Interview With Double Dagger - 17th May 2010
Photo Of Rich Ward From Double Dagger © Copyright Double DaggerBefore the interview kicked off I learned all about the bands’ curry filled bellies. After the interview finished, Bruce, Denny, Nolen and I found a plethora of board games and a net-less ping pong table in their green room. Denny kindly hated on my NY Yankees t shirt with: ‘I don’t like your shirt by the way. Actually, I fucking hate it.’ Ermmm, thanks Denny? And post-show fun was had working the merch table.

Hi guys. I trust the tour is going great, but how are you?
(Bruce) We’re full
(Nolen) We’re definitely full. We’re stuffed full of curry.
There are worse ways to be! How’s the tour been going so far?
(Denny) It’s going well.
(B) Yeah.
(D) It’s not a facetious comment.

What kind of reaction have you had from all the other venues and cities that you have visited?
(B) Erm, pretty good overall. Friends of ours warned us that audiences in England were very stiff but for the most part, err
(N) We’ve gotten the majority of them to loosen up
(B) Like dance or shuffle around or at least nod their head a little
(D) Washington DC has a similar reputation so we’re used to dealing with playing there. You know, arms folded, head bobbing.
(B) If people are head bobbing, that’s good for Washington DC. Normally they’re like (makes particularly bored and static facial expression)
(D) Not as many people are holding drinks in DC as they are out here, so that’s something I’m worried about when he (Nolen) starts jumping out into the crowd. If people are holding pints and it starts flying everywhere!
(N) Oh I’ve made so many people spill their beers!

Well, maybe they should dance more and that way learn to hold their drinks better when you’re throwing yourself at them.
(N) Exactly.
It’s their own fault really.

What has been your highlight of the shows so far?
(N) Probably the first show in London. At that show the crowd was just going crazy! It felt like we were back in Baltimore (Maryland). There were actually some friends of ours from Brooklyn (NY) that were also on tour but they had the day off so they came to see us. So that was fun.

London’s been your best one. Obviously Cardiff is going to beat that; there’ll definitely be some head nodders in the crowd.
(D) I like the size of the room. I like playing small places because the music translates pretty well. It’s a little disappointing because we don’t have as many places to run around but I like playing in little venues.
(N) But there are multiple levels…so we’ll see what happens!

Lots of climbing? Lots of jumping off railings?
(N) Hopefully!
Fingers crossed!
(D) Jumping into stuff.
Jumping into stuff? People with pints mostly.

You have your own unique sound which you make with bass, vocals and drums. Why have you chosen to omit lead guitar?
(B) Guitars are overrated.
(N) They sound bad ha ha.
(D) Either that or bass is underrated; one of the two.
(B) I dunno, it’s pretty economical for us to do it this way and it works. We haven’t really felt the need to fill up any extra space sonically, and it works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Your ‘Masks’ EP was out on March 23rd of this year, what reaction have you had from it since its release?
(B) Most people have been telling us they really like it. The reaction has been overall really positive. Several people have told me it’s one of their favourite EPs.
(D) Which is cool because sometimes EPs can be seen as a ‘nothing’ release, with just throwaway stuff on it but we actually put a lot of good material on it so we’re pretty proud of it.
That’s awesome, are there plans to make a full length album in the near future?
(B) We haven’t made any plans yet.
(D) We’re all out of material ha ha.

For those that may not have yet heard your EP, can you sell it to them in one sentence?
(N) You’ll laugh, you’ll cry
(D) You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll nod your head. You have to say this in a deep movie voice though.
(B) (In deep movie voice) In a world where there are no guitars. One band
(N) Takes on the rock n roll formula
(B) One band. Five songs. Takes on the rock n roll world, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry…
(D) It’s got like five commas in there. A lot of ellipses.
That’s fine. Commas, semi-colons, they make a sentence.
(B) It needs to be said in the deepest voice you can possibly muster.
(N) With film footage with some storm clouds
(D) And where beyond the storm clouds there’s like a couple of amplifiers and distortion pedals.
(N) And then Denny at the bottom chopping them down and lightning is shooting out.
(B) There, we’ve got our next video idea.
Maybe don’t bother with an album, just make a movie!

With Double Dagger forming from the remnants of other bands like League Of Death and Economist, what caused you to leave your old bands and create this one?
(B) Man, that was a while ago
(N) I had a little more hair then.
(B) Well Nolen’s and my band, League Of Death, had just broken up as our drummer had just moved to England.
(N) Our original drummer left and then Denny was sort of like a temporary replacement drummer for a few shows and then one day we all came to practice and all of three of us were like ‘How about Denny joins full time?’
(D) My other band, Economist, eventually became full time and I was on guitar and sang in that band, so playing guitar and especially not singing are not my primary instruments at all so I took drum lessons to focus on drums being my primary instrument. After a while it was like if I really want to be concentrating on music and concentrating on playing drums then it follows that Double Dagger was the group to move to.
And the rest is history.
(D) Rock n roll.

What is a Double Dagger?
(B) It’s a footnotes symbol for if you’re annotating text. The first footnote is usually the asterix, then you have the dagger which is the cross shape
(N) No, it’s the asterix then it’s the double asterix.
What makes you a double dagger?
(N) Because we’re the last footnote at the bottom of rock n roll.
(All crack up laughing)
(B) We’re the last rock band.
(N) We’re the last rock band in America. It feels that way sometimes.
(D) Yeah it does.

