It started out as a solo project by Matt Bigland and slowly progressed into what today is Dinosaur Pile-Up. When being in London, Matt was nice enough to take a break from touring to talk to our reporter Gabi Mattson about life on tour and the true meaning of the songs.
The album 11:11 is Dinosaur Pile-Ups third release, is it based up on the belief that the wish you make when the clock strikes 11:11 will come true?
– No not really, I honestly didn´t know about the wish-thing until after the album was released and someone told me. We based the name on the fact that when we were on a long tour, I think it was like 18 months or something and during that time we and our crew started to see 11:11 everywhere, even the weirdest places like plane platforms, clocks, the gigabyte on our emails.
Matt continues by telling me that it was during this time he was writing the songs for what today is the new record. And after seeing these numbers everywhere during the whole process of writing it slowly ingrained into their brains and sort of coined that period of time.
There is a lot of metaphors in the song 11:11 like If I am the water then I am the rain if I am the fire then I am the flame, what meaning is behind them?
– It’s about finding that significant meaning in things that you could not see before. Like when we saw the numbers, it wasn´t important to us first but now it is. I guess the best way to describe it is to say that it’s about being empowered by the relevance in things, but also a conversation between me and and other peoples’ opinions and thoughts.
Dinosaur Pile-Up has a upcoming tour with the Swedish energy-rockband Royal Republic and among the cities they will play in is my hometown Karlskrona. Adam Grahn who is the singer in the other band is originally from the same town as me and therefore always has at least one show there.
– We are very excited to go on this tour with Royal Republic because there are a lot of places we haven´t been to before so it’s going to be fun.
The band had one release date for the UK and one for the US and Europe, the reason behind it was because the band needed to find the right label for the release of 11:11. Not being able to release it global at the same time was somewhat annoying according to Matt.
– We needed to find the right home for the record and that lead to the release in Europe and the US unfortunately was delayed, but now its released there as well. You have to remember that this is our first global release ever and we are really proud and excited to have been able to do it.
Matt goes on to tell me that the journey of the band has been a long one and that it took them some time to get where they are today. But as more people discover the band and they get to play more places a personal achievement has been obtained and the band is now touring on a international level. When he thinks about how all the songs he has written in his bedroom and posted on Myspace and how they lead to where the band is today, he truly feels that all the hard work with the band has been worth it.
– I mean if you think about it, everything started with me and a solo project that developed into us touring and having the line up in the band changing and now we play big festivals like Board Masters with bands like Slayer and Deftones, that doesn´t happen to a lot of bands today.
The first two albums the band released was recorded by Matt himself and after Michael Sheils and Jim Cratchley joined the band and being on a long tour together they decided to record 11:11 together. Matt goes on telling me that being in a band is not easy and there is a lot of sacrifices to be made, but none of the band members feels like they are actually sacrificing something since all their hard work is paying off.
Letting go of the control your used to have when doing things on your own can sometimes be difficult, but Matt explains that giving up the control and letting producer Tom Dalgety in on the project was easy.
– I felt like it was the right time and place to record something together and the band was fully involved in the process along with Tom. The first records were recorded by me because of the creative reasons, I knew what I wanted and how to do it, but now both us and the record label and of course Tom are very happy about how the album turned out. I am still the creative leader in the band but it was nice to work as a team with Mike and Jim.
When it comes to playing shows and festivals Matt goes on to tell that playing at festivals is his favorite thing, a lot of it depends on the crazy scenarios that occurs but also the energy.
– There is a difference in between playing at a festival and a regular show, like the Leeds festival is very special to us because the band started out in Leeds. But also because I used to go there as a kid to watch bands like Foo Fighters perform.
The band will be playing at Louder than Life Festival in the beginning of October along with bands like Slayer and Deftones among others.
– It feels kind of crazy, I mean we have played at big festivals before like in Japan and Leeds, but the festivals in the US are more massive. I don´t know if its because of the line ups or because we never really had the chance to play with alternative bands and metal bands on that level before.
He explains that bands like Slayer and Deftones has been huge influences to the band and they are all looking forward to play for the crowds and wander around just to meet people and see other bands perform. But even though Dinosaur Pile-Up is now touring on a national level in countries like India and Japan, they don´t really realize whether or not the ”Big Break” has happened yet or not.
– It’s not like we feel like wow now we really made it, because you never know what´s going to happen when you’re in a band. We still look at it as a journey and it has opened up a lot of different doors for us. We don´t take any of it for granted, just taking it day by day and work as hard as we can.
