1. A couple years running now you’ve been voted one of, if not the sexiest musician in Canada. Now that you’re married, how do you, and more importantly your new wife, feel about that?
D: (Laughing) Oh, man. The Georgia Straight, in Vancouver, has this like, sex survey, and I think I’ve been in there three years in a row. One year I was tied with Bon Jovi, one year I was number one and Justin Timberlake was second, and the third time maybe I was tied for first with like, Jack White or something like that. I don’t know.
It’s ridiculous. I’m a pretty low key dude. The funny thing is that my wife just scoffs. She’s like, “whatever.” She thinks it’s ridiculous.
So she’s not worried about you going on tour?
D: (laughs) No, she’s fine.
About touring, you maintain a pretty relentless schedule. What drives you to keep pushing so hard all the time?
I’ve always had an appetite for whatever’s happening, for life. Cool opportunities are happening and it’s hard to say no, and you have to just roll with what’s happening. You want to keep those opportunities coming so you keep doing them.
2. And you’re finding all this success, your popularity’s growing, but you seem to make a point to remain humble and modest.
D: We’ve had a crazy amount of positive feedback from the media. We’ve had a lot of accolades, and the healthiest thing I find for me is to appreciate it, and say, “fantastic, thank you,” and then forget that it exists. Because if all of the sudden you’re doing what you’re doing under the presumption that you’re great, then you’re lost. You’re not going to have that initial fire, that spark that got you to where you are. You have to maintain the idea that there’s so much more you can learn. You have to look at the world like a kid, like anything’s possible, and as soon as you think that you’re fantastic, or that you’ve figured it all out, well then you’re only going to get worse. You’re only going to get more lazy. I just don’t like that.
I have a very ongoing hunger to learn. Even though in the eyes of many people we may be a very established band, I feel like we have so far to go. I feel like I’m just starting and I’m only just beginning to understand what it feels like to really, truly play music, and to write great music. I want to get so much better than I am, so it’s hard to get really boastful or egotistical when I feel like there’s way more potential than there is kinetic action.
3. Reading interviews, listening to your songs, hearing an answer like that—is it safe to say you think a lot?
D: (Laughs) Yeah, everything can get heady. I took a lot of sociology in school and I try to read a lot. I don’t really subscribe to one philosophy, I feel like I’m so uncertain of anything. Some people get so certain of things, “I know there’s a god, I know that there’s this because I can feel it and I know.” And it’s like, you don’t know shit. And I’m not saying I do, because I don’t, I really don’t either. But people get so defensive and certain about things that are completely a hunch. And it’s like, really? Just be okay with not knowing, be okay with no answer, be okay with a little uncertainty and you’d be amazed how much lighter you feel on your feet.
So would you say most of your songs have a central concept?
D: They kind of go in waves. I’ll write a few songs at a time that touch on a certain thing, and then I’ll get sick of that and have to touch on something else. The world at large swims around in my head and I’m writing down little thoughts, little phrases and stuff, and then they’ll build up into a ball of elastics, and then I’ll throw that ball at the wall and see what happens.
Sometimes I worry that the lyrics are too metaphorical or too all over the place, but I think that I’m getting better at writing songs. That feels good. Feels good to know that there’s momentum, not just in the sense that we’re playing to bigger audiences, but in the sense that I feel like our greatest records are yet to come.
4. I know your band has been growing. How has that changed your songwriting and performances?
D: Quite a bit, actually. The band blows me away every night. I feel so lucky to have these guys. There’s a core quartet: myself, John, Gordon, Kenton. And then on top of that quartet there’s a revolving door of about six other musicians that come and go. I’ve been lucky enough to pull musicians from the fairly avant-garde, out-of-the-box scene in Vancouver. There’s a lot of crossover with other bands, and I don’t “own” any of these guys. They come and go as they can, and they play in lots of different bands that give them a lot of opportunity to express themselves in different ways. In many ways this is probably the most pop project for most of these guys. Most of their other bands are crazy, intense instrumental free jazz bands.
5. So, what’s next?
D: Well, we’re touring Canada with The Rural Alberta Advantage. Then we’re going to tour Europe with Jason Collett. Next year, we’re still going to be active, but maybe take a little bit of time. I’m going to do some film scoring, some film work coming up that I’m really excited about. That’s a new adventure, something I’m really excited about—also embracing my anxiety about it, because it’s sending me into new territory. That’s something I can do from Vancouver, record and work on instrumental music. Eventually, at some point next year we will make another record.