Dialects: “The beauty of it for us is that there are no rules.”

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The beauty of it for us is that there are no rules. We’re willing to try anything if it benefits the song.” The last thing on the minds of Glasgow-based four-piece Dialects is creating music that fits neatly into pre-existing genre labels. I asked the band to describe their sound for anyone unfamiliar with the band, and guitarist Conor Anderson provided a succinct explanation: “We’d probably say math rock/post-rock. That being said, there are elements of loads of other genres, so I suppose that’s the experimental nature of it.

A fairly new band they may be, but with friendships already formed and ideas already in place, all that was needed was the right circumstance to kickstart the project. Guitarist Steve Gillies recounts the origins of the band, which dates back to one particular party and a desire to escape the monotonous conversation. “It was Christmas Day of 2012. After many hours of festivities, I suggested that Conor, Jonathan (Gormley – drums) and I should head down to our rehearsal space, just to escape the mind-numbing “party chat” that had taken over my flat. We jammed a few ideas of Conor’s and felt they were really good.

With the ball fully rolling, the search was on for a bass guitarist. Steve offered to assume the role but was needed on guitar duties. “Conor was struggling to find people who could commit the time to the project, so I offered to play bass – he politely declined and said, “I’d rather you played guitar”. I called Jonny, who signed up immediately. Shortly after, Ali [Walker] became my new flatmate and offered to play bass despite having not heard any of the songs, but it’s all working out thus far.

Far from being content with the idea of treading previously trodden ground, the band are keen to utilise their wide range of influences to create music that is entirely their own, with Steve hammering in the nails to the coffin of the idea of the more traditional post-rock sound. “Personally, I find traditional post-rock tedious – while I love bands like Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, This Will Destroy You, it has been done. I feel it’s hugely important for bands to push their boundaries – who needs to hear another band of guys tremolo picking with bucketloads of delay?” Whether as a consequence of this or whether an entirely natural process, Dialects’ sound is notably positive and full of energy, something that – although certainly not unheard of – is not as common as the slow, brooding melodies and melancholia that the genre is often synonymous with. “I don’t think it was a conscious effort so much as an organic result of our combined influences,” says Steve. “We all listen to a wide mix of music, including the more upbeat, energetic bands in the post/math rock genres.

Their début EP Let the Kids Light the Lanterns was released in May this year, and the band have already received strong positive feedback from the media and fans alike, even—as Conor recalls—going so far as to being included in a national newspaper, The Independent.[1]So far it’s been pretty awesome! Reviewers seem really into the tracks and we’ve had some glowing reviews which have been incredibly humbling. The EP was exclusively streamed by The Independent which, for a début release, was crazy. We actually got to meet the gentleman that made that happen at our first London show recently. He’s an awesome guy and it’s great to meet someone in that position who really enjoys the music and acts as the catalyst for getting your music heard.

Dialects are a band who enjoy exploring the multiple creative aspects of the writing process. Not content with a loose sci-fi theme within the music and the artwork, they place further emphasis on storytelling as an aid to the overall theme. The album’s concept revolves around the story of a couple who travel to present-day Earth from a Utopian world, and everything that unfolds in the process.[2]The concept was an idea I’d been sitting on for a long time. I think the challenge of trying to tell the story without lyrics is great fun! Every story does have an end and whilst I think it’s not finished yet, there will be an end for it. Then we’ll look to something else.” As Conor mentions, the vocals take a back seat on this mostly-instrumental release, although on the one song they do make an appearance, they shine. Steve teases us with the possibility of additional vocals on future releases: “Vocals are essentially just another instrument, so we will probably bring them into the mix if and when we feel they could enhance a song.

Dialects live picture Broken Amp interview

The band have also been impressing fans on the live circuit and have recently been making the most of their opportunities to play further afield. “Our shows down south have been amazing. We’ve been playing in Glasgow for a while now and to finally get our music out there and for folk to see the live performance from a fresh perspective is great.” As a relatively unknown entity arriving in new cities and unfamiliar venues, making an impact is no small task, but Dialects had no cause to worry, as Conor continues by recounting their inaugural show in London. “[It] was pretty insane. The crowd just got totally into it with people jumping around and just having a good time. Our set in itself is pretty energetic so there was a lot of movement! For a first show in London it was pretty fantastic, considering how much I wanted us to do well. To be honest I got a bit emotional at the end of it! There were no tears shed, but the level of appreciation from the crowd was unbelievable. It’s a show I don’t think we’ll forget in a hurry. Hopefully our return is just as good!

Having already clocked up tours and shows with the likes of Waking Aida, Maybeshewill and Luxembourg’s Mutiny On The Bounty, Dialects’ upcoming UK tour sees them supporting Icelandic metal stalwarts Sólstafir, a band who – in recent times at least – sound more akin to fellow countrymen Sigur Rós than the raw black metal of their early works. Ali tells us he is looking forward to something a bit different. “Absolutely. I have to admit that I did not know an awful lot about them myself until getting the call, but I have been watching some of their sessions online and I can’t wait to hook up with them and see them in a real live setting. They are clearly a well-respected band that have been around for a long time and it is an honour to be able to support them. It is a great opportunity to not only play to a potentially much different audience than we are used to, but also to learn from very experienced, touring musicians.

Landing such a prestigious tour support slot and being faced with a potentially different audience certainly doesn’t faze him though; in fact he surmises that Dialects’ lack any obvious genre label will always work in their favour: “I would like to think that it works for us. I would be very against setting boundaries to our sound. ‘No rules’ is very much my motto in this sense. I’ve played in a great number of bands that have tried to write ‘genre-specific’ music, mostly being within the UK hardcore scene. While it was enjoyable in its own ways, I am greatly appreciating the artistic freedom and variety that Dialects offers. One can always hope that if we think a combination of styles works, then someone else will as well. People have been very kind and positive so far, and perhaps the dynamic nature of our style keeps things interesting for them. In turn, I think that this variety of sounds should hopefully allow us to open doors to a few different gigging and touring opportunities without being stuck in one ‘scene’.

In a parting statement, Conor provides a brief glimpse into the band’s upcoming plans, and with such creative minds behind the music and a very much unwritten book regarding the directions they may find themselves taking, Dialects’ future looks set to be incredibly bright. “At the moment all we can really say is that we have written a load of new material. We’re pleased to be ahead of schedule with what we’re wanting to do, but I can’t tell you much more than that! There may be some things happening around October time but I really don’t want to give any more away just yet. Watch this space!

Many thanks to Dialects for their time, and Simon for the opportunity. Follow the band on Facebook, check the EP on Bandcamp, and catch them on tour with Sólstafir in July. Dates are as follows:

28/07 – Nottingham, Rock City Basement
29/07 – Glasgow, Audio
30/07 – Liverpool, Arts Club
31/07 – Birmingham, The Temple
01/08 – Colchester, Arts Centre

Footnotes:
1. http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2015/05/06/dialects-ltkltl-ep-stream/
2. http://www.leedsmusicscene.net/article/19099/

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Advocate of riffs and general noisiness. From London - now slightly further North (but not too far). Music // words // vinyl // nature // ale // coffee.

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