Balancing life on the road and coming back home can sometimes be a struggle if you travel a lot. But Matt explains that even though life on the road is different from the life they have at home it only takes them a week to get into it. They do so by staying open-minded about everything, even though he says it’s a hard question to answer, the best way to cope is just to be aware of where they are.
– If I am on the road or at home doesn´t matter, I try and stay positive all the time, because sometimes it’s like wow this is a new place and a lot of stuff is going on. Same goes for being home, I get to chill and hang out with friends to re-charge.
A day on tour can be very similar to the next one in one way, a lot of driving is often a must and depending on how much time the band have they either do interviews or just relax after sound check.
– It's weird because there is this routine to make it all work, but every place and distance are different and the routine still can´t make two days look the same. You don´t really know what a day will look like when you’re on the road, so you just have to deal with it and roll with whatever is going on.
To have your dream coming true and turn into a rockstar can sometimes result in big changes in life, but Matt don´t see it like that.
– It's weird because you use the term rockstar because I don´t think about myself like that and I don´t think anyone around me does. Because when you travel a lot as a band you meet many people and that is one amazing thing that comes with our job.
He goes on telling me that no one really know who they are which makes it possible for them to still be able to walk around in cities like London without any problems. It’s not until they explain why they travel so much that people realize what they do for a living and how many places they have been to. Going from one place to another is something Matt appreciates being able to do, even though they sometimes wish they could stay longer at some places, just going there is for them mind-blowing.
– We get to go places where we would probably never have gone if it wouldn´t have been because we´re in a band and we get to go on long tours. Like India, not many bands get the chance to go there.
The band has been to India once before and he tells me that playing at festivals there is a eye-opening experience. Even though shows and festivals are very similar to one another no matter where it takes place, India did manage to stand out.
– I remember that because India is such a warm and dry country there was dust everywhere and when we played it felt like I was in the Mad Max movie because of all the dust. People would be jumping around like crazy and there was these dust clouds flowing around which made it visually look like that movie.
The story behind why Matt started to work with music is according to himself a mix between being inspired by bands like Weezer, songs and people. He remembers being a nervous and quite child that even though he got along with everyone, he still felt a little bit on the outside.
– It was the feeling of being different that sort of pushed me into music, I could feel a connection with it. I remember being 16 years old and going to festivals watching bands like Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters perform and I could feel like I belonged there.
Matt was about nine years old when he decided to learn how to play the guitar and has never since then thought about doing anything except working with music.
– I guess I am just a mix between very driven and very stubborn, because I would never consider doing anything else but music.
The song Nothing Personal is despite the name a very deep song if you listen to the lyrics that consists of sentences like I know sometimes I'm difficult I wish I was another way and Close my eyes and disappear. But despite this, Matt reveals that the only time he feel like he needs a break from playing is when he is writing the songs.
– I feel like to be able to be creative and being in the zone you need to make sure there are no distractions and such around you. Therefore, I try and distance myself from everything, not pick up the phone and even though I am connected to the boys and the management, I sort of go into my own little world when I write.
The album has been said to be the darkest album the band has released so far, but if you ask Matt then there is no such thing as to dark. He explains that they are just getting heavier musically and instrumentally as a band and that the album has been translated into what they want to sound like.
– We are more comfortable now where we are as a band than we were before, this is a more truthful way of showing who we are. It wasn´t like a conscious decision where we said we´re going to write a dark and heavy record, it was more like a process.
The album is released in different formats, the traditional CD and vinyl but also a digital version will be available. The reason to why is simply because even though Matt would prefer that people would by the cd´s and vinyl´s he realizes that people do buy more digital today. Even though Dinosaur Pile-Up has performed in front of audience consisting of thousands of people, Matt confesses that he still gets nervous before going on stage to perform.
– I´m not going to lie, I still get nervous even though I try and chill out as much as I can before the show. But that is something that never really will go away so I am just trying to find a way to get used to it.
Dinosaur Pile-Up will stay busy until the end of next year and another tour in both the US and Europe is in the process of planning, so even though Matt is always writing songs the focus will stay on touring for a while.
– People can expect us to really rock and play loud, I hope a lot of people will come and see us and hang out with us at the merch booth so we can say Hi and meet the fans.
REPORTER: Gabi Mattsson (email@example.com)
PICTURES: Source (https://www.facebook.com/dinosaurpileup)
BAND: Dinosaur Pile-Up
AKTUELLT: Touring with Royal Republic
FACTS – Dinosaur Pile-Up
Growing Pains, 2010
Nature Nurture, 2013
Eleven Eleven, 2015