Radio UTD: How was your drive down to SXSW?
Jenny Tuite: It was really smooth! I was asleep most of the time, so basically I was in Dallas and woke up in Austin. It was awesome.
Radio UTD: Has Austin been treating you guys well so far? Have you played any of your showcases yet?
Jenny: Not yet, our first one— today we’re just exploring and getting ready. Our first show is tomorrow at 1 pm at this place called Spider House, so that will be fun.
Radio UTD: Oh yeah!
Have you been there?
Radio UTD: Yeah, it’s a really interesting building, I don’t really know how to explain it— there’s a bunch of statues and pretty plants, and the venue itself is really cool, and they have really good food if you get the chance to eat there as well.
That sounds sick, oh my gosh yes! Cool, we’re gonna play there tomorrow so that will be fun. Yeah, we never know what to expect, so that sounds awesome.
Radio UTD: Yeah, that’s one of my favorite places down there so far. Was 35 Denton your first time in DFW?
Yeah, that was the first time we played there, and it was super fun. Everyone was so nice. We’ve wanted to stay in every city we’ve played an extra day just to hang out, but we haven’t had a chance to, but hopefully we can go back next year because we had a really good time.
Radio UTD: Denton is such a supportive place for musicians and they have a really strong house show scene, so if you ever want that kind of interaction, Denton is definitely the place to be.
Hell yeah, we love playing those types of shows so that’s good to know, cause we’d love to do that next time we go through there.
Radio UTD: Awesome. Do you guys typically have more fun at festivals or like, normal tour shows?
I love festivals. I love, it’s like, we’ve been playing really small places like house shows, like a really intimate show, just kinda gnarly house shows — we love that, or we love playing bigger festivals. We kinda like to skip over the bar scene, that’s not kind of our thing. I love festivals, I love playing outside. Its just like the best feeling. The sound isn’t always as good, but it’s just like, I don’t know, there’s just something about playing outside that’s awesome. We get to do that more at festivals.
Radio UTD: Cool, yeah, I haven’t been to a proper festival in a long time, so I might have to swing by SXSW this year
Dude you totally should! Oh my god, yeah, you should come and hang
Radio UTD: I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for you guys if I head down there later this week. What was the local scene like where you grew up? Did you grow up in New York?
I grew up in DC, and then I was in Western Mass. So when I was in DC, there were a lot of cool influential bands that I really admired that came out of there, like Fugazi, and there’s a lot of really cool studios there. I actually ran into Ian MacKaye when I was home visiting last time, he’s super cool. He still like, hangs out, he was just at a bookstore near where I live, and he’s super friendly. Yeah, so there’s that whole scene going on which is cool, and then I went to most of high school in Western Mass where people are super into bands like Phish and stuff, so I spent a lot of time wearing headphones and listening to like, Smashing Pumpkins in my headphones [laughs].
Radio UTD: Was there an emphasis on DIY culture in DC?
Yeah, there’s this place called… I’m totally blanking on this. Oh my god, why can’t I remember the name? This is so bad. (The name that slipped her mind was Fort Reno Park) It’s right outside Wilson High School, it’s a park and every summer they throw shows there, basically every week, and it’s a local band and then like a bigger act, and it’s free and anyone can go. But yeah, there’s definitely a big, supportive kind of scene. And then there’s clubs like Black Cat and 9:30 Club that are not so DIY, but also kind of… I don’t know, it’s a really cool scene.
Radio UTD: That’s cool, I love hearing about the differences in DIY cultures in different cities in the states; Denton is a really big DIY punk kind of community and it makes me really happy.
Yeah, it’s fascinating cause we’ll go to different cities and it’s fascinating to see which cities have that and which don’t, cause it’s not always what you’d expect. We played Albuquerque last year and we had no idea what to expect and it was super cool. There were a bunch of house shows and everybody came out to support all the different bands. I don’t know, it’s cool walking into all those little scenes. It’s fun.
Radio UTD: So for any readers who haven’t heard you guys yet, can you describe your sound in five words? It might be a little tricky.
Five words? Oh my gosh, how is this gonna work… just like adjectives? Or like a sentence?Hmmm okay… Rock? Mixed with kind of ambient, experimental… and sometimes pretty? We like to keep it like, the prettiest heavy, if that makes any sense. So we’re kind of into that, we like kind of delicate over heavy sludge kind of stuff. That was more than five words.
Radio UTD: That works perfectly. Alright, so, your latest single, “All of Me”, had a sludgier vibe than the songs on Guilty from last year. What has been influencing you guys lately as far as music, art, movies… anything that may be contributing to a new perspective for you guys?
I guess we’ve always kind of gone back and forth with the— we actually had two EP releases prior to doing Guilty, and prior to doing Guilty we were pretty rockin’ and like, pretty heavy, and then when we did Guilty that was actually kind of a departure from that. Like Side A still has the rock vibe, but we almost kinda challenged ourselves on that so Side B is super sparse and there’s not a lot of fuzz. We never like to stay too much in one box, because we feel like that’s almost… People always say “Okay, what’s your vibe, what are your fans gonna think, pick your sound” and stuff, and to us that’s kind of gimmicky, and we just kinda go and experiment with whatever sounds we’re feeling at the time. We did, on Guilty, do a lot of spacier, more open, less fuzzed-out stuff, and we recorded it to tape. We did this whole different thing, and then at the end of it we were like “Okay, that was awesome, but like, let’s sludge out again.” [laughs] So we did All of Me and we tracked a few more we haven’t put out yet, and it feels kinda good to go back to the sludge.
Radio UTD: Cool, I’m looking forward to that, definitely. Were you in any other music projects before Dirty Dishes?
I played in different bands here and there, mainly I would just play guitar and stuff. I have a little side project called Cloud Cover which is basically like when I’m writing or coming up with ideas for Dirty Dishes, it’s kinda like the leftover scraps that won’t really translate well to a band but people would hear them and be interested in them. I have a few tracks of that sort of stuff that I keep just as a side project, I don’t really spend much time on it. All of us have kind of much more delicate, ambient kind of things… I know Alex makes hip-hop tracks. I also like making beats. We’ve all played in different kind of bands, we’ve all tested the waters of different sounds, but the band is our main focus. It’s my passion and it’s my favorite kind of music to play.
Radio UTD: When you’re writing a song do you focus more on what comes out spontaneously and naturally, or do you find that you more often analyze what you’re coming up with from a music theory standpoint?
Definitely spontaneously. I don’t even know that much music theory, I try to throw that out. I don’t even know what key half the songs I wrote are in. If I took a second to look at a fretboard or piano I could figure it out, but I never consider that kind of thing when I’m writing. I’ll just be experimenting, basically, with different sounds and chord progressions and ideas, and whatever I like I’ll keep. A lot of times a song will take a long time to write, I’ll have a piece of one done and a few months later I’ll write something else and be like “Oh wow, those fit really well together,” so yeah, it’s kind of whatever comes out spontaneously and then we kind of mold it. I think of songwriting as like carving a statue; I feel like a lot of people think of it like creating something as you would build with clay, like you’re taking things and building it, but I have a giant piece of marble which is like all the ideas you could have, and I chisel away at it until I find the most beautiful thing I like underneath, you know?
Radio UTD: I like that analogy. Do you think if you were to learn more about music theory it would feel more restricting?
Yes [laughs]. For sure.
Radio UTD: Have you ever felt like a song you were writing sounded too much like your influences or what you’d been listening to?
Yeah, umm, typically no, typically we’ve always had our own sound which is something people really liked about us. On Guilty, definitely the first track— I was like, “This sounds so much like our influences.” When I wrote the song I came into practice and I was like “Okay guys, I made up a song but we can never play it” cause it just didn’t sound original. But our drummer was like “Dude, so what?” Because everything else we make is so original, he was just like “Don’t overanalyze it, you don’t have to beat yourself up about that stuff.” So typically no, but occasionally. I guess we’ve been more okay with being like “You know, fuck it” if it sounds how it sounds, we like all those bands, so it’s cool.
Radio UTD: Yesterday you told us you’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks in the van, what books are you checking out currently?
I wish I had written them down… on our Twitter I’ve been keeping like— it’s really funny, it’s so nerdy, it’s the first time I’ve used a hashtag, but I made one called #todayinthevan so I’ll write like “Today in the van” and I’ll write like, what’s a track I listened to, or a book or short story, or a lecture I listened to online. I guess the most recent one was this film, oh my god, it was so cool, it’s just a short film called The Cabbage Fairy, and it was by this filmmaker named Alice Guy Blanché. I just happened across it, and she was one of the first female filmmakers from like, forever ago, she was one of the pioneers of filmmaking. If you watch her stuff it’s with all those other first-comers but I had never heard of her, at all, ever. And I just came across her stuff and it’s just fascinating, it’s so cool, so I watched The Cabbage Fairy that she made. She also made some longer religious-type thing, I don’t know, I have to delve more into her. So that’s the most recent thing, I’ve listened to some short stories recently too, but that’s the most recent thing I’ve found myself really fascinated by.
Radio UTD: Is anybody in the van into podcasts?
I’ve been trying to get more into podcasts. I asked some friends before we left and they recommended some, but do you have to have iTunes for that?
Radio UTD: I know the more recent iPhone updates have a built-in podcast app, but I don’t know if you can get it straight from iTunes.
I don’t have iTunes on my phone since I don’t have an iPhone, but I always tell myself I’m gonna stream more of those, but I haven’t done many podcasts yet. If you have any suggestions I would love them. (I promptly recommended Radiolab to her)
Radio UTD: I know we talked about this a little bit yesterday, but what 2016 releases are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to AUTOLUX, they’re releasing something pretty soon. I love them. We got to play with them a while back and it was the first time I saw them live, and like, I swear to god my pupils stayed dilated for like a week afterwards, because I was just watching and listening and taking everything in, it was crazy. They were just so good. I feel like for me, I really like recorded music, so when I see a band that is amazing live, I’m just so, so enraptured by it. They’re one of those bands. They’re releasing something new, and their releases usually take a while, so it’s really exciting when they release something new. They released just a single a few months ago and it’s really different— something I really like about them is they’re able to progress and make their music sound different and experiment with new things, but they always sound like AUTOLUX. But yeah, that’s a release I’m super excited for. I think Deftones are releasing something, they’re like our guilty pleasure band, they’re cool. Soft Things is releasing a record, I’m really excited for that one. I think Alex said he was excited about Mitski, I think he’s down with that. I know I’m missing a bunch, but those are the ones that come to mind.
Radio UTD: Alright, the last question I have for you is what would be your dream festival lineup?
We made one actually, for Bandsintown! So Bandsintown had us make our dream festival, I made a collage for it and a flyer for it, it’s so hard cause I want to put every band ever on it. You have to think about which bands you want to see live versus… like, even if one of your favorite albums is by some artist, if I had to play a festival I might prefer to see another band live over them. It actually made it a much harder question than I thought it would be. Some of the bands I listed on there were Grimes, Radiohead, obviously, My Bloody Valentine. . . . Infinity Girl we love, Two Inch Astronaut, Speedy Ortiz also we’d love to tour with. We like DIIV a lot, War Paint is really sick too. I know Alex likes Palm. I put Missy Elliot on the one I made for Bandsintown, and Bjork. Oh, and Garbage, they’re releasing a new album — that’s another release I’m looking forward to — they haven’t done one in forever and I grew up listening to them, so I’m looking forward to it
Radio UTD: Cool, well thank you so much for hanging out with us yesterday and taking out of your time today to speak with us.
Yeah of course, thank you so much for having us yesterday, that was really fun. Thanks for eating Indian food with us, that was so good!