"Hi I'm Dylan. This is my bandmate Eric and this is my other bandmate Eric."
Image courtesy of DRUNK MUIC REVIEWS Kinda used with permission.
Being 'American™' I understand the importance of blame. The action and emotion behind the anatomy of blame is just as 'Merican™ as Apple Pie. It's an 'Mericans RIGHT and PRIVILEGE to blame someone or something.... So its only natural I blame DRUNK MUSIC REVIEWS.
Questions by Shawn Abnoxious
Answers by Dylan McCartney.
Ok... Lets do this... What the fuck is a MARDOU? Noun, verb. Adjective?
It's a noun. It's the name of this beautiful, sexy, African-American girl from a Jack Kerouac book called The Subterraneans. She is more or less described in the book as the "perfect female."
Kerouac? You parents let you read that filth? Why don’t you call it THE Mardou then? Tell everyone how Mardou came together why don’t cha.
I read it subversively. And I don't know, at the time I just wanted an esoteric band name. A word nobody really understood. And we all came together this past summer. I wrote a bunch of songs and had performed a few of them, once at MOTR with me on drums and my friend Spinney on bass (it was a fucking disaster.) I almost gave up after that because I just didn't know anyone who wanted to be in a band. They were all too scared. But then I found that Cincinnati DIY forum and asked if anyone wanted to play drums in a band. Eric Lindsay responded, and it was almost like an online dating thing. We met up, got to know each other a little bit, he learned my songs. Then he snagged Eric Dietrich because he knew he was a musician and we needed a bass player.
I remember reluctantly turning you down on bass... RELUCTANTLY... I was immediately interested in what you were doing. I saw the 'bigger picture' very early on. How have you and the Eric's been getting along? Well? Jelling as a unit?
Yeah definitely. We have a strangely efficient dynamic. I'm the young blood with a shitload of crazy ideas and goals. Eric D. and Eric L. keep my head from inflating and sometimes have to remind me that the real world exists. But we're good to each other. If you're in a band you really have to be friends, otherwise it's going to putter out of control and become shitty really quickly. We all have sort of sedated personalities, which allows us to get along really well. And they always share their beer with me.
I agree totally. Today I intended to write a review of a record but been spending time listening to Mardou songs at a great price that I cant even afford... Good going... I think Eric Lindsay actually spoke to me a little bit once... Would it be 'criminal' for me to buy you a beer?
Well, I suppose in the legal sense it might, I'm a young mother fucker. But the only thing criminal about buying me a beer is that it's only one beer. How about 5 or 6?
Would you be mad if I was to buy you a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon if you asked for something else and demanded to keep the change?
Beer is beer. I've been in a tricky economic situation recently, so I've been drinking a lot of Burger Classic. $6 for a 12 pack.
I’m proud of you. Did you know that?
Well, I do now. I appreciate it, buddy. I like to make people proud, I guess.
What’s Mardous plans for the future? I seen you got shirts with a dead whale on it. You a whale killer man?
That whale is alive! It's smoking a joint and loving life. I support the whales. L And we've got a bunch of plans. About to record a bunch of music. And release some of it with Best Friend Records, and some of it with Torn Light Records. Alex York, who plays bass in White Walls, is going to do a limited lathe pressing of like two of our songs on Torn Light. Very excited about that. Also, this summer were planning a tour of the Midwest. Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, maybe some other places.
The whale is alive? *High*? I thought an upside down whale was indicative of it being 'dead'... I thought the 'smoke' rings were its last breath... Like Bubbles... Strange... I’m let down... but after your explanation, extremely amazed at such a concept.... A tour s pretty ambitious stuff! When will these releases be available? What songs will be featured? "Bounty Hunter" better be on one of them or I’m not being a fan anymore and this interview and friendship is OVER. I’m serious! I will de-friend you in a 'First Midwestern minute'
Yeah, Bounty Hunter is definitely going to be on there. My favorite song to play. And they'll be available sometime in the next few months. The other songs are going to be a surprise, Shawn. But I promise Bounty Hunter will be on there.
I’m gonna hold you to that! I know we have exchanged e-mails and such about song content. But lets do it again... Talk about your songs... Like write a set list out for me of all Mardou songs like you were doing a show and tell me what inspired them or whatever... So the next time someone see's you live they could kinds get a story about what they’re hearing.
Well, I'll tell you this. Almost every song I write is a result of me being really into one song or album or something. The song doesn't end up sounding at all like the music from which it was inspired, really, but certain bands just kind of spark me. So here's our setlist right now, with that in mind.
Dirty Streets: Actually got the idea from this song after listening to "Roadrunner" by The Modern Lovers. Doesn't sound anything like that, but the way Richman dryly talks about his world really said something to me. This song is about urban decay, and how when you walk through our city you see the decay, almost comedically close to the opposite of decay, which is the upper middle class folks on Main St. It's about how I don't want this city to become as gentrified as it's becoming. The character needs to stay.
New Blossom: A short one which I wrote after listening to a shit load of Beat Happening. Lyrically it's about getting really excited about an idea and then subsequently having every aspect of that idea fail.
Snuff: This song is my opportunity to use my silly delay pedal which I now regret getting. I wrote it after listening to No Age, and really clicking with their oddball, effects-laden approach to punk music. The song is about being completely out of sorts with nature, and not really feeling at peace with your body.
Margaret: I wrote this song so long ago I don't even remember what drove me to it. But it's just a little vignette about a girl who's attractive as hell, but void of any admirable qualities aside from her looks. And she subconsciously is aware of that, which is why she puts on a figurative "mask" and allows no one to really get to know her. Her mystique covers up the fact that she's a shitty person.
Rimbaud: This is a new song. It's me trying my best to emulate dark post-punk. As you know, I am a huge fan of bands like Joy Division and Bauhaus, they're really the reason I wanted to write music. So this is sort of a "found poem" about how I struggle to find hope in just about every situation.
Metamorphosis: People seem to respond to this one a lot, which is kind of funny because it is the song which reflects my direction in music the least. But anyways, this is a song I wrote immediately after reading "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka. It's about waking up one day and realizing you are nothing like the person you envisioned yourself being.
Bounty Hunter: I sort of took the Wipers approach with this one. I wanted to write a chaotic guitar song, and this was my best attempt at doing so. It's lyrically sparse, but actually very personal. It's about how when given the opportunity, I really like to just be alone and have nobody bother me, because interacting with people sometimes just really pisses me off.
Wow. Joy Division, Beat Happening, Wipers(!), Modern Lovers... That’s a wide range of inspiration... What’s your main mode of listening to music? Stereo, in the car, iPod?
I have two main ways of listening to music. One is sitting in my room listening to records, which I do every night. I have a shit load of records, some rock (like the bands I just mentioned), others are completely non-rock. I listen to Delta blues artists a lot, like Skip James, Leadbelly, and R.L Burnside. Also weird miscellaneous stuff. I have a record of a Korean Orphan Choir, which I listen to sometimes.
Aside from that I like walking around with headphones on listening to music. It applies a weird soundtrack to your every day life and breathes a little life into some of the incredibly boring people which walk around the city. My favorite is listening to shit like Suicide or Swell Maps while walking around town. Today I walked outside into the fucking cold blaring "Let's Build a Bridge" over and over again.
Suicide? Swell Maps? Are you trying to impress me? You showing off to an old man like me? Cause I’m really gaining more and more respect for you... What has caused you to be such an avid music listener? In personal convos we have talked about your parents being 'hippies' and grooving on VELVET UNDERGROUND and NIRVANA. Was music their thing? I think I met your Mom and Dad at a party once with a bong made out of a coyote skull.
