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Music |

Interview: The Districts

Tuesday 09 December 2014
Words Ailis Mara

Braden and Conor of The Districts, a four-piece band from the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania (I refrained from making any titz jokes, congrats to me) graced me with their presence before their gig in Hoxton.

They’ve been together for years, they’ve done festivals, they’ve got a new album out in Feb and a single from said album out as you read this sentence (psst go download it, it’s great). The Districts have just announced a UK tour starting in April 2015 too, Conor predicated right! The cuties with even cuter accents have some very wise heads of their shoulders, and some very intriguing answers to my “would you rathers”. We’ve established that they’d be the new Wild Thornberry’s if they could.

So where were The Districts born?
You’re from overseas aren’t you?

Braden: Yeah, we’re from Lititz Pennsylvania. And now we live in Philadelphia.

Am I right in saying you moved in together kind of recently?

Braden: Yeah, us four and then some other guys too.

Is it like a lads pad?

Conor: Yeah.
Braden: Definitely.

Messy?

Braden: …Yeah.
Conor: Not as bad as last year.
Braden: Last year was really bad.

So where did you all meet?

Conor: In our hometown. We all went to the same high school, we got together there.
Braden: I went to preschool with Rob, so I guess I kind of knew him. I went to preschool with him but then didn’t talk to him until eighth grade. But it’s a small town so… I knew him.

So what did you guys do when you first got together?

Conor: Just practicing, trying to write new music. We didn’t start playing gigs until like…
Braden: We played at the Coffee House.
Conor: Yeah, yeah.
Braden: I was like the last person to join because they needed a drummer to play at the Coffee House, which was like a high school talent show kind of thing. Then I joined and they told me “we’ve got like a week to practice”. We were all really nervous, it was all, well it was my first real gig I guess.

Have you ever played in London before as the headliner of a gig?

Conor: Yeah we played the Sebright Arms that was back in April. That was good.

Do you think this one will be as good?

Braden: Hopefully…

Have you had the chance to explore London a bit?
Any favourite places?

Conor: We haven’t been to too many places, but I like Brick Lane a lot though.
Braden: Yeah Brick Lane and the food stalls always fight over each other. It’s fun.

Are you enjoying the legal drinking age difference?

Conor and Braden: Oh yeah.

On your website, it says you’re passionate about writing honest music, what is it about it that makes it honest do you think?

Braden: Rob writes stuff that is really personal to him and we approach music like not trying to be really, like do something different or trendy. We do what we want to do. So we go with that.

Your music sounds a lot more experienced that what your age would suggest… which must be really annoying to hear ‘Aww they’re so young”.

Braden: No, not at all. I guess when we started the band we were playing older music, like when we were doing covers and stuff. I guess that kind of helped us develop. We never really like went into the band with an idea of what it should be. It was more over time it just became something.

The new album is out in February 10th titled ‘A Flourish And A Spoil’. What was the writing process like for that? How long have you guys been putting it together? The first single from it, ‘4th and Roebling’, was out the other week!

Conor: We’ve been working on it for the better part of a year. The first song we recorded like last September and in April, we were in Minnesota with John Congleton.

Braden: It’s just like writing songs, like “oh this goes better there”. So yeah we’ve been working hard, it’s been a while since we put out a full length so a lot of songs came and went… We’re excited to release it.

Another thing, on your Facebook it says about enjoying ‘Bro Rubs’. Can I ask what a Bro Rub is?

Braden: Oh… it’s just like a bunch of dudes hanging out and you’re like “oh my neck hurts”. (Conor proceeds to rub Braden’s neck).
Braden: You can get a train going and everything.
Conor: Helps you to relax.

Is that what happens in the lad pad?

Braden: Yeah, mostly. We watch the Real World and give each other Bro Rubs.

Sounds pretty good! Well you’ve played quite a lot of shows now for this tour, has there been any stand out shows?

Braden: Yeah… I dunno. They were all really good. I mean, being an opening band feels like more work because not many people go to see you. So it’s kind of different. But New York was awesome. Montreal was pretty cool.

And you’re in Paris tomorrow. Seems like a jet setting tour.

Conor: Yeah we leave tonight to drive to Paris.
Braden: And tomorrow night we have to leave right after the show to come back here. So it’s like, we only have a few shows but it’s a lot of doing stuff and moving around.

And you played at Reading Festival this year didn’t you? How did an English festival compare to any others you’ve done, like Loufest?

Braden: It was more like a carnival, like with all the rides.

They don’t have them in America?

Conor: Maybe at like Coachella, but we haven’t been there.
Braden: There are so many festivals in America. I don’t know if the promoters are the same, but a lot of the time it will be like the same food, and even the same people sometimes. They travel between the festivals. It’s pretty similar but yeah…

Were the crowds very different?

Braden: Yeah, the people are different, more party-like I guess.

Probably drunker.

Conor: Yeah, probably.
Braden: Because 18 year olds can get drunk and do stuff, and in America you’d have to sneak stuff in. There was this one girl who was like crying her eyes out by the fence, she was like tripping her balls off. Really fucked up.

Oh not because she was overcome with emotion or anything?

Braden: No, she was just fucked. Crying and then laughing. And there was people peeing on the fence.

Yeah apparently people at festivals are also disgusting…
Have you got anything else planned, a tour to go with the album or anything?

Conor: Yeah definitely.

Are you coming back and do more than London:

Braden: Definitely.
Conor: I’m thinking April…

Amazing! Right now for some would you rather… would you rather only be able to whisper or only be able to shout?

Conor: Whisper.
Braden: Whisper. Because like it wouldn’t be annoying.

Would you rather arms for legs or legs for arms?

Conor: Probably arms for legs, because you can pick stuff up.
Braden: Yeah true. I mean would you still have arms too? (Yeah). Well you could be really lazy. You could be in the shower, picking stuff up with your hands feet. You won’t need to bend over, perfect. I’d be fine in prison.

Would you rather never be able to eat pizza again or only be able to eat pizza?

Conor: Never be able to eat pizza.
Braden: I’d get sick of pizza, it’s really greasy food. I mean I love pizza as much as this guy (points to Conor).
Conor: And I’d give it up. You could eat lasagna.
Braden: And garlic bread.

But not a garlic pizza…
And finally, would you want to be able to speak any language ever or be able to speak to animals?

Conor: Oh animals.
Braden: Animals.
Conor: People are kind of boring. Animals would be cool.
Braden: Could it be any animal or would you just hear voices in your head? (Like animal voice schizophrenia). So you wouldn’t be walking in the forest and be able to hear like every animal? That would be weird.

It would be just like The Wild Thornberry’s!