The District Attorneys, a band comprised of Atlanta and Athens natives, have quickly established themselves in the Athens music scene and is undeniably a musical force to be reckoned with. Formed in 2009, these guys have made continuous strides in the right direction not only in making music that people want to hear, but also in being easily accessible at the click of a mouse. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed, and just months after releasing their first full length album in April of 2012, the band went on to win Best Album Artwork, Best Album, and Artist of the Year for the Flagpole Music Awards of Athens, GA. We recently spoke with Drew Beskin of the District Attorneys just days before the band was gearing up to play Athfest ’13, and this is what we found out….
Vinyl Mag: How did the bond with This Is American Music form?
Drew Beskin: Ah, Payton Bradford of the Futurebirds is a good friend of mine and he is friends with Cory, who is one of the founders of This Is American Music. After I moved to Atlanta and started working on our first full-length album, he suggested I reach out to him.
VM: Your music has frequented XM’s station “The Loft”; do you personally feel that is a fitting station for your sound?
DB: Well, I don’t really much listen to XM- not that I have anything against it- I just have my iPod, CD’s, and podcast’s that I listen to. I’ve heard The Loft tends to play a lot of really random stuff sometimes, but I’m friends with Mike Marrone [programming director for The Loft] on Facebook, and I see what he recommends all the time, and like his taste. I’m no authority on XM or anything, but it’s cool enough for me!
VM: How do you feel that your experience at SXSW this year differed from your last, and do you feel that it has been beneficial for the band?
DB: We’ve only gone two years; we toured up there last year which was a lot of fun. We really didn’t know what we were doing, and we kind of just said yes to anything we were offered. For a lot of the shows, they had paired us up with emo-punk bands, so some of them weren’t that great. One of the best parts of going two years in a row was that the first year we learned a lot about the area, but also just that we had been a band another year longer this time, so we had more fans to come out to the shows. This year we played a show every day, and each show was a really good time with some really cool guys.
VM: Who does the primary song writing?
DB: I do, for the most part. I write about 80 percent of the songs, and our keyboardist – and sometimes guitarist – write the remainder of the songs.
VM: Who runs your social media sources? Do you keep up with them yourselves?
DB: We are all owners of our Facebook page, but I would say that I maintain Facebook for the most part, and Frank [bassist] maintains Twitter, for the most part. We all have access whenever we want. We’re definitely in charge of it.
VM: Why was the decision made to release your first two EP’s for free via Bandcamp?
DB: We knew what we were doing when we released them for free on Bandcamp; we wanted to go ahead and have it out there. Now, all of our stuff is on iTunes and whatnot, but we put our first out for free just to get it out there for anyone to hear. We just generally wanted people to listen to it. We released our second EP on there, because we were working on our album and it was taking us a little longer than planned, so we decided to record a few songs on our own just to have something out to hold us over. You never want too much time to go by between releases.
VM: I noticed that the Gillian Welch cover of Wrecking Ball has a ton of plays; whose idea was it to cover that song?
DB: Well, it was my idea, because I love her; I take full credit for that. I’ve always loved her, so I was very excited to convince the band to do that, and I’m glad everyone took to it well.
VM: In a previous interview you did, you mentioned that “Cherry Glow” was your favorite off of the new album- what was it about that song that struck resonating chords with you?
DB: I think at the time what I loved about it was that the whole song was recorded live. Everything that you hear on that song was done live. Not necessarily in one take, but it was very natural and raw. Next time around, we want to leave space to do something cool like that again and make it more organic, I guess.
VM: What are your expectations for the upcoming Athfest?
DB: It’s going to be our fourth Athfest in a row, and I think the first year we were just this new band, and we played on like, the very last stage. Each year since we’ve played a different stage, and this year we will be playing the Pulaski stage which is really exciting. As far as expectations go, we’re just happy to continue being a band that’s invited to play. There are always a lot of fun things to do and a lot of cool shows so I know it’s going to be a good time.
Samantha Gilder is a native of Saint Simons Island. She attended Georgia Southern University for a brief stint where she studied Journalism, and although she became your statistical “college dropout”, she strives to pursue her goals with the best of them. Growing up, music and writing were the top two most influential things in her life; fast forward to the present and their roles in her life are just as prominent, with the only (major) differences being that now she is not only a writer but a mother. She has eternal love in her heart for her daughter. She bartends at a local coffee shop/café/pub where (lucky for her) the appreciation for music is equally shared between her employers and co-workers.