Making it through the midway point of the week with an interview from a terrific hardcore act based out of the Cincinnati, OH area called Great Dane. I came across these guys when I randomly chatted with guitarist Dakota Carlyle after a show I was attending at TT's, and immediately drew a connection with him as he just happened to be in the Boston area with the band recording their EP, and we chatted about our mutual affection for music and everything associated with it. Probably one of the nicest dudes I've ever come across, his band is extremely energetic and really cuts to the core of what hardcore music is all about. Dakota took some downtime to talk about Great Dane's beginnings, the emerging Cincinnati hardcore scene, and their affinity and intense love for the city of Boston. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and roles in the band?
Danny plays bass and does vocals. Sam plays guitar and does vocals. Brad plays drums and does vocals, and I'm Dakota. I play guitar.
Talk about the origins of Great Dane and how you guys all met?
Great Dane started a little over a year ago. Brad and I played in a band called Armslength that toured with a band Sam used to be in called Ghost Stories. Sam moved back to Cincinnati from Athens and we decided to start it up as a side project. Brad has known Danny forever and we all briefly played in a hardcore band together. We just started writing and messing around. Ghost Stories needed a band to do the second leg of their tour with them last summer so we got our shit together and have been playing shows ever since.
What were some of your musical influences that have helped shape the group?
I would say the most direct influences would be This Will Destroy You, Moving Mountains, Creepers, William Bonney, Droughts, Deafheaven, Bosse De Nage, These Towns Need Guns and a lot of other bands along those lines. Our personal influences are all over the map but I think that gives a good representation of the band.
Describe the music scene in Cincinnati, do you feel that it's very vibrant or is it mostly very low key?
The Cincinnati music scene is in a great spot right. We have a lot of cool DIY spots such as Tacocracy, Cide Central, and X House just to name a few. The people that run these spots and book at them are really genuine and a big influence on me. I think they are just trying to contribute to something that they care about without asking for anything in return. It's really awesome to see this happening and it continues to grow with no signs of slowing down. Aside from that we have more established bars and venues like Southgate House, The Woodward, MOTR, The Drinkery Etc. Check out Dessa Sons, Iron Oath, Vacation, Mardou, Flesh Mother, Push Off, Milkman, Smut, Clouded and Ghostpsalm if you get a chance.
Take us behind your songwriting process, is it a collaborative effort or is it usually handled by one person?
The songwriting process is all over the place. Normally someone brings in a riff or a chunk or a song and we all kinda jam on it and work things out form there. We definitely go through phases where certain people are bringing more to the table, but everyone contributes. For me it really helps to write with Brad, it just opens up a lot more rythmic ideas.
Recently, you guys spent some time in Boston recording your new EP, talk about the whole experience and what it was like?
Recording in Boston ruled. We were actually a little North in Haverhill at The Getaway Studios. The studio was opened up by Jay Maas who has done some of our favorite records (Verse, Dead Swans, Title Fight, Defeater). Daniel Florez actually tracked the record. Daniel was really awesome about helping us get things to sound the way we wanted and really was open to everything we wanted to try. The whole experience was comfortable and we ended up leaving with a new friend.
What are your impressions of Boston after visiting here, do you enjoy the culture and environment around here?
We can all agree that Boston is now one of our favorite cities. The hospitality was beyond humbling. Everyone we met made us feel at home and seemed to take a genuine interest in why we were there. You don't find that in a lot of places. We really only got to see the city late at night but it's a beautiful place. Our friend Teddy took us in for the week and showed us a great time.
What's coming up next for the band in the next few months and when can we expect to hear the new EP?
The EP will be out eventually. Right now we still have a couple things to finish up and it's taking a little longer then we hoped but it will get done. I would say late fall is likely. Right now we are writing a full length and planning future tours. I think we are doing a Midwest run in the Winter and East Coast the beginning of Summer. Until then we will just be writing and playing around Ohio.
Lastly, what has being in this band meant to you personally and how have you all bonded together as friends?
This band has met a ton to me. I don't think I have ever been able to work as easily with any group of people as I can with Great Dane. We are really just making music that we think is cool and getting to do it with my best friends rules.
Thanks once again to Dakota for being so frickin awesome in taking some time out to do this interview. Meeting him after the Hawking show at TT's really enlightened my musical perspective, and intensified my love for the state of Ohio, especially those in the Cincinnati area. The Buckeye state is constantly churning out top quality talent all around, and Ohioans are some of the most nicest, genuine, and down to earth people I've ever come across in my travels, and Dakota and Great Dane are absolutely no exception. For more on Great Dane, please 'Like' them on Facebook over here and check out their music on Bandcamp at this spot right here.