Houston Calling

Ten Questions for The Dimes

August 2nd, 2005 · No Comments

It seems that at every Dreamfest, I discover another local band I never heard of but that instantly blows me away. Last year, it was The Methods. This year, The Dimes made their mark.

The band is heavily influenced by the Pixies, but that’s great. No one else in town is doing it and with more and more bands co-opting (or paying homage to, as it were) the sounds of bands from the eighties, the time seems right for local bands to try their hands at similar sounds. Enter The Dimes.

They are a foursome, made up of Cley, Carlos, Jose, and Iram, and they all currently attend high school in Houston. And before you balk, give the band a chance. Their live show seriously left my friends and me (all discriminating music fans) with dropped jaws. It was that good — just a really positive, energetic set (complete with a cover of “Debaser”). Anyone that knows me knows I am a sucker for a good cover. Tody Castillo handles a good Tom Petty cover or two, and bands like Fig Dish and Caviar (from Chicago) always covered interesting covers in their live sets (I saw Fig Dish cover Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” at Number’s back in 1995).

I recently asked The Dimes a series of questions for Houston Calling. They were happy to respond. Enjoy the interview and please be sure to come out to Super Happy Fun Land this Saturday (August 6, 2005) to catch The Dimes with Sitka Sound, Cartwheels in Central Park, The Ride Home, and Stolen Library.

Ten Questions for The Dimes

HC: How did The Dimes get started as a band?

The Dimes: In mid 2003 Carlos, Jose and Iram were in another band called Fat Kids On Mo-peds with local artist Andrew McShan (Emo Side-Project). Fat Kids did not work because of irreconcilable differences. Later in 2003 Carlos and Iram joined friends Chris Patton and Cley Miller to form the Collect Calls, which was very short lived. While the Collect Calls was going on, Carlos, Iram and Jose were doing their own side project. Carlos would constantly ask Cley to join the band, but Cley would refuse because he felt it would betray Chris. Finally in March 2004 Cley agreed to join and they auditioned him in his own house and was approved.

HC: I think it’s great that there are bands like The Futureheads resurrecting the sound of Gang Of Four, and stuff like Bloc Party and The Rapture co-opting The Cure’s sound. Besides the obvious Pixies influence in your music, what do consider to be your musical influences?

The Dimes: Our other influences would be Weezer (blue & Pinkerton), Velvet Underground, Dios Malos, the Strokes, The Beatles, French Kicks, The Walkmen, Interpol, Beach Boys, The Cure, Bob Dylan, Joy Division, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, The Kinks, Dick Dale, Gang of Four, Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, the Shout Out Louds, Pavement and Television.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry? Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? How do you using the internet as a tool to market yourself? I saw your MySpace site — are you getting good results from that?

The Dimes: I guess we are for the MP3 downloads, we like the fact that kids from all over the country or world have the chance of hearing your music. On the state of the music industry, a lot of things are starting to sound the same. There are not many bands that are being different or original in our opinion. As for using the internet as a tool, we just use mySpace to post all our shows, put music on line, and keep up with our fans. So far, it has worked out pretty well for us. We have gotten a couple of shows through myspace and become very good friends with some bands. Stolen Library, Flowers 2 Hide and Cartwheels in Central Park have all helped us out a lot and are all very good friends of ours.

HC: Here’s something similar: what do you think of the music scene in Houston? As a new-ish band starting out, you guys are already getting good gigs at local clubs (Mary Jane’s, The Proletariat). Do you have any suggestions on ways to make the scene better or to make Houston’s “music scene” reputation better?

The Dimes: Clubs in Houston are not giving enough support to local music here in Houston. There are a lot of good bands here and they are not getting the gigs that they deserve. To most of the clubs, with the exception of a few, they are all in it to make money at the end of the day which they say they care about the well of the local scene over the money. Also, a lot of people here in Houston don’t go out and support local bands when they need it, the only way to get people to come out is if the band is playing with very popular “touring” bands.

Houston doesn’t really promote local shows that well. One way to make the scene here in Houston better would be to promote local shows with more effort and make a bigger deal about them.

HC: How do you guys approach the songwriting process? Do you just get together and jam and see what comes as a result or it is something more involved than that?

The Dimes: When we make music, first one of us will have a riff and then we will all collaborate and work on it until we like what we hear. This process seems simple but sometimes it can take months for us to get something that we like and other times it can take a couple of days. When it comes to lyrics it’s mainly Carlos who writes them and he asks for approval and help when he needs it.

HC: You guys do a great cover of the Pixies’ “Debaser.” If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

The Dimes: If we could have any band cover a song of ours, we would want The Arcade Fire to cover “Teenage Sex” because we would want to see what 16 people could do with that song.

HC: What helpful hints to do you have for young bands just starting out today? Any lessons learned along the way so far?

The Dimes: If we had one piece of advice for and musician who is uner 18 it would be, lie about your age. Another bit of advice would be that if you are doing gigs in one city, don’t do more than four gigs a month. If you have more than that, it is hard to promote your shows because people won’t want to see you that much.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

The Dimes: We hate it when people say we are a high school band — we may be in high school, but when you are called a high school band there’s a stereotype that goes with it, and it’s not that flattering.

HC: What’s next for The Dimes? Are you guys recording a demo, full-length?

The Dimes: What’s next for The Dimes is we are currently in the process of mixing our demo with the help of Vance Osbourne from Stolen Library — we plan to release it later in July. We are also planning to make merchandise (stickers & shirts) and start selling them as soon as we can.

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

The Dimes: Lately, we have been listing to a lot of French Kicks and Talking Heads, but we are “currently” listening to “Disorder” by Joy Division.

Thanks to The Dimes for taking the time to answer these questions for the site. Be sure to check out The Dimes live this Saturday night At Super Happy Fun Land with Sitka Sound, Cartwheels in Central Park, The Ride Home, and Stolen Library.

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Tags: Music