I first heard Dinosaur Bones a few months ago in a dingy Brooklyn venue called The Rock Shop. They were one of five bands playing there that night as part of New York City’s CMJ Music Festival. All five bands were impressive, but Dinosaur Bones blew me away. Perfectly grungy, in a sexy, Strokes-ey kinda way, with powerful riffs that stick in your head like chewing gum, Dinosaur Bones sounds familiar and brand new all at the same time. Hailing from Toronto, the band includes songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Ben Fox, bassist Branko Scekic, keyboardist David Wickland, drummer Lucas Fredette, and guitarist Josh Byrne. The Eargazm shared a few questions with Fox via email in advance of their return to Brooklyn, where they’ll play Cameo Gallery tomorrow night.
The Eargazm: Love the new album, Shaky Dream. Can you tell us a little about the album cover? It’s really bizarre; I love it.
Dinosaur Bones’ Ben Fox: It’s an image we came across when we were working on our first record. It’s a hundred-year-old photo of two Ringling Brothers performers. I find it incredibly striking. It really stuck with me. It elicits a lot of different feelings when I look at it. It’s simultaneously nostalgic, playful, slightly menacing. When we were making Shaky Dream, it felt like the concoction of feelings in that image really paralleled a lot of the moods and themes throughout the album.
The Eargazm: How did Shaky Dream come about? What experiences lead to its creation?
Ben Fox: We recorded the album in Dallas with producer John Congleton, who’s worked with a ton of great artists (St. Vincent, The Walkmen, Explosions in The Sky, etc). Aside from getting to work with someone as creative and talented as John, it was important to us that we record the album outside of Toronto to get away from all the distractions of home. In many ways it was a bit of a self-imposed exile, in a town where we didn’t know anyone, in a cultural landscape completely different from our own. It wasn’t necessarily conscious, but I’m sure that probably impacted how the album turned out.
The Eargazm: Your sound reminds me a bit of The Strokes, a band synonymous with New York City. As a Canadian band, specifically one from music-friendly Toronto, how much would you say that location impacts your sound?
Ben Fox: Toronto’s a really global city. It’s big and it’s loud. Four million people. In many ways, growing up in downtown Toronto isn’t a far cry from growing up in Chicago, or really any major northeast US city. So often music coming out of Toronto in particular is coming from an urban experience, rather than music coming out of the prairies or the east coast of Canada, for example. That being said, where you’re from is naturally going to have a huge impact on who you are, the people around you, and the art you ultimately make. I’d say we lucked out with Toronto, a city brimming with great culture and great music.
The Eargazm: Dinosaur Bones is a cool name for a band. Speaking of dinos…Your tour transportation breaks down and you’re forced to travel via dinosaur, which one do you choose and why?
Ben Fox: I’d probably walk. Seems the safer option.
The Eargazm: We’re officially nearing the end of 2013 list season here on the Internet. What’s your favorite album of the year? Song?
Ben Fox: I’d probably have to go with Luke Temple (singer of Here We Go Magic) for his solo album, “Good Mood Fool”. It might be the new release I’ve listened to the most this year. You can tell these songs are written by a veteran who knows what he’s doing. It’s too good. For favourite song, I’ll give it up to fellow Canadians Royal Canoe for their song “Birthday”. It’s weird, it’s funky, it’s creepy, the production is bonkers, and as icing on the video rules.
The Eargazm: What have you guys been working on for 2014?
Ben Fox: 2014 is going to be a heavy tour year for us. Besides that, we have a couple videos set to come out early in the new year, we plan to release a 7″ featuring B-sides/remixes from Shaky Dream, and we’ll hopefully have some new music out later in the year.