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Interview: Dengue Fever

on July 14, 2008, 2:38pm

Last week we shed some light on Los Angeles new psychedelic band, Dengue Fever. The group have been on the road nonstop since the beginning of the year and show no signs of slowing down any time soon, with shows scheduled across the US and Europe through the fall season. CoS spoke to band founder and organist Ethan Holtzman by phone for a pulse check.

CoS: Where are you?

EH: We’re in Wisconsin, just outside Madison.

CoS: And right now?
EH: Right this minute? We’re the van.

CoS: Do you have a lot of people traveling with you?
EH: No, it’s just the band and then we have a sound man, Alejandro, from Seattle.

CoS: You played Glastonbury last month, the biggest performing arts festival in the world, what was that like?
EH: Glastonbury was a bit of a madhouse. A hundred-and-seventy-thousand people, you know, but it was fun.

CoS: Are you glad to be back in the States now?
EH: That feels really good. It feels really cheap, after being in places like Norway where everything’s so expensive. In Norway, we ordered two pizzas to be delivered and it was 105 bucks.

CoS: Jesus.
EH: Yeah.

CoS: Are there any new bands you’ve come across while on tour that you’ve gotten into?
EH: We played with Chicha Libre last night and they were really fun to work with.

CoS: How did recording the last album [Venus On Earth] compare to Escape From Dragon House?
EH: Well, we had more time so it was nice that way. There’s all these deadlines usually. I feel like we did a little more pre-production with this record, rather than just record it and roll with it. I think Venus On Earth seems a little more mature. We had more time and we had more experience, [and] we made more room for each other [as an ensemble].

CoS: What did you listen to growing up?
EH: The Beatles, Blondie, Talking Heads, Devo, Minute Men, Tom Waits.

CoS: There are mostly male vocalists in that list. Were you looking expressly for a female vocalist when you got Dengue Fever together?
EH: Yes. I just knew that when we started it definitely it was gonna be good for what was in front of us, and for what was good in Echo Park [Los Angeles].

CoS: Anything you’ve ever wanted to say to the general public?
EH: That the inflattable pillows are better than the bead ones. That seems to be the general consensus on this trip. Oh, and, don’t stop for Chinese food in tiny little towns in Weedsport, NY. I think we left our stomachs in Weedsport.

Dengue Fever play Joe’s Pub in New York on Wednesday, July 16th at 11PM.

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