The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday January 27th


Hopscotch 2012: Diversions talks (even more) with four festival performers

Hopscotch Music Festival starts today, bringing 175 bands to downtown Raleigh across 15 venues. Four of these bands chatted with Diversions staff writers Thompson Wall and Alex Dixon about their excitement for the festival’s third round and who they personally want to see perform this weekend.


Diversions: Have you ever performed in a festival like Hopscotch before? What do you think it’ll be like relative to one of your typical gigs?

Matthew Park: My last band, Veelee, performed at the first Hopscotch. We had also played Troika festival, as did my band before that, Opening Flower Happy Bird. The difference between playing a festival and a regular show is that there is a greater chance that people who have never seen or heard us might catch some or all of our set. If you have a festival pass you can take a lot of chances on bands you might not ordinarily leave your house to see. Also our normal gigs aren’t necessarily as widely anticipated or promoted. And it’s great to be a part of something with so much camaraderie.

Diversions: Have you ever attended Hopscotch? If so, what acts did you see/like the most?

MP: I’ve been to both of the previous Hopscotch Festivals, and had a total blast each time! There’s always so much going on that it can be hard to remember everything. Some highlights from 2010 were Juan Huevos, Americans in France, Motor Skills, Old Bricks, Dungen, The War on Drugs, The Love Language, and Future Islands.

Standouts from 2011 were Cassis Orange, Earth, Gross Ghost, Heads on Sticks, Lower Dens, Organos, Swans, and Toro Y Moi.

Dive: How did you get the invite to perform at this year’s Hopscotch lineup? What’s the general process like?

MP: Both Grayson and Greg were at Airstrip’s very first show at Kings last Thanksgiving. We were invited to play after that. It was immensely flattering and I appreciate that so much. I’m lucky because all the guys in my band are amazing players, and they’re all in other bands that are recognizable, and awesome. I don’t know what the general process is like.

Dive: How excited are you to perform? What will you be doing until the performance?

MP: I’m super excited, of course! I love the entirely of Hopscotch. I’ve planned, once again, to stay in Raleigh that whole time so I can experience as much as possible. Until the performance I’ll just do normal-life stuff, and we have one band practice before our show. I’m stoked! -Thompson Wall

Charlie Parr

Diversions: What are you most excited about at the festival this weekend?

Charlie Parr: I am most excited to catch up with my friend Phil Cook who’s playing at the theater the night that I’m playing. Unfortunately I can’t stick around for very long because I’ve got a show the next night in Indianapolis, so I’m playing that night and hanging out as long as I can then hitting the road. I am looking forward to the driving; that part of the country is spectacular. I’ve got family down Asheville so I might try to stop and catch up