Interview with Denver Dalley, guitarist with Conor Oberst project Desaparecidos

The 'disappeared ones' reappear in Glasgow on Sat 9 Feb

Desaparecidos interview: guitarist Denver Dalley chats about tour-life, Pixies, and gets confused by the word 'punter'

Nebraskan post-hardcore band Desaparecidos, fronted by Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, are heading to the Arches. It's one of their first shows since getting back together last year, after breaking up in 2002. Guitarist Denver Dalley has been with them since the beginning, and stops to answer some questions for The List:

Can you describe your music in five words?
Hmm… maybe 'loud, melodic, angry social commentary'?

What will your set-up be for the Scottish shows? What kind of night can we expect?
It's all five original members, so it's Matt Baum on drums, yours truly on lead guitar, Landon Hedges on bass and backing vocals, Ian McElroy on keyboards and Conor Oberst on vocals and guitar. We are really passionate about the songs we are playing, and we also feed off of each other and the crowd - it makes for a really energetic performance. I don't think we could sit still if we tried.

What’s the best live show you’ve seen [as an audience member]?
Thats a tough one - I mean, there are bands with incredible production that have blown me away, and bands with no production that have had the same effect. So while I love every single element going on in The Flaming Lips’ incredible live show, I've watched At The Drive-In and XBXRX play without any smoke or mirrors and was just as floored. I guess I would say Nine Inch Nails for my final answer though. Although The Faint are up there too...

You’ve got a busy month coming up, touring the UK then the States. Is playing live important to the band?
I think that we are all happiest when we are playing live. Like so many bands, we were started in a basement during a snowy winter because we wanted to hang out, make noise and have fun together, and so it's extremely important to us that we do precisely that.

Do you still go out to shows as a punter?
Yeah, if i understand the term correctly… (my Google search said that is either 'a patron', or 'a customer of a prostitute' - so definitely not the latter). We all obviously love music and get inspired by it. We all love to see new bands and old friends play alike. It seems like pretty frequently, a band will use their one day-off on a lengthy tour to go see a show, and I think that says a lot.

What else do you do with your free time on tour?
I try to see as much of the city as I can. Often that just ends up being the block or two surrounding the venue, but sometimes you get to do more in-depth sightseeing. We obviously love to meet up with friends that live, or are passing through the cities that we are playing in. Have dinner, have some drinks, have a laugh. A few of us have been getting up and going for a run in the mornings, which is a nice way to kill two birds with one stone.

Do you like to visit record shops when you’re on tour? If so, what are your favourites?
We really used to, frequently, but they are a dying breed. When the opportunity presents itself we certainly do, but its usually disheartening to look up an old favourite to find they had to close their doors years ago. We love to support local artists and businesses though.

What was the first record that stole your heart? Do you remember where you heard it?
Pixies - Doolittle. That one definitely changed me forever. I remember hearing my older brother play it on his stereo and in our parents’ car and falling head over heels for that album.

Growing up, were there any venues or bars in your area that were really pushing that sort of sound back then?
There was a bar in Omaha called The Capitol Bar (named after the street that it was on) and I remember seeing Slowdown Virginia there when i was in middle school. Slowdown Virginia was an early version of Cursive and is undeniably responsible for every artist from Omaha/early Saddle Creek Records. Although the most famous, respected and important venue was probably The Cog Factory - that was legendary. Every once in a while there were shows at The Ranch Bowl as well. But all three of those venues are long gone now. The only one that remains is Sokol Downstairs, but shows don't really happen there anymore. The guys who booked all of the shows at Sokol opened their own venue, The Waiting Room, and to me that's the perfect venue in Omaha now.

After this tour, what are your plans? More recording, or do you have any different projects lined up?
Yeah, we are all curious to see what happens next ourselves. We all definitely have other projects to attend to, but absolutely love playing together as Desaparecidos. Either way though, we are excited for whatever happens next.

Desaparecidos play The Arches, Glasgow, Sat 9 Feb, with support from We Are The Physics

Desaparecidos - MariKKKopa

Desaparecidos - Backsell

Conor Oberst (1) : Water/Lumberjack Records (Saddle Creek DVD)

Desaparecidos and We Are The Physics

Post-hardcore band fronted by Conor 'Bright Eyes' Oberst.

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