[INTERVIEW] The Dig

If rock ‘n’ roll took a day off and spent it eating ice cream and frolicking through fields of marshmallows, you would get The Dig. Not to take away from the bad-assery that is their music, The Dig’s trance-like tunes take you to an ethereal state of synthesizer sounds and captivating lyrics.

Since childhood, band members Emile Mosseri (vocals/bass) and David Baldwin(guitar/vocals) have been playing music together, and with the addition of Erick Eiser(keyboard/guitar) and Mark Demiglio(drums), the band has been able to consistently challenge their musical space and evolve their sound. The Dig released their debut album Electric Toys in 2010, followed by Midnight Flowers two years later. The band then took a left turn when they elevated their sound from indie rock to dream pop with the release of two EP’s in 2013 – Tired Heartsand You & I.

The New York natives, more or less, headed out on a fall tour around the country to support the EP’s. After returning home to Brooklyn last week, Emile sat down with Joonbug.com to speak over the phone about the tour, their new sound, and musical lovechild’s.You can catch one last performance by The Dig before they head into the New Year to work on their next full-length album at the Pancakes & Whiskey Holiday Party on December 19th at Rough Trade.

Photo Credit: Nadine Suleiman

Photo Credit: Nadine Suleiman

You guys just came off a three-month tour around the country. Are you taking a little two-week break  before your last show?

Well we were on the road for most of the fall, and then we just have a couple more shows. We played last night in DC, and we play next week here in New York.

So you’re back in town now?

Yeah we got back in town this morning. It’s always better when we play DC because driving in the middle of the night is quicker, there’s no traffic.

Any plans while you’re home?

Well we’ve all been writing the record and trying to get our heads in that head space, and just focus on writing. We have some videos too that we’ve been working on that are coming out soon that we’re really excited about.

Any videos from the EP?

Yeah we have two – one of them is more of a short film that’s coming out soon, and the other is more like a music video that we wrote, and really excited about getting it out there. So we’ve been focusing on that and our new music, just getting into our more creative work.

Can you tell us a little more about the short film?

It’s just a music video/short film from a filmmaker that we met that we’re really into. It should be coming out soon.

So that seems completely different than the video you recently released for “Over You Again,” which seemed spur of the moment.

Yeah, this one is a lot different than that, and just on the other end of the spectrum. That one was really something we did with Charlie Gibson, who’s a filmmaker in LA, just jumped in the van with us for a week. We played in Vegas and then we had a day off, and he had heard about this park called the Valley of Fire, which is this state park, which looks like you’re on Mars or something, its pretty wild. So he took us out there, and we just got some fireworks and kind of goofed off. It was fun, it’s rare that you have a day off.

You had a day off and you still managed to work.

It didn’t feel like work though, it was a lot of fun.

Speaking of the tour, you guys do really well on the social media front for your fans – specifically your vine videos which are really funny to watch.

Yeah, that’s Erick, he’s in charge of our Vine. I haven’t seen any recent ones, because I don’t have it on my phone, but I know that he always posts funny stuff.

You also have some really great Instagram shots from being on the road – what was your favorite state to drive through?

That’s a tough one, there’s so many. I would say Utah, Arizona, out West. It’s a whole different thing out there, whenever we’re out there we just have the most fun. The grass is always greener, you know.

To talk about the two EP’s you guys released this year, they both seem to have a similar theme of doubt and defeat within relationships – would you say that’s true?

We didn’t really set it up to have any specific theme. You do notice that the tone of it, in “You & I” especially, that even the song titles, that we were in a basement in winter just writing, writing, writing. I think all the songs came from a similar place. And that’s lyrically, but in their tone and their mood too. So if anything, that’s led it’s way to the music rather than writing about one specific theme. But we all write lyrics, so story wise it’s not all coming from the same person, it’s more of a collaborative thing.

So “You & I” ends with the song “So Alone,” while the songs in “Midnight Flowers” and “Tired Hearts” follow the life cycle of a relationship – does that allude to the full circle that happens with starting out and ending up alone, or are we over thinking it?

