Interview with Dave Rennick of Dappled Cities
With their fifth release almost upon us, we managed to chat to Dave Rennick about what fans can expect from Five, the direction taken with this release and how it feels to be a band that has survived a radical change in the live music scene.
Scott: So let’s talk “Five” – fifth album after five years by five guys, did you feel pressured to release this album?
Dave Rennick:To be honest, this record came out a complete void of pressure; there was no pressure to make this album. It was totally on our backs to get back into the studio and put these new ideas together. But, I guess Five also is a reference to those classic rock bands from the 70s, 60s who would often name one of their records in the sequence it came in. That’s one of the inspirations for the sounds you hear on the record – that kind of 70s rock vibe. Also, the five bars themselves, we found them very impactful and wanted to name it that symbol but it became a bit problematic with streaming platforms… so we had to call it five.
Scott: The recent single “Stone Men” feels different to previous releases. What vibe can people expect with Five?
Dave: There are some intense moments but definitely more space in the whole record. We never had a record with so much negative space, we’re usually guilty of throwing every single idea on to every single song. Whereas this time, we’ve gone with the preconception of not doing that, of letting the song be good for what isn’t in it. And that’s something very different to previous release. The other thing we wanted to make sure we did was record it all as live as possible. That’s why we went to 301 which has a giant live room and giant mixing desk and we all just sat in there together and kicked on and tried to get to what being in a band is all about.
Scott: That’s a great move to what I want to talk about next, this idea of being a ‘live band’. Is that a rejection of current trends in music or simply a throwback to your roots?
Dave: Yeah I mean, the whole producer revolution where you have a single person outfit working off their laptop creating these artworks on their computer. I actually regard that as a completely different art form than to be in a band. Like you can’t exactly call it songwriting; you can’t cover a Flume song, the song is what it is, it’s like a fucking painting – you can’t really replicate it. Whereas songwriting that I know and Dappled does, I think is fundamentally different. We sit down, tell a story and apply songwriting standards that we’ve learnt over the years and then bring it to five musicians who are masters of their specific instrument and see what they add to it, from their own musical experience. I’ve definitely dabbled in production music and so has Tim and I think we’ve just decided that we’re not actually that good at it and should leave it to the people who are narley at it, like your Flumes or Chet Fakers. We’re just going to do what we are good at which is being a sweet rock band.
Scott: From seeing your live shows, I really get a sense that Dappled Cities flourishes in a live setting. Do you think that live raw energy is now an art that we’re seeing less of?
Dave: I don’t think we’re seeing less of it. I think there are bands still doing it but I definitely think it’s different to what you’ll see in another act. Like, you won’t get that from certain pop performances or other performers, you usually need a band who have played fuck loads – like I don’t even want to think how many shows we’ve done but when you reach this terminal velocity where muscle memory just knows the stuff so well, you can apply this next level feels to it. I personally love seeing that when I see a band, like My Morning Jacket or Flaming Lips when you see them live, you get that feeling.
Scott: Speaking of seeing Dappled Cities perform, you have a tour coming up in support of Five and have managed to get Red Riders to play along with you. How did that come to be?
Dave: We’re super good friends with them and as you know they split up in 2011 and went off to all corners of the world. I was chatting to Matt who came back from Seattle and I was chatting to him at a party, well… a soirée, we have soirées now. And he mentioned Red Riders are playing this show for Red Bull and I was like wow really, maybe you should do the Dappled tour, and kept asking until they said yes.
Scott: Looking at Dappled Cities as a band, I find that it’s amazing for you to be playing for more than a decade. I wonder if there is some sort of insight into why the band has stayed together for so long, when many fail to do so.
Dave: There is definite chemistry and we’ve been through patches where things weren’t going so well but interestingly enough those patches always aligned when we’re at our most “famous”. Those moments we get a bit of an ego, I guess and start having unrealistic expectation from the people around you and in the band. So I guess one reason or the reason why we’re still together is because we’ve never hit that mega fame point, we’ve always kept it real. Which really keeps you on the ground, being an indie bands in Australia where there is a ceiling.
Scott: One piece of content that seems really cool, is this video series where you look at past venues that are now closed and leads to my two part question. First, what inspired the series? Secondly, what is your outlook on Sydney’s current music scene.
Dave: Well, we’ve seen it [Sydney’s music scene] change helps. When we started playing, there were no live venues in Sydney, everyone was going to Home nightclub with techno in full throttle. Then somehow there was this early noughties saviours of rock thing happening, The Vines were like “the saviours of rock” then all of a sudden rock bands were back and venues were opening up. But recently we’ve seen a lot of venues shut down and it’s obviously a sad thing. We say in one of the videos, it’s weird to be a band that outlasts all the places you played in. That said, I walked into the Chippendale Hotel was like whoa there are some sweet venues in Sydney and this one has been is a new venue and the perfect size for a new band. Oxford Art Factory is going strong and so are places down in Marrickville, so shit definitely changes and you can’t be sad about venues closing down but you also need to recognise people who are fighting the good fight.
Scott: That’s true, a venue might close down but enough people are passionate will look elsewhere to open another venue
Dave: Yeah, like Surry Hills was the cool area when we started but unfortunately it isn’t the cool area anymore. There are other cool area like Marrickville.
Scott: My last point I want to end on was, Dappled have a upcoming east coast tour, will we see this extended to a larger tour later in 2017?
Dave: Yep, yes we got some plans but we can’t announce anything just yet. For sure there will be some more shows this year. We apologise to the west coast, Adelaide, New Zealand, America and the rest of the world, we’re just doing east coast for this one, it’s just neat and we’re a neat band.
Dappled Cities’ Tour Dates:
Friday, 5 May
Saturday, 6 May
Sunday, 4 Jun.
Connect with Dappled Cities
- Scott Singh