Brian (DCMR): On DC Music Rocks, we're shining the spotlight on the great songs and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. The Duskwhales are a three-piece indie rock band formed in Manassas, Virginia in 2010. Through prominent use of keyboards and memorable vocal harmonies, and some sweet vocal harmonies by the way, their sound is reminiscent of the '60s groups, such as The Beatles and The Doors. While incorporating the best elements of their psychedelic roots, the young trio creates a sophisticated style of their own and are currently touring in support of their latest album, which you just heard a track off of, The Sorrowful Mysteries. These are the guys. Guys, thanks for being here.
Chris: Thanks for having us.
Seth: Thank you.
Brian (DCMR): And now, since they're listening to you, introduce yourselves and what you play in the band.
Seth: I'm Seth. I play guitar and I sing.
Brian: Well, Brian, I am Brian, and I play keyboards.
Brian (DCMR): Another Brian. I love it. All right.
Chris: Too many Brians. I'm Chris. I play the drums.
Brian (DCMR): And Chris on drums. So there's only three of you that made all that sound we just heard?
Chris: Hard to know.
Seth: There's ghosts in the machine.
Brian: I think it was just us.
Brian (DCMR): Excellent.
Seth: Really good producer.
Brian (DCMR): I was, yeah.
Brian (DCMR): You guys are awesome. So talk about ... First, I want to know the name. The Duskwhales. Where does that name come from?
Seth: Our parents came up with it.
Chris: That's not even true.
Brian (DCMR): Oh stop it. For real.
Brian: They definitely helped.
Brian (DCMR): How did that happen?
Brian: Well, we were-
Seth: We just have good parents.
Brian: Yeah, we got good parents. We were very, very young. We started the band in early high school. Seth wasn't even in high school.
Chris: Seth wasn't even born, actually.
Brian: Yeah, it was kind of just a goofy name that we liked and our parents liked.
Seth: They had to name me first because I wasn't born yet. Then we named the band. That's how it goes.
Chris: Just put the words together and thought it sounded funny, and here we are.
Brian (DCMR): Wow, so Dusk and Whales just came together, and then it became The Duskwhales.
Brian (DCMR): And how long has that ... It's been ... You guys have been doing this for a few years, then.
Brian (DCMR): And it's always been The Duskwhales? That was it?
Brian: Almost eight years now.
Brian (DCMR): That's amazing. And talk about ... Now, how did the band come together? Did you know each other? What was the ... How did it start?
Seth: I knew Chris when I was really young, and then I met Brian when I was ...
Brian: Pretty young as well.
Seth: In, like, seventh grade.
Chris: Seth and I played soccer together, so we'd been tripping over each other for many years.
Seth: Yeah, now we just do it in music.
Chris: Yeah. We were in high school and it was a very small high school, so everybody knew each other, so we kind of gravitated towards each other and then just started playing music together.
Brian (DCMR): So in high school you started playing music together?
Chris: Yeah, in high school.
Seth: Well, I guess you were in high school. I wasn't.
Chris: Junior high.
Brian (DCMR): Fair.
Seth: Junior high.
Chris: The same building, though.
Brian (DCMR): The baby. Yep, all right. And was it like talent shows or you were all in band or after, it was purely after school?
Chris: [inaudible 00:02:42] music, so ...
Brian: Our first show was a sweet 16 party.
Brian: For one of our classmates. One of your classmates.
Brian: And then ...
Brian (DCMR): You said "you" pointing to ...
Brian (DCMR): Chris' classmate.
Brian: Yeah, sorry. Yeah, because we were all in different grades. Chris was ...
Brian (DCMR): I see.
Brian: Yeah, Chris was in the grade above me and then Seth was in the grade below me.
Brian (DCMR): Got it.
Brian: Yeah, it's a little confusing there. But then we played ... We would do spiritual teen night. [crosstalk 00:03:12] That was an interesting experience. That was one of our early shows.
Chris: Yeah. School events and then non-school events. We kind of gravitated away from those and then, yeah, just kind of started doing our own thing and learning a lot of cover songs and writing progressively less worse songs, I think is the important part.
Brian (DCMR): It's evolved over time.
Brian (DCMR): Where did the harmonies come in. Did you all automatically know how to do that or did you learn over time?
