what they do, and try to learn from it. And to always observe the things going on around me. Half of writing is finding something worthwhile to write about, and that’s pretty easy so long as you stay attentive. 

[email protected]: The artwork for Searching For A Pulse/The Worth Of The World was hand drawn by La Dispute’s own Adam Vass and Touché Amoré’s Nick Steinhardt. What was the inspiration for the artwork?

Jordan Dreyer: Collaboration, primarily. We wanted this entire project to be cooperative--from the music, to the lyrics, to the artwork--so they had it in mind from the beginning to work together. Conceptually, the artwork follows the lyrical theme in a broad manner, with images alluding to the similarities and differences present in both bands. For instance, location.

[email protected]: Is art something Adam would consider as a side-project in the future? Could he make the artwork for future La Dispute releases?

Jordan Dreyer: Vass definitely already focuses a lot on his art, doing shirt and album designs for bands, and painting constantly. It’s fun to watch. As for future releases, he is working on the jacket for our other split, and will be doing the bulk of the artwork on our upcoming full-length, for which he already has a lot of big and really, really cool ideas that aide and add to the things I‘ve been working on lyrically. I’m excited.

[email protected]: Your last full-length release was Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair in 2008. Can we expect a follow up anytime soon?

Jordan Dreyer: We’re starting work on it now, but there’s no set time-table at this point. Everything is very preliminary. We’ll keep everyone posted as it progresses.

[email protected]: People consider La Dispute to be a part of post-hardcore’s newest wave. What are your thoughts on the state of the genre? Is it frustrating to see post-hardcore associated with bands that use breakdowns, auto-tune and screams to cash in?

Jordan Dreyer: We don’t really differentiate between post-hardcore and hardcore or punk. The intention is infinitely more important than the outcome, and it’s frustrating to see so many borders built. It just encourages exclusion. We never set down to write songs as a post-hardcore band, we just wanted to make music, and this is what came out. For the most part, I think, people feel the same way too. We’re certainly not a typical sounding “hardcore” band, but people who focus on that area of alternative music have been very open to the music we make. I think, because they sense that we exist because of the principles that have made punk and hardcore such a powerful part of culture. As for breakdowns and auto-tune and what-not, it’s not really on our radar. Life would be miserable if everyone focused only the things that bother them instead of all the immensely inspiring things happening right alongside all that. And people can call things what they want, titles don’t matter. Who cares what screamo is, or what emo or post-hardcore is. Complaining about titles is just elitist posturing. Like what you like because it appeals to you, not because of what it’s called.

[email protected]: What are you plans for the rest of summer and this fall? Any solid touring plans?

Jordan Dreyer: Playing some Michigan shows here and there, and hitting the road pretty hard in the mid to late fall, and on into the winter. First up, the West Coast with Envy and Touche Amore in October, then we’ve got a couple things up in the air for November. Maybe Canada? We’ll see. Then, Australia in the winter. Stoked.

[email protected]: Is there something in the near future fans can look forward to?

Jordan Dreyer: Another split, as mentioned. Lots of love, always. And the promise that a full length is in the works, so keep your ears open.

[email protected]: By the end of 2010, what are some goals you would like to see the band accomplish?

Jordan Dreyer: Have more fun, make more friends, see new places, write some songs. That’s about it.

[email protected]: I’m out of questions! Thank you so much for doing this interview. We at Review Rinse Repeat appreciate it! Is there anything else you would like to add?

Jordan Dreyer: Only thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

If you haven’t already, envelop yourself in La Dispute’s goodness. You can check out our review for Searching For A Pulse/The Worth Of The World here and be sure to listen to Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair as well.

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