Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Dry Spells

The Hemlock was packed in anticipation of the unique blend of folk and rock that can only be described as: The Dry Spells. Tahlia Harbour and April Hayley’s vocals saturated the venue with layers of harmony while, amazingly enough, still sounding bashful; reminiscent of daughters asking permission to go to the movies with plans of running away from home. Adria Otte’s guitar achieved an eerie, old-world ambience within the melange of instruments, including two new additions to the band: ex-drummer Raphi Gottessman and bassist Diego Gonzales. It was the band's first night playing a show with Raphi in four years, but the connection was there; the wide variety of instruments forming a wave of eclectic sound. Having gone to college with the band, it was nice to catch up in a dimly lit alley, before the show.

Mattie: You always seem to have a new instrument when I see you, how do you come across them?

April: We do have some incidental instruments, like the shruti box and the melodica.. they’re kinda like toys. They just kinda make their way into our lives and we play with them. We also have a rain stick tonight. (laughs)

Mattie: How would you describe your music?

Tahlia: It’s rock music. I want to use that broad term to keep it open to all the influences that we have.
April: Some people have described it as tapestry rock, because we weave so many layers together. It’s not conceptual in any way. It’s an aesthetic vacuum.

Mattie: The first song you wrote was based on a girl who was accidentally killed by a deer hunter, why did that compel you to write?

April: I guess I’ve always been intrigued by tragic tales. It seemed like a very poetic thing to happen, even though it was real, it seemed like it could be a folk song. So I made it into one.

Mattie: How did you ever begin to work together on those incredible vocal harmonies?

Tahlia: It happened very naturally. Completely. And I’ve never sung with anyone where it happened that way.
April: Me either. (awe’s)

Mattie: You do a version of Black Is The Color, a traditional and well-covered folk song: How’d you do it differently?

Adria: We actually wrote the music first without the song in mind.
Tahlia: We’d been playing around with some old folk songs, and the melody just fit.

Mattie: What are some of your favorite venues to play in?

Adria: I really like Café du Nord.
Tahlia: I like the Hemlock too.
Adria: I really like playing in people’s living rooms, but we hardly ever do that.
April: Yeah, playing at parties rocks. There are some really cool houses to play in.

Mattie: Like warehouse parties?

April: No, this big beautiful punk, like Victorian house, between Capp and 17th.
Adria: I think it’s called the Capp Street Asylum or something. I don’t think they actually do shows there any more.
Tahlia: We want to start playing haunted houses.
April: Yeah, just haunted houses. A haunted house tour.
Tahlia: We’d also like to play weddings.
April: We used to have this band called The Special Occasions…
Tahlia: We’d play anything, your cat’s funeral… or if you were just fired…

Mattie: Where did you find the art for your CD cover?

April: That’s my boyfriend, Devin Cecil-Wishing, and he has a website. He collected the items in the picture because they reminded him of us, then painted them. I found the dead hummingbird.

Mattie: So how have The Dry Spells changed since our time together at Bard College?

Tahlia: I think we started playing music together because we were all friends, and now it’s moved beyond just friendship. We’re trying to play things more beautifully and more accurately now. We also added a bass player.
April: When we were in NY, I feel like we didn’t even know what we were doing?
Adria: Yeah, all the academic distractions. (laughs) I feel like the Bay Area and the Hudson Valley are both beautiful settings that we reflect in our sound and lyrics.
April: Raphi, do you have anything to add, since you were in the band six years ago, then quit on us?
Raphi: Well, I just moved here from the east coast and joining the band had a big influence on that. Caitlin, the old drummer, and I were going opposite directions; we waved on the road.

Mattie: What’s gonna change now that your back?

Raphi: We’re all like a family and I think I know where the music is coming from. A band can do serious music and still be spontaneous. I think we’ll feed off each other that way… we’ll see what happens tonight.

Mattie: What drew the band to the Bay in the first place?

April: I just followed the rest of them, I didn’t want to come here at all.
Adria: I’d been thinking about moving here while at Bard. For my interests too. I didn’t want to go to NYC… I used to come here every summer to visit family.
Tahlia: We recorded some music here our freshman year in college. To play music it helps to have a community, and the Bay area is pretty laid back. We’ve met a lot great musicians here.

Mattie: Do you think SF is a scam?

April: Oh shit, that girl just fell! Um, I don’t think I could live here for the rest of my life because you’d have to live with 5 people forever. I’m never going to be rich, I’m just a librarian.
Tahlia: It’s a struggle and I definitely have my moments of frustration. But then I do get energized by all the other people who are doing creative things and how I can’t leave that. I don’t know if I‘ll ever leave, but I do get frustrated. It’s really expensive to live here.
Adria: But we might not be here for the rest of our lives guys, cause global warming will melt all the ice and then our house will be under water.

The Dry Spells hit the studio again in May to work on a full CD for fall release. To hear their music, check up on their next shows, or buy their CD’s visit: www.myspace.com/thedryspells.

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