The interview with Dustaphonics discovered a group of musicians from different generations, with diverse backgrounds, with the aim of having fun with their music enough to please their fans, but they don't want at all to be pop stars. All of them are normal people with excellent taste and with very clear ideas about piracy, the record business, life, music and underground culture. Together they form a team that transmit passion and fun in abundance. Their lives are quite a party where the music with roots in the fifties and sixties is the main protagonist. The result of this mixture of styles, from surf to soul, rock and roll to R & B songs are "simple" but not easy, which reflect the original spirit to go beyond simple imitation.
Magic Pop: Bruce, you have a great background as a drummer, you' ve been drummer in lots of bands...
Bruce Brand: Yes, I've played in a lot of bands, I started playing drums in Thee Milkshakes in 1981, but before that, I played guitar, I've never aimed to be a drummer, I only wanted to be a drummer for Thee Milkshakes. I played drums for them, but as I said, I never wanted to be a drummer, and after that, I've carried on with Thee Headchoats and with Holly Golightly and The Masonics, about three or four bands led by Bald Diddley, Hipbone Slim And The Knee Tremblers which is a rock and roll trio, Thee Mighty Caesars, Link Wray, The Len Bright Combo, among other bands ... and now with The Dustaphonics .
Magic Pop: Did you train in a school, as a drummer or you' re a self-taught one?
Bruce: No, I was formed as a drummer playing in Thee Milkshakes and listening to sixties records, drums on these records sound good, but drums on contemporary records sound horrible, disco drums are horrible, heavy rock drums are horrible... so I listened to Johnny Kidd or Beatles. I listened to Sandy Nelson and stuff like that, this is good!
Magic Pop: But despite of all, are you happy playing drums?
Bruce: Yes, what else can I do? I wanted to be a spaceman when I was a boy, or a traindriver, which is what a kid wants to be when he's growing up and I wanted to be an astronaut too, but I ended up playing drums (laughs).
Magic Pop: The line up of Dustaphonics at the moment is different from the initial one...
Bruce: Yes. All of us are doing different things, when someone can't play, someone else can, there's nothing personal behind that, it's usual that somebody can't come, for example, today Aina is touring somewhere, in a gig in Canadá.
Magic Pop: Yvan, you use to play with your guitar different styles, you start playing surf and after that you change the style to garage or soul, r&b... You're playing all the time different styles mixing them, which are your backgrounds in music to cover so brilliantly all these styles?
Yvan: Well, I started playing guitar when I was about 14 years old, I was a collector of old records and tried to play like in the records that I used to listen, I tried to play by ear over these records and like Thee Milkshakes records and then, I moved to a bigger city (I'd never even played with a band before that) where my favorite band split and they came to see me one day and they asked me if I wanted to play in a new band with them. I told them that I didn't know how to play guitar but I learnt a lot as well with them, all the garage, sixties punk, soul...I was a fan of The Cramps and of Bruce Brand, you know (laughs).
Michael Bluesmith: He's an animal (laughs).
|by: Carme Ripollés|
Yvan Serrano: I'm also a professional DJ of music from the sixties , I like the old style and I try to make it similar somehow and it likes to black people, white people or red people, there is some connection in this music or I think so.
Magic Pop: Which is your favorite kind of music?
Yvan: My favourite kind of music? I like rockabilly, soul, R&B, boogaloo, latin boogaloo, afro-beat, ska, punk rock...
Michael: What don't you like?
Yvan: What I don't like? Thee Milkshakes (laughs) I'm joking... I don't know, I like all what I think it's good for me, I like the sixties and fifties music and also the seventies.
Magic Pop: Would you like to play with a brass basis in the studio?
Yvan: The way in which Dustaphonics was born was because I was signed by the famous english label called Freestyle Records for an album with my other music project called Healer Selecta. They asked me 30 songs soul, funk, reggae and jazz, so I went to the studio with some jazz musicians and then we recorded my songs for that project, an album called “Lets get it started”. After recorded nearly 30 songs, I called Bruce to see if he would like to come in the studio for some rockin stuff. Bruce Brand was available so we done few songs, some blues, surf, rockabilly or garage tracks so Bruce were on drums, Brian Iddenden on saxophon and Johnny Gibbs ( Wildbeests/Kaisers) on the double bass, and I was on guitar. When I gave these recordings with this line up to Freestyle Records, we realized that they were not suitable for this label, who is famous for funk soul, but they don't do rock'n'roll stuff. This record has great songs and great recordings, the Healer Selecta album was supposed to be called "Dust-a-phonic", so I took the name back and the rocking songs and we agreed with Freestyle that I can do also a music project on the side of Healer Selecta called the Dustaphonics ( Healer Selecta Rockin Soul Band) then we gave the recording to the label Dirty Water, which said "yes, let's do it!" a single called Burlesque Queen, and that's how we started Dustaphonics.
|by: Magic Pop|
Magic Pop: We have the feeling that in uk the revival from the 50's is more succesful than the revival from the 60's, what do you think?
