Playing for new audiences is never an easy task. But unlike most bands, Toronto rockers Dinosaur Bones prefer to be in that position. “It’s kind of fun to play in front of new audiences because there’s no preconceived notions at all,” explained lead singer Ben Fox. “We hope [that] people who didn’t know us before get excited about our music.”
Excitement and anticipation are definitely the terms that define this up-and-coming band. Though they have only been together for two years, the hype surrounding them has been growing. Named “Most Promising Young Band” by The Ottawa Xpress and nominated for the 2009 XM Verge Music Awards for artist and album of the year, they have gradually garnered industry attention, including headlining slots at South by Southwest in Texas and Canadian Music Week in Toronto. “It’s really interested because you start a project and you’re at ground zero and it’s been fun to see things really get going.”
Started by Fox in early 2008, the Toronto-born singer decided to “pull the plug” on his studies at Concordia University and move back home to start a band with friends Joel Clifton, Branko Scekic, Dave Wickland and Lucas Fredette. “We’ve all been musicians for the a long time. I had played with three of the guys before but this was the first time [we were] playing music together seriously,” said Fox. After coming up with a name while “bored in class just scribbling down band names,” the group started performing songs written by Fox during his days in Montreal.
Sonically the band is refreshingly unafraid of the mainstream while still remaining a little off the beaten path. Integrating catchy guitar riffs with concise but passionate singing, listeners are reminded of The Kings of Leon or Interpol with some Franz Ferdinand thrown in the mix. “I’m a meticulous and slow writer which I hope comes across in the songs,” said Fox. “I usually start with the music and let [it] guide my thoughts and the lyrics come from there.” Yet the creative process remains a group effort with Fox demoing songs to the rest of the band before improving on them together. “Each of the guys definitely add their personalities to the songs,” said Fox. This collaboration is reflected in their melodies: all the instruments come together to create a clean and polished finished product.
But it is touring that has definitely helped Dinosaur Bands gain attention. Through friends in the Toronto and Montreal music scene, they have been able to play throughout Canada, and as of last month the United States. “It’s tough to be in a band and not like touring. It’s kind of the name of the game. Fortunately we love it,” explained Fox. “I think we’re pretty comfortable with it at this point.”
Though comfort is not exactly how one would describe traveling as a band. Going to last month’s SXSW, the band drove three days to get to Austin, Texas with one night spent sleeping in the van after it broke down a few hours out of Toronto. “We were kind of bummed about that. But it was still really fun”.
The band is awaiting the release of their first, still untitled, full-length album – the release is “still TBA” but it should come out “sometime in the fall.” For now Dinosaur Bones expects to be traveling a lot more. “As of now we just want to get some tour experience under our belts and hopefully make a record we’ll be proud of for a long time,” concluded Fox. “And of course we just hope people like it.”
See Dinosaur Bones April 3 at l’Escogriffe with The Darcys and Rock Roulette.