Watch Out! Dynasty Electric Are Burning Up!!

Kristen Bayusik

KB: How long have you guys been playing music together?
DE: Since 2004. Originally we started off playing jazz music. I have Connecticut roots, I went to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and was involved with the jazz band up there with Anthony Braxton. Then I moved down to New York City and founded Dynasty Electric with Jennifer as the singer. We did a record in 2004, did some touring around, and now we put out a new record in 2008, been touring around some more. We’re looking forward to a lot more touring and making a new record as well.

KB: How did you guys come together?
DE: I was actually going on a date in the East Village, I went to the bar, and my date was late. Jennifer was the bartender, and so we just became friends that night. I found out she was playing electric bass and I asked if she wanted to come down and play with my new group. We just started playing together and then I found out she could sing, and we just kind of came together organically over the course of a few years, just playing, writing songs, and touring around. It’s been a really good experience.

KB: How would you describe your sound?
DE: We currently do electronic rock music. We mix in kind of a psychedelic sound as well. I’m really influenced by new wave music and psychedelic rock music and jazz music and all kinds of world music as well. I’m just trying to create a unique new sound, tying it all together with electronic music.

KB: I know you guys use a lot of different instruments, I noticed on your website you even list a theremin as one! What made you want to branch out from just the basic guitar, bass, and drums lineup?
DE: We’re always looking for something that sounds a little different. The theremin is just such a unique sound. We were on a tour in Japan in 2005 and we saw a performer there using a motion-based sound technique, where he was moving his body and arms in a certain way and was triggering all sorts of crazy sounds. We were totally flipping out about how amazing it was, so we wanted to incorporate something like that into Dynasty Electric, and the theremin was the ideal choice. It was actually the first electronic instrument ever invented, and it’s very rare in its ability to interpret sounds through motions. So it was being used, for instance, in the 1960s, by experimentalists. They would set up huge, six-foot theremin antennas and dancers would dance around them and create very experimental soundscapes. It’s just a perfect combination of sound and motion, and gives the band a unique sound as well. And with the saxophone, I had been growing up in a jazz background before playing electronic music. So I’m always looking to add some saxophone on there to give it…Saxophone has a lot of soul; the guitar is very powerful as well, but the saxophone, because it’s controlled by your breath, you can really express something very soulful through it. So I really enjoy adding that in as well.

KB: What do you consider some of your biggest influences?
DE: One of my biggest influences is Anthony Braxton, who I originally studied with at Wesleyan. He’s just an amazing jazz player and he influenced me in a lot of ways, in thinking about the possibilities of music and not being limited to any particular format or genre. Just exploring all different kinds of music. And these days, I’m kind of broad-minded, I listen to all kinds of music. I’ve been listening to a lot of trance music. Both the electronic dance form, and I’ve been interested in the tribal drum beat and drone music as well. Growing up I was always interested in all sorts of rock and rap and pop music. Obviously, Michael Jackson’s been on the minds of all of us lately,  and when I was growing up he was my first musical idol as well. His music really set the standard for pop music in a lot of ways. He was definitely an influence as well.

KB: I know you have a new EP out now, Burning ,  do you have any plans for a full length album?
DE: Yes, we’re beginning production on it right now, working on some new songs, and we’re also producing some videos alongside it. We want to look to the new album not just as an audio recording but also a full length DVD collection of videos as well. Right now we’re doing both the video and some of the song production simultaneously and we look to have that ready for 2010.

Seth Misterka, and Jennifer DeVeau
Seth Misterka, and Jennifer DeVeau of Dynasty Electric

KB: What’s it like making music videos? I know you have one out now for the song “Closer to Contact”.

DE: Making music videos is amazing. Just working with the crew of people is really great and the experience of everything is really fun. The shooting is a blast, and when you’re making a music video it’s not as hard as making a full length film. It’s more like a party atmosphere while you’re making it. I mean, it’s hard work, it’s long hours and a long day, but everyone’s having fun doing something that’s more exciting than a lot of other things. It’s just a really good experience overall. We were really blessed to work with a great production company for “Closer to Contact” here in New York City. We’re really happy with what they did for us.

