We sat down with Diederik van Wassenaer of Bloomington-based Dietrich Jon to talk about their current project. They have just released the first single from that release, Sometime. . They are playing The Backdoor in Bloomington February 9th.
Tell our readers about yourselves.
I play in a rock band called Dietrich Jon. We’re all from different places, but we met each other in Bloomington, which has quite a thriving music scene and a tradition of underage kids playing in each other’s basements.
We loved the “Higher” ep, what inspired you to make it?
I had just graduated music school (I play the violin), but I felt disillusioned by institutionalized music-making. It felt forced, unnatural, and I just wasn’t too keen on playing for old white people for the rest of my life. I really just wanted to put out some pop songs that I felt good about. In the writing process I ended up collaborating with friends I had played in other bands with. The record would not have been half as good without them, so from then on we decided to become more of a band.
There seem to be many different influences in your music, what are the main ones?
All of us also play in a six-piece bluegrass band together called ‘Wonderhills’, so folk music has always had a huge influence on us although we’re mainly an electric group. Beyond folk music in general there’s The Beatles, Bowie, Wilco and Radiohead, among others. Everybody in the band has different influences. With a lot of patience we somehow find each other somewhere in the middle.
What music are you guys currently listening to that inspires you?
It’s been a great last couple of years for music! I’ve been blown away by artists like Courtney Barnett. It’s hard to play rock ‘n roll and still be lyrically poignant. I’m also a big fan of Sheer Mag (a philly-based group). Beyond that, all of us are continually inspired by the local scene, especially with artists like Sir Deja Doog, who put out an amazing concept album a few years ago called ‘Love Coffin’.
Tell us about the new album.
We recorded it with our friend Andy Beargie at Blockhouse, a gallery-turned-studio underneath The Back Door. It’s been a much more collaborative process than the EP, and definitely sounds a lot more live as a result. It’s also been a very long process (partly because we decided to work that way), but I’d say it made the effort much more worthwhile. I’d say we wrote about 25 to 30 songs to come up with a selection of nine songs we were all happy with.
What is the title of the album?
‘Dark Matter’ What should we be listening for on this release? Nasty guitar licks, drawn-out rock jams, pop anthems, folk ballads and… strings. Lots of strings! We wanted to make something that would pull you in different directions.
Are you guys planning any spring or summer shows?
We will keep you posted!