A Strange Encounter With The Dead Winter Carpenters
So you have your first self-titled album, it’s streaming on your website, and to me it’s extremely unique, it’s ragtime bluegrass, and the ballads are soft and well structured. How did this album come to be?
Dave Lockhart: That album was lucky to be, made we had a bunch of songs, we were disorganized and didn’t know what we were getting into. We got into the studio with dozens of songs, some half-finished, some new, some that we had played and we lucky enough that after three days we came out with something that we could put in the hands of the patrons that came out to our shows.
Jenni Charles: Yeah, it gave us music, tangible music to show our fans at shows. We needed this, as we continued to tour more and more we needed to have something like this, so the album was more than just putting our music on disc, it was creating something physical we could carry with us.
Lately the DWC have broke records selling out shows at the Crystal Bay Club in North Tahoe, you’ve played High Sierra Music Festival and Railroad Earth’s Hangtown Halloween Ball. You’re about to go open for YMSB in South Lake Tahoe and The Stringdusters in Santa Cruz and San Francisco. How did you get to this point?
Jenni Charles: Touring. We have formed a bond that is really, really special. It ‘s been real natural and to me it felt like it was meant to be. What has happened since is sometimes overwhelming but our success is something we live each day, we are humbled by it and so very grateful for each and every opportunity we get. I guess our touring is what has put us on the map. That and playing festivals. But we are relentless with being on the road. And while there is a lot you give up personally when you tour non-stop, you gain much more as a band. We live together for three quarters of the year.
So touring…how many shows a year, a hundred, more?
Jenni Charles: (thumbs upward)
A hundred and Fifty shows a year?
Jenni Charles: (thumbs upward even more)
Really how many then?
Jenni Charles: 175 to 200 sometimes more. We are on constant tour. It’s the only way we can make it as a band, and it’s what we love. We come from all over: Penn, Louisiana. Vermont and Lake Tahoe and have all met together and have the same goal. Our life is on the road, and yeah, there’s a lot that you trade in for that but it’s what we all love and we will continue to do it as long as we can.
What’s it like playing a genre that usually doesn’t have a drummer?
Jesse Dunn: Ryan is a HUGE part of our band and our sound. I can’t see our band without him, and he’s taken us to a new level, plus it allows us to stand out in a group of bands that usually don’t have drummers, right Ryan.
Ryan Davis: Yeah, I love playing in this band, and adding what I can and I love my fit.
Jenni Charles: You’d be surprised, we’ve had offers to ditch the drummer and not cause Ryan is bad, but because he doesn’t fit a mold, the idea of what bluegrass or Americana should sound like, and the offers blow our minds, and we’ve never questioned going forth without him, our sound is what it is today because of his playing. And he’s our rock star. He brings a totally different feel to our shows, a feel I couldn’t imagine without him.
You have found a big following quickly, now getting known for your unique style of music, and also your covers. I listened to some of your shows where you covered Neil Young and Bob Dylan, are there any Phish or Grateful Dead songs that you play?
Sean Duerr: I was and am totally into the Grateful Dead and Phish. I have been listening to them for years and yes we cover their songs….once in a while.
Jenni Charles: Usually we soundcheck with “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad.” It gives us all a chance to dial in and each check our instruments, our sound and our vocals. We have a list of Phish and Grateful Dead tunes we like to play, though we don’t cover them that often. We cover a lot of bands that have influenced us, or continue to influence us and then we put our own twist on them.
The new album, how was made and how is it different from your debut album?
Sean Duerr: The new album is a complete departure from our first. As we talked about earlier, our first album was a rushed project to get some material recorded. For this album we took a completely different approach. Through Kickstarter we raised the money we needed to record it, and because we had a lot shows behind us and years together it was a very focused yet relaxed recording session. We knew which songs we wanted on the album, we had played them before and had the luxury of time and money to actually put together an album we are really proud of. We had a good friend who has a place in Cotati, CA called Prairie Sun Recording Studio, Matt Wright, he worked as the sound engineer on the album.
Did he produce it?
Sean Duerr: Matt worked mainly as the engineer. He did an amazing job, we had about two weeks so we could take our time on it, but yeah he helped produce it. We produced it as well. It was Matt working mainly as an engineer that helped so much.
Dave Lockhart: Yeah it was a totally different experience. It was relaxed and what we got was quality. The final product is exactly what we wanted out of the sessions.