Oakland’s Everyone Is Dirty is one of several reasons to stay stationed at BFD’s local stage this Sunday. With a debut album scheduled for release September 2nd on Tricycle Records and a southwest tour in July, their gritting Frank Black / Pixies inspired set has a searingly melodic twist. Sivan Gur-Arieh is the front-woman who sings and wails on an electric violin while Christopher Daddio plays electric guitar and also engineered the upcoming album. Tony Sales plays a seriously walloping drum set, and Tyler English pulls it all together on bass. We sat down with the band in their Oakland studio for a candid pre-BFD, pre-album, pre-tour chat.
The Bay Bridged: Could you sum up the new album’s sound?
Sivan: It’s like a bedroom tape on crack. What’s that one drug that you take that you can lift up cars?
Chris: Bath salts? PCP?
Sivan: It’s like a bedroom tape on bath salts.
Chris: You’ve seen us live, I don’t want to sound too cocky, but I think we have a live onslaught. We make a lot of noise.
TBB: Yeah, when I saw you live, and this is one of my favorite bands, but I thought of the Pixies.
Chris: Yeah, and we love the Pixies. Some of those Pixies records they’re raw and immediate and the drums are big.
Sivan: We actually started playing music together because of that first Frank Black record. We listened to that record in my car the first day that we met. I knew it by heart, and he did too. And then just this last year, we were in Decibelle Recording Studio. The guy who produced that album walked into the studio while we were recording, and we met him. We were fucking floored. His name is Eric Drew Feldman and he lives in San Francisco. Not only that, but he played bass in Captain Beefheart. We just became friends, he saw us that night we played Bottom of the Hill and he liked it. We were really excited about it.
Chris: This was how Sivan and I even bonded in the first place. He’s worked with the Pixies and Frank Black and even PJ Harvey.
TBB: Have you approached him about working on even just one song?
Sivan: Oh my god, if we had money, but we’re poor as fuck. We’ve actually talked to him about producing an album, but we need a budget. And right now we don’t have one so we record everything at home with a few meager microphones and I think we’re really comfortable with that.
Chris: The limitations are good for us.
Sivan: We’ve been together as a band for almost a year and a half and we’ve been working on this album pretty much the whole time, but in a slow way because we’ve recorded mostly at home. Chris is an engineer and that allowed us to take our time. Part of our process is that we work in a very relaxed way. In some ways that can be great and in others it can be dangerous because you have the luxury of living with a song for as long as you want.
TBB: How did you meet up with Julie (Julie Schuchard of Tricycle Records)?
Sivan: We played with Happy Fangs and Rich Girls and she was at the show because of Rich Girls. She was really sweet and really excited. We really are happy to be working with a label that’s from our town. I’m proud of the Bay Area and I’m excited about a music scene here.
TBB: Are there Oakland bands that you’re friends with, or would like to be on bills with?
Sivan: I’ve had a crush on Brazil since the first time I saw them play when we were on a bill with them. Ash Reiter‘s from Oakland. She’s lovely. Sugarcandy Mountain. Bells Atlas. Featherbright – but they’re San Francisco. Primus. Creedence Clearwater Revival.
TBB: Can you explain how the band was formed?
Chris: Sivan and I, we started writing music together maybe about 4 years ago in Brooklyn. We had this ritual where I would come over, Sivan would make me eggs and we would write a song in her kitchen and then by the end of the day we would end up recording. She had a little Mbox set up, and we’d do these fun acoustic jams. Then I moved back to San Francisco for life shit and we were trying to do this long distance collaboration. It worked out fine, but we wanted to keep the vibe going. Sivan grew up in Oakland, and had been away from home since she was 17. She came back and we started getting really serious about writing music. Right around the time when we were on the verge of more of an acoustic duo with strings, I got hit with cancer, so I had to go through chemotherapy and radiation. That put a big stop on everything that we were doing. Through that process we were still doing some music together, but it was very intimate, just her and I, an acoustic guitar and violin. When we got to the other side of that experience, I woke up and realized “oh shit, I’m going to live.”
Needless to say, coming out of that experience Sivan was like “fuck this shit”. We’re Everyone Is Dirty. We had another band, another name, but we both love rock n’ roll music, and that’s what we wanted to do. She stayed by my side through that whole thing which was amazing for me. We realized we’re not going to do a goddamn thing that we don’t want to do ever again. Period. Everyone in this world has a little secret or a little thought or a little something, or gets a disease in their body or something that makes them dirty so it just became a thing – Everyone Is Dirty. She actually had a poem / song called “Everyone Is Dirty” and we just decided in that moment. We’re going to be a rock and roll band. I wanted to turn up my guitar and play fucking loud.
We went through a bunch of drummers who were good, but they weren’t the drummer. And then we met Tony. Tony, first and foremost, he’s one of the top 3 drummers in California.
His dad and Uncle are the Sales brothers who played on Iggy Pop‘s Lust For Life, David Bowie’s Tin Machine so he comes from rock pedigree, but he’s also his own drummer. He’s a monster.
TBB: The genes don’t hurt.
Sivan: No, the genes don’t hurt. But we were just watching a video of Tin Machine that was 10 days before the last show they ever played, and we were watching his Uncle play drums and they’re both amazing, but I like the way Tony plays.
TBB: Have you (Sivan) been in other bands other than Everyone Is Dirty?
Sivan: No I haven’t. I’ve been playing violin since I was a kid and my dad taught me how to play the violin. I was playing classical violin and when I became a teenager I didn’t really like to play it all of the time because it’s a lot of work and a lot of practice and it’s a lot of scales. I actually really love scales now, but at the time I hated it. I had a stand and I would play scales and get fed up and throw it on the ground.
Chris: The missing piece was Tyler. He’s a guitarist actually, first and foremost. His bass playing is way more melodic.
Tyler: It’s super melodic, hard-hitting. I’ve learned a lot from playing with these guys too, because I wasn’t a bass player before and I didn’t necessarily play loud rock music before. I played guitar before and slide guitar in a folksy band. And a little mandolin.
Chris: Tyler hates mandolin. We don’t talk about those days.
Tyler: And a little lap steel too. I’m only 21 so I consider myself super lucky to be able to play with these guys.
Chris: We’re lucky to have you. There’s a thing where you meet a lover or your soul mate, and then you’re in a band and you have to meet your lover / soul mate like three times. So it’s kindof fucking hard. I feel very lucky to have found very different and complementary soul-matey people and I think that comes out. Sivan and I write this music, we bring it into the band, and the band shapes it. It will change and certain things will come about, and it’s been a magical ride. A friend of mine recently said, whether we stay local or get a bigger stage we’re pretty lucky to have the people that we have and to be able to do what we’re doing. BFD is awesome and God bless playing in front of hopefully thousands of people for our local stage, but I would still be doing this if we had that opportunity or not.
Everyone Is Dirty Tour Dates:
07/01 – Mountain View, CA – Live 105’s BFD @ Shore Amphitheater
07/02 – Los Angeles, CA – Los Globos
07/04 – Phoenix, AZ – The Lost Leaf
07/06 – Lubbock, TX – Bar Pm
07/08 – Fayetteville, AR – JR’s Lightbulb Club
07/10 – Denton TX – Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios
07/13 – Amarillo, TX – The 806
07/15 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress