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The Datsuns - The Datsuns' Deep Sleep Newsletter Interview

05 Sep 2014 // An interview by Terry McIntosh

The Datsuns Interview with Phil Somervell
03-09-2014
Questions by Terry

Album number 6 Deep Sleep is about to be released in October. What are you most excited about?

Everything about it being at this end of the process. We love that it’s finished and that it's out and we get a chance to play some shows. We're happy with it and there’s a lot of time and energy that goes into the process. So it’s just exciting that it’s at this stage.

I understand the writing and recording process was a bit different this time. This was written and recorded at the start of the year, is that right?

We did it in January. We had all the ideas floating around on the internet but the gut of it was done in the 10 days that we had together. We finished off a lot of the old ideas and wrote new ideas, so it was done over 10 days though.

Is the writing and recording process done as a combined effort or is it something where the Dolf or Christian for example has a few ideas and it goes from there or is it something where they bring the ideas and it gets jammed out?

It’s always different. A lot of the time Christian has a lot of music quite often Dolf has an instant idea and he will put lyrics to the music and put melody after the music or the structure is sorted. Sometimes Dolf will have something where he has written the vocals and melodies at the same time and another way is all together just having a jam working on some riffs. So there’s not some certain structure. We start with a drum beat or a vocal melody or it could start with any of us having a musical part that we have written by ourselves. Whoever it starts with it always runs through the four of us in terms of structure and rhythm and how long certain parts go for and all of that. So we all have a hand in it.

When you go into record, is it something where you record each instrument separately or is it recorded all together almost live so to speak?

No we try to record the drums and bass together and normally we record a guide guitar and either Christian or I will play and we always have one of us that just listen and we have an engineer our live sound guy Scott around. So one of us just listens to make sure the objective perspective is up to what we wanted and then we will replace guitars and add lead guitars and vocals. But the rhythm section being drums and bass is done at the same time.

With this album it has a 70's vibe some have described as a 70's metal thing going on?

Yeah we're super into 70's metal and that’s part of any record that we have done but this was more of a considered effort to do a whole record in the same vein. We were also lucky enough to do the same with the artwork and that has the same 70's vein.

It must have been a fun era to look back and make an effort to replicate in your own way.

Yeah the Sabbathy stuff and the other obscure heavy metal jam bands that were around at that time that’s what gets us excited and even makes us laugh. We even chucked in middle eight’s and stuff that 70's metal jam bands and accents and drum fills and solos you know that stuff we just really got into.

As you said earlier you’re all living in different cities now it must almost be like a long distance relationship.

Absolutely but because of that it lets us work more efficiently we know that we have only got a little bit of time together and we know what were good at and we know how we work in the studio now so we're a lot more focused now when we are together. It works pretty well actually because we have a hard 2 weeks and then everybody goes home so its quality time.

Now that you’re back in New Zealand yourself is The Datsuns your full time job or do you now have a normal job so to speak out of the band?

For 8 or 9 years we were doing the band fulltime all of us we were living in England then we moved to Germany. We did it from 2001 through till about 2009 just doing fulltime band. Just touring all the time and recording all the time and now days we kind of tour less but we do 2 to 4 weeks twice a year so the 2 that live in Europe come over to New Zealand and Australia and we record and tour or the 2 of us that live here go over to Europe because Dolf’s got a studio in Sweden so a recording session there or a tour but the European tours are obviously a lot longer because of the amount of places to play. It great to have the family but it’s still we have to have that creative outlet because we have been with the band for 16-17 years now so we're constantly writing songs and thinking about the next project. So when the guys come over in December we are planning out the next record so there’s always a constant flow of ideas and songs being worked on. It’s good to have the family because everybody’s got their own separate things that they go and do. The Datsuns is one thing but it’s good to have your own thing Christians off making his pedals Dolf’s playing in other bands and recording other bands in Sweden Bens got other projects going on down in wellington and works in the record store down there in slow boat records I think it helps with the balance. I teach people how to play squash and I do competitions as well.

Do you have any other projects yourself?

Yes I have a band, Ben the Datsun's drummer and Scott our sound guy which we are looking to release as an album at some stage but I’m always recording new ideas and stuff like that. I have always like playing with other instruments I was a drummer in a band up here for a while at one stage but it’s always difficult to find the time between The Datsuns and family. I’ve always liked playing other instruments such as drums or bass and other instruments than what I play in the Datsuns.

What are some of your musical influences as a guitarist?

My main influences were from local live bands. When I was younger my brother taught me the basic on the guitar and from there I was into local scene. There was a band called Nothing At All that used to play around and the way that they played guitar and put on a show was super influential to me as a 16 and 17 year old. We grew up in Cambridge so we used to go to the wailing bongo and see bands like Head Like A Hole, Tom Watson was always amazing to watch on guitar loved that I love his style of playing. Then in the classic rock stuff I love Malcolm Young, Pete Townsend and Jimi Hendrix obviously you can’t go past that. I’m really influence the people that I could see live and relate to people that we had never really heard of but would come and just rip it out live you would never see them on TV or radio unless it was a local but that was just the full live experience. Also for my drumming was a big influence I’m more of a guitar player but when I play guitar I feel like I’m playing the drums. A lot of the time when I was watching bands I was obsessed with watching the drummer.

One last question please.  Advice for young musicians?

Have fun. For us if we’re not having fun then what’s the point? For the Datsuns we wrote music because it’s a massive creative outlet. We can only write something that we like we're not the type of band that can write something that will hopefully get on the radio or something like that. We do what we like. Listen to lots of music get influenced by lots of music it’s a never ending journey of finding and listening to new music. There is so much good music out there to discover so the best advice is have fun and listen to lots of music.

 

About The Datsuns

A record that sprang from an experiment in Space and Time: The geographical Space between the four band members who all live in different parts of the world, and the short pocket of Time they had together in the same country to put something to tape.

‘The narrative of Deep Sleep is this: we got together, we wrote some songs and we recorded them in the space of ten days,’ says de Borst, ‘It was basically an experiment to see if we could do it and this is what we got, for better or worse. We had this manifesto of ‘we have to do this fast, it needs to fit within these sonic parameters, and we want to keep it simple.’’

Their almost nuclear family-like existence changed around five years ago when the four members settled in separate cities. Singer/bassist Dolf de Borst put down roots in Stockholm, Sweden, building a recording studio with Nicke Andersson (The Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric); guitarist Christian Livingstone returned to London, embracing the ways of a mad fuzz scientist and birthing his own FX pedal company, Magnetic Effects; guitarist Phil Somervell returned from Germany to Auckland, New Zealand, continuing his work as a squash coach and dabbling with other musical projects; and drummer Ben Cole, based himself permanently out of Wellington working as a session musician and playing with The Joint Chiefs and the Craig Terris Band.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Datsuns

Releases

Deep Sleep
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Death Rattle Boogie
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Headstunts
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Stuck Here For Days
Year: 2006
Type: EP
Smoke & Mirrors
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Outta Sight/Outta Mind!!
Year: 2004
Type: Album
The Datsuns (Limited Edition)
Year: 2003
Type: Album
The Datsuns
Year: 2002
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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