If Double Dagger disbanded tomorrow what would be your best memory and would you have any regrets?
(Long pause as the trio think)
(D) If we disbanded tomorrow my regret would be that we didn’t finish the European tour.
(B) The best memory would be all the sights and all the sleeping sitting up.
(N) Yeah, I fall asleep sitting up a lot. I can sleep in almost any position.
Really? Standing up?
(N) That has happened. I was standing about 10 feet from the stage watching this really boring band playing and I started like just tipping over and all of a sudden this guy’s back was right there (motions very close to his face). I had to jerk back.
(D) To be honest, and I’ve said this before, some of the greatest memories recently have been some of the home town shows because there have been a lot of younger kids coming out from the suburbs of Baltimore, that you don’t normally see at shows in towns like that. In small cities you’re used to seeing the same 70 people at every show.
(B) It feels really awesome that we can get these young kids ampped about something, to come down to the city, ask their parents for rides or whatever. So that’s really cool.
(D) That was like me in High School trying to come down to the city to see shows cos I was excited about something so it’s cool to be more than just a ‘thing to do’ that night’. Those shows were really awesome.

You have support tonight from Friendship. What do you think is more important in friendship, the lie or the truth?
(B) Nolen should take this one cos he wrote the song.
(N) Errr I mean the lie makes things easier sometimes but you can’t have a lie unless there’s a truth first. So the truth would have to be the most important.
(D) We really like Friendship. Those guys are cool.
(B) Their band name is our reality.
(N) It’s no lie.
It’s the truth.

Double Dagger hail from Baltimore, which seems to have an incredibly diverse music scene breeding the likes of pop-punkers All Time Low and dream-poppers Beach House.
(N has a bewildered expression on his face)
D: (to Nolen) You’re not familiar with All Time Low?
(N) No no no no, this is the first time I’ve ever heard somebody outside of Baltimore mention All Time Low!
(B) They’re very popular here.
Really? They’re pretty big over here.
(N) What?!
(B) Yeah, they’re big.
(N) Wow! Ok, sorry, back to the question.

No problem. So with music like that coming from the same place as you guys, what has made you what you are today? You guys are a lot more substantial than the likes of perhaps All Time Low and Beach House whose brand of pop are kind of more perfect-for-a-night-out-and-your-hangover kind of music. Why has Double Dagger turned out the way Double Dagger is?
(D) Well first, thank you. And second, I don’t know. I was saying this yesterday and we don’t really have a set thing we are trying to do. We’re just trying to do it. I don’t know, I can’t really verbalise our mission except being a “real” band, I guess.
(N) I think all our goal is to write and perform the kind of music each of us like to err
(B) To see or listen to. I think we’re all kind of, I mean I’m speaking for myself and I think and I’m definitely interested in bands that have some sort of force or energy behind them. I think maybe one of the impetuses, impeti, for Double Dagger was to create a band with an energy behind them because I think we’re all, in terms of style, we’re all influenced by indie rock and punk bands from the 80’s and early 90’s because back then indie rock actually had some balls to it. I think a lot of indie music now is just very generic and don’t have energy to it. And I think we have a lot of comparisons to 90’s bands but I think to an extent that’s because we’re trying to channel some of that energy.
(D) Throwing the shows for me at first like because I was in high school and seeing a live band play, that was like, it shook me or whatever. It was like an energetic thing. I think now things have progressed to a point where it’s a lot of solo dudes writing just real low key stuff. Putting stuff out there for the sake of it just existing or people having a project or something like that but that doesn’t interest me. I can’t directly speak for either of them but I feel like we’re probably on the same page and none of that stuff really grabs a hold of you. Music should. Live music should, at least we think it should.

I agree. A lot of indie and punk bands tend to be a bit wet now and making music because they know how to play three chords and not because anything really excites them.

Finally, do you guys have any messages for your fans who are coming to your show and will be reading this?
(D) Start a band. Not a crap band though. Nothing shitty. Yeah, definitely start a cool band instead of a solo project with like 12 looping pedals.
(N) If you come to the show just come with the mind that you’re gonna have a good time. You don’t have to dance like your parents are watching you.
(D) Right, and just because we’re a loud rock band doesn’t mean it has to have this connotation of violent, aggro atmosphere because it’s not. Just because we’re loud and get sweaty and stuff doesn’t mean we’re like total meat heads we just like to play at a loud vibe to transmit that energy better than playing quietly.
(N) Yeah never mess with something that like Dan from Friendship was asking about after our third show, he was curious about the interaction and the confrontation with the audience that came from this point of sort of aggro or angry point of view but I guess the interaction with the audience, to use the British term, is more ‘taking a piss’, or ‘the piss’
Ha ha that’d be gross.
(B) I hope not.
(D) That would be a very different show!
(N) That sort of invisible wall that is usually there that separates the band and the audience I think all of us are just kicking that down.
Thank you so much for doing this interview. Your sound check got me a little bit excited so I’m looking forward to the show.

Interview by Jessica Acreman
 Band Members

Nolen Strals (Vocals)
Bruce Willen (Bass)
Denny Bowen (Drums)
 Latest Releases
Double Dagger - Masks
Release Date - March 2010
1. Imitation Is The Most Boring Form Of Flattery
2. Pillow Talk
3. Sheep In Wolf's Clothing
4. Sleeping With The TV On
5. Song For S
 Band Related Links
Double Dagger Myspace