They got talking about the latest additions to the Big D clan, the release of Fluent In Stroll and their ever-changing sound, as well as a whole lot more, including our mutual love for Millionaires!
Faye: Can you say your names and what you do in Big D and the Kids Table?
Dave: I’m Dave and I sing, that’s Derek who plays drums, Brian who plays bass and Sirae who does vocals.
Faye: How are you today?
Dave: So far, so good. Today, I actually get to see my relatives, my cousin Amy is bringing five people that she’s studying abroad with, so it should be a lot of trouble and if I get too pissed it’ll probably be talked about between our mothers. [laughs]
Faye: The last time you were over was in May 2008, what have you been up to since then?
Dave: We did our new record, Fluent In Stroll, and Brian, Derek and Sirae joined the crew. So, yeah, new record and new people.
Faye [to Brian]: Don’t you or didn’t you play in Suburban Legends as well? How did you get involved with Big D?
Brian: Yeah, I still do! I got involved with Big D just through touring with them, we’re like BFF bands, I got summoned. [laughs]
Dave: He also, before we knew Suburban Legends, Brian was always in the front row just balling at all of our shows.
Brian: I was crying, I was like, “I can’t believe I’m seeing them AGAIN.”
Dave: Yeah, then eventually we said, “Who are you? Why do you cry all the time?” [laughs]
Faye: So, you released Fluent In Stroll last year, and like with all your albums, you completely changed your sound, did you find that people didn’t really get it at first?
Dave: Well, it’s funny because we have a record called How It Goes, the change from How It Goes to Strictly Rude, we got a lot more shit from people, through the Internet, like, “What the fuck are they doing?!” But the lily pad jump from Strictly Rude to Fluent In Stroll, actually, wasn’t nearly as much. You got a couple of people going, “Huh?”, but there was rage when we put out Strictly Rude. People were burning the records in the street and then later on everyone loves that record, but when we first put it out, they were like, “How could you?!” and we were all like, “Well, we like it.” So, we’re used to it. Sometimes people get confused, because they’ll buy a record and they’ll have two or three years of memories with their friends and fun with it and they don’t realise that they associate some of their songs with their memories, and then when the new record comes out, they don’t have memories yet.
Brian: Good one, that’s exactly it!
Dave: So, the first kind of month or so, they’re like, “I have no ties to it yet.” You just have to give them some time.
Faye: I read a review of Fluent In Stroll, and it said, you’re “reinventing ska”, how do you feel about that?
Dave: Well, we don’t even think it’s ska, that’s why we called it Fluent In Stroll. We called it ‘stroll’ because with Strictly Rude, we tried to tell people what was in the record, there’s only ska songs and here’s no punk songs – even though there is one, and with Fluent In Stroll we wanted to tell people who were buying it this is going to be a little different. I’d tell them they’re exactly right, totally reinventing ska, we should get a grant. [laughs]
Faye: So, what is stroll?
Dave: Well, we kind of feel it’s like old hop-scotch and double-dutch rhymes, it’s kind of like that, mixed with soul and ska and reggae. We’re not even quite sure, but it’s not traditional, it’s not like Strictly Rude or some of our other records, we kind of just wanted to stamp it with a different name. If people can come up with that silly emo name, we can come up with a name.
Faye: Do you think stroll’s caught on?
Dave: Oh, with us.
Dave: We like it! We’re having a blast.
Faye: With that album, you also introduced female vocalists, how did that come about?
Dave: Oh, man, Sirae just makes every day a pain. [laughs] I’m just kidding.
Sirae: What can I say? I’m a man beater.
Dave: We met Sirae here and Hayley Jane who’s here with us today, and there’s a couple of other girls on the record from the band Tip The Van, called Nicole and Simone. It was great, a lot of the music that I listened to, some ska stuff and some reggae stuff, there’s always female vocals and back-ups, and I really loved that move The Commitments. It’s just one of those things where there’s no rules, if you want to do something, you just do it, and them coming on board has just been great, it’s really made our music more enjoyable to listen to and play, and they’re so talented it’s ridiculous.
Faye: Didn’t you lose your drummer during the recording process of Fluent In Stroll?
Dave: Yeah, he got like one of those girlfriends who kind of crawls up your ankle and then up your thigh, and goes up into your ribcage and then up into your ear canal and whispers things in your ear, and now he’s bandless and she broke up with him, so you’ve got to watch out. [laughs]
Faye: Is there beef?
Dave: No, there’s no beef! We just feel bad for him, because a girl convinced him that she knew what was best for him.
Faye: You’re from Boston, and it’s known for its music scene, particularly punk and hardcore, does it have much of a ska scene?
Dave: Yeah, yeah, I would say that’s what I grew up on.
Brian: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones!
Dave: Yeah, the Bosstones, they’re a ska band that would play with Slapshot, a hardcore band. The hardcore scene would embrace the ska scene, so you would have one band that was ska and one band that was hardcore, which is kind of a shame that it doesn’t happen anymore.
