Interview with Ben Fox of Dinosaur Bones
Interview with Ben Fox of Dinosaur Bones
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of listening to an album you have not listened to in a while. Since my job as a reviewer involves so much music, I find myself constantly discovering new bands and expanding my horizons. As such, I tend to neglect records. Toronto-based Dinosaur Bones’ Shaky Dream figures high on my list of favourite discoveries in the last few months—and unfortunately also figures high on my list of neglected records.
When I was asked if I wanted to interview a member of Dinosaur Bones by email and see the band live in Victoria at the end of November, it was with great enthusiasm that I accepted. After all, the concert would mark my first concert as a reviewer—and what’s more, it was guaranteed to be a good one. It did not take long for me to rummage through my files and pull out the band’s second album, Shaky Dream. Instantly I was met with the familiar, almost-nostalgic sound of “Dreamer’s Song”, and instantly I was reminded of all the reasons why I had loved the album so much.
I found myself playing Shaky Dream several times in a row that day.
The member of Dinosaur Bones who was kind enough to reply to my few questions happened to be Ben Fox, lead singer and guitarist for the band. In the review of the album that I wrote for the magazine, I remember clearly emphasizing his voice as the highlight of the album for me. Because I did not know who I would be interviewing by email, I had no other choice but to play it safe and keep the questions general.
I had always been quite curious to hear what a normal day in the life of a Dinosaur Bones member was like. Introduction aside, here is what Ben had to say about that. “We’ve just set off on a five week tour spanning much of Canada and the U.S, so at this point, a day in our lives consists largely of making sure we get ourselves to the next town in one piece. The first two weeks of the tour are in Canada, where the drives tend to be a bit longer, which I actually don’t mind at all. It really affords you time to think, write, play with ideas, read books. Some people would get stir-crazy, but I’m a big fan of long drives.”
In 2008, Dinosaur Bones released their debut album, My Divider. The latter was met with quite a few positive responses. Naturally, I wanted to know whether this kind of response impacted at all the release of their second album, Shaky Dream—and whether the guys could feel some sort of added pressure as a result. Interestingly enough, that was not the case with Dinosaur Bones. “To be honest, any external pressures are really just a drop in the bucket compared to the pressure any artist worth their salt puts on themselves to push forward and produce something better than what came before. Our goal is always to keep things evolving and just make sure that we continue to develop creatively as band. Staying focused on that keeps our minds off of any expectations coming at us from the outside.”
While listening to Shaky Dream, I could definitely feel a hazy, almost dreamlike quality to the songs—something which, by the way, I thoroughly enjoyed about the album. Since I wanted to bring up the subject of Shaky Dream as a whole, there was one thing that I really wanted to know about it: whether or not the title of the album was at all related to the dreamlike quality I could feel. Ben’s answer was everything that I had hoped for.
“The title for the album is a direct reflection of where our heads were at prior to—and during—the recording of the album, which I think is the reason you can maybe feel a link to the title in the music itself. It’s meant to touch on the teeter totter between drab reality and daydream fantasy we found ourselves living in over the past little while. There’s a certain amount of escapism that goes into choosing a life of touring and making music. We wanted to make an album that reflected that.”
The next question was concerned about whether or not the members of the band ever disagreed on certain things musically, and how they went about solving those issues. “A major part of developing as a band over time is about developing your ability to communicate musically. It’s about knowing how to negotiate personalities and choose your battles. In a model like ours where the songs come to the band already in decent shape, it helps keep things focussed and relatively efficient.”
Unfortunately, email interviews tend to be quite restrictive—and while I greatly appreciated the answers Ben gave me, nothing can surpass the flow of a real-life conversation. Regardless, I would like to thank Ben Fox for taking the time to reply to my questions with such detailed answers. The small glimpse into the life of a member of Dinosaur Bones was greatly appreciated. You are a wonderful musician and seem to be quite a thoughtful person as well—two qualities which, when combined together, can often go a long, long way.
Here is what’s next for Dinosaur Bones:
Nov 16 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 18 – Hamilton, ON @ Casbah w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 19 – London, ON @ The APK w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 20 – Waterloo, ON @ Starlight w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 21 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 22 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Nov 24 – Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theater w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 25 – Saskatoon, SK @ Amigo’s w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 26 – Edmonton, AB @ The Artery w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 27 – Calgary, AB @ Commonwealth Stage w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 28 – Kelowna, BC The Habitat w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 29 – Vancouver, BC @ The Media Club w/ Brendan Canning
Nov 30 – Victoria, BC @ Lucky Bar w/ Brendan Canning
Dec 02 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
Dec 03 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studio
Dec 07 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Dec 09 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
Dec 12 – Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room
Dec 13 – Houston, TX @ The Ballroom at Warehouse Live
Dec 17 – Raleigh, NC @ Slim’s
Dec 19 – Washington, DC @ LivingSocial House
Dec 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo Gallery
About Dinosaur Bones:
Formed in 2008, Dinosaur Bones in an indie rock band that hails from Toronto, Canada. The band consists of Ben Fox (songwriter/vocalist/guitarist), Branko Scekic (bassist), David Wickland (keyboardist), Lucas Fredette (drummer), and Josh Byrne (guitarist).
Find the Band on: