News Reading & Leeds Festival 2009: Dinosaur Pile-Up

‘Twas the day before Leeds Fest, when all through the office

Not a computer was stirring, not even a mouse.

The staff had all left for a weekend of fun

Well, all, that is said, except for this one.

And so I grabbed Leeds’ locals Dinosaur Pile Up for a natter about goldfish bowls, cages and being sick. Seemed like a fair swap.

Ok, guys, so obviously you’re all from Leeds but I’m going to ask you the question anyway and I don’t want you to let it get in the way. Which is better, Reading or Leeds?

Hah! Oh Jeez! Well, I suppose as we live in Leeds and we know it well (the place and the festival), we might be more inclined to say Leeds, for familiarities sake. But then again, familiarities can translate in to boredom…so maybe Reading is better…? I don’t know! One thing is for sure though, and that’s that Reading seems a lot smaller! And quieter! We’d never been to Reading until last year when we played the introducing stage, and when we got there we were like - ‘Uh… Where’s all the noise? And why aren’t there burning toilets flying over head?’ It seems a lot nicer in Reading. Not as gnarly… We’ve left Leeds a couple of times and it has literally looked like something out of Platoon.

Speaking of, where is the worst place you’ve ever played?

Yep. That would be ‘Barrow’. A tiny little place in the middle of Fuckknowswhere, where hobbits and shit are the norm. It just sucked beyond anything else. We actually played it as a favour to our good friends Pulled Apart By Horses when they couldn’t make it, so we said we’d do it. MISTAKE. Never ever do that. Especially when the place is called ‘Barrow’. The nearest person to us was about 15 meters away, and half way through the set a guy walked up to Tom, as he was playing, and tapped him on the foot asking ‘How long till you guys are off?’… It sucked. Middlesborough was pretty bad too, when were supporting The Kills. The closest person to the stage then (apart from this one, solo, ultra-righteous looking dude) was about 250 ft away! But at least they didn’t ask us when we were finishing. F*** you, Barrow!

Tell me about your best live experience?

Maybe it’d be the time we played in Hamburg, when we did a little tour out there for the NME. That was really cool. Obviously, it was our first time as the band in Germany, and we didn’t really know what to expect - but that place just went off! It was nuts! It was rammed to the door, and people were right up to the stage just all killing it. It was amazing. German crowds really seem to enjoy music, which is great to see. There was another time when we played Manchester, Satan’s Hollow. There was a really small crowd, and the venue had this kind of circular cage thing that the band play in, and everyone watches from outside it. So we just asked everyone to get inside the cage with us and we played like that. There were suddenly kids hanging off the amps and standing on the monitors. We let the crowd choose the songs and I ran around the cage with my guitar above my head. It was sick.

What’s your favourite thing about festivals?

Probably the fact that you rocking out essentially in the middle of field. I really like that. I don’t know, I’ve just been totally into festivals since I was a little kid. I think maybe it’s all the old photos and stuff I used to see of all the old Woodstocks and Glastonburys, with the hippies all wigged out, whilst Led Zeppelin wigged out and everyone looked all wigged out and happy. Those photo’s just blew my mind. And obviously the photos of when Nirvana played Leeds. That was major history being made and no one even knew it! Anyway, as soon as I was brave enough to go, I went with a bunch of close friends who were all also in to music. We got our tents, got stoned out of our brains, and watched the Foo Fighters headline T in the Park. I think I even got to see Smashing Pumpkins headline somewhere, but it was pretty self indulgent.

When you go to a gig, what is it that you’re looking for?

A time machine. But I’ve never found one, so the second thing on my list is a band that sound like they’ve stumbled through a time machine mid gig, and landed right in front of me, in the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, say. Something that sounds like they’ve just been untouched by the lightweight indie shit that just about touched everything in this generation. You know? Like a really heavy drummer, kicking the shit out of his beaten up kit, long dank hair flying everywhere. Gnarly old gurning amps blaring out guitar tones that make you think your in the pre-historic world again. And maybe a crowd that are just stood there, really enjoying the music, instead of their own hair. Thats what I’m looking for. Haven’t found that yet either… well, actually, sometimes the Brudenell can have something similar going on…

Is it right that you originally began working on the record solo, Matt?

