By Nicholas Jason Lopez
In an effort to shine a beam of hopeful light upon their fans in these dark, uncertain times, Washington, D.C.-based indie rock trio The Duskwhales recently dropped their latest single, “Dressed In Lilac.”
The track was recorded in a session in March 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States and took over the year in the worst way imaginable.
The Duskwhales are Brian Majewski, Seth Flynn and Chris Baker.
The Music Bugle had the chance to catch up with the band to chat about “Dressed In Lilac” and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Washington, D.C. to someone who has never been there before?
Brian Majewski – D.C. is definitely my favorite superhero universe.
Seth Flynn – It’s a winding heck of a maze if you are driving, but if you’re well-versed in your metro-maps, it can be quite pleasant.
Chris Baker – I think Obi-Wan Kenobi put it best in this meme:
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about indie rock?
Brian Majewski – I think it’d have to be just how broad the genre is. It seems like indie music is influenced by every possible genre and is kinda like the melting pot of music.
Seth Flynn – It’s exciting to be a part of something that is always changing or mutating each day, whether you want it to or not.
Chris Baker – It’s exciting that a lot of indie artists are getting recognition with homemade recordings. While it’s great to have access to a real studio, it’s good to know that you can still make an impact using a D.I.Y. approach if the songs are good. Levels the playing field a little.
Music Bugle – What are some challenges of being a musical trio that people might not think of?
Brian Majewski – The go-to is, “Oh, we don’t have a bass player,” but that hasn’t been much trouble at all, to be honest. I don’t know what the other guys are going to say, but probably being in a trio is the best option for a band. Every band should be a trio. It’s great, I promise.
Seth Flynn – If one of us is missing, it’s rather noticeable! (Laughs) Nowhere to hide on a stage with just us three.
Chris Baker – It’s always a fun challenge to see how we can translate our recordings to the live setting with just the three of us. Brian’s left hand is a great bass player, but kind of a diva. Also, it can be annoying to have to divide things by three. Like, “33.33 percent” just doesn’t have a nice ring to it.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Brian Majewski – Somebody else, answer this one! (Laughs)
Seth Flynn – Our former fourth member had a really good answer for this one, but it took a bit of word-collaging and a bit of magic really for the name to take shape.
Chris Baker – Basically, we were huge youths at the time and thought it sounded funny to combine the words “Dusk,” “Whales” and also, “The.” Very important. Shortly after deciding on the name, one of us went to use the photocopier at our school and on the little screen appeared a whale with a setting sun in the background. We interpreted it as a sign that we had chosen the correct name. To this day, all of our band decisions are still determined by photocopiers.
Music Bugle – What was it like making your new single “Dressed In Lilac”?
Brian Majewski – Well, we all dressed in different shades of purple and then, we gassed the studio with a flowery perfume. The song was the result.
Seth Flynn – A lot of fun! The original demo we had of the song was very fuzzed-out and quasi-shoegaze, but when we brought it into the studio with the producer, Jim Ebert, he was able to refine it into a much more slick, jangle-pop sound.
Chris Baker – That whole recording session was such a joy – except for when Brian gassed the studio. I’m really glad we were able to get some songs done before COVID took over the world. We also got to experiment with adding percussion samples and restructuring the song a bit after the fact, which we hadn’t really done before. Plus, layering in all the harmonies is always the best part.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Brian Majewski – The Renaissance Festival was cancelled and we’re all very sad about it.
Seth Flynn – It was nice at first to have an unintentional break from the shows, since we had been playing pretty much every weekend, but you miss it after a while. On the plus side, I think it’s really given me a lot of time to work on writing better and more purposeful lyrics and chord progressions.
Chris Baker – It sucks not being able to perform in front of a live audience or make any money from music – apart from that crucial five cents coming in from Spotify each month, but definitely frees up a lot of time for other things, like watching Netflix, baking sourdough bread, contemplating your own mortality, etc..
Music Bugle – What has been the most productive thing you’ve done while in quarantine?
Brian Majewski – Transformed my bedroom into a studio and pretty much lock myself in there every chance I can get to practice and record.
Seth Flynn – Recording a bunch and working on my voice. Oh, and trying to read more books.
Chris Baker – Tennis. Guys, I’m really into tennis.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something people might be surprised to know about the band?
Seth Flynn – We like a good board game night.
Chris Baker – Two words – band shower.
Brian Majewski – We dress up in full regalia every year for the Renaissance Festival. Did I mention it was cancelled this year? We’re all very sad about it.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Brian Majewski – “I will not let you go until you bless me,” from Genesis 32:27. Jacob says this after physically wrestling all night with God. The idea of wrestling, even when you feel like there’s no payoff, but yet you continue to wrestle on and on because of confidence and hope. That’s inspiring.
Seth Flynn – “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee,” from Special Agent Dale Cooper.
Chris Baker – “DO IT. JUST DO IT,” from Shia LaBeouf.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Brian Majewski – Lots of film scores and video game soundtracks, particularly anything done by Lena Raine. Also, currently obsessing over Jacob Collier and this incredible psychedelic band from Morocco called Bab L’Buz.
Seth Flynn – Prince’s 1979 self-titled album.
Chris Baker – Faye Webster, Flower Graves, Tennis – Guys, I’m really into Tennis! Also, this great electronic record by Mort Garson called ‘Mother Earth’s Plantasia,’ which was apparently intended to help plants grow.
*Photo credit – Katie Murphy*