Brian: Well, we started doing a lot of cover shows, so we started covering a lot of The Beatles. Chris is a huge fan of The Beatles, and so he really likes to get it, dig into all the different harmonies so that we can authentically replicate the harmonies that are in The Beatles' songs. So we've kind of been learning from them.
Chris: There's a really great YouTube series by this Italian ex-opera singer-producer.
Seth: I didn't even know you liked The Beatles until now.
Chris: There's this guy named [Gagliasso Fudu 00:04:01]. I'm probably butchering his name, but he's this crazy opera singer and he has a series where he analyzes all The Beatles' tracks, going through each of the individual harmonies. The stuff that he uncovers is pretty mind-boggling. You listen through She Loves You and all that.
Brian (DCMR): Wow.
Chris: Yeah, so we study that. It's like our Bible.
Brian (DCMR): So studying The Beatles and then incorporating some of that knowledge into your own music.
Chris: Just copying it, basically.
Seth: A lot of the harmonies, though, like before that, they would just come about naturally, just figuring out ideas.
Chris: I was just copying Seth most of the time.
Seth: That's true.
Brian (DCMR): I guess the key is you're playing a lot of chords anyway, so you already kind of know what the notes would be.
Brian: Oh yeah. We do, sometimes if we're stuck we'll go to the keyboard and we'll just figure out what's going to be the coolest little chord that we could come up with?
Seth: That's what The Beach Boys would do, honestly.
Chris: It works well because we have different ranges. I tend to gravitate towards the higher stuff, Brian goes lower, and Seth can kind of go wherever he wants, but he ends up somewhere in the middle.
Seth: Sometimes I just stay there.
Chris: To make it sound good, so ...
Brian (DCMR): Wow. That's awesome. So now, what about you guys outside of music, then? Are you, like personal hobbies or what do you do other than the band? What is life like?
Seth: I tend to go wherever I want. Chris goes for the high. Brian stays low. [inaudible 00:05:22] I have just recently got back into roller blading. We learned how to roller blade for a music video last year, and I put it away for a while, but I'm starting to roller blade again, so I'm having fun with that.
Chris: All of the scabs are reopened.
Seth: Yeah. On my knees already.
Brian (DCMR): That tough learning curve. Roller blading.
Brian: We started a Dungeons and Dragons group.
Brian (DCMR): For real?
Brian (DCMR): That's awesome.
Chris: It's not that awesome.
Brian: It's a lot of fun, but ...
Brian (DCMR): Who's the most Dungeons and Dragons of the three of you?
Brian: Well, I'm the dungeon master.
Brian (DCMR): Okay. So Brian is the one.
Brian: Yeah, so guiding them along in the story. But we've got Hargrove Milk, Seth's character, and then Chris is Brody Brown.
Chris: Oh my gosh. Brian killed off my character.
Brian: It's a good time.
Seth: Yeah, Brian killed his character.
Brian: In the most recent session, yeah.
Chris: He's a ghost now, as far as I'm concerned.
Brian (DCMR): There it is. All right, so we're messing with dungeons, dragons, and ghosts now.
Brian: Yeah, Dungeons and Dragons and Duskwhales.
Brian (DCMR): What about you, Chris? Outside of music.
Chris: Oh boy. Jeez, I eat a lot of salad. [crosstalk 00:06:23] Hanging out in the basement. Go for long walks. I don't know.
Seth: You read.
Chris: Yeah, I started reading It. The movie just came out, so I wanted to read that book. It's pretty spooky, so if you want a good scare, pick it up at your local library.
Brian (DCMR): Like actually having nightmares from reading this?
Chris: Yeah, if you enjoy having nightmares, this is the place to go.
Brian (DCMR): This is the, okay.
Chris: Stephen King.
Brian (DCMR): Oh man, yeah, Stephen King, he delivers on that for sure.
Seth: Oh yeah.
Brian (DCMR): What about you guys? What's the ... Let's say the biggest success moment that comes to mind when you think about The Duskwhales?
Seth: I'd say playing at the 9:30 Club.
Brian (DCMR): Awesome. When was that? Tell me that story.
Seth: We'd just, it was the last day of our, not the tour, but the tour before that. So it was end of our tour and we got to just play at the 9:30 Club, which was ridiculous because it's the best venue in DC, possibly that I've ever been to or have seen a show. I've seen every band that I love there, like Of Montreal and ... There's too many bands to even think of, but it was just, to be on that stage was humbling and empowering. It was really cool.
