INTERVIEW: Tim Derricourt From Dappled Cities
Sydney based indie-disco-rock five piece Dappled Cities have been keeping a low-profile since the release of their 2012 album Lake Air. Since then they’ve been working on recording and writing their 5th studio album. We spoke to guitarist and vocalist Tim Derricourt about their new material and recording with the same band for over a decade.
You guys have been playing together for over a decade now, how has the writing process evolved when it comes to writing new material?
New material’s good! It’s all kinda changed how it’s been written; I think previously Dave [Rennick] and I were a bit more tyrannical about things. We’re kinda relaxed I think – gotten a little more freer which is nice. I think we’re less concerned about getting our songs to fit into a specific mold. Outro’s go for a bit longer and are more freer.
Have you found yourselves incorporating new styles into your music?
Oh yeah. Definitely, definitely. I think, I don’t know, somehow the blend of 70’s funk – not funk, I’m not going to use the word funk, like, 70’s rock-jams have somehow combined itself with melodic tricks. It’s very different, I think we were kinda more dance orientated before. I’d argue that that’s thrown out the window. You won’t find a disco-beat on the new record.
Oh, I was going to say, a lot of your material is reminiscent of 70’s disco/post-punk.
Well, that’s it. I think we kinda grew up listening to that kind of music. I think we’ve taken that 70’s thing we do, which is like, embarrassingly loving The Bee Gee’s and turning into a more American-rock thing.
Are they your main influences– The Bee Gee’s?
Yeah, basically. Just them. Just the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack.
It’s a top soundtrack.
I mean, I guess there is a similarity in the singing there. We do like that band.
A lot of your releases have that sort of airy, post-punk vibe to them, were there times where you wanted to make an album that diverged from that sound – or like a huge tonal shift?
Yeah, in some ways. It’s kind of funny with song writing because you have to follow the song that comes out of you. You often don’t get a choice of what song emerges. Like, a song comes into your head, a good melody, the rhythm. When I write a song, basically the rhythm, the melody and the structure come at once – it just happens and that’s the song you’re kind of stuck with.
I often don’t start with a stylistic thing, the song comes out and it emerges into a style. When the band comes together I guess we add those influences. Like, maybe this time Allan [Kumpulainen] on drums would want to do a more straighter, less disco-y beat. Ned [Cooke] was more keen on having more elaborate chords.
Speaking of band members, in 2008 you guys got a new drummer [Allan Kumpulainen]; did you find that that changed the way you guys worked on your music?
Yeah, it did actually. We were a four-piece to start of with and we added Ned and Allen during the recording for ‘Zounds’, so I think that album back in 2008 was the first modern ‘Dappled’ record. And it did change the sound, if you listen back to ‘Granddance’ from back in 2006, or ’07, it was a very “guitar” record. The follow-ups became very synth orientated, and this new record, I’d argue has gone back to a more guitar focused sound – less over the top synthesisers.
So what can we expect from the new Dappled Cities record?
It’s a masterpiece. It’s possible the best Australian record released in the past sixty years. It’s very pretty, there’s a lot of very long outro’s. We didn’t really have as many expectations on this record as previous records. I think we were trying to make a statement, or have a certain mold of song, whereas this time we’re almost indulgent in that we can expand the back-end of songs and keep chord progressions going for minute and a half, where previously we’d be a bit more inclined to cut it short, which takes us back to where we were in 2004, just doing things however long and weirdly as we wanted.
I guess it goes back to how you were saying you were writing songs more freely.
Yeah, it gets to a certain point with a band where you know you’re going to be strong – you know what’s going to sound good when the band gets together. You don’t stress so much before recording. It’ll end up sounding exciting regardless.
You guys start touring in February, yeah?
Well, we’re doing just a one-off show on February 5th and that’s just basically to get the songs out there and play to some of the fans that want to hear the new things since they wouldn’t have heard anything new in such a long time. Then we’ll do a more serious tour with the release of a new single down the track.
Finally, I should ask: when are you guys coming around Brisbane next?
Probably very soon, so hopefully we’ll have a single out very soon in the next few months and that’ll inspire an east-coast jaunt.