Dinosaur Pile-Up interview: “Music scenes are like wombs. Once you’re ready, you gotta get out.”



When a band with a name like Dinosaur Pile-Up – who make songs what go RRRR, and tend to lark about in music videos like the one at the end of this very post – comes along, you sort of want to skip over and arks them a bunch of slightly silly, slightly fatuous interview questions.

You don’t really expect them to talk honestly about what a TOTAL BUM it is to get lumped in with a “scene”, or how they worry about selling records because they’ve just been evicted and are having to “bunk up” together (erk!).

Nevertheless, this is what happened when totally unbiased superfan Robyn Wilder twirled a strand of hair, cocked her head to one side, and breathlessly interrogated Dinosaur Pile-Up’s singer, Matt Bigland.

Hello Dinosaur Pile-Up! Where are you right now, and what are you doing?
In the van driving from Nottingham to Cambridge. The guys are watching a film, we’ve been going through the Scanners trilogy – even though two and three are terrible. But the first one is ACE.

Your debut album, Growing Pains, came out notsolongago. NME gave it 7/10, Rocksound called it “thrilling to an entirely new generation”, and “My Rock n’ Roll” was made iTunes’ Single of the Week! How does that make you FEEL?
It feels rad! I guess we’re not always totally aware of when people are massively into it or not, the time we’re most aware of stuff like that is when people talk to us after a show – but for people to be saying things as exciting as that and people getting psyched on it and everything is a really great feeling. Obviously we’re into what we do, and we’ve been doing it for a while, but that doesn’t mean we expect other people to be into it. So to hear that they are is really ace.

Matt Bigland, the cover of Growing Pains depicts you holding your guitar and looking moodily off into the distance. What were you thinking about? And where did you get your rather nice guitar?
First off, I saved up for that guitar for months and months when I was about 18. I caught a train all the way to Glasgow to a place where they were selling it cheap. So I went all the way up there and all the way back. I love that guitar.

When that photo was taken things were in a pretty precarious place. I’d recorded the album which had pretty much flattened me. The van had died, I was trying to find a job and I was repeatedly being told that no one (label-wise) was picking up the album. I started to worry that it [a pretty heavy rock record in an age of indie] was never going to get released.

I kinda like that I look exhausted because that’s how I felt, and I guess it’s nice in a way that that was captured. I hate having my photograph taken so I just stood there. My fingers are crossed on my right hand, I did that for luck. I like that that’s in there.

What do you think of this dinosaur necklace? (Interviewer is female)

When I read that question I thought “It’s probably gonna suck”. I think it’s pretty rad that dinosaurs just did their thing however many million years ago, yet we’re still wearing them around our necks. Bet they never thought they’d be famous.

One of your Twitter followers said you were going to “make rock music cool all over again!”. Did rock music stop being cool at some point? I haven’t noticed any big kids beating up little kids in playgrounds because of their Metallica T-shirts. Do kids even play in playgrounds anymore these days? God I feel hopelessly out of touch.
I don’t think rock music ever became “uncool”. It didn’t for us anyway, and a whole bunch of other people hopefully. It definitely became unfashionable though. That’s for sure. I guess we’re just in the indie/low-fi kind of era.

So when a band like us comes along, we’re probably gonna be on the outside of things a little. So I don’t know. Maybe we’re making something cool again? Which is funny because we’re drastically not cool.

Do you enjoy the direct contact Twitter gives you with your fans?
Yeah I guess we do. It’s rad being able to actually say hi to people that are into the band sometimes. I wish I’d been able to do that when I was younger.

But it can be pretty weird that now to be an accessible band you literally have to forget privacy. That can sometimes freak me out. Sometimes I like my own space, and stuff like Twitter just breaks down that barrier. There are ups and downs to everything.

You’re from Leeds, just like those other noisemakers, Pulled Apart by Horses. Did you all used to have noise-offs in the town centre after closing time, or do we have a very inaccurate idea of Leeds City Centre’s noise pollution policy?
Ha! It’s funny. Us, Horses, Sky Larkin, we all came from pretty much the same seed. I’ve lived with half of all of them, and been in bands with the other half. We’re all pretty close, grew up at the same shows, played in the same scene etc, but we’re all simultaneously on the road now so we don’t get much hang time. If I could have a BBQ right now today with whoever I wanted ever – I’d have all of them there. As well as all of the Beatles and Freddie Mercury.

You’ve already been called “grunge revivalists”. Do you find being lumped in with “a scene” (man) a help or a hindrance? Is there a genre-smashing world-jazz-fusion album in your future?
Being pigeon-holed does suck a little. We’re not gonna bust anyone’s chops for it but just being labelled as “grunge” or whatever just seems like lazy journalism. Yes, we’re a band that openly likes Nirvana  and heavier shit, but we’re also a lot more than that.

Music scenes are great places to grow up in as a musician, meet people in. But they’re not great places to stay in. They’re like a womb. Once you’re ready, you gotta get out.

If Coca Cola wanted to use your music on an ad, would you say yes? If you could endorse any product in the world, what would it be?
If I could endorse any product in the world it would probably be old school skateboards. I love 80s style fishtail boards. If I had any money I’d collect vintage decks.

If Coke asked us to do an ad I’d probably say yeah – not because I’m anybody’s bitch, but because nobody buys records anymore so how are we meant to pay rent? Me and Mike just got evicted and don’t have a place to live, and I’m sick of sharing a bed with Harry.

I’m not stupid, bands sadly have to take sponsorship now to be able to survive because no one needs to buy records anymore. I’m cool with that – just don’t give me shit if I put our music on a big advert. Are you sleeping in the same bed as your bassist because you don’t have a place to live of you own? No you’re not.

You’re about to set off on Rock Sound’s Exposure tour. What measures will you take to ensure that you don’t kill each other in the tour bus?
Hmmm… We all get on pretty well, so I’m not worried about killing each other. Although Harry hates it when we sit on his shit. So maybe I won’t do that. We’re pretty close, so if anything I’m worried about hooking up. Ha.

Thank you, Dinosaur Pile-Up! Aw. Wasn’t he nice? Why don’t people say “rad” more often?

Anyway, for afters you can find our more about the Rock Sound Exposure Tour, stalk Dinosaur Pile-Up on Twitter (although ‘speck their headspace, yeah?), buy their music at 7digital and watch the video for their ridiculously catchy single, Mona Lisa, below.

This interview, and the dedicated digital stalking required to make it happen, was carried out by Robyn Wilder. She writes terribly funny things on a weekly basis for LUV & HAT, so she does.


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