Photo by Jonathan & Jonathan
Interview with singer and guitarist Matt Bigland | By John B. Moore
It took awhile for Matt Bigland to find the right guys to round out his band Dinosaur Pile Up, by the singer/guitarist is convinced he now has “the line up to end all line ups.” The English band that plays a brilliant brand of ’90s college rock recently toured the U.S. opening for Brand New, drawing almost as much attention as the headliners. Bigland spoke recently about that tour, finding the perfect line up and bringing up a very valid point about the size of pizzas in movies.
The band has had a revolving line up since you first started. How long has this line up been in place?
This line up has been the line up for about a year now. And it’s the line up to end all line ups. I asked Mikey (Sheils) to join the band about four years ago and we’ve been touring ever since. We knew Jim (Cratchley) for pretty much the same amount of time, maybe even longer actually. I toured with Jim in his band before his last band, so we’ve known each other for ages, and we’d end up on festivals together, etc., all the time. Both Mikey and Jim were actually fans of Dinosaur Pile-Up before they joined. So when Jim’s last band came to an end it was an easy fit to step in with me and Mikey.
If I remember correctly, you essentially recorded the debut by yourself and then finalized the rhythm section after the songs were recorded. How did you approach the recording of Nature Nurture?
That’s right. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the first record and instead of teach all to a band that I wasn’t really settled on at the time, I just found it easier to go and do it myself. I’ve always found writing and recording easier on my own, it’s weird. Nature Nurture was actually recorded in the same way, although it wasn’t intended that way. When it came around to going in to studio we were in a tight spot and we only had one shot at these studio dates we had secured – and Mikey couldn’t be there – so I relearned all the drum parts again and recorded on my own again. They’re not kidding when they say being in a band is hard. We were faced with two options; either don’t make a second record, or Matt go and do it on his own over the dates we’d scheduled. So I did that. I’m drummer kind of first in my mind, but now Jim’s in the band we’re all just clawing to get in the studio together.
You were back in the U.S, supporting Brand New. How did the tour go? Any good stories yet?
We (were) indeed back in the U.S. It was amazing. It was our third tour over there, and obviously touring with Brand New is just a total blast for us. They are amazing live and also just such great people to hang out with. It’s a real pleasure. I remember teaching myself the drums to “Sic Transit Gloria Fades” when I was 17 so it’s a real trip for me. And the crowds were really accepting of us which is nice, as sometimes fans of such a cult band can be stand off-ish you know? One night we all hung out and played basketball in the parking lot, and ate ice cream a company had flown over to us, as it was mine and Jesse’s birthday. It was a good time.
Read our Dinosaur Pile Up tour dairies of the tour here.
So you were fans of the band’s music before being asked to support them on tour?
…Yeah we were. When Sic Transit blew up when I was in school I got in to them, along with a bunch more alternative bands. I taught myself some tunes of theirs, and then when they released Daisy my mind was blown.
Along with Brand New, you guys have played with some amazing bands, like The Pixies. Was that intimidating at all? Did you get to interact with Frank Black and the others?
When we toured with the Pixies it was intimidating yeah, but still awesome! We were pretty new and getting thrown in to venues that big with a band as infamous as that, yeah it was intimidating. Chatting with Kim Deal was just a total head fuck and we are obviously huge fans of that band. We didn’t talk with Frank too much, he’s a pretty insular dude. However Joey (Santiago) liked to hang so that was cool. I’ll never forget hearing “Where Is Mind,” looking at the Pixies from the side. It was just insane. We’ve had the pleasure of playing with a whole bunch of other bands like Cage The Elephant and Middle Class Rut, and the funny thing that’s similar between them all is that they’re all super nice people.
Have you started thinking about work on the next record yet?
I’m always thinking about the next record! I was probably thinking about the next one as I was walking out the studio of the last one. I’m a really creatively restless person so I’m always way too excited about the next step. When I’m off the road I write almost everyday.
What’s next for you?
[After the tour with Brand New] we have a couple of weeks at home in which I’ll be producing a record I’m working on with these three Japanese dudes that sound like Weezer, Nirvana and The Ramones. They’re awesome. Then straight after that mid-august we’re heading over to Japan to play Summersonic festival in Tokyo and Osaka. Nature Nurture is being released later in the year over there, which we’re all just so stoked about. And we’ve never been to Japan ever so we’re just generally pumped. This year shit has just turned in to a non-stop global head fuck, which is flat out AWESOME.
Those are all the questions I have. Anything else you want to talk about?
The only other thing I wanna talk about is why are pizzas in movies always way bigger than in real life? Case in point, Home Alone 2, in the limo. Holy. Shit.