By ‘the record’ do you mean the E.P? Um, well yes I did, and I did actually end up recording it entirely on my own, for continuity’s sake. The way I began DPU was recording everything myself anyway. I’d write all the stuff and then just record it all in the basement of the house I was living in. Those demos really had a charm to them, due to the nature of how they were made, I think. And I think that was something that was really important not to lose, which is difficult, you see, because I’m privileged enough to have two of the sickest musicians around in my band. But I just feel that it’s necessary for me to keep on working like that for a little while, it just seems to get the songs to exactly where I want them to be…

You’ve been compared to the Foo Fighters and we know you’re big fans, how does that feel?

Well, that’s great, obviously, you know, because their first two albums are something really special. I’ve listened to those records a lot and I’m still blown away by the songs and playing. Obviously, that’s mostly down to Dave Grohland his bad self, but those albums have definitely been a big influence on me as a songwriter. That said, I think this band is taking a different slant on things to the early Foos (I’m not so into the more recent stuff…). There’s a lot of venerability within some of the songs we play, something that’s really important to the perception of the band, I think. Probably comes down to me being a freaking pussy.

On your Myspace, your listed influences could seem a little abstract…

Yeah, that was kind of a constant stream of thought that I left open and would add to every so often. I was thinking about how there’s so much more that influences you than just bands and music… what about film? Or people? Or just daily occurrences that are significant to who you are as a person? That’s what I was thinking about when I wrote them…then I got carried away and started talking about Arnold Schwarzenneger , like always.

How do you go about writing new material?

I have no idea. I usually sit in my room, pick up my guitar, and start humming mumbles, which quickly become words, and then I look at what I’m playing and am like “Huh, that’s cool.” And there you go.. I’ll lose all sense of time and social activity, spend a fair few hours recording the parts and different instrument really roughly and there’s usually a song. I feel like I’ve been a gold fish in a fish bowl for a day. All in all, it’s pretty weird.

Your sound is quite different to the stereotypical Leeds band, do you think that this has helped or hindered you?

Well I hope it would have helped us. Besides, I don’t want to sound like anyone else. I want to sound like I sound, so I’d hope that hasn’t hindered us… I’m really not in to the whole North Yorkshire britpop/rock thing anyway, which I think Leeds has a lot of. You know, the Kaisers and The Pigeon Detectives. That shit makes me want to fucking throw up. I grew up listening to Dave Grohl and Nirvana, River Coumo and The Presidents of the United States. Not The Smiths or Oasis. I hated those types of bands. Musically, I’m not very stereotypically English in that way, I don’t think… I liked punk rock drums when I was a kid. I thought all the drummers in old English bands fucking sucked, so I never really got into it. Apart from John

Bohnam, that is, he was disgustingly good.

If you were put in charge of a festival, and you could have anyone play there, alive or dead, who would it be?

Ok. It would go something like this:
Foo Fighters just after the release of the first record headline. Weezer just after ‘Pinkerton’ came out as support. Nirvana play; Presidents on their first album; Black Sabbath; Rage play their first three albums back to back; The Melvins; Grandaddy play the’Software Slump’; Terrorvision play their first two records. Fuck it! Prodigy play their first record, Queens of the Stone Age play ‘Rated R. Torche play… I freaking love that band. Big Business play on the same stage as them…in fact, it’s all on one amazing stage, one band after the other. Awesome.

Finally, what can we expect from you in the last half of 2009?

Well, hopefully you’ll see us getting some bigger support slots coming our way… fingers crossed. And maybe after touring through October, maybe some of November, maybe the album will be recorded pretty soon. It’s gonna be a fun rest of the year…

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