Interview with the Raised By Wolves
- by Dawn Reed
The Deli: How did the band start?
Dusty Durston: I was in a band way back in freshmen year of high school. Our guitarist had just moved away and Ben was my best friend and the best guitarist I knew, so it was kind of a no-brainer to ask him to join us. Eventually, that band split when we went to college, but Ben and I continued to write through our time at different schools.
Ben Eskin: We wrote back and forth via Skype, and would write and record when we were home together during summer breaks. After we graduated, we both returned to Maryland, where we polished off these ideas we had accumulated and recorded the album over the better part of a year.
What's the story behind the band name?
Dusty: I wrote a short story in college called “Raised By Wolves” that I felt embodied a similar to spirit to that of our band. And then I added the “The” just to be obnoxious.
What are your biggest musical influences?
Dusty: It’s kind of spread out. I think we’re equally a product of what we grew up on (Weezer, Blink-182, Saves The Day) and what we’ve been listening more to lately (Elliott Smith, The Flaming Lips, The Strokes).
What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
Ben: I’ve been rocking the new CHVRCHES album “The Bones of What You Believe” pretty hard lately. I also have been listening to Seattle indie-rock band The Lonely Forest, who just released a solid second album.
Dusty: Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and both Cults records.
What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
Dusty: My first album was either an X-Games Soundtrack or Sugar Ray’s “Floored”. Either way, pretty rad. First concert was Green Day at American University. Ben and I went with his mom.
Ben: Green Day were touring in support of their album “Warning” and it was a school night, so we had to leave before they finished their set. The first album I ever owned was “Zoot Suit Riot” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. I was probably around 7 years old and most certainly did not know what it meant to “pop a cherry.”
What do you love about DC/MD's music scene?
Dusty: I love that there are people out there who have regular 9-5 jobs and are working tirelessly in their free time to make positive changes to the scene and promote bands that they believe deserve attention.
Ben: DC has really amazing venues. We grew up on the 9:30 club and could truly call that place a second home. And there are countless other venues like Black Cat, Rock and Roll Hotel and Velvet Lounge that have great atmospheres and host great shows. DC also has a really cool punk history with bands like Minor Threat and Fugazi. As a band that tries to bring a lot of raw energy to its live shows, we’d love to try to rekindle some of that hardcore spirit.
What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
Ben: While DC has got lots of great venues and great talent, the scene lacks some cohesiveness in its music scene. Part of the reason is that DC can be a very transient city, with young people coming to live here for a couple years then moving on. We grew up in the DC area and will always call it home, but its constant flux can make it difficult to establish a scene. But I also think that arts aren’t as intrinsic to DC’s identity as it may be for other cities. The arts scene is really more hidden here than cities like New York or Minneapolis. We stumbled across a punk show a few months ago in the Tenleytown neighborhood in DC above a Mexican restaurant called Casa Fiesta which was awesome.
Dusty: I'd like to see less self-consciousness at shows. I feel like shows should always be a safe, cathartic place where you don’t have to worry about being judged by others. What was so special about that little punk show was that the kids were having such a great time and that camaraderie felt real. It was refreshing.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
Dusty: We’ll continue to write and play shows. Try to get our music to as many people as we can. We’re currently working on a music video treatment. Maybe a spring tour?
What was your most memorable live show?
Dusty: Probably our first show. I had never really sung in public before, so I was pretty nervous leading up to it. When it alright, I felt like a weight had been lifted. It was a wild night.
Ben: We’ve only played four shows so far with this new group, but we had a lot of fun playing a show a few weeks ago called “Red Tape” that was a kickoff event for DC’s Entrepreneurship Week and Listen Local First DC’s two-year anniversary. We shared the stage with local acts The Walking Sticks and ACME in a cool space on H street. We had just played at Columbia Heights Day 5 hours before then, and it was fun to sweat out a second set in a smaller, more intimate setting.
Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?
Dusty: Our friends and family have been incredibly supportive with their encouragement and helping us spread the word about our music. Our buddy James Robertson has been especially helpful. We collaborated with him for our album art and trailers and he really took everything to the next level. He’s a bit of a visual wizard.
Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?
Ben: I really love my DigiTech JamMan loop pedal. I started using a loop pedal a few years ago and it’s proven to be an amazing songwriting tool. I also love my Gibson SG. I’ve had that guitar for 10 years.
Dusty: My phone. It’s helpful for storing melodies and jotting down lyrics and other miscellaneous ideas when they come to mind.