Fresh off of their tour with You Blew It!, Florida natives Dikembe seem to have a full plate for 2013. I reached out to the band and received a batch of wonderful answers from guitarist Ryan Willems – including their upcoming vinyl pressing of the band’s Chicago Bowls EP, working on a new record and what the rest of the year will hold for the band.
For the record, could you state your name and what you do in Dikembe?
My name is Ryan and I do interviews for Dikembe and sometimes play guitar for them when I have time.
You guys just wrapped up a string of shows with You Blew It!. How did things on that tour go?
Everything went really well. As is usually the case with our band, we were totally unorganized and unprepared a week before we left but the universe smiled upon us and delivered us a ragtag bunch of angelic souls to rescue us. Jonathan at Aesthetic Print and Design in Gainesville did us a real solid and hooked us up with merch quickly when we realized we were totally out a couple weeks before we left. Greg at Hope This Helps did a really awesome job booking the tour and all of the shows went smoothly, so we thank the promoters for that. Other than that we had a really swell time aside for David [Bell, drummer] and I getting sick halfway through it. New Year’s Eve was a particularly special night as I got to ring in the new year with so many friends. We even got to stay at a hotel with Sleep Comfort mattresses!
Broad Shoulders was released last year and it certainly seemed to capitalize on all the things you did on the Chicago Bowls EP. As far as musicians, what do you think is the biggest step you took on that record?
I dunno if I can say there was one major thing we did differently, and I would like to avoid making it seem like we see ourselves as some brave martyrs for the sake of progression. We did make a conscious decision not to just rewrite Bowls though, which I think would have been an easy path for us to take. I think we succeeded in that since I’ve seen people say that Broad Shoulders isn’t what they expected after Bowls, both in positive and negative ways.
The record got quite a bit of praise from a variety of media outlets and fans. Given the tongue-in-cheek nature of the titles and whatnot, is it good to know people still have the need for a bit of sense of humor with their music?
Absolutely. There are plenty of deathly serious bands that I love but I don’t think that having a visible sense of humor would detract from them at all. I think that humor and pop culture references help listeners connect on another level as opposed to only connecting through the music and lyrics.
You had some people dress up as ghosts recently for a video shoot for “We Could Become River Rats”. First off, how was the shoot process from your point of view?
It was pretty neat to see how some of the behind the scenes stuff works. It was also eye-opening to learn how much time and effort goes into filming something as short as a two minute-long music video. All of the crew involved were far too nice to us and we couldn’t be more appreciative of everything they’ve done. We are super excited with how the video came out and I laugh every time I watch it.
When can we expect that to hit the web?
I’m not sure exactly. Sometime by the end of the month, last I heard.
Bowls is finally going to see a pressing releasing on 4/20 this year. Save for not being able to put in the Freaks & Geeks samples, what made this finally become a reality?
It’s something we’ve been talking about since pretty much around the time Bowls came out. When we first started talking to people about it, our main issues with putting it out were that we didn’t want to ruin the momentum it had going for it by making it not free or taking it down altogether, and we also wanted to focus on writing and putting out the full length. So we came to the agreement that we’d get back to it when the timing seemed right, which is now. Broad Shoulders has been out for awhile and we probably won’t be able to tour or put out another full release for a few months, so it seemed like a great time to do it.
Are there any ridiculous colorways in the works for it?
I’m not sure. We pretty much are giving Tiny Engines free reign with this one, so we’ll see what they come up with.
As far as this year goes, it looks like you are writing for another release to possibly end 2013 with. Do you think getting something else out, no pun intended, will help you guys keep the buzz you’ve gotten from Bowls and Broad Shoulders?
Yeah. Not being a very active touring band, we really only have a chance to keep ourselves talked about by putting out new stuff. In addition to whatever we end up doing for our own release, we have a couple of splits already finished and coming out in the interim.
That being said, you aren’t worried about possibly rushing stuff?
Not really. It’s actually been over a year since we finished recording Broad Shoulders. There were just a lot of issues with mixing and artwork and whatnot that caused it to not come out until August. So we’ve had plenty of time to regroup and start writing with a different mindset.
What is the year looking like in terms of touring?
We aren’t entirely sure. We’re all in transitional places in our lives right now, but we’d like to do a few weeks in the midwest this summer, and there are a couple festivals that we’ve been invited to that we would love to play if it works out on our end.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nothing really comes to mind. Just thanks for taking the time to ask us thoughtful questions and thanks to everyone who’s taken any interest in what we are doing. Listen to Pile and Weatherbox every day.