Connor is the drummer of the band was kind enough to put up with my endless questions and dragged his bandmates along for the ride! This interview occurred on January 30, 2012.
Tom, Mikey and Connor are 21 and AJ is the old man at 23
Band home base city:
Guildford Surrey, near London.
Birthplace of each member:
All born in the UK
Role of each member (include the funky stuff – driver, food prep):
Tom is the front man and naturally the pretty boy, Mikey is on lead Guitar and the guy that’s good with money, AJ is our power house bass player and driver, he always brings the party. I am just the drummer and food provider when we have meetings.
When was the band formed?
The band was formed about a year ago this January
List of formal songs/albums/EPs (whatever you have):
We are just finishing up our debut EP, we will have more details about the release soon on our Facebook page.
Other than the role in the band, what other instruments do each of you play (if there are any):
Tom plays a bit of everything, he’s dead good. He’s skilled on Logic too, he recorded and produced our first track ‘All The Same’. Myself and AJ just stick to what we know, rhythm section don’t need no other instrument. Mikey likes to think he can play harmonica.
Anyone learn or play any funky weird instruments?
I’m quite an accomplished bongo player if that counts.
How many bands have each of you been in before this?
Tom, Mikey and AJ where in a band before Dials and that’s how they know each other, Tom and Mikey have played together for years. I was in an awful indie rock band at one point.
About how many live gigs have the band done (can be approx)?
The last show we played was with a band called Light Years from Ohio. It was our tenth show!
Have you been on a formal tour? If so, where did you go?
Not yet, but we are working really hard on it. It’s all we want to do right now, get the record out and tour on it.
Any lives gigs outside of your home-base country? Where?
Not yet, we have had people tweeting us from Asia and North American, We would love to play everywhere
Methods of travel to get to gigs:
AJ’s car at the moment, or walk if its our home town ha!
Favourite food dish of each member:
We all love Pizza.
Favourite band/artist of each member:
Tom loves the Goo Goo Dolls, AJ is a massive Incubus fan, I love Brand New (they are the best band ever, FACT) and Mikey only likes music from the 70s and 80s especially Boston. Don’t ask me why.
How do you describe your sound?
Honest British Rock, we don’t conform to a specific genre, it’s really cliché to say that but no one has pigeon holed us yet.
What bands/artists does the band list as influences?
There are too many to say really. We all get influenced individually and then when we write it all comes out, I may pick a beat up from Brand New song, then Mikey will come in with a Boston esq. guitar riff, Tom will drop some huge vocals and Aj will put a funky bass line on it. We write for ourselves and try not to sound like Foo Fighters for example. We are trying to do something different.
Current favourite song (not your own songs):
This changes too much. I’m really digging the new Justin Timberlake song at the moment. I mean come on its fucking Justin Timberlake, that man is the boss.
For each of you, if the band could play one gig anywhere before you died, what city/venue would that HAVE to be?
Mikey and AJ like Red Rocks Colorado, and Tom and I want to play the Reading and Leeds festival in the UK, main stage of course.
Best concert you’ve ever seen? Why?
When I saw Brand New in London. Why? Because it was Brand New in London that’s why.
Worst concert you’ve ever seen? Why?
Trivium, because they wear their own merch.
For each of you, any obsessions outside of music?
Mikey is obsessed with Rum, so he tells me. AJ is pretty keen on snowboarding, he was sponsored by DC. Tom loves a good tattooed lady and has a soft spot for JD, and I love going to gigs and doing cliché rock and roll type of things.
For each of you (and if you are so inclined), do you play better or worse while drinking?
We can’t play drunk, our manager would kill us.
For each of you (and if you are so inclined), do you write songs better or worse while drinking / Being high?
I asked Tom about this and he said this. ‘Thats a really good question man, I write a lot of music when I’m high, In fact most of the songs I’ve written have been derived from jams I’ve had whilst being high, but I wrote the lyrics for our up coming single ‘Exodus’ while I was drunk’.
For each of you (and if you are so inclined), do you play better or worse while high? We like to get high just not when playing. After for sure man.
For each, alcoholic beverage of choice (be brand specific)?
Tom, JD Honey, AJ doesn’t drink so Coke, Mikey likes a good Larger and I love Tyskie
While playing a gig, have you ever had a truly strange moment? Explain.
We played a show in a place called Richmond under a Church, the night was put on by the church leader, there was no beer at the show and everyone had to sit down on sofa’s and watch us rock out. But we got free vegetarian soup, so that was nice.
Do you play cover songs live? Please list original band/artist. Do you change it up or stay true to it?
We used to play a cover or Larger Than Life by The Backstreet Boys, that was amazing, we had a massive half time at the end.
Do each of you have any pre-show rituals/superstitions?
PGP. If you are in a band you’ll get that and we fist bump before we play, if we forget that it’s not a good show.
For the guys in the band: boxers/briefs/commando Boxers all round.
Which band member is craziest and why?
We all can be crazy at times, Tom, Mikey and I have drunk alter egos. Tom is Dave, Mikey is Quinten and I’m Patrick, we blame them for all of our drunken mistakes. When Mikey gets drunk he is so fucking funny. Its beautiful.
Which band member is most talented (feel free to fight over this!)?
Tom, straight up, the work he puts in with the music is amazing, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have songs really. He works his ass off for the music.
Best place to eat that no one knows about?
Kokoro, it’s a sushi and Chinese food place in our home town.
Best place to drink that no one knows about?
In our home town I’d say the Star Inn because you can drink beer and watch live music. Simple really.
Each of you, favourite venue to see live music?
Connor, Old Blue Last in London its so small. Mikey, Alexandra Palace, Tom is a big fan of the old London Astoria, and Brixton Academy because the sound is always killer, I second that. AJ saw Crowded House at the Royal Albert Hall, that’s a good shout actually.
Each of you, favourite book and movie?
I’m not a book guy more a graphic novel person and my favourite film is Donnie Darko. Mikey’s favorite book is Angels and Demons and he likes Snatch, I think he is in love with Brad Pitt. AJ likes the old 1930′s version of The Great Expectations, and Tom is a man of taste and likes Fight Club.,
Each of you, ever meet a hero of yours? If so who is it and how did it go?
Tom said he meet Hayley Williams once and she was pretty much the hottest thing around at the time (I concur) but apparently it was ‘inaudible’.
Each of you, when you were little, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a fireman. Mikey wanted to drive trains Tom apparently wanted to be the White Power Ranger, he was ok I guess, not as bad ass as the red, and AJ wanted to be Indiana Jones, I’ve only just been told that and that’s much better than a fireman.
Who was the person you most wanted to make proud by being on stage? Have they seen you play?
We played a show with Kids In Glass Houses and all our parents where there, all our mum’s met each other for like the first time and they mumed out, its was so nice because they where all smiling so much. Mikey wants to impress his apparently ‘very hard to impress’ Dad, his Dad said Dials where ‘good’ and I know that meant a lot to Mikey. Tom said that he had never really thought about this, but he wants to make everyone at every show proud to be there, not just the dudes in the band but himself as well.
Each – What song would you want played at your wedding?
None of us have any idea about that, it’s a woman thing. But Tom said he wanted ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley, I could imagine him dancing down the church to that.
Each – What song would you want played at your funeral?
Mikey wants Gangnam Style. I don’t want that. Ill probably have some 50 cent track. Tom suggested The Circle of life from The Lion King.
Each –Favourite song to have sex to?
Mikey likes John Mayor when he is being sexy. I just put shuffle on and see what happens, its could be some smooth Coltrane or Slipknot, both great choices. Tom said its all about sleepy playlists, he is more of a love maker. AJ is more mysterious and likes to gently love the ladies to Breath by Pink Floyd.
Each – Ever have a song move you to tears?
If so, what song and why? Apparently Mikey cries when Sigur Ros comes on.
Each – any stupid talents?
I’m double jointed and can pop my shoulders out of place. Mikey can juggle and is pretty good at tennis. AJ is good at magic tricks he practices them when he is bored and Tom doesn’t want to disclose his other talents.
For whoever writes the lyrics, best line you’ve written:
I asked this to Tom he said ‘Thats real tough, I really like the line ‘I’m too young to settle down, I want to get drunk and fool around’. But thats because its a really fun like to sing, I like the way it flows. I wouldn’t say its the best I’ve written thought. I don’t know how to gauge that though ha.’
For whoever writes the lyrics, what song of yours surprised you lyrically and why?
We have a song called 99% and Tom said that he was surprised by that song because he has never written a politically driven song, he said it just kinda happened.
Does the band have a favourite song to perform live?
New material is always nice to play live to see how people react.
Does the band have a song that the fans go nuts for live?
We have a song called 99% which people seem to really dig for at the moment.
Biggest crowd for a gig you’ve played (include festivals if any)? How did that feel performing? W
e played with Kids as I said before and that was like 400 people, we got mistaken and thought it was a 1,500 cap venue, but 400 was very big. The show was amazing, we where shitting ourselves before hand, our manager couldn’t speak she was so nervous for us. That was the show our parents came down for. We rocked the fuck out and we where very happy with our performance.
How do you write? Music first, add lyrics? Lyrics first, add music? Bring music and lyric together and work through to mesh? Do you just jam until something hits and then work through it?Combo of all?
Tom usually comes to us with an idea and a plan, he has lyrics and melodies all done then we flesh it out and it can sometimes change, we try lots of ideas out and then when it clicks it clicks. We normally know when its ready because we all look at each other and give that ‘fuck yeah’ look ha.
What songs, if any, have had radio play? Local only or beyond?
We have had our track ‘All The Same’ played locally and in the states, that was surreal.
Lead guitar(s) – pick, finger or both? Any favourite effects?
Mikey, I use a pick for most things but I sometimes prefer using fingers depending on the rhythm and the velocity of the part in the song. I’m not too big on effects but I like a good old-fashioned overdrive; one that’s crunchy enough to give out some drive but not too much, so you can almost hear it die away when notes are sustained.
Bass – style? Finger, slap, both?
AJ uses his fingers but he informs me that he can ‘slap da bass’.
Drums – Banger or player? Do you have a favourite piece in your kit?
I try things in practice and it usually sounds good but can I can never repeat it ha, I enjoy the groove and playing for the song rather than filling every bar.
Singer(s) – special effects or no?
Raw all the time live.
Do any/all of you have formal music training at all? If so, where?
We went to a music college. I am the only one still there just finishing my degree.
Any gigs coming up you’d like to plug?
We have some shows in March, but for now its all about the EP and video.
What does the rest of 2013 hold for the band?
Releasing the Video and EP, then tour.
Anything I haven’t covered you’d like to add?
When are you getting us a tour in Canada?
Thanks to Dials for taking the time! This was really great!