Chatting NXNE and new records with Dinosaur Bones

photo by Samuel Engelking

Revving up for the August 6 release of their second album, Shaky Dream, Dinosaur Bones are on an upward climb, and continuing to reverberate across the indie spectrum.

The band, which consists of Ben Fox, Branko Scekic, David Wickland, Josh Byrne, and Lucas Fredette, formed in 2008 and signed with Dine Alone Records producing their debut album in 2010. Three years later, the crew toured across North America with the likes of Tokyo Police Club and The Arkells, played multiple festivals, and are about to embark on another tour.

Quip caught-up with the band for a chat before their NXNE performance at the Danforth Music Hall. Laid back and optimistic, the guys shared their thoughts on recording, playing live, and bringing back dinosaurs.

Laura Eley: You guys are no strangers to NXNE. What do you like about it?

Ben Fox: I like running around and seeing all our friends play, jammed into one weekend, at bars that are kind of close to each other. It’s nice to be able to see three or four good bands that you know and have hung out with, in one night, jumping all over the city.

LE: You guys have also played SXSW. Are they comparable?

BF: They’re very, very different. SXSW is kind of like Mardi Gras, it’s like the downtown just shuts down and it’s just rock ‘n roll mayhem for a week. Toronto, you can definitely exist in your every day life without being intruded upon by NXNE. Unless you live at Yonge and Dundas, maybe.

LE: Speaking of Texas, you just recorded your second album down there. What was that like?

BF: It was amazing. Kind of our game plan from the get go was to get out of the city and pull ourselves out of our lives to go and make the record. You know, even being in the city rehearsing, everybody’s got their own things going on. We really wanted to just unplug and go and be able to single-mindedly focus on it and get it done.


LE: How is recording a second album different from the first?

BF: Like anything, once you’ve done something you feel like you have a better understanding of how things are going to translate. The way you prepare to go into recording. I think we were really quite prepared this time around.

Branko Scekic: It was also just a different recording process. We kind of put all the amps into isolation rooms, but we were all in the same room playing all the time. Whereas last time, we for the most part, tracked it separately. So, it was cool in that way.

BF: We’d talk about ideas, and try things out. The first time around there was very little playing around with things. The more you do it the looser you get about it. And, maybe the less precious you become about the songs, and more willing to experiment and see where things take you.

LE: You just released an album teaser for Shaky Dream featuring crazy dogs and fires. What’s happening there?

BS: It’s a concept album about the apocalypse. The Russian calendar, actually. The Mayans had it wrong.

BF: No, it’s actually footage from a music video that will be coming out shortly. And it will make that make sense.

LE: The album cover includes a pair of mimes/clowns. Is that following a similar apocalyptic theme?

BF: I never saw it as apocalyptic. It is definitely dramatic. Clowns can be pretty poignant vessels of human emotion, if you can get past the squirting flowers and stuff. They’re usually pretty tragic figures.

BS: If you go back to real clowning.

BF: Like a distraction from things that are worse going on.

LE: In reference to your band name, would you be all for bringing back dinosaurs?

BS: Absolutely not, have you seen Jurassic Park? It’s one thing with animals – and like a tiger attacking Siegfried and Roy is one thing. But, when it’s fifty feet tall, it’s a bit of a different story. They’re not really tameable animals.

BF: We’d have to adapt our infrastructure to accommodate.

Lucas Fredette: When they put them on the island though, they still got to the city. You can’t contain them.

LE: What’s next on the agenda for Dinosaur Bones?

BF: We’re playing at EdgeFest next month, which should be really good. Band of Horses and some cool bands, got some friends alongside, and July Talk and the Great Bloomers, and The Treasures, so it’ll be fun for us to hang out with some friends.

BS: Kempenfest after that.

BF: Kempenfest in Barrie, Ontario. Just some shows here and there throughout the summer, and then we’ll be touring properly in the fall.