KB: What are some of your plans for the remainder of the year?
DE: We’re going to be doing some touring this fall. We’ll be going down to Miami in September, and doing some East Coast dates along the way. We are also going to be doing some touring with the Meat Puppets, opening up for them on some Midwest and East Coast dates in November.
KB: What are some other acts you’ve opened up for in the past?
DE: We did a tour in Japan with a great band called the Dynamite Club, it was a Japanese punk trio, really fantastic. We’ve played with a number of other great groups over the years, it’s been a good experience.
KB: Where is the farthest you’ve been on tour?
DE: On that tour, we actually went to Taiwan which was great, really fun.

KB: Are there any upcoming shows of other bands that you’re looking forward to catching?
DE: I usually am just going to friends’ shows or playing shows , a lot of times I don’t have time to make it to the bigger shows. There are so many great shows in New York City though, all the time. They are having a great series at Prospect Park, David Byrne was playing there.

KB: What are some recent or upcoming albums you are really into?
DE: MGMT’s latest is just fantastic. Although I listen to a lot of older and underground music, I do listen to a lot of singles. I was just noticing some of the Black Eyed Peas’ new stuff and some pop stuff. I listen to music on a broad base, it’s hard to pin down any one recording in particular.

MB: You have released 2 EP’s, most recently being BURNING , which I am a really big fan of, and they are both independent releases. As an up-and-coming band, What does a record deal mean to you? 1. As a recording artist, and, 2. In the state of the music industry today?
DE: Right now we’re talking to some labels about our next release.  There are many different options these days for business partnerships. It’s a pretty wide open landscape- very exciting! The whole recording industry is changing, and there’s a few labels with alternative business visions interested in what we are doing.

MB: You’re from the NYC indie scene that has been going on pretty strong for this past decade, and there is always great indie music coming out of NYC, but how would you describe the over all indie music scene in NYC as of right now?
DE: There’s a lot of bands and venues, which is great.  I don’t really know much about the overall “indie” scene though, I just know about the Dynasty Electric scene, which has been blowing up.  We run a performance space at our loft in Williamsburg,and we’ve been throwing
these off the hook loft parties with our friends, Navegante, an amazing Latin electro band.  We invite different bands and DJs like the legendary DJ Ski Beatz, who produced records for Jay-Z, indie bands like Radio America, Japanese electronic artist Retada,Noise-jazzers Talibam!….  It’s a very diverse scene – indie, Latin, hip-hop all coming together.  We’re creating a space where everyonecan be open and free and experience some great music.

Dynasty Electric
Dynasty Electric with their Burning band

MB: There are always so many different music cycles, and every once/and a while, a  band that really crosses over + breaks into the mainstream. Do you see any big revolutions happening anytime soon? Do you notice any trends?
DE: Dynasty Electric is on the verge. The revolution of consciousness is happening right now. Tune in.

MB: Last month you talked about an upcoming tour with the Meat Puppets this fall, is that still happening and, what are your expectations? I am hoping a show is booked in CT between now, and then!
DE: We’ll be joining  the Meat Puppets tour in November. We will be posting dates to our website when the details are finalized.
The current decade is almost to a close, Who/What has been your favorites of artists + releases to come out over the past 10 years, the “new millennium”, either mainstream or indie?
Goldfrapp, The Fever, Hot Chip, Bat for Lashes,  TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Kills, MGMT, St. Vincent

MB: Are there any other creative projects you like to work on outside of Dynasty Electric, or anything creatively you would like to pursue in the future? (music or another medium: film, art, fashion..etc.?)
DE: Seth plays sax and keyboard in Shy Child, and Jenny is studying to be a Kundalini yoga teacher.

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*Additional reporting by Mia Becker, PULP Editor