No, no, no, not at all.  We put some thought into the sequence, and it’s sort of a conclusive feeling to the last song, which seems that it tells the best story. We don’t know until were making it how it’s all going to fall into place, so we didn’t set out to do that, it sort of makes sense that we work through it.

The sound of the two EP’s also sound a bit different from “Midnight Flowers,” with some sound experimentation and the use of synthesizers – did that happen naturally, or were you aiming for a new sound?

I think we’re always trying to find new sounds and try to get out of our comfort zone. It’s the best thing to do because certain things sound good to us, and that’s part of your style and your consistency, so we try to stretch that and still sound like you. We also recorded in a different way. We recorded “Tired Hearts” with Bryce Goggin, who’s amazing and the producer who we also recorded “Midnight Flowers” with before that.  And then “You & I” we recorded in a house in Connecticut, in a studio called Tarquin Studios. It’s owned by this guy Peter Katis who is just so amazing, and it was just a totally different experience. So I think where we made it, the sound is just going to come through and be reflected through the songs.

So was it always the plan to release two EP’s within months of one another, or did it just happen that way?

Yeah, that was the plan. We decided for that year that we were going to write, record, release and then do a headlining tour supporting the EP, and then do it again with a second EP. It’s get to be a habit the time it takes from the conception of a song to bringing it out to the world, so it’s something that we wanted to try to do. And what’s interesting is that it was a lot of work, but I’m glad we did it, and now we can spend our time on releasing a full-length record.

So after this show at Rough Trade, you’re going to work exclusively on this new album?

Yeah, well we’re recording demos and mostly writing now, and then we’re going to record in the new year.

In Brooklyn?

We’re not sure actually. We have some different things we’re looking into, but we’re not sure.

Can we expect a similar sound to the two EPs on the upcoming new album?

I think we’re going to move on. I’m sure it’ll still sound like us, because it’s us, but I think stylistically we’re going to try and expand, try and find it.

It’s good to know that you’ll still sound like you. Because it’s you, without describing yourselves and where you’re going as a band using comparisons to other bands, or a lovechild between two sounds.

It’s a tricky thing, and it’s a hard question to answer for people who’ve never heard you before. You know, people ask, “So what do you sound like?”, and it’s hard to answer that ­without the baby thing. It’s easier for people to digest something for something they’ve never heard before. It’s hard describing yourself that way, using other bands, because then you could get locked into it.

Are there any comparisons you guys have heard about yourselves that kind of surprise you?

Oh yeah, always. There’s always ones that surprise us. Like when people tell us we sound like bands we’ve never listened to, or never heard of, and they say “Yeah, you guys sound exactly like them.”

Exactly? I don’t think there’s a band out there that shares the same exact sound, or fills the same space, as you guys.

Everyone has their different associations, so the good thing is that you hear different bands from different people, and not everyone saying you sound like just one band. Because then if you hear that, you’re in trouble.

You’re a potluck of bands.

Yeah, exactly.

So for your last show at Rough Trade, we hear there’s going to be whiskey.

Yeah, it’s not a bad reason to go. It should be a great night.

Should be a great way to end the tour with a bang.

Yeah, it’ll be nice to have one last show.

Do you find that hometown shows are better than the others on tour?

Not necessarily, sometimes. It’s nice to play at home, but the more we’ve done it, we sort of find it in other cities. There’s always something nice about playing in New York. New York, LA, Chicago, and London are all places that have tons and tons of great music all the time. A lot of people in the audience are in bands themselves, or filmmakers themselves, or artists, so its often times not as rowdy as playing in San Antonio, Texas or Fargo, North Dakota. They’re not always filled with great music all the time. It’s just different.

Do you like those rowdier shows?

Yeah, for sure.

What would you say was your favorite this tour?

I would say LA and San Antonio were some of the best shows we played. D.C. was great last night too, we had a great crowd. They were rowdy, and it was a fun one for sure.

We’ll try to make Rough Trade a rowdy one for you guys.

There you go, just cause some problems.