There is an aura of mystery surrounding Tempe's Dry River Yacht Club. The band says it's not intentional, but it is certainly there. Most bands trying to establish themselves in any music scene will offer as much background information as possible, accompanied by flashy comparisons to great bands before them. DRYC keeps all this hidden, maybe because there isn't an easy predecessor to compare them to. Look up their band biography on social media platforms like Facebook and all a would-be researcher will find is an eloquent poem about a group of musicians on a yacht who are caught in a storm and marooned on a dried riverbed made of salt.
To try and pigeonhole DRYC with a specific sound may teeter on impossible--more than that, it's impractical. Neither the band nor the fans are interested in the gratification that may arise from classifying the music they love.
The eight person band takes the stage this weekend at the Kaleidoscope Kamp Out in Flagstaff at the Pepsi Amphitheater and will be one of the bluesy, indie rock bands in the lineup to accompany the various electronic DJ acts. DRYC singer Garnet spoke with Up on the Sun before heading north with her band to give her opinion on local music and the process of assembling her fellow pirate-gypsy musicians to jam out with.
I'd like to get your take on the local music scene in Phoenix. I really like just going out to shows and enjoying a band. I hate to say I don't have an opinion, but I guess I'm just kind of laid back. After doing this since I was twenty-one and doing my own stuff--and then before that since I was eighteen doing back-up work--I just enjoy going out and catching a good show and a good buzz.
I enjoy living in Phoenix, and I enjoy how the city has its own [scene], cause it wasn't like that fifteen years ago when I moved here. It's gotten cooler as I've gotten older.
The first time I saw you play was the end of July at Cresent Ballroom for the Feeding America Benefit. It was clear you have a special fanbase. I can definitely tell you that our fans dance. After all these years, a lot of fans know the words [to our songs] and they sing them, and they enjoy our new material. I feel like we really connect with a very free-spirited base of people, which ranges in age. I feel like our shows are very well received and it's by the kind of people who appreciate art, and are very free minded and willing to dance.
It's nice to have people always getting down at our shows, and if I can give it back to them, it makes everything so fun and kind of magical.
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Do you guys play benefits like that very often? Oh, yeah. Even before I started this project, me and some of the co-founders of this band would meet up and throw benefits for different groups and charities. Before this group and even during this project, we've always tried to be a part of stuff like that. When the community gives you so much, it's always a good idea to give back.
How did Dry River Yacht Club assemble a large group of musicians with an equal passion for such a unique sound? Well, it's come a long way, and it's grown and changed a lot. The concept came up between me and one of the co-founders, named Ryan, in our last band. It was kinda more blues rock, and then we got rid of our bassist and our drummer and decided not to do that again.
Then, we were thinking, "What else could we do?" He said he knew a guy that played cello, and I told him I had a friend that played the bassoon, so we got together and started to jam. We definitely took the best of what we had around us and just kept growing.
Today, we still have a good core of the guys who started the band. It's really fun to still emphasize our sound, no matter what changes might come, whether it's instruments or musicians. We do that with our core group of writers and new writers that come on board and are willing to create the Dry River sound. It's been a developing thing, and I'm grateful that it's still kicking ass and changing in good ways. It's getting better all the time.
You have a new album coming out correct? We're kind of doing some ground work on it still, even though the music is pretty much done. We're not really sure when we're going to release it yet, because we want to make sure we have everything in order to back it up. We want to be able to give the city of Phoenix amazing shows.
We have a lot of art and stuff that we are making for it. We want to make this different than any other album we've released. We've always been blessed with great crowds at our shows and we want to give them more than they are expecting. I can tell you it's not just a CD. There will be other stuff available. We just want to make sure it's perfectly incubated enough to come out for you guys.
I'm intrigued by the mystique that surrounds DRYC. [laughs] I don't think it's necessarily intentional, but I am also a person that lives in that area of anonymity. Like me personally, I don't have a personal Facebook or a smart phone. In fact, if I didn't live in Tempe and make music and enjoy that so much, I would probably just live in the woods all by myself. [Laughs]
I think the band kind of follows suit with that. There's a lot of cryptic, personal and emotional stuff that we give in our sound, and I don't think it should be convoluted with how--umm, let me word lightly here--but there can be so much narcissism with Myspace and Facebook and the constant contact with tweeting this and that.
And you know what, I really don't give a fuck what kind of bagel you ate. I don't need to know that. I want to hang out with you and have experiences with you. There's no need to be a fucking Kardashian all the time in order to be personal and emotional with an audience. The music should hold up a lot of that. And you know, we still contact people and we're still around, I just don't think it should be narcissistic in order to be connecting.
I think that's just how we try to be as a band because that's an energy we like rather than trying to be like "I'm so cool, and this is so cool". You do that enough and it's not fucking cool [laughs]. Sometimes it's nice to disappear into a little crease or a shadow and create something there and share that. We're just old souls.
What goes into the writing process for the band? It's a lot of group effort, and also a little solo effort. One of the songs on our new album was a love song and I got to transpose the whole thing from the melody in my head and show it to them and make something really beautiful out of it.
Also, people will construct a part of a song and bring it to the group and we write on it. We always have good communication between each other. There is never an ego or an idea that's too big to stand in the way of listening to another option we could use to make a song better.
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What are you planning to do for your performance at Kaleidoscope? It's definitely going to be pretty and fun, and hopefully be a little enchanting as well. We love it up in Flagstaff--it's the mountains.