Interview: La Dispute

La Dispute - Photo courtesy of La Dispute

La Dispute - Photo courtesy of La Dispute

La Dispute played last night at Berlin’s Magnet Club, the second show of a European tour in support of its sophomore effort, Wildlife.

The album was released on Oct. 4 on No Sleep Records, and although a handful of shows followed in the United States, this is the band’s first full-blown headlining tour since its release.

“It was kind of perfect timing to have the record come out while we were on the road,” vocalist and lyricist Jordan Dreyer said. “I think we’re all a little nervous but interested to see how it would turn out because it’s our first go at it…[we’re excited]; to play [songs] we’ve never played and then to see people respond to those is really cool.”

In particular, he shared that playing in Berlin is special for the band – which also includes Chad Sterenberg (guitar), Kevin Whittemore (guitar), Adam Vass (bass) and Brad Vander Lugt (drums) – as not only was it one of La Dispute’s first ever stops in Germany, but the two prior shows it played in the country’s capital city rank as some of the most memorable for the group.

“It was awesome to be in a place where we’re on the other side of the [world] and people know our words,” Dreyer said of the band’s first tour in Europe. “To be in Germany, to see some of the kids singing along…it’s pretty astounding, pretty shocking. I don’t think that’s ever really worn off, so it’s kind of a magical place that holds a special place in all of our hearts.”

But it isn’t just Berlin that is dear to the members; playing across Germany as a whole has always been positive for them.

“We have yet to have a bad experience, really anywhere in Germany,” Dreyer said, referencing sold out shows and energetic crowds. “All the bands in our niche probably say the same thing.”

The niche he is referring to is the world of melodic post-hardcore, in which the role of building community is accentuated and emphasized. Dreyer explained that this focus on fostering relationships not only exists between bands in the scene, but also with fans around the world. In turn, where it is that people come from matters far less than what it is that brings them together.

“The question that I think most people ask back home when we get back from [tour] anywhere out of the country is, you know, how is it different,” Dreyer said. “And I think the more poignant characteristics are the similar ones. And I think it’s always been interesting to me to be here and to be in a different country and culture and to see how the differences kind of wash away as soon as you’re at a show.”

In the same breath, he also expressed gratitude for being able to be part of such a unique scene where the music isn’t the only thing emphasized.

Yet at the same time, Dreyer acknowledged that the music can also be used as a tool that points toward a greater understanding of not only one another, but the world as a whole. More specifically, he referenced his lyrics, which he said are written in a way that aims to be as articulate as possible.

And as anyone familiar with the band is aware of, its “Here, hear experiment” is a collection of EPs that feature spoken word accompanied by musical tracks. The content of these EPs is a collection of writing from authors and poets the band is attracted to or inspired by. The third installation branched out even more to include Dreyer’s own written creations.

In quoting or referencing the works of other writers alongside his own, Dreyer explained that his hope is to give these words a larger context, in the sense of an homage to the written word. He also feels that sharing this with an audience opens the meaning and interpretation up even more.

As for the music itself, the band is interested in the idea that just as people evolve and change, so too do the meanings of lyrics and the stages of a song. And while a song is never actually complete, it exists and communicates with listeners in varying ways, depending on where and how it is experienced.

“Writing and recording is an interesting thing in that you make something permanent,” Dreyer said, sharing how what exists on an album is only one small part of a greater whole. “You kind of have to stop adjusting and take a snapshot, and it’s this weird little amalgamation of the recording process and the writing process and your mental state at the time.”

In spite of all the optimism emulating from Dreyer’s words, he did admit that there can be downsides to what La Dispute does; in particular, he said that one of the most difficult things about being in a band, particularly one that is constantly on the road, is maintaining and preserving the relationships with people back home.

However, in exchange, he said it’s a wonderful feeling to be in another country, in a room full of strangers, and feel connected to everyone there.

“If last night is any indication, I think we’re gonna have a really great time,” he said with a smile.

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