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St. Louis’ So Many Dynamos has managed to create an album in The Loud Wars that despite my somewhat mixed review has managed to keep me coming back. Guitarist Griffin Kay was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about the album and the band in general.

So Many Dynamos – Friendarmy (Safegoat Mix)
So Many Dynamos – New Bones (RAC Mix)

Kevin: You may be sick of this, but how does it feel to be routinely compared to the Dismemberment Plan? They’re one of my favourites, and actually what drew me into checking you out in the first place.

Griffin Kay: It really depends where the person making the juxtaposition is coming from. If they use it as a positive reference point, that’s great. Some people hear similarities and will be quick to write us off, which is unfortunate.

Kevin: Would you say that the Washington DC sound is a big influence on you in general?

Griffin: Aside from the aforementioned Dismemberment Plan and (to a smaller degree) Q and Not U, I can’t say there are too many bands from D.C., past and present, that we draw a lot of influence from. I don’t mean to come off as dissing D.C., but it doesn’t seem that the “D.C. Sound” or “scene” is thriving these days.  Of course I could be wrong. I do live in St. Louis after all.

Kevin: Given that The Loud Wars is your first release for Vagrant Records, has the move to a larger record label changed the way you go about your business?

Griffin: Working with Vagrant has been part of an overall move towards handling the ‘business’ aspects of our band more seriously. As our band grows so does the need to mind our p’s and q’s. It’s still new territory and I am amazed at just how much paperwork is involved, but it’s all for the better. If anything, we are now more focused and striving to improve how we operate on every level.

Kevin: What was it like working with Chris Walla? The man seems to be producing just about everything these days.

Griffin: This was our first time working with a producer and I have a hard time imagining wanting to work with anyone else. He quickly locked into our group dynamic and did an awesome job keeping morale and creativity very high. I guess it would be similar to being drafted out of the minor leagues and being coached by Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre. I am sure many other people have already said this, but aside from being ridiculously creative, he’s also a great guy to be around. While recording we managed to squeeze in a lot of joking and goofing around. I can’t divulge too many details, but one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen was his “Mr. Happy Pants Dance.”

Kevin: Did you consciously choose a palindromic name, or is it just a side benefit?

Griffin: We wanted a palindrome name and this one seemed to work best from the list we found.

Kevin: You’ve been touring much of the year in support of the new album. Are you looking forward to some time off, or would you prefer staying on the road indefinitely?

Griffin: We want to tour as much as reasonably possible. We really hope we can make it to some other countries/ continents before the end of next year, so we’ll see if anything materializes there.

Kevin: What’s your favourite band you’ve had the chance to tour with?

Griffin: Without a doubt – Maps & Atlases. They are one of my favorite bands as well as great friends. Their fans are totally rad too.

Kevin: One thing I note about ‘The Loud Wars’ is that there’s a sort of organized chaos to the sound, by this I mean there’s a ton of stuff going on at once, but it all seems under tight control. Do you take a collaborative approach to songwriting?

Griffin: It’s certainly a group process. Nobody has ever come in with a completed song. Usually there is an idea and we just work it out from there.

Kevin: Lastly, local band Arietta opened for your Toronto date at the El Mocambo in June, and they’re dying to know what you thought of them.

Griffin: I will only answer this question in the form of a piece of notebook paper reading “Do you like me? Circle yes or no. Love, Arietta” passed to me in between classes. But seriously…we were just talking about coming back to Toronto in the fall and making sure we played with them again.

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— , August 14, 2009    2 Comments
Comments:

What’s the best album Chris Walla has produced?

— Daniel, August 16, 2009

Not counting Death Cab for Cutie-related material, I’m torn between Tegan and Sara’s The Con and The Decemberists’ Crane Wife.

Kevin Kania, August 16, 2009