Matt King is looking forward to eating better this time around when he and the other fellows in dd/mm/yyyy go on tour.The drummer and his bandmates are piling into a minivan and driving across the continent as they hit up the west and east coasts of Canada and the United States, including an all-ages show with Baltimore's Video Hippos and local favourites Windom Earle and Dog Day at the North Street Church on Tuesday, May 20. They're playing later that night at Gus' Pub with Play Guitar and Medium Mood.
According to King, it's hard to eat well when they're on the road because the cheapest food is often processed food. The band has sustained themselves on bologna sandwiches with plastic cheese, beans, bags of salad and apples on previous tours. This time they're packing along a rice cooker. "We can steam vegetables and have rice, maybe plug it in the venue or something and have a meal. I'm really psyched for that."
King and fellow members, Tomas Del Balso, Moshe Rozenberg, Mike Claxton and Jordan Holmes form dd/mm/yyyy, the spastic indie/math rock band from Toronto. Their sound, like the name---Day, Month, Year---is constantly evolving, making it hard to define. "The idea of the band originally was to have a name that was changing to allow us to constantly reinvent and push ourselves," explains King.
The tour this summer is in support of their second full-length album Are They Masks?, which came out last July on the We Are Busy Bodies label, and 777, a new EP that's part of a series of seven-inches released by Sydney-based Out of Touch Records. The series will soon be available through Halifax's Divorce Records distribution.
The band is currently working another album that's slated to come out in the fall after a potential European tour. "It sounds more like dd/mm/yyyy," says King, "but at the same time the songs are starting to sound dissimilar from each other, like the styles are starting to branch off. We've always tried to have a no-style approach, and it's starting to translate in that we're a five-piece cohesive unit, but it's mutating. At the same time that it's breaking apart, we're coming together and becoming a cohesive unit."
Like a toy car that's been wound up too long and then let go, dd/mm/yyyy's music is frenzied and convulsing, moving in spontaneous directions with odd time signatures, little repetition and constant transitions.
Though it may sound like it's random, the songwriting process is a calculated one. King says one person will have an idea and then everyone else elaborates. "Sometimes this makes songs really party, with five guys with five opinions, but in the end everything ends up pretty cohesive, and everyone is happy with their contributions."
Along with sharing songwriting duties, the artwork is also a collaborative effort. One person is assigned a coordinator role, dishing out assignments to the others. Much like the music, the cover of 777 is delirious, similar to a frenetic Magic Eye picture except there's no hidden image. King, who just graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design, silk-screened the colourful cover. "It's just four colours overlaying each other, making a really distracting and nauseating experience for the viewer...It's trying to represent the songs visually and my interpretation of what they mean and how they sound compared to what they would look like if they were put down on the page." King says the band tries to do as much as they can themselves.
In addition to designing the artwork, dd/mm/yyyy has been working on t-shirts either to wear or sell at the show as well as zines they've made to share with fans. King says, "It's a DIY thing...we have to be really self-sustaining and on top of things."
The band has played several times in Halifax before. "It's a nice community...everyone's really hospitable and comfortable with who they are," says King.
Demonstrate your hospitality this Tuesday, and don't forget to bring along some rice and veggies to steam and share with the lads. add/mm/yyyy w/Video Hippos, Windom Earle, Dog Day, Tuesday, May 20 at North Street Church, 5657 North, $9, 7pm. With Video Hippos, Play Guitar and Medium Mood at Gus' Pub, 2605 Agricola, 10pm, $5.