Their first trip to the States, Southampton-based sextet Dlugokecki gave Americans a taste of what's to come. While they realize their band name isn't the easiest to pronounce (Der-loo-go-ken-ski), they're hoping the music will speak for itself. With their debut album, Let This Be Right, released in March and a tour on the way, the band has no plans of slowing down.
Dlugokecki filled me in on their music, to which they refer jokingly as "rocky poppy," the difference between American and English audiences, and their plan to become President Obama's favorite band, among many tangents. While keyboardist Andy Wild explained they're the least rock and roll band in the world: "We drink tea and have biscuits. There are no televisions thrown out of windows," Dlugokecki are truly a band worth checking out. Read on for plenty of laughs from the band who will prove to be the difficult name on everyone's lips in no time.
How did Dlugokecki come together?
Ben: Well, I was a singer-songwriter on my own. Writing songs and singing into a mirror and hoping one day I'd be famous and have lots of women screaming. That wasn't working out for me because I wasn't a very good guitarist and didn't have much confidence. But then I met Andy Wild and we formed the Dlugokecki band. There was a lot of synergy and it all came together. Then we created the Dlugokecki sound, which is a bit rocky poppy. [Laughs].
Andy: On the plane, we hadn't slept for a long, long time and someone was asking what style of music we were playing. It's always so difficult to say, "Oh it's that style or that style" and for some reason I said rocky poppy, which is rubbish. We did another interview today and I said we are rocky poppy and he took it completely seriously and was like, "So what's rocky poppy?"
Ben: So now we're our own genre, rocky poppy. We'll be on iTunes. You know how they have all the different genres? Rocky poppy, there's just one. Sorry, we digress. The band formed in Southampton and we've just seemed to have lots of luck. It seems like every year something happens and it just gets bigger and bigger. Now we're in Austin, Texas playing with The Proclaimers. It's a bit of a dream.
Aidan: It doesn't feel real.
Ben: We were in a limo two days ago riding around New York. Times Square. Just loving it.
Andy: We did pay for it, though.
Ben: No, it was paid for by Barack Obama. He knew we were coming. He thought, you know; smooth over relations with the British. If you can get in the interview somewhere that we are Barack Obama's favorite band that might go down well. [Laugher].
Boyd: Let's not do politics.
Ben: No, okay. Let's keep out of politics. But Barack Obama rocks. We think he's brilliant. We need a Barack Obama.
Is this your first time in the U.S.?
Ben: Yes. This is the beginning of our assault on America. We are going to take it by storm, bit by bit, state by state.
Aidan: This is the calm before the storm.
Ben: I like that. This is our relaxed, "Ah, there's Dlugokecki. What's that all about?" Then we come back and they're like, "Wow, look at them. They've got a really weird name. And they're Barack Obama's favorite band allegedly."
Why should we see you in concert?
Ben: We write positive love songs, which not many people do anymore. It's very negative. A lot of the music around is, "You broke my heart, you stole my cat," that sort of stuff. [Band laughs]. Well, maybe not cat. Maybe car or corn. We tend to write nice things of love and why it brings us all together. And every now and then throw in one that does rip your heart out.
What's different between American music and the scene in England?
Aidan: The audiences are different.
Andy: The audiences out here have been amazing. Sometimes you'll have it completely silent. Really, really nice audiences that listen and think about what we're trying to put out there. Back home you have people chatting away.
Boyd: [In America] they want to hear the stories behind the songs. They want to know what it's all about and Ben's very good about telling people what they're all about.
Ben: It's all about the music really. All of us are big musicians, we love music. We are one band, but we're also loads of different bands. We live music. If I'm at home and I've got a spare minute I'm writing lyrics on the wall. I'm writing all the time. Instead of cooking the fried eggs or washing up, it's all about the lyrics.
Would you rather someone hears you first live or on iTunes?
Andy: To be honest with you, I don't think I would mind just as long as people are listening.
Ben: The best thing is when you've moved someone. They're affected by the song. If someone says, "Your music's good" and you go, "Which song do you like?" and they say "All of them," you know they've got the CD and they've put it in the fridge. [Band laughs]. But then if they say, "This song really touched me or really moved me in some way" that really gets you. I quite like it when someone sees you live and they get the CD and then they come back again and again.
Boyd: Either way, you've got to work at it. You've got to knock them dead both times.
What is your ultimate goal as musicians?
Ben: I don't think we're dreaming of much. All we want to do is change everybody in the world's lives forever. [Band laughs]. I know that sounds like a bit of a challenge, but if you don't set your sights that high, you're going to flounder in the sea like a stone skimming across the waters. We're not just a stone. We're a rocket flying to space.
Boyd: Space is the limit.
Ben: I've got another goal: First band on the moon. To be honest, no one has ever done it. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Yeah, first band in space and change everyone's lives forever.
Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and music blogger who covers concerts and music festivals around the country. In constant pursuit of the next show to attend and band to interview, Annie keeps up her own music blog, You Sing, I Write.