Thursday, April 15, 2010

QUICK MAGAZINE: Q&A Exit 380 singer Dustin Blocker

QUICK MAGAZINE: Feature "Cities Townies" EP (2.11.10)

Q&A: Exit 380 singer Dustin Blocker
Alt-rock band ready to release new EP 'Cities/Townies'
Thursday, February 11, 2010
By Hunter Hauk /

Local alt-rock band Exit 380 proved itself capable of evolution when it released 2008's The Life and Death of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Stone. Singer Dustin Blocker and his bandmates sampled a variety of genres on the concept album about the life of a 1930s couple.

They continue their musical tour with Cities/Townies, a 5-song EP they're releasing later this month. Think of Cities/Townies as half rock, half country-folk. And don't be surprised if the band expands this idea to a double-disc release down the line.
Blocker is the band's principal songwriter and the man behind the EP's concept, so we thought we'd drop him a note with some questions.
Here's what we got back.

Q: This is the second record in a row that's built on a concept. What were your inspirations in coming up with the 'Cities/Townies' theme?

Blocker: This time it was completely accidental. The band started demos last January and it seemed that every song fell on one side of the spectrum (mod rock "Cities") or the other (folk-country "Townies"). It felt contrived to buck against the trend of the music the band was laying down, so I just gave it a name to help us focus in a bit.

Q: You seem to be on the cities side in the photos accompanying the EP; does that speak to your upbringing and experience more?

Blocker: That's an oddity, because I spent my childhood in San Angelo, and my teenage/adult life has been in Fort Worth and Dallas. So, my upbringing and experience are from both. I assume that's why these recordings have clicked with me so much on a personal level.

Q: On the more country-folk-oriented songs, what was your challenge in composing and playing them?

Blocker: Funny, it takes a ton of work in the practice room to flesh out the rock tracks and keep them restrained and listenable, yet on the country ones the challenge was all in the studio and in production work. It's the layering of the simple and not pushing things over the top that make those tunes breathe. In a live setting it has [caused] us to take on more roles.

Q: Will there be a more expansive version of 'Cities/Townies', since you have a lot more songs written?

Blocker: Yes, if we can find the energy and schedule it correctly then we have around 20 more songs that we wrote for the project. The original idea was one disc Cities and one Townies. Hopefully we can accomplish the feat in 2010 while the energy from this EP is still floating about.

Q: You guys seem to be in an experimental phase. What are some sounds you'd like to explore in the future?

Blocker: Personally, we all are pushing to explore different avenues. Borden is pushing towards bluesy country, the Hutch brothers for riff-tastic experimentalism, I am getting into rhythmic synth stuff, and Bobby is always bringing fresh ideas from indieland to the table. The best part about this band is that no one member drives the van.

More on Dustin Blocker ...

By day, I am: Special education teacher of children with autism
By night, I am: Asleep
Age: 30

One thing about my early 20s that I wish I could get back: The amount of work that wasn't required of me on a daily basis.
Something about me you wouldn't immediately pick up on is: My wife says it's my affability.
Three musicians who've made me who I am today are: Eddie Vedder, Robert Plant and Dylan. Vedder because of his low voice and aggressiveness, Plant for the raw ability, and Dylan for the words.
My biggest nonmusical passions are: Pen and ink, sports and Mexican food
After an Exit 380 show, you can always find me: Socializing
If I have one pet peeve, it's: People and things who are late
My friends and family would describe me as: Nonstop movement with a touch of worn-out

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