Brian (DCMR): That's awesome. All right, 9:30 Club. That'd be it. Now, what about ... You were talking about those other bands, so let's have fun with this one. Each of you guys, what's one thing in your music collection that might surprise us?
Brian: One thing in our music collection.
Brian (DCMR): They're laughing, by the way, right now, so this is going to be good, if you can't see them.
Seth: That's real extreme, though.
Brian: Something that we listen to. Oh my goodness. Yeah, that's the crucial one.
Chris: Maybe we should pick one for the other person.
Brian: Yeah, I like that idea.
Brian (DCMR): All right, so call them out.
Seth: For Brian, it's Katy Perry Teenage Dream, which is probably one of our best pop albums.
Brian: Oh my goodness, it's brilliant.
Seth: It's really good.
Brian (DCMR): Excellent.
Brian: It's a geniusly crafted pop album.
Brian (DCMR): Oh God, Brian, I'm so impressed right now.
Brian: And everything she's done since then, it hasn't quite been Teenage Dream. That's, what an amazing album.
Brian (DCMR): It hasn't quite been the same.
Seth: She had a video where she burned the wig from that era, which was a huge mistake.
Seth: Can't go back. That's Brian's.
Brian (DCMR): So that's Brian. What have we got?
Brian: All right, let's see.
Chris: Digging into Seth's roots, he had a big Emo era.
Brian: That's true.
Chris: So he hit hard on the My Chemical Romance.
Seth: Still do.
Chris: And all those ...
Brian: Yeah, no shame.
Brian (DCMR): Excellent. This is where if we pulled up next to him at the stoplight, you'd see him in the car, just absolutely singing his brains out.
Chris: Yeah, just losing it.
Brian (DCMR): Going for it.
Seth: Yeah, my car's actually falling apart on the inside because of just hitting it, listening to music.
Chris: It's a bit on the inside [inaudible 00:08:56]
Brian: Seth, let's think though. Chris has such good taste in music.
Chris: What have you got on me?
Brian: Yeah, what?
Chris: You got nothing.
Brian: There's got to be something.
Seth: What about if we just question what he listens to, like you don't like that he listens to that Australian band Pogo, like that really strange band that just takes Disney songs and-
Brian: Oh yeah.
Chris: Oh yeah, well that's ...
Brian: He likes Disney music.
Chris: No, okay, so this is-
Brian (DCMR): Disney music. Oh, so good. [inaudible 00:09:20]
Chris: Obviously Disney music is great.
Seth: I'm just thinking of something you didn't like that he listens to.
Chris: There's this Australian DJ named Pogo who takes little samples from Disney movies and he works them into these weird arrangements. So it's like the entire song is composed up of little bits of Pinocchio and there's a little bit of Snow White, and look, there it goes!
Brian: It actually is really cool.
Chris: It's super strange, yeah, and it's ...
Brian (DCMR): Oh my God. That's amazing.
Chris: It's kind of electronic stuff.
Brian (DCMR): Now, one, so my favorite question that I love to ask is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Seth: To anyone?
Chris: Don't quit.
Brian (DCMR): It's up to you. Answer it however you like.
Brian: Yeah, don't quit.
Brian (DCMR): Don't quit. Say more.
Chris: Keep at it. Don't get discouraged, because you're probably going to play a lot of shows that don't make you feel the inside, but you might play something that you feel pretty good about yourself. Practice a lot.
Brian: Yeah, practice.
Chris: Practice with your full band and with yourself.
Seth: Practice instrumentally and then practice only with the vocals.
Brian: Yeah, and know who you are and be true to yourself, which is very vague, but know what your dream really is. If your dream is to become famous, then that's ridiculous. That can't be your dream.
Brian (DCMR): Right. That makes sense.
Brian: Yeah, but to make music, to make music for other people, you've really got to get your priorities in check.
Brian (DCMR): Know the direction you're headed in. I like that, guys. Now, if they want to find out more about you and the cool things that are happening with The Duskwhales, where do they go to follow you guys?
Chris: TheDuskWhales.com, Facebook/TheDuskWhales, @TheDuskWhales on Twitter and Instagram are the main ones.
Brian (DCMR): Excellent.
Seth: Or come to a show and get to know us.
Brian (DCMR): I was going to say, in person they're ... I'm sitting here with them and they're amazing guys. I hope you get to meet these guys someday.