Yvan: I think that rockabilly is really more latin music, near of Mexican and Spanish style of music, so probably the rythm of rockabilly is what Spanish people enjoy more specially compared to the german people, for example, because it's really linked to the Mexican or Spanish people, whatever, it's because of the beat, in the last Rockabilly Festival in Las Vegas there were maybe about 99% of people who were mexican, but in London is different, the fashion is close to the 50's but 60's is always there anyway. It's very good the 50's and 60's revival.
Michael: I don't really agree with him, (laughs). I guess that the old sounds have more division because, for example, mods and rockers... they're always suspecting each other, they're always faced up to each other, (laughs)... they had their own idea about the old music (laughs). If they don't appreciate it, it doesn't matter what you do...I know what I mean...
Yvan: I think that nowadays is different, for example, because of the iPhone you can have so many different styles of music in your iPhone, you can go from rockabilly to soul or whatever so easily, you only have to change the song so it's different the perspective of the people, before this, if you're a mod, you must listen this, if you're a rocker, you must listen that, but nowadays it's not like that, if I'm not a rocker or a mod but I like this or that and I can listen whatever I like, you can mix up the music whatever you like.
Magic Pop: Out of sheer curiosity and talking about new technologies, what do you think about the them, are they positive for your work, what do you think about piracy...?
(They laugh a lot)...
Yvan: Well, it's different for us, I think it's good, honestly (laughs) ... it's about to protect the "big fish" but we're a "small fish", I think that it's very good for the people to know about the band through Internet and the social networks, and to know and to come to the new gigs, but I don't like the "big fish" because they want to get everything. It's great, but of course, you can't control it, but even in the 60's or even 70's, people were doing bootlegs, and now there are bootlegs on Internet, but we can develop a new chance now, because if people visit to our web page, we can find more people who come to our gigs, and now a gig are forty or fifty pounds, maybe?. The price of gigs are enough high and it compensates anyway the money that we loose in the trading of music, there is a profit in the gigs.
Michael: Internet sites are very good because when people visit them, people can see what you like, what you're doing and they can see easily if our music like them or not.
Yvan: You can't really control piracy.
Kay Elizabeth: Somehow Internet empowers this world and makes the music more succesful because people can meet an artist, and then the big labels are not so important. People can listen to our music without having to spend fifteen pounds and without going to the store to buy the cd, they can find what you do and they have access to your music in a different and more personal way, that empowers the access to the music more than the cds sale, or whatever. I think that Internet empowers, it's about performing, it's about reaching people, in a person to person kind of way, it's like coming back to the real deal what music is about, it's about changing this world, it's about a close relationship with the audience, that's really the most important thing as well...
Yvan: Yes, that's what you're saying. We know that people like Dustaphonics, we've changed members in fact, some members who wanted to be pop stars, but we ignore all that, we only want to play our own good music, to be happy. If you wanna be a pop star is not with us, of course, it will be with someone else. I think that as long as you need somebody to pay your productions that's the main problem, you have to pay to go to the studio, to pay to do the marketing... that's it, but there must be passion on it! most of the people see the Chelsea every Sunday and they pay for seeing them playing football, they enjoy it, but there are some people that prefer to go to the studio to do a record (laughs), but it's about passion and about sharing it with other people, it's about meeting people, you know, we like what we do, everybody here, that's the best thing for us ..
Kay Elizabeth: Yes, it's about the way in which we develope our music, in subcultures, in the underground, it's where I'm from in San Francisco, it's not necessary to be in big labels, people follow us anyway, the independent musicians have their own followers and they continue doing their great own music, because their fans are gonna be there, subculture and underground music seem to be developed by people who follow and believe in what we do and feel it with us.
Magic Pop: Which is your relationship between you both and with the band, your point of view of the band, as singers?
Dana: We have the rehearsals with the band, we practise together the songs, we've our own preparation, every single of us in the band (I don't know Kay very long actually), we didn't know each other before, but we get very well along, we feel like sisters and in the rehearsals we get the necessary elements to get the songs good, we have a lot of fun and really enjoy us and we feel excited about our music...
Yvan: We understand each other, when we're playing together we listen to each other and we enjoy to each other, you know, we like doing music together and we're happy doing it.
Dana: Because we love our music, there is nobody here that thinks different, when we're playing we think "wow, this is great and fun" (they laugh a lot). When we are on stage we're together, and everyone of us know what have to do and we all appreciate this, we live all that, there is a lot of people that appreciate our work.
Michael: All of us have our individual projects but when we're together, this is a natural kind of respect from the one to the another.
Yvan: There are four or five different generations and maybe five nationalities as well, that brings something special in this band, we have different backgrounds, personalities, nationalities, whatever, and we don't see that, everybody is respecting each other and everybody likes each other and anyway, I think there is not competition between us, we're not rivals and it's always a good time and I don't think that we could do this music if we were different.
Magic Pop: How do you feel on the stage about Dustaphonics without you?
Dana: So Kay and me are part of Dustaphonics, we're like a family but all of the musicians here have separated projects outside of Dustaphonics, but when we're together there's an "outstage", where we feel like a "family", we have a good relationship but "onstage", we're personally feeling like Dustaphonics, we're feeling like a unit, all what we do is bring it to a team, and if one is gone, it doesn't matter who, we feel that something's missing.
Yvan: Three years ago, I had an accident and I stopped about two years with the music, but when we had the single with Dirty Water, our Spanish agent phoned me and told me to play in Spain and we didn't even have the band, and we were offered to come to Spain, we had only the single. We went to Spain with some jazz musicians and I knew that the background of these people is more pure and more suitable for the Dustaphonics music, we do R&B, Rockabilly, 50's and 60's R&R, is just a mix.
Dana: Yes, it's just a mix.
|by: Magic Pop|
Kay Elizabeth: Yes, I think that it's about that Dustaphonics will continue getting better, and growing more, the singers, Aina as well, all of us are together, and we're going to continue to grow, all of us are involved in this and we believe in our passion to do it.
Magic Pop: so, according to that, we think that you really want to be famous and rich... (we are joking)
Michael: I'm interested in that about being rich (laughs)
Dana: When we bring people together they don't come to the Dustaphonics gigs because everything we do is for the music contribution, it would be so cruel and no one would come! (laughs). You can't feel it in that way because you really like the music, so it's very simple, we like the band, we like our music, we like each other, we like the crowd, we like meeting our fans ... and if people come is only because they like our music and they enjoy with us and what we're doing, we like music and music like us, people come to see us so we can't stop. We can't stop because we're feeling really well.
Yvan: That's what happens, I'm a DJ and in London I started to mix a lot of styles, and people enjoy when I play a rockabilly song and then, I change to a soul song, or a reggae song, then I receive a horny phone call telling me if that was great or not, but you can notice that people is sleeping when the sound is not popular, there are different people from different generations and different tastes in music. When I decide to do another band, I think I'll bring my DJ experience by using this music, 'cause I know that there must be a kind of music that people dance and feel good, it works. I love very simple music. I think that it's not a question of being great and genious, it's about doing simple music but we play with the spirit of the original sound without trying to be the copycat of 50's or 60's.
Dana: We play what we need to, we need R&R, soul... it brings people together. It's the music itself, it's not simply or complicated, it's about the way in which it affects you...
Yvan: But doing simple music is really very difficult...
Magic Pop: What did you think about the spanish crowd and what do you expect about the spanish tour?
Yvan: We did a tour last year in Spain with The Dustaphonics and we realized that the Spanish crowd is probably one of the best in Europe with their response. Tonight was a bit different, I think because it was the first day of the Festival, but we'll see what happens tomorrow, what people thinks (laugh). The first time we played here was because our Spanish agent booked our band in the Festival in Noia, (La Coruña), Sidonie and many other spanish bands were performing in it, but nobody there knew Dustaphonics, but we jumped on the stage, we played and everybody got excited, and our agent were amazed because nobody knew us but everybody sang the songs, that's for I think that there is a kind of connection with the spanish people, because they like 60's and british and american music so I like the spanish people.
Dana: I love Spain
Yvan: It's a really mixed nationalities in people who live in London so they come to enjoy our music... We played in Madrid last year, (in Wurlitzer Ballroom) and we played typical dirty R&R, there were in the local about 25 people who didn't know about the gig, we could even ask their names (laughs), but when we came back, I received a phone call of the Iggy Pop Spanish agent to tell me that it was a great performance, he said "I wanna work with you because I like very much your work", but even in a big city and under the circumstances, those 20 people enjoyed it a lot and had a great party with us because the job of a band is to make people enjoying, of course you can't please everybody, and you don't have to please everybody, when you're on the stage, it's about your work, it's not about "look at me", is like "ok, that's what we're doing, come on" , if you don't like it, it's good anyway and I can't see the difference.
Patricia Sarrais & Alex Magic Pop
Interview in Spanish here