Special Interview: The Dimes

TheAussieWord catches up with The Dimes in this special interview.

What can you tell us Aussies about the group The Dimes? Where do you guys originate?
We’re a group of friends who are really obsessed with great songwriting and making cool records.  We used to all be in different bands around Portland, but always had a lot of mutual respect for each other… and over time have started playing as a group.  The first time we all played together in a room, and I heard Johnny and Kelly sing together, I was floored. knew that we had something special!

The Dimes, can I ask where the name came from?
I was drawn to it because the dimes is the smallest us coin, but is worth more than most of the others… I always thought that was cool and at the time we were making “small sounding” music and  I thought that it might be a good fit..

The sound of your music has a real catchy feel good ring to it. What is it about the sound people love to much?
Well I think Johnny’s melodies are a big part of that.  he’s really got something special there, unlike anyone I’ve played with… they just kind of stick around it a meaningful way.  We do also take the production side pretty seriously as well, which helps….  Each part has to sit will in the mix and sell the song as whole, and we sift through a lot arrangements to get the one the really works for the tune.  We’ll throw away five parts for every one that we keep…

But all in all I hope that gets back to the fact that we’re a group of friends who love playing together, and that comes through more than anything else… 🙂

What got you guys first interested in music?
My mom got me me started at an early age…  kinder music at 4 and then clarinet after that…  she also always had music playing around the house, Beatles, Stones, Bach…  Then at 14 I borrowed this Zeppelin/Hendrix tape from a friend, and my life was changed for ever… rock was all I wanted to do.

Do you have any tours planned? I’m sure Australia would love to see you…
Just US West Coast stuff for 2012, JC just had a baby so we wont be travelling too far.. but Australia will happen in the future!  I have a friend who moved to Sydney, and the pictures are incredible! We must make it out there. 🙂

What are some of the biggest goals that you hope to accomplish as an artist?
My biggest goal is always to make records that I’d enjoy listening to as a fan.  That’s #1.  After that it’s generally about sharing the music with a many people as possible.

What can fans expect from The Dimes in the coming months?
We’ve got a new record in the works! I’m ecstatic about it.  We’ve got about 10 songs recorded so far and we’ll be going into the studio with Mike Coykendall (M Ward, Beth Orton) next month to record 10 more.  After that we’ll pare it down to about 12 songs total for the final release this summer!  Excited.

Tell us your experience about starting out on the music scene and getting your music noticed…
You have to love doing it, because if you don’t you’ll never stick with it otherwise.  Many years ago, our first three gigs were in Chinese food restaurants!  We had a little Asian food circuit going.  🙂 The sound was terrible, we we were pretty terrible, but we LOVED doing it, and that was really all that mattered.  The thing that really helped was that we played so much, 120 shows a year for the first 3 years as a band.  So we improved a lot quickly.

Current inspirations, who inspires the band?
Over time, I’ve gotten more and more impressed by “simple” music.  David Lindley sometimes calls it “the big little sound” …  people like Wilco, Crowded House,

I see The Beatles and Tom Petty are influences…do you guys have any favourite tracks from these musical icons?
Oh yeah!  So hard to choose…  For Petty we really dig the “she’s the one” soundtrack he did.  Great stuff and lesser known.  Definitely check that out.  Angel Dream is on there and “Walls” great tunes.  For the beatles, we’re white album freaks so Rocky Raccoon or Happiness is a Warm Gun.  I also love the better Lennon solo stuff, we did a cover of “Watching the Wheels” on our New England EP that a lot of people seem to like.

Success, what is the secret to success?
Defining it correctly 🙂  To me if your trying to get rich, you should probably pick a different career path, because it’d be a lot easier to invest in the stock market.  Especially these days.   But if you want to have a nice middle class living doing what you love, the key is to take things one step at a time and learn from every mistake.  That’s the biggest thing, learning… and being honest with yourself.

How would people best describe the band?
People generally talk about the songs and the harmonies.  It’s rare that you can get two folks who have such different sounding voices as Johnny and Kelly but sing so well together.  I’d say a cross between Neil Finn, Fleetwood Mac, and a Quentin Tarantino movie!

Save Me Clara is a great track! How was this track put together?
That one started with a the chorus, but we worked on it in different phases.  Johnny had an acoustic demo of the chours first, I had this reverb unit which was malfunctioning and I ran the output of my harmonic mic into it and we got this incredible sound… I’ve tried to get it again since, but it’s never been the same!

Thanks so much for the interview! What can you leave your Aussie fans with here on the blog today…?
Just want to say thanks for their time and for listening to independent music!  We have a lot of music up on our website for free, they should help themselves to it…. 

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