Ronnie from Rabbits Black sat down with Dax Riggs and his band, Charley Siess on drums and Kevin Fitzsimmons on bass. The interview was conducted on June 10th, 2011 following the first of two shows by the band at The Echo. The interview was intended to be on video, but because of the super loud dub-step DJ downstairs during the interview, the sound was shot! Read the interview below to find out about the upcoming new album, what inspires Dax, what the band is listening to now, and of course magic.
Rabbits Black (RB): We are here with Dax Riggs, who just finished playing the first of two shows at The Echo in Los Angeles. How was the first LA show?
Dax: Wonderful. Lovely. Freakish. Alienating, but I felt like a tribe.
RB: It’s been a long time since you have been to the West Coast. Why so long?
Dax: We are lazy, we like to sit at home and fuck around with music. That takes a long time. That’s pretty much it. We are lazy.
Kevin: We don’t get out much.
Charley: We like to spread it out, and go to other places. It might take a little while, but it works for us.
RB: Three years between the first two albums, should we expect the same turnaround time for the next album? It’s been about a year since the last album Say Goodnight to the World.
Dax: Hopefully not. God forbid, you know. When we get done with this we will go home and start working on it. We already have a whole album of ideas and things we need to work out. So hopefully we will be doing that real soon.
RB: Has the writing process started for a new album?
Dax: Ya, I’ve started getting some things down.
Charley: If anything, when Dax comes up with ideas, we start working on the idea immediately. When we get back we will actually focus on this. We try to keep the idea open so that we can figure out what we want to do sound wise and focus on the other things that go into it. We have an idea in our head now.
RB: That brings up a good point. Dax, you have been involved with a lot of different sounds- Acid Bath, Agents of Oblivion, Deadboy. Is the sound you have now with Dax Riggs the one you feel most comfortable with?
Dax: I’m somewhere in the middle, you know. I would like to hear some more acoustic stuff, in between the heavy parts. Those are some aspirations for the next record, some proto-metal vibes that we are into right now. Heavy, but not necessarily heavy metal. That’s where we are going, we are on that trip. So, definitely, we can visualize it right now. We are trying to push all this shit together at the same time. Get a little bit of acoustic in maybe a heavier song. Show a little more of the universe.
RB: Magic, we’ve heard you talk about it before. What’s it all about?
Dax: Magic is your ability to will anything into existence that you dream of and believe in a lot. It’s a real thing that we can all use to our advantage- it’s our minds. It’s a vision of the future. Willing it into existence. That is what this whole thing is about. If you can dream it and make it real. So that’s what I think magic is. You know, its your ability to use your mind in ways that you didn’t know you could- make things real. If you dream of a chair, you build a chair. It starts in your mind. That’s magic.
RB: I think some people here in LA would have been confused by magic.
Dax: Do they think it’s a card trick?
RB: Maybe a new drug at Coachella. Magic was huge this year.
RB: How did you guys meet and become a band?
Charley: I actually met Dax at Austin City Limits a couple of years ago. He had some songs from Say Goodnight To The World ready, and he was looking out for people to play with. I just so happened to run into him, and he said he needed someone to play drums. Kevin has been a good friend since we were kids and he was moving up to Austin. I called Kevin, and said do you still play bass or anything like that. Kevin was coming up that week anyways, so he came over, and we worked on the songs from there. And it worked out.
Kevin: It was magic! He needed a band and it was willed into being.
Charley: Dax had a vision for the songs, and it worked. It was a picture in time, and the record became a picture of what was going on. We tried lots of new things we never tried before. It was cool how it all worked out, how the universe works I guess, that’s what it seemed like.
RB: Any suggestions for what our readers should be listening to? What is inspiring Dax Riggs right now?
Dax: I like a lot of English ballads like Shirley Collins. I like a lot of ancient music as well, so Thin Lizzy.
Kevin: Julian Cope.
Dax: Ya, Julian Cope. I love his new stuff from mid 2000 on. Bringing together weird ballads.
Charley: Blue Cheer.
Kevin: Early funkadelic.
Dax: Ya, early funkadelic is big time.
Charley: Lots of psychedelic things.
RB: Too bad you guys missed the Prince shows this past month. He took over LA for a good month with arena shows and small day-of shows.
Dax: I love Prince.
Charley: I thought it was somewhat strange what he said about cover music, you know. He was saying he was not OK with people covering songs. He thinks it’s almost an insult unless its his friends. He was very anti-cover songs, and I think its cool for artists to take on different ideas of songs, and depict songs in different ways.
RB: David Bowie’s Pin Ups is nothing but covers, but one of my favorite Bowie albums.
Dax: Probably the best David Bowie record really.
Charley: I think it’s a great thing though, for people to take on other artists songs, and take them into their own head. Think about the way they might be songs, or the tone they can be.
Kevin: That’s the way music should be, before pop and rock, folk music was people taking other peoples songs and passing it down to new people with their own interpretation into it and spreading it to people who might not know it. The song becomes larger than just the song or larger than some person, it becomes part of culture. I feel that pop music and that whole aspect of song writing, that has kind of dwindled a little bit.
Dax: I like to take songs, and feel them. You know make them real to me. I plan to have some covers on the new record. I actually want to reinterpret a lot of old songs I love, and put them on a record. That is what folk music is, taking music that has been there forever, and making them popular again for a modern audience. So I am definitely hoping to do that, bring some stuff from the past to the future.
RB: So that’s what is on the horizon for Dax Riggs- a new album, some covers, proto-metal and folklore.
Dax: Shit loads of magic. Always magic.
RB: Anything else you want to tell our readers before we go?
Dax: Know thy self. Where are you, where you live, where you come from. All of those things are important, and will make you stronger if you can embrace them. Understand that, (you know) don’t feel isolated from your past. We are human beings that have evolved so everything is ours, everything in the human mind that has come together at this point is ours for the taking. I am really influenced by ancient English ballads, and all forms of original music. So we’ll see what happens.
Rabbits Black would like to thank Dax, Charley and Kevin for their time. Help support this amazing artist by visiting the Dax Riggs Online Store.