David Baldwin & Emile Mosseri
David Baldwin (Guitar, Vocals), Emile Mosseri (Bass, Vocals), Erick Eiser (Keyboards, Guitar), and Mark Demiglio (Drums) are The Dig. Their roots go all the way back to middle school, and their sound has gone through some stages, but their latest release, Midnight Flowers, shows them becoming fully formed. Right before an awesomely energetic set at Glasslands, the guys from The Dig discussed their first song they ever wrote, what they did differently on this latest record, guilty pleasures, and then some.
Emile Mosseri: Kind of, yeah. The two of us (David Baldwin) started playing when we were eleven.
David Baldwin: We went to middle school together.
EM: Since sixth grade. And then we met him (Erick Eiser) when we were fifteen.
Erick Eiser: I was seventeen. And I’m still older.
KK: Do you remember the first song you guys wrote together?
DB: The first song we wrote was “The Happy Song.” It was awesome.
EE: I think the first song we all wrote was “Tuesday Night Live.”
DB: Yeah, we had a funk band when we first were playing. (Erick) was the second – one of two keyboard players in a twelve-piece funk band.
EE: Yeah, we were terrible.
DB: We were awesome.
EE: We got Mark in the band he set us straight.
KK: And you have a new album coming out in a few days.
EM: Yes, we’re celebrating it tonight.
KK: Is this your second album?
KK: What’s the progression like from the first one?
EM: It’s better, I think.
EE: Much better.
KK: As far as production, songwriting?
KK: Did you use any unusual instruments or effects this time?
DB: On this one we switched instruments a bunch. On the first one it was very much just the way we play live, but on this one we would switch around, and play a lot more guitar than electric toys, and we were switching bass and guitar on half the songs.
EE: David plays drums on one little track.
DB: It was more loose. Sometimes we write songs but we’re playing different instruments, and you loose the feel if you try to do it the normal way. It just adds something unique about it, so we just tried to keep it like that.
EM: It makes it more exciting and fresh too, to play an instrument that you’re not as used to. I think a lot of songs were born out of that.
EM: I think it helps.
EE: It keeps it fresh.
EM: It’s easier to come up with stuff.
DB: You don’t know as much until you’re listening to shit and just trying to figure stuff out.
EM: You don’t fall back on the same old thing you normally do.
KK: How does that translate live? Do you switch instruments?
EM: A little bit, not much. Not as much as we did on the recording.
DB: Just on one song live.
EE: I feel like it would take away from moving it – song going into another songs – if we’re always switching around.
DB: Even now, doing it once, it’s hard to find the right set so we don’t keep stopping and starting on stage.
DM: Yeah, we sometimes have to fall back on that, if it’s really a bad night.
KK: What’s more important to you, a good recording or a good live show?
EM: They’re equally important, just totally different.
DB: It would be ideal to have them both stand on their own, as they’re own individual type of thing. We definitely gotten that our live show is more energy than the recording. We can definitely see that, and I think it’s a good thing, but we want the recording to be it’s own entity.
EM: It’s just different. The last record we made we tried to re-create the live thing in the studio, and this time we tried to just focus on making a record, and figure out how to play it live later.
KK: You just did a Daytrotter session – how did that go?
EE: It was good! It was fun. We did one a couple years ago for the last album – it was really cool. Daytrotter is a really fun thing to do. They have a really cool, comfortable, fun vibe to play in.
KK: And that’s kind of combining the two, because you’re recording a live performance.
EE: Yeah, it’s kind of like, one take.
EM: We gotta be one take states.
DB: So whatever you are, that’s what you get.
KK: Was there a show that you saw growing up that changed your life, and you were like, that’s what I want to be like?
EE: This guy (pointing to Mark Demiglio) has a tattoo from the first show that he ever went to.
Mark Demiglio: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It’s a Weezer tattoo.
EE: Recently, one of the best shows I’ve seen was The Black Keys at Madison Square Garden. It was pretty awesome. They’re badass.
EE: The past three years we’ve been lucky enough to get some really good opening slots. We went on tour with Portugal. The Man, which was probably one of our most fun tours, and we just got back from a tour with Ben Kweller, which was cool. Now we’re going to move out to L.A. for a month in July, and do a residency there and just play in the West Coast a little bit.
KK: Any guilty pleasures while you’re out on the road?
DB: We play a lot of nerdy car games.
EM: Music trivia games.
EE: Twenty Questions.
EM: When you’re in the car for ten hours a day it helps. We get really competitive, and we get angry at each other.
EE: Yeah, we actually get way too into it. These guys (Emil and David) get really competitive, and this guy (Mark) keeps his cool.
MD: Cool as a cucumber.
DB: We like to play a lot of Frisbee.
EE: Yeah! But I don’t feel guilty about that. But we’re not the best Frisbee players. After a couple tosses we’re all out of breath.
DB: We’re not in Frisbee shape. We’re in sit in the van for ten hours a day shape. It’s a different kind of shape. It’s a rounder shape.
KK: Do you fight over who DJs in the van?
EM: The DJ thing is funny, because it’s like everyone wants to perform a little bit when you throw on tunes. Everybody catches shit for playing the same tunes. It’s like you’re under intense scrutiny every time.
EE: I actually can’t put on music that I actually want to listen to right now, because I’ll get shit for it.
EM: It’s also a pride thing, too. If somebody puts something on that you don’t know what it is, it kind of hurts a little bit to ask. You’re better off Shazaming it and then being like, oh, this is the new so and so. I just totally blew my cover.
KK: Do you guys write a lot on the road, or do you save that for when you’re in one place for a while?
EM: Yeah, we do.
EE: We didn’t really get a chance to this last time, but some of the songs from the new album, like “All Tied Up,” we were working on that in the van, passing around the keyboard and contributing.
EM: A lot of the stuff on this album, we wrote in the van.
EE: I think when we’re not as tired, and we’re in good spirits, and the morale is high, and everyone’s getting along, it’s easier to write songs.
EM: It’s also harder to do when you have your head in getting one record out.
EE: Once this one comes out and we play it for just a little bit, we’ll be writing a lot more aggressively.
EM: I think our heads and our hearts are in this one now.
KK: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned so far, if you were going to give advice to an even newer band?
EE: I feel like we’re not really even in a position to be giving advice. I think we’re still trying to figure it out ourselves. We’re still in the pay your dues, work hard phase.
DB: That would probably be it, then. Also, going on the road, just being as cool as you can with venues and other people that are involved. Some people try to argue with venues and shit, but it’s usually just best to always be chill about everything and just deal with the bullshit. There’s so much bullshit to deal with, especially being the opening band. It’s always awesome, but you just have to suck it up. Suck up any bullshit and just go with it.
EM: Take it like a man.
EE: But in a way it’s great to do those kind of shows, because we’ll be on tour with bands that are buzzing or whatever, but they’ve never really played that many live shows as a band, and it kind of seems unorganized. I think you get a lot of respect from other bands when they see like, oh this band has definitely fucking traveled. Look at our van, we put miles on that and traveled to play for nobody. Being on the road a lot, I think you get respect for getting out there and playing live a lot.
DB: Sluggin’ it out.
EM: Sluggin’ It Out Tour, 2012.
KK: Yeah, if you love it. I mean, do you guys want to do anything else? This is it, right?
EM: No, this is it.
EE: There’s nothing else we could do. Like physically, I don’t think we could do anything else.
KK: So frisbee’s definitely out.
EE: Well, yeah, there’s always professional Frisbee.
EM: Male models. My uncle always says, whenever he meets somebody new on the plane and they ask him what he does, he says he’s a male model. Then he goes, ‘What? You don’t think I look like I could be a male model?