Photo courtesy of Audio Blood Media.
When you’re an up-and-coming indie rock band, you have to do a lot with a little. For Dinosaur Bones, that meant making a run for the border.
The Toronto-based indie rockers (called the city’s most promising young band by Ottawa XPress and nominees for the 2009 XM Verge Music Award) have recently returned home from an American tour—the first proper one in their two-year history—to celebrate the release of their white-vinyl 7-inch EP Royalty/Ice Hotels at the Steam Whistle Brewery this Friday night. The five-dollar entry fee goes to the Artists’ Health Care Foundation. The stay won’t be for long, however, as the band will take its dark, dirty rhythms and atmospheric pop to Austin, Texas, for SXSW later on in the month.
Why do they not stick to the rural environs of their home and native land? Nothing personal: they’ve just been there, done that, with little success, says lead singer and guitarist Ben Fox. Logistically and monetarily, any travelling band will tell you that touring Canada’s a bitch. The towns are smaller, the distances longer, the investment in time and gas is greater, and the payoff is less.
“We focused our attention on New York, Boston, Washington, the bigger cities,” says Fox. “It’s the genre that we play and the audiences we attract. I don’t think our band is ever going to be successful in rural Canada. We’re not really a gruff, Canadiana beard-rock kinda band. Those bands can slay those places. Do you like the Hip? Too bad, we sound nothing like them. Besides that, it would be crazy for us, as a band, to ignore these massive markets only six hours south instead of say, eighteen hours north.”
Emigration has been the name of the game for Ben Fox, who concocted his brainchild during his days as a political science and English lit student at Concordia University in Montreal. Bored with his lot, he settled back home in Cabbagetown to aggregate some east-end friends to form the band.
“When I was up there, I was writing songs like crazy and I didn’t have anybody around to play them with,” Fox says. “And it was driving me nuts, so I packed up and moved back to Toronto. We started going at it pretty hard, but it was good because we all played together in high school, so it all came together fairly quickly.”
In any case, keeping on the move is smart thinking if you’re trying to save money to promote and distribute your first as-yet untitled full-length album, set for release in the fall, though Dinosaur Bones didn’t turn their nose up at Canadian talent for help, enlisting producer Jon Drew (The Arkells, Fucked Up, Tokyo Police Club) to help them cut the disc.
Finishing touches (i.e. mixing) are being put on the record, says Fox, along with the arduous search for a distributor who will hand it to the masses. But make no mistake, it’s on its way.
“We will know the fate of the album very soon,” he said. “Since they know we’re recording this people are waiting to hear it.”