Two years after leaving New York City – her home town – to settle in Austin, there are still aspects of her new environment that Anastasia Dimou refuses to pick up.
“I don’t say ‘y’all’ – I won’t do that,” says Dimou, who left her previous New York band, the PJ Harvey-influenced Cruel Black Dove, for the more wide open pastures of Texas and started airy, moody electronic project Feathers with friends. The band, which is drawing comparisons to new-wavers such as Depeche Mode and The Cure, opens for Blouse and Social Studies on Saturday at Bottom of the Hill.
“It’s easy and conducive to creation,” says Dimou about why she chose Austin as her home base. She also had friends in town, which helped put Feathers on the road, and Texas has other benefits: “I’ve become addicted to tacos. I have tacos daily.”
Cruel Black Dove was not an unsuccessful band. She and co-founder Alan Veucasovic built buzz online and had songs picked up for television. Songwriting duties were split 50-50, and Veucasovic handled all of the production.
“During Cruel Black Dove, I was starting to write more on my own,” she says. “I started getting better at doing it. On our second EP, I had actually written a bunch of material myself, but it was always produced by him.”
As her skills with song creation expanded, Dimou decided she wanted to have more production input. This is when she started laying the groundwork for Feathers. She chose the name not because she wanted to stick with an aviary theme, but because she liked how it sounded and didn’t want to go by her name – she didn’t want to be thought of solely as a singer-songwriter when she longed to do much more.
“The (Feathers) record was my first foray into doing everything myself. I recorded it myself (and) I produced most of the tracks myself.”
After moving to Austin, Dimou introduced the Feathers songs to several friends, including bassist Cortney Voss, keyboardist Kathleen Carmichael and drummer Jon Minor, who will complete the four-piece that performs in San Francisco Saturday. There are several other alternating members, including guitarists Destiny Montague and Alex Gehring.
“(I) got the whole record together, and I showed that to the ladies,” Dimou says. “They liked it and wanted to get on board. So we started sorting out how to do the live show.”
While the songs are Dimou’s, the other band members introduce their own elements through the live show, which means the performances vary by the musicians on stage.
Dimou doesn’t rule out a more collaborative record in the future, or a return to Cruel Black Dove, either.
“We’re all really good friends … so I would never say never,” she says. “Alan…just did our second video for us. But everybody’s got their own thing going on right now.”
In March, Dimou and her band were invited to open for her heroes and inspiration Depeche Mode at South by Southwest. After Feathers’ debut album, If All Now Here, was released in May, many began referring to them as the “female Depeche Mode.”
That is a huge compliment to Dimou, even though she’s not entirely sure how true it is. Like Dave Gahan and his band, Feathers makes airy, shimmering, dance pop with dark lyrics.
“They write songs that really speak to people (and) they have beautiful melodies,” Dimou says. “If I could even come close to that in the future, I’d be really psyched.”
Blouse, Social Studies, Feathers
Bottom of the Hill
Saturday, September 21
9:30pm, $10/12, All Ages