Matt Bigland of Dinosaur Pile-Up Shares a Cure for Tour Anxiety and Sums Up His First Gig in 4 Words

September 27, 2016

Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?

Our van is a road worn Mercedes Sprinter. It’s done like 300,000 miles. We’ve repaired basically everything on it. Right now we chain one of the doors shut because the locking and sliding mechanism’s died. Two nights ago the other door broke and wouldn’t shut. So we were stuck with a door completely open. A guy watching us struggle turned out to be a mechanic and helped us fix it. And right now we’re on the motorway and can’t get over 25 mph. So yeah, she’s not at 100% health for sure.

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

We do whatever really. We basically eat less on tour. But we love pizza. Last night I went to get a pizza slice and came back with a whole pie. Why? Because pizza is life.

A good rider on tour is so important. But if you’re on a support tour, which you no doubt will be whilst you’re getting good and working your way up for a while, you’ve gotta be smart. Drink water. Sleep a lot if you can. Snack on nuts. And if you have anxiety from tour smoke a little weed but do not take that across borders. Nope. Also easy on the bread. And if you’re annoying when you’re drunk, realize it yourself and chill out. Don’t be that guy. It’s annoying.

How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?

A lot. I restring every show because if I don’t around the 4th song on the second show I’ll break a string and mess up my vibe. So a pack of strings a show. Mike breaks a stick pretty much every ten minutes and breaks a cymbal pretty much every month. We play hard – which we’re proud of – but man are cymbals expensive.

Where do you rehearse?

It’s humble and the cheapest place around. That’s why we use it. It’d be nice to be in a plush place but we’re not there to chill so fuck it. We get in, do a set or two and get out. It’s clean, sometimes smells a bit of mold or the last band but it’s fine. The people there are nice and know us pretty well now. Mike likes to turn the lights out and scare the fuck out of me when I walk in. No chill.

What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?

One of the first tunes I wrote is called “My Rock N Roll” and the opening line is “since I was young I’ve always felt some sort of trouble”.

Describe your first gig.

Awkward. Terrifying. We sucked.

What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?

I’ve always working in cafes and bars. That was my staple day job of choice. Now I’m kind of busy with touring and writing the next record all the time. I produce a few records here and there.

I remember mopping the back corridor bar of a club I was working at at about midnight, and our first single came on the speakers and I looked out and saw everybody losing their shit. It was weird. Nobody knew that the guy holding the mop had written the song they were freaking too. It was cool in a weird way.

How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?

It’s growing slowly. We’re currently simultaneously the poorest we’ve ever been whilst having the most opportunity and career security we’ve ever had. It’s a constant balance. You’ve just gotta be able to keep your shit going until it keeps itself going, but that can be a difficult and long struggle. You have to persevere. I see it growing exponentially from now. You just never know where you are on the graph of your career.

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

People’s credentials are important. What someone has worked on previously and currently, or has been involved in etc, is important when you’re picking people you will work with. If you’re choosing someone to work for your band, try to make sure they have a record of delivering. And don’t settle for people letting you down. And don’t question your gut. Do it.

Formed in 2007, Dinosaur Pile-Up broke out of the thriving Leeds rock scene (Gang of Four, Alt-J, Wedding Present) and instantly drew favorable comparisons to the cream of ‘90s US college rock such as Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, and Superchunk. Named for a scene in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong where a stampede of dinosaurs collides at the foot of a mountain, Dinosaur Pile-Up put out their first official release, The Most Powerful E.P In The Universe, in 2009 and have gone on to record two studio albums, 2010’s Growing Pains and 2014’s Nature Nurture. They’ve toured with Weezer, Pixies, Brand New, Royal Blood, Pulled Apart by Horses, among many others.

Eleven, Eleven, the band’s latest album, was released in August 2016.  Connect with the band online and on the road.