:: Do Make Say Think :: Bluebird Theater :: November 8 ::
By Tiffany Childs
Do Make Say Think is a band known for pensively beautiful instrumental songs. That is why it was a surprise to most of their fans when their fifth release, You, You’re a History in Rust, came with vocals on some tracks. The Marquee recently had the chance to catch up with Justin Small (guitar/bass/keyboards) to talk about the switch and the band’s tour in support of the release.
“We didn’t really think it out as a concept,” Small said of the addition of vocals to this album. “It was more like we thought, what could we do differently? What is a challenge to us? And more importantly, we felt all of the songs couldn’t have vocals, they had to be worthy of having vocals.”
Also coming as a surprise was the idea that the band itself didn’t think adding vocals was all that big of a deal. “We were kind of surprised that so many people noticed,” Small mentioned. And he added the band wasn’t even certain there would be vocals from here on out, it may have been a one-time event.
The album was released in February of this year and since then Do Make Say Think has toured almost continuously. With a group so large it can sometimes be tough to do that. “There are 11 of us in a van for days at a time, so if one of us gets sick, we’re all going down,” Justin told us. Sometimes, though, large numbers are a blessing in disguise. Small said, “The hard part is getting us all to do something collectively, like to meet at a certain time. But, if you are upset with somebody you have, like, nine other people to talk to until it blows over, so there isn’t a lot of conflict.”
When touring does get to be too much, the group also has another outlet — creating music for films. Although the members will score films separately, one song of Do Make Say Think called “Chinatown” has been used in several films because of its simplistic beauty. Small mentioned that making music for films is a great avenue to let music out, alluding to the idea that we may see more of it by stating, “It’s what I want to do when I grow up,” he joked.
While “Chinatown” has gone down on celluloid and the band aspires to do more movie work, most of Do Make Say Think’s other tracks aren’t always film suitable. Its dense, melancholy melodies and post-rock distortion might overshadow other elements of the big screen.
With 11 members, the band’s overall influences can be tough to pin down but Small said that it unashamedly draws influences from Talk, Talk to Tortoise. “With this album we used more of The Band or Neil Young, but I don’t think bands should be terrified of their inspirations. You are paying tribute to them and as long as you find your own voice I think it’s okay to rely on your inspiration along the way,” he said.
Describing their music as super serious art rock or avant garde, Small said that when playing any music you have to be both humble and proud. A tricky task no doubt, but he also gave the advice to “hope like hell you’re good at it [making music]and to surround yourself with honest people.” As much as Do Make Say Think has been playing lately, it seems as though they have some very honest people around them indeed.
:: Do Make Say Think ::
:: Bluebird Theater :: November 8 ::
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