Before their gig at the Liverpool Masque I wandered around aimlessly with Dinosaur Pile-Up, until it was decided we would go to The Shipping Forecast pub. Choosing an outdoor table so they could smoke, we finally seemed settled. Their friend/merchandise salesman Adam also joined us, and whenever the bizarre outdoor red light switched off and shrouded us in darkness, he would helpfully switch it on again. Dinosaur Pile-Up were pretty hungry – it had been a good while since they visited bass player Harry's nan's house – I could see they wanted to spend the pocket money they'd recently received from their tour manager. Unfortunately, as the band gazed longingly at their menus, they knew we had to get through this interview first.
Apparently hailing from their hometown of “YOUR BRAIN”, Dinosaur Pile-Up (or DPU if you're 'rad') are becoming favourites of Kerrang! and NME magazine. Their first album 'Growing Pains' is out now. So buy it if you have money to burn.
So you played Wrexham last night, how was that? Did the audience go for that?
Harry: I think they really liked it.
Matt: They were quite responsive actually.
Harry: Yeah, yeah. We've never played Wrexham before, so obviously it's a good venue. There's a lot of heritage behind it, a lot of rad bands have played it. And I really enjoyed it, really enjoyed – the thing is right, quite honestly, it doesn't really matter who we're playing to or where we're playing. We are genuinely like three little kids.
People say the Welsh and Scottish crowds are normally good, or maybe that's just to sell tickets.
Harry: Well, there were plenty of Welsh girls. But like, we treat it all just like a bunch of kids. I mean, maybe in three weeks at the end of our tour we'll be more like… but really we're just excited to be playing. I mean they're there, people are so supportive. Even if they haven't meant to come see us they'll stick around to watch us, because we usually play well.
You've done some foreign dates, and a lot of festivals, is there anywhere you really want to play that you haven't been yet?
Matt: Erm, America? [They all agree]
Harry: We've all kind of been to America in non-band ways, and so we've got that thirst for it. You know the kind of music we do, it's either going to go down like a led balloon, or rapturously.
People say you sound like Weezer and the Foo Fighters, would you agree with that?
Mike: We take influences from a lot of stuff that we listen to, especially Matt, all the first Foo Fighters' records. We listen to a lot of The Beach Boys and The Beatles
Just American stuff generally then?
Mike: Well no, I don't know. We've always listened to more American, but we like The Beatles and stuff.
Harry: See that's what I mean. The song-writing might be like those bands, but the structure and the melody are British. Sonically we've got these crunchy guitars, the drums are like very American more so. Regardless of its ethnicity it's important to be on British airwaves again, because there's not really that much guitar based music that we all love right now. It has, to coin a better word, gone a bit twee perhaps?
Oh yeah, it's too feminine and there's that eighties resurgence going on as well.
Harry: Yeah exactly, and it's very much like those post punk records around at the moment. This lo-fi thing, and it's something that we might be fans of aside from this. But when it comes to actually wanting to produce music ourselves… We're very much kind of, our heads are in the 'let's do some rocking' kind of thing because we need guitars on the radio. We can't be the only three guys in England who are into guitar music, you know? Let your hair down a bit.
I've also noticed you've done sort of mock news broadcasts in the past with ex-band members (Steve Wilson, Tom Dunford), and there's some acting on the video for the Mona Lisa single. Do you like acting, the dramatics?
[Everyone points at Matt]
Matt: I don't know, it's just a little bit of fun. I just think sometimes it's cool to do that, I think a lot of bands take themselves very seriously, and it can be sometimes a little bit more humorous.
Harry: The thing about that question is I think it kind of unlocks a broader idea. Dinosaur Pile-Up itself isn't simply a big dumb rock band, although definitely half of it is, other parts of it are really quite sensitive you know. The lyrics are actually about things, emotions and people. Mona Lisa was the first video that we actually kind of had total control over. And so we do also have a serious side – it's not a joke. I'm a jokey kind of guy but I think we have…
Matt: Well you're obviously not Matt.
Harry: …Yeah, we've got those two sides.
A lot of people have said to me, who I've shown video to of Dinosaur Pile-Up, that Matt looks like Kurt Cobain or sounds like Kurt Cobain – do you think you sound like Kurt Cobain?
Matt: [groaning] Oh no. I mean I don't look like him, I've got blondish hair… I think maybe that's people making a lazy comparison, not in any bad way to them or anything, or kind of wanting me to be Kurt Cobain or something. We get that quite a lot and it's like…
Harry: It's not a bad thing, because Matt like, idolises him.
Matt: I am here.
Harry: [to Matt] Hi!
Mike: I mean it's something that's talked about a lot as well, that kind of grunge influence.
Matt: The Nirvana comparison's gonna be there all through my life.
Harry: Actually it's weird, no judgement to you. He's a professional artist and yeah, it makes sense that the general public would think oh wow, it's a loud guitar band on the radio – when was the last time that happened?
Matt: I mean essentially we're Nirvana and the Foo Fighters.
Are there any other comparisons people make, or any particularly bad ones that have pissed you off?
Harry: We don't get really pissed off about it.
Mike: No, I mean they're our favourite rock band in the last twenty years. It's not a bad comparison. It's not like I could hate getting compared to my 'hero'.
Do you ever wish you could 'recycle' songs from previous bands you've been in and release them as Dinosaur Pile-Up songs instead? Like in the past Matt was in Mother Vulpine, do you ever wish you could re-use their songs?
Matt: Not really. I think all of us have written past songs, and I think oh but this is a new band, and I don't think there'd really be any point in that. We've moved on musically and characteristically.
Harry: I think we're more excited about the stuff we're doing now.
Matt: Yeah good point. I think we're more happy about what stuff's to come. I don't really feel like looking back.
Do you have any favourite songs from 'Growing Pains' that you like to do live more then others?
Matt: 'Traynor' [everyone agrees]
Harry: I love playing 'Traynor' live, it's one of my favourites.
Matt: Yeah, me too. I like 'Broken Knee' as well [agreement]
Harry: I think it's worth noting that Mike and I, have been complete fans of Dinosaur Pile-Up so it's rad in that sense to be able to play songs that, you know Adam will vouch for this, we used to get drunk to. We'd listen to 'Traynor' and all their albums – Mona Lisa is a rad track. Yeah, we were more into Weezer, then we started listening to Dinosaur Pile-Up and had been like “rad”!
Mike: And the next thing you know it's like oh, I'm part of the band.
I suppose it was it a dream come true then?
Matt: Oh yeah, I know you and Mike just love me.
Harry: And Matt's like say it, just say it! Just yeah, it's exciting to be part of a band that we like and we support. And I think it's been a fucking long time coming that loud guitar music's come round again.
You need a bit of a rebirth every now and again.
Matt: [to Harry and Mike] Just do it for me!
What do you hope to achieve in the future? Anything special?
Matt: Yeah, just to be the biggest band in the world.
Quite a tall order.
Harry: You want to tick particular boxes, know what I mean?
Do you have a game plan?
Harry: [to Matt] I don't, you do!
Matt: Headline a festival, go on Jools Holland. Yeah, I wanna headline. I think if we could headline Leeds or Reading, or whatever, that would be rad.
Harry: We could die happy people.
Matt: We are ambitious people, but at the end of the day we're just doing this because we love it. Being in a band, we always have been in bands and we always will be in bands.
Mike: You've gotta have the ambition.
Matt: You've got to if you wanna be the biggest band in the world, and I'd love to be able to headline a festival. If we did that, it'd be like so rad.
You played a smaller stage at Reading or Leeds didn't you?
Harry: Was it the NME stage?
Yeah, that one.
Matt: We opened at the NME stage. This year?
Harry: Last year.
Matt: Someone get the tour manager!