D’NT is like Irish coffee with a dash of gasoline added to the mix.
March 23rd doesn’t seem so long ago, but for me, it feels like it’s been forever since I first saw D’NT live at The Grand Victory. Why am I so hooked on this band? Was it the energy of their music? Was it that I was feeling run down that night at The Grand Victory and D’NT’s performance perked me right the fuck up. That had to be it. D’NT is like Irish coffee with a dash of gasoline added to the mix. D’NT had opened up for Rough Francis when I saw them, and although, Rough Francis put on a pretty cool performance, I left that night excited about D’NT’s next performance at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn on April 24. Hell, before Mitchell (King • basher of the skins) could break down his kit, I was getting his band’s info from him. This was going to happen. kilScene.com was created to promote talent such as this, and I was going to have them on my site one way or another.
The band’s name might be D’NT, but dammit, I will!!
I e-mailed D’NT requesting an interview the day after their show at the Grand Victory. D’NT’s guitarist/vocalist, Aaron C. Lazar got back to me. The interview was going to happen. It’s funny, I heard but a few songs from D’NT that night at the Grand Victory and that’s all it took. How can I explain D’NT? I can’t. I tried to describe D’NT’s sound in the Rough Francis piece and it’s been a few weeks since then and still, I can’t quite put my finger on what to categorize D’NT’s music. Fuck the labeling. It’s rock. It gets me going. The band’s name might be D’NT, but dammit, I will!! I now invite you to step inside D’NT’s world …
“We didn’t have any real plans to start a band, just make some noise.”
kilScene • What was the contributing factor that made you want to make music your life’s work?
Aaron Lazar • I don’t really think about it in terms of “life’s work” – Music doesn’t have a lot of rules to me & its sort of automatic. I like feeling like an antenna.
Mitchell King • Music definitely does not, for me, carry any of the weight & significance that the concept of ‘life’s work‘ implies. It’s just fun and creatively satisfying for me. i feel lucky to have whatever limited skills I do posses and to know great people to make some noise with.
… “I prefer there to be things I don’t understand happening in the lyrics. They only need to resonate with the structure and tone of the moment.”
kS • How did you guys get together?
aL • I first saw Mitchell playing with Beat the Devil and I knew instantly that i wanted to play music with him. He has a ferocious style and tends to accent on the kick drum which is pretty rare in rock drummers. He’s the only guy I’ve seen in the game who can play soulfully and aggressively at the same time. Its incredible. I’m lucky to play with him.
mK • I met Aaron while he was in Giraffes and I was in Beat The Devil back in 2007. Our bands shared some bills together. We hung out [and] shortly after that, I played with Aaron in his band, Rumanian Buck for a spell. D’NT began with us just jamming around in a musty practice space in early 2011. We didn’t have any real plans to start a band, just make some noise. It just sort of evolved very naturally from there.
“I think of any creative process as sort of a meat grinder – everything goes in, gets all twisted, and stretched, and interpreted …”
kS • What’s the true story behind the band’s name?
aL • We started with “D O N ‘ T” but there was already another band with that name, so we clipped it down to D’NT. I think its perfect. It’s commanding and devoid of all possible extremities. It’s also is a word of negation, which is a word of power. It’s editorial, It cuts things out.
kS • Who were some of your influences growing up?
aL • I grew up listening to a lot of my dad’s blues collection, that along with the essential classic rock stuff that everyone my age grew up with. Late eighties and early nineties hip hop had a huge impact on me, followed by seventies punk and art rock. After that, all bets were off and I now listen to anything and everything I can.
mK • I was exposed to a strict and steady diet of mainstream rock radio through the eighties and nineties. Like most kids in rural places. Georgia in my case. I didn’t know any other kind of rock music existed. The other side of that coin though, is all the bluegrass and gospel stuff that was around me everywhere I went – church, school, community social events, etc. I think it’s pretty great how music is so engrained in rural, southern culture as a form of storytelling and communication. I’d like to think that some of that is in my bones.
“The whole idea of the band is to remove conscious control to let the music propagate through us in an unadulterated way.”
kS • What inspires your music?
aL • We rely less on inspiration and more on a method. We force improvisation first and record a bunch of takes without editing ourselves or trying to figure it out at all. From there, we pick the winners and attempt to work on them more, half remembering them as they change into what becomes closer to the “final” song. None of the lyrics are ever written down, they are half remembered and improvised in places. The whole idea of the band is to remove conscious control to let the music propagate through us in an unadulterated way. I recognize that this is impossible of course- but it’s a healthy and rich exercise, that never ceases to surprise me. I prefer there to be things I don’t understand happening in the lyrics. They only need to resonate with the structure and tone of the moment. They are not really proper songs in that respect, they change all the time.
mK • Everything, I suppose. I think of any creative process as sort of a meat grinder – everything goes in, gets all twisted, and stretched, and interpreted, and mixed and who knows what is going to come out and if it is going to be edible.
kS • Do you prefer the studio or the stage?
aL • Stage.
mK • Stage. Studio is an evil place.
“Miles laying it down in smoke-filled bars to lively crowds. That scene was the real deal.”
kS • In your opinion, what was the greatest era for music?
aL • The era you get to fuck with.
mK • I would love to have roamed 52nd street in Manhattan in the late 40’s. I just imagine dropping in club after club, dressed to the nines, watching Max Roach, Monk, Miles laying it down in smoke-filled bars to lively crowds. That scene was the real deal.
“You should never feel guilty about liking something.”
kS • What is your guilty pleasure group/artist?
aL • You should never feel guilty about liking something.
mK • I do like me some early Black Crowes. Sorry.
kS • If you could have any group open up for you, active or non, who would it be?
aL • Can?
mK • I’d love for us to share a bill with Dexter Romweber.
kS • What’s the best movie you’ve seen from the recent past and why?
aL • Anything Werner Herzog– Into the Abyss & Happy People of the Taiga are almost completely opposite and circumscribe his work well.
mK • I thought Nebraska was just absolutely fantastic. Funny and sad and joyous and heartbreaking all simultaneously.
It’s because of bands like D’NT that the banner of riotous rock keeps on waving!
kS • Aaron, you toured with Local H. How did that come about? Which tour of theirs was it?
aL • Scott [Lucas] played a solo tour and opened up for The Giraffes at Mercury. [Scott] became a fan and asked us out twice. Did the lower 48 with those guys. Good times. [It was] around the Whatever Happened To P.J. Soles record… I miss ’em.
kS • What’s on D’nt’s bucket list?
aL • Hang-glide? Eat a lobster?
mK • Finish the damn record.
… And that right there was kilScene’s interview with D’NT. I only wish I had a video of D’NT’s live performance to correspond with this piece because I don’t feel it does the band justice and D’NT plays that riotous type of rock that gets the heart pumping and your feet moving. They really ought to be seen to believed. You will have your chance though, because like I said earlier in this piece, make sure that you stay close to Brooklyn on April 24th when D’NT invade Shea Stadium (no, NOT the fucking long gone home of the Mets. Believe it or not when I saw that on D’NT’s flyer for the show– and in front of Aaron no less, I, for a split second pondered that thought, but hell, how the fuck was I supposed to know that there was a venue in Brooklyn that went by that same name? Listen up New York, I know where I’ll be on April 24th. If you were worried about the state of rock and where it was headed, fear not! D’NT is another one of those bands that, for me reaffirms my faith in a genre that’s brought me so much joy over the years. To Aaron and Mitchell I say, thanks guys! It’s because of bands like D’NT that the banner of riotous rock keeps on waving!
Want more D’NT? Yeeeeah ya do. Check them out here:
Photos courtesy of • Ebru Yildiz