Brian: It doesn’t happen in California at all! It’s like, “I go to ska shows.”, “I go to hardcore shows.”, “I listen to this and this is what I dress like.”
Dave: Yeah, it’s weird. I mean, people would be on each other’s albums, so Converge can open up for us anytime they want. [laughs] But we did play with Melt-Banana once, which was quite fun, because we’re opposites in style.
Brian: Suburban Legends played with T.I. once, it was awesome. Everyone was all drunk on stage and it was all girls, and, somehow, I managed to slip in on stage and took my shirt off and I was dancing with all these slutty girls on stage, and T.I. was rapping, dancing with all the girls, then he comes over and looks at me, laughing. [laughs]
Faye: What about the rest of America?
Dave: Yeah, it’ll always be there. In America, in California and Boston, the coasts will always have it.
Briain: It’s a little harder to find in California, the shows do well, but you never hear about it.
Dave: I mean someone people get confused, because in the nineties ska got so huge, that they’re always comparing it to that huge break in the wave, but in the States, it usually just fits in you, you just have to figure out where it is, it’s just where it always was, really.
Faye: Do you find that people are more accepting of ska in Europe?
Brian: Yeah, what I’ve noticed, they’re not just ska fans, they’re just music fans.
Dave: Yeah, totally. You can play a new song to people in Europe or in England, and they’ll actually enjoy it, but people in the States, people will take out these invisible clipboards and go, “We’ll get back to you on that one.”
Brian: The greatest thing I ever saw written in a dressing room wall, I think it was at the Webster in Connecticut – I hate the Webster, was, “I’m writing this to you from the future, don’t play the new song.” [laughs]
Dave: It’s such wisdom, though!
Faye: You played the Warped Tour last summer, and a lot of bands spoke out against the likes of Millionaires and BrokeNCYDE being on it, but I saw a video on YouTube of one of Millionaires’ set, with you [Dave] watching them on stage.
Dave: [laughs] You saw?! I wondered if people saw!
Faye: [laughs] I did, I love Millionaires! Are you a fan?
Dave: Yeah, I think they’re great! Nobody, other than you and me will say that. They’re nice, they’re fun, they do female smutty rap really well.
Sirae: I think if I was the fourth member, I would definitely be like the Spinderella of the group.
Dave: [laughs] Actually, that position is open, they fired their DJ. So, yeah, Gallows were raging everyday about all the bands on the tour and it even got to the point where Kevin Lyman [Warped Tour creator] had to go to their bus and say, “Listen guys, there’s a lot of different bands on this tour so that you can get new fans, so simmer down.” So, they would freak out and every band on Warped Tour hated the Millionaires, but I thought they were just great. They’re very smart too, the girl with the big hair [Melissa] is something like a huge Math major, they’re smart, they know what they’re doing.
Faye: Do you not think they deserved the heat they got off people?
Dave: Oh, definitely not, because everyone’s talking that they’re not talented, none of those bands are talented. [laughs] I don’t think any of those guys are talented. They don’t like them because they’re different, it’s such a witch hunt, it’s ridiculous. I don’t think they’re accomplished enough to say Millionaires are garbage.
Brian: It’s usually the haters are the people who have been in bands forever and aren’t getting recognition.
Faye: So, I hear you’re back in August for Rebellion Festival?
Dave: Yeah, I just found that out, everybody’s told me I’m supposed to be excited, so I’m excited.
Brian: It’s in a place called Blackpool, which is a cool epic metal name. If I was in a metal band, I’d call it ‘Blackpool’.
Dave: We’ll be doing a headline tour as well, right?
Brian: Yeah, in-between festivals.
Dave: We’d love to do Reading and Leeds again, it was very fun last time, because it had been built-up so much that it was just so exciting. The Plain White T’s played with us and they played that song, Hey There, Delilah, and it was the loudest I’ve ever heard people sing along to, I’ve never heard a louder sing along, it was ridiculous. It was like a Beatles concert, not that I’ve been to one. [laughs]
Faye: What are you getting up to after this tour when you come back?
Dave: I think we’re going to do a tour with a band called State Radio, we’re excited about that.
Faye: So, you’re not writing or anything yet?
Dave: Not yet, I actually think it’s a good idea to take breaks from writing and just listen, so that the chapter change is really different from the last chapter, so you’re really working with different tools, that’s my rule.
Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Dave: I really like Yelle from France, and Melt-Banana. There’s a Boston band called the Have Nots that are really good, they’re like ska-punk. Hayley Jane and the Primates, very good.
Brian: Wu-Tang Clan!
Dave: This up-and-coming MC called Jay-Z, you should check out, he’s pretty good.
Faye: Do you have anything else to say?
Dave: Three things, we have a DVD coming out soon, Built-Up From Nothing, it’s like our first 10-years, and it’s really good. We have a new video coming out for We Can Live Anywhere!, and it should be out next month, and I have a new book coming out, probably next month, it’s like tour observations and stuff like that, about how Brian treats me. It’s our love notes back and forth.
– Faye Turnbull.
Many thanks to Big D and the Kids Table, for more information on the band, visit: www.bigdandthekidstable.com