DozenQ – Suburban Dirts

This entry is part 11 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Suburban Dirts are a trailer trash folk blues band with hints of Americana from Hertfordshire, UK. The core of the band is made up of John Wheatley (lead vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica), David Austin (drums, backing vocals and ukulele), Chris Varley (bass) and Dave Moyes (lead guitar). Occasionally augmented by Joolz Heath (violin) and Joe Glossop (piano, Hammond organ and Wurlitzer). This summer the band will be appearing at a number of festivals, including The Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire, to promote the upcoming release of their self titled debut album. You can catch them on the first Thursday of every month at the Hertford Corn Exchange.

01 How did you get started in music?

John Wheatley (lead vocals/acoustic guitar): I was a 14 year old Nirvana fan. A friend at school showed me the basic chords to “About a girl” from Nirvana Unplugged and I was hooked.

David Austin (drums): I was introduced to Elvis’ music by my Nan when I was about seven years old – that gave me the melody; I was introduced to Michael Jackson’s music (also by my Nan) when I was about eight years old – that gave me the rhythm. I was equipped from then on.

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02 Where did your direction come from?

John: It came from a desire to create something that we don’t have to make excuses for. I’ve been in many bands before and, though I didn’t know it at the time, I was writing songs that I thought the general public would want to hear. This time I’m only writing songs that I want to hear.

David: I don’t think I have a musical direction – not one that I am conscious of anyway. I like listening to all different kinds of music and playing all different kinds of music. However, I think John makes an interesting point, and I think it can be summarised as ‘being honest’.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

John: At the moment it’s the greats; Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Johnny Cash…. And more recent acts such as Ryan Adams, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes… too many to go into now. I’m not sure if despise is the right word but I’ve got no time for bands like Snow Patrol and Maroon 5. They’ve got about as much integrity as Crazy Frog. They are the Matthew McConaugheys of music.

David: A friend once told me (not John, obviously) that he could find something he likes in every piece of music (even if it’s the smallest detail) by every artist. I think that’s true for me – so far, anyway. I’ve never come across an artist or band (or whatever) that I despised completely. As pretentious as it sounds, my influences and inspirations originate from everything I’ve ever heard; even those individuals who create things you don’t completely agree with are inspirational and influential – they indicate what not to do. I’m not going to write a list.

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?

David: John provides me with a (perhaps unhealthy) dose of Americana music.

John: Yes, most good things are unhealthy.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

John: We try to keep our shows relaxed and intimate. We take inspiration from the Elvis Presley sit down show from the 68 Comeback Special and shows like MTV Unplugged.

06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

John: Usually my songs begin with a phrase or a couple of lines without any clear idea of where it’s going. If you’ve got something to say, the odds are that you’ll say it whether you intend to or not. David is studying philosophy and through him I’ve managed to pick up on a few things. Our album is littered with philosophical ideas and questions, but they are only used to help express the simplest of emotions.

07 How did your music evolve since you first began playing?

David: That’s a hard question to answer; the reason being, you can’t really point to each evolutionary step that the band has made. You come together as separate individuals with separate ideas and, eventually, (somehow) that culminates into a band with one idea. It’s analogous to the process of osmosis.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

John: I suppose the biggest challenge has been to not get sucked in to chasing commercial success. Most people presume that without commercial success you’re a failure, so it’s easy to get carried away. But we intend to continue as we are. Recording an album every year and putting on shows the way we want them. The work is the reward.

David: I don’t think we’ve really been challenged yet. We simply enjoy writing and playing music with each other. The only challenge, perhaps, is getting the songs as we want them, and as John says, “the work is the reward”. Essentially, the challenge of getting the songs as we want them is overcome by the pleasure of getting the songs as we want them.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

John: On our album we cover “Need your love so bad” by Little Willy John just because we enjoy playing it. During the album session we also recorded a version of Ryan Adams’ “Rescue blues”. Don’t know if it’ll ever see the light of day though.

David: We do (as John has stated). I’d like to cover Bowie’s “Oh, You Pretty Things”. I love it, and considering our style of music, it would definitely be one of those pleasurable challenges we talked about earlier.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

John: If all goes to plan we’ll be on our fifth album, hopefully the shows will be slightly bigger and hopefully we’ll be getting paid a bit more.

David: What John said. I think it’s realistic. And I’d be happy if that was the case.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

John: I’d love to hear Norah Jones sing one of my songs and at the moment I’ve been listening to the first two Dawes albums. I’d like to do something with them.

David: Someone who I’d like to record with, who I think would compliment the band, is Jack White (The Hentchmen, White Stripes, The Raconteurs and Dead Weather). He has the ability to make music that is both contemporary and timeless; music that is original but at the same time very familiar.
I like that quality.

12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

John: In the near future our album will be available for download, we’ll be building on the initial success of our residency show at the Hertford Corn Exchange and getting ready for a bunch of festival dates in the summer, including The Secret Garden Party in July.


Suburban Dirts on Facebook
Suburban Dirts on Soundcloud
For a limited time you can hear our album in full here
And you follow lead vocalist, John, on Twitter

Originally posted 2012-02-29 14:04:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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