Toronto band Dinosaur Bones, comprised of members Ben Fox (vocals, guitar), Branko Scekic (bass), Dave Wickland (keyboard), Lucas Fredette (drums) and Josh Byrne (guitar), has been steadily unearthing a healthy legion of followers over the last couple of years with countless gigs and loads of perseverance. Thrilled and admittedly relieved to have released their debut full-length album, My Divider, this week, singer Ben Fox touches on honesty in music, playing live, and the fun that comes with a day spent outdoors in the sunshine.
How did Dinosaur Bones come together?
I’m from Toronto, but I was going to school in Montreal. I was writing songs but didn’t really have the guys around me for the project. I knew a bunch of guys from high school and we played music together before, so in my second year, I decided to pack it in and move back home.
The band’s name, the music and even your artwork convey an air of ‘old souls.’ Where does it come from?
I don’t know… I think it comes from the quest to make music that has a lasting quality to it. That’s pretty important to us. Being disposable is not something we’re interested in – at all. We want to try to make something that will have legs enough to stick around and be interesting for some time.
My Divider is your first LP. How does it feel to have it released?
It’s a relief, really. We recorded the album some time ago now, so feels good to have it finally exist and have people hear it. And it’ll be great for people coming out to see our band to have a full length to take home with them.
From the album’s first track, Making Light, your lyrics suggest that this is a deeply personal album.
Absolutely. I can’t detach myself too much, so it’s kind of inevitable that real life slips in there. I’m pretty comfortable with writing what I know – and I think you can feel honesty in music. To me, that’s more important than trying to create some fictitious representation of who I am.
I found videos online for Sharks in the Sand and Making Light shot at the CN Tower. Tell me about them.
It’s a series called Southern Souls, which is shot by a guy called Mitch Fillion. He finds cool places for bands to play and puts them in interesting scenarios to see what happens. It was really fun. We were playing a show that night just across from the CN Tower so we figured it’d be cool to do something there. And they look awesome!
Billboard said: “In less than two years, Dinosaur Bones has been creating significant buzz out of the Toronto music scene, without releasing a proper full-length.” What do you attribute this ‘buzz’ to?
Things like getting the demo recorded quickly, knowing to be social and to get out there and tour to get the project off the ground… Our goal from early on was to have people at our shows and to be playing as much as possible. We’ve definitely been conscious about the decisions we’ve made but at the same time, ‘buzz’ can feel really arbitrary sometimes.
You’ve recently played the U.S. and you’ll be playing Canada over the next couple of months. Are you enjoying it?
It’s great. We’ve really been pushing to play in new cities and in new markets and making a point to return to places where we’ve had really good shows. We’ve got a team that’s steadily growing and that makes it easier to tour more. And that’s the whole reason why we’re doing this: to play live.
Playing live allows you to sell yourself in a different way than your recordings?
Yeah, you know, from a band’s perspective, the live show is the band. The record means a lot for us, but isn’t as much ‘us’ as a live show is…though it may not seem that way to the listener.
And you’ll be on the main stage at Edgefest this summer?
We played Edgefest the year before last on the side stage. It’s exhilarating to play for an audience of that size. It’s not something that happens all the time and it’s not always the people that would ordinarily come out to see our shows, so it’s a great opportunity. Plus it’s one of the most fun things in the world to do: walk around the festival, take in the music and spend the day in the sunshine.
Dinosaur Bones will play SXSW in Austin, Texas, March 15. For Canadian dates with Tokyo Police Club and Said The Whale, and to view their videos, visit MySpace. Their brand new My Divider album is available now at www.dinosaurbones.ca/.