DTCV has not-so-secret ties to Dayton
By Tim Anderl
French-American post-punk outfit DTCV (pronounced “Detective”) released their new album, Hilarious Heaven, via Xemu/Burger Records earlier this year. Though the band isn’t officially a Dayton outfit, it does have significant ties to the Gem City.
To start, DTCV’s vocalist and guitarist is none other than novelist/screenwriter Jim Greer. For those not immediately making the connection, Greer was a senior writer and editor at Spin Magazine before he relocated to Dayton, Ohio in the mid ’90s. In 1994, he joined Guided By Voices, contributing bass guitar and vocals to both Alien Lanes and Under the Bushes Under The Stars. As GBV’s most avarice fans know, he also wrote and recorded the song “Trendspotter Acrobat” for the GBV EP Sunfish Holy Breakfast. Greer also penned the definitive biography of Guided By Voices, “Guided By Voices: A Brief History,” which was released in 2005.
Oh, and then there was his five-year engagement to Kim Deal of Pixies and The Breeders …
Dayton City Paper recently caught up with Greer and DTCV’s other vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Guy Vivarat, to discuss Hilarious Heaven, an album that features the distinctive album art of GBV’s Bob Pollard, by the way. This is what they told us about it.
When did you begin writing the material for Hilarious Heaven?
We’re always writing, so it’s hard to say when these songs started taking shape. I would say right after we finished our last album, However Strange. Some were also written while we were recording, or finished in the studio. – Guy Vivarat
Is there an overarching concept behind the album?
If there is, it is unintentional. Jim and I write our songs separately and although we actually did write a couple songs together on this one, it’s definitely not a concept album. It’s the sound that was going through our head at the time. – GV
It’s about the constant and comforting presence of death. No, there’s no theme. -Jim Greer
Were there any songs that were particularly difficult to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing?
I did like 400 guitar overdubs for “I Was Where Were You.” I borrowed everyone’s guitar I could find to try different sounds. We ended up using only the first one I did. Oh well. – JG
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
Definitely “Electrostatic, Inc.” In the first batch of songs we recorded, there was one of mine that I didn’t like at all. It just wasn’t coming together. So, I asked Steve Kille to send me the isolated drum track of that song. I chopped off the first 30 seconds and decided to write another song around the drum track. I had verses and a chorus, Jim had a riff and a bridge that somehow fit in there, so we worked on it and it became “Electrostatic, Inc.” – GV
You had a musical guest on the record too, didn’t you?
Yes, we had Modeste Cobián play flute on two tracks. He is a really talented multi-instrumentalist who plays with many bands in Los Angeles, including one of our favorites, Strangers Family Band, also on Xemu records. – GV
You guys were responsible for the record’s production too, right?
We produced it, together with Steve Kille, who recorded the album. – GV
Steve has his own studio in a loft in downtown LA. He was recording the new Dead Meadow record in fits and starts at the same time we were making Hilarious Heaven. The process took much longer than we had anticipated, in part because we were touring a lot, and Steve was touring, and then we were recording, and then Dead Meadow was recording. In the end, that was really beneficial because we had time to really figure out what we wanted the record to sound like and also to add bits and pieces and cut out songs that weren’t working and add songs and even improvise stuff in the studio. – JG
What input did Steve have that changed the face of the record?
Steve definitely put his mark on the record. He’s very meticulous and can spend a long time getting the right bass sound or putting all the drum tracks through tape compression. We tend to be the opposite. We like to record very fast, first or second take, and finish the record in a few days. So, this was the perfect mix of spontaneity and studio work.
The basic tracks were recorded very quickly, in two or three sessions, mostly without practicing the songs before recording. Then we took months to work on the sound, do vocals and overdubs. Jeff Stone complemented that very well when we mixed the record. He was able to keep the sound and the analog elements of our performance. – GV
You have been playing these songs during your recent tour. Which songs have elicited the strongest reactions?
“Alpha Waves in a Gelatinous Conductor” and “Hyperdoxxing at Dowager Inn” seem to get the strongest response. Other songs on the album would probably be epic live, but they would require adding guest musicians, which we can really only do in Los Angeles. Maybe some time this year, why not? – GV
DTCV will perform at Tree Bar in Columbus, Ohio, 887 Chambers Rd., on Wednesday, April 2. 21 and up; doors at 7 p.m. DTCV will also perform at MOTR Pub in Cincinnati, 1345 Main St., on Saturday, April 5. For more information, please visit dtcvband.com.