March / April 2012

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Issue 37 / MAR-APR 2012 INDIE / ROCK 45 The UK release of 'It's a Corporate World' is out 9th May. Detroit-based band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. sat down with us at some random bar in Hoxton to talk NASCAR, our mutual hatred of vinegar, and why not all corporations suck. DALE EARNHARDT JR. JR. Christie So I was kind of hoping you were going to show up in your racecar outfits. Daniel: Oh yeah, we don't really do that anymore actually. Josh: You know when we first started playing we bought these suits on eBay and we thought it would be interesting to wear them and like confront people with the fact that they're going to be advertised during our show, but it became this weird expectation… Daniel: It got a little out of hand. The whole Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. thing… how did you guys get that idea? Daniel: I don't know I think it was just the worst name we could think of maybe? Josh: Choosing a goofy name that doesn't have anything to do with anything means we'll never have to deal with any expecta- tions of the kind of music we should be making. And so be- cause the name is so preposter- ous, we're just not bound. Daniel: We could be an alt coun- try band and it would work. An indie band works. A pop band works. We could be a hip-hop group, it would totally work. Yeah, as far as the world is concerned, you're in charge of making music for NASCAR fans. Daniel: Yeah, no pressure! But I'd classify you as more of a pop band...We would like to be a pop band. Josh: There's a difference be- tween some bullshit Max Martin song that's been manufactured and crafted specifically to con 12-year-old kids into liking it and something that's accessible like 'God Only Knows.' That song was a massive hit but if you try to play it, it's really hard. It's crazy, it's complex and it's beautiful. It takes a genius to write that song. And now a pop hit is 'California Girls'. Like, that's fucked up. So I would like to hope that we can be a part of bringing more di- versity into the genre of popular music. Daniel: Like, why can't there be a 'God Only Knows' in today's pop music? You know people would be like, what the hell, slit my wrists. But in the '70s, people were like wow this is beautiful. Our outlook is so different. Josh: The fact that 'Moves Like Jagger' is in the top 100 most successful songs of all time is ap- palling. It's like a tumor you can't get rid of and then you go to the doctor to get it removed, and it's playing at the doctor's office. So how has the NASCAR world received your music and your name? Daniel: Josh wrote him, telling him we weren't trying to use his name in an offensive name or mocking his family or anything and we were just having fun and he actually wrote us back and was really kind. He wished us luck and said that he wouldn't come after us and that he liked our music. So it was really cool, and I think you know if there's anyone from that world that wants to make fun of us, we can just be like Dale Earnhardt likes us! Josh: If we'd started our band now I think we'd call it Foster the Children Daniel: We were going to be Counting Crows Part II… Josh: You know, they asked us to open for them the other day and we couldn't stop laughing. How did you all get together? Josh: I actually heard his solo album, and thought it was great, and so called him and asked if he wanted to make a song. That's pretty much it. But we'd both been playing in Detroit for a long time. Daniel: We'd both been to each other's gigs, but I never thought to work with him. I was kind of a hermit, it took me a long time to trust my friends, to write music with them. So I'm not really the type of person who would see someone talented and be like, "I need to work with you." I don't really have that, but luckily Josh has always kind of had that men- tality. He's really into collaborat- ing. Which is cool. Josh: It's hard to sometimes be an adult, but we got to make these new friendships in our mid That's terrible! But back to 'It's A Corporate World'… Daniel: (Laughs) Right. Sorry. I mean, it's definitely a top-heavy world and I think everyone needs to be more aware of it and think about what they want their place to be, think about what they want the role of government and big money to be in their lives. I think it was definitely a theme that was coming up in our writing. I don't necessarily think it's our place to tell you what to think, it's your place to figure it out for yourself. Daniel: There's also the contrast sometimes where corporations can be good and corporations can be bad, and humans can be good and humans can be bad. So there's a plus and a minus to it, but I guess what the record and late twenties, and I think it's super cool that we got to. Mike: I love you guys. Daniel: I love you guys too. Josh: I respect you all, and I love you all. Well that was adorable. So you've named your album 'It's a Corporate World'. Is there some kind of message there? Josh: (Laughs) McDonalds' doubles as a homeless shelter…. Oh no, oh no. Daniel: What, what's wrong with you? Is your tooth hurting? Josh: No! Do you smell that? Daniel: Oh. Do you want to move? is really about is starting that conversation What's the response been then, for you guys trying to make this almost political message? Josh: I don't think it's like that, I don't think it's like a political message. It's funny though you know, Burger King contacted us about using 'It's a Corporate World' – the song I mean, in their commercial. And how'd that go over? Josh: I mean, I would have gladly had them put it in, I think at the last second they decided to go with something else but. Daniel: Well the thing is, people hate corporations, blah blah blah but do you realize that people don't buy music anymore? Do you want to know who buys music? Corporations. Burger King, some big movie company. Like, that's what actually allows us to go play. People don't actu- ally buy records anymore. So it's like... Josh: Actually that's not true, a lot of people bought Adele's record… Daniel: Well yeah, people buy certain records… Josh: Did you know that Adele won as many Grammy's as Whit- ney Houston did in her entire career? Daniel: That's weird. Josh: Isn't that fucked up? I didn't get a chance to watch the Grammy's actually, did you? Josh: I watched Adam Levine singing with the Beach Boys and that was enough for me. Daniel: It was so bad. And Mark Foster. There's no better way to say it, it was just so… white. It was very Caucasian. No one could re- ally dance, it was just so bad. Oi. Oh, I saw you guys got to film a video in Iceland. So rad. How'd that happen? Josh: My wife's family helps run that village so I've been there many times, and so every time I go there I get really inspired. And we ended up playing a festival in Iceland so… the second I saw that church and I sat down at that organ I was like, wow. This needs to happen. Daniel: At one point we each took four-wheelers and went off. And it was gorgeous. All you could see in any direction was just pure nature. Mike: While we were on the trip our friend flipped off his ATV and punctured his lung. So that was weird. Yeah, I'd say. Mike: He got back to America and got to hospital and they were like, you almost died. He lost two stone. Well. Okay then. On that note... Mike: (laughs)

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