Yeah man, when I was little fucker my dad was jamming Smells Like Teen Spirit and I used to just spring around in circles listening to it, banging my head around and doing cartwheels. My dad really inspired me to garner an appreciation for "good" music, regardless of whether it was mainstream or obscure. He got me into The Clash, he showed me VU, the Violent Femmes, New Order. My mom too. I remember her showing me a Brian Jonestown Massacre song like 6 years ago and how much I fucking loved it. But my dad definitely. He sort of gave me my palate and I'll always appreciate him for that. But in terms of NOW, I think you may underestimate me. A good deal of my time is spent playing music and practicing, yes-- but the majority of my free time is spent studying music. Digging through archives finding new bands to listen to in order to gain a more full understanding of what the fuck "good music" even is, so that I can PLAY IT. I'm a huge music nerd, and to be honest I hardly give a shit about anything else. And as far as the bong thing, let's just say I can neither confirm nor deny that being a possibility.
Well, the 'skull bong' thing will hold. It COULD HAVE happened...Perhaps I have underestimated you... There’s a chance I have underestimated many more of 'you' like Brian McCabe, Jon Stout, Rob Santel. Bobby Shanesy... It’s incredibly possible that I don’t recognize the sheer magnitude of what 'the scene' right now is. Thanks for pointing that out. I will try to be better. There was a certain kind of 'struggle' for me in my day. Because I don’t see it now doesn’t mean a struggle doesn’t exist right now it’s just a DIFFERENT struggle that, thanks to you (and talk with longtime friends I must acknowledge Kenny Halbert III and Gunther 8544 , I’m noticing... NOW noticing... NOW for what it is originally beautiful... You wanna mention something about the current scene? Your take/view of the current state of everything?
I think there are some very, VERY good bands in the city right now.
Homemade Drugs are amazing, I've been listening to that CD a ton and just being like, "Wow I'm friends with these guys, this is cool." The Harlequins are also really sick. And Dinosaurs and Thunder, Old City, 10cats, Vacation. So many good bands. I will say this though, there are quite a few bands around here that piss me off. I would never name names of course, even if held at gunpoint, but for every 10 amazing underground band doing really cool shit, there is one band that is hogging all the fame and being total shitheads and reminding me that we still have a ton of work too. I can't handle any of this molded, framed, pop shit that so many bands are doing. I like bands with artistic vision who aren't just spewing out what they know people will immediately respond to. I like bands to be a little bit confrontational with their music. And there are a ton of local bands doing that. So overall, I love the bands here.
How do you think you will view this particular time 10 years from now (one of my favorite things to ask interviews.)
Shit, that's a hard one. Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to make it that far. But I hope in ten years I'll still be able to have a good time making my fingers bleed on my guitar, like I do now.
You think bands perspectives are off... Or what? What do you think makes a band think they are important enough to feel bad if a room isn’t shoulder to shoulder? Does quality out weigh quantity with you personally?
I think it's much more human than that. To me, it's more about how the members of the band view themselves. I know some people in bands around here who look down on so many other groups just because they haven't become popular yet. They won't go see a band play unless there is a little bit of buzz surrounding them. We're in Cincinnati, for shit's sake. This city is small. Everyone knows just about everyone. I think bearing that in mind and treating every band who's brave enough to stand up in front of people they don't know and sing about how they feel deserves to be respected. And not to mention, some of these bands just regurgitate shit that THEY KNOW people will immediately love because it's very digestible. I'm not saying music shouldn't be accessible. But the best bands of all time made their audiences work a little bit. Look at the Pixies, for fuck's sake. On that note, that's also why I give so much kudos to a lot of the noise artists who are so tightly knit around here. Brain, and those guys. They support the hell out of each other and act as sort of a unit, even well knowing that the majority of the people in the city will never understand their music. That's fucking awesome.
Yes it is awesome. I suppose its harder for some people to just 'let it happen' and to be patient than anything else. Instant gratification is a real motherfucker... I really could go on and on till the break of dawn but let me just ask one more thing so I can work this interview up and get it out there. I have really enjoyed this interview and even though I came here with a high impression of you, it has grown within these words. I remain floored and humbled by Mardou... Finish up with something big... Tell everyone reading this what they should know about you, Mardou or anything else you want to say. Be outrageous at the count of four. 1......2.......3............... 4!
Fuck man. Just come see us play and say hi to me after, that means more to me than a Facebook "like" or anything. Don't be afraid to fuck up.
Verily Special Thanks to Drunk Music Reviews for letting me use that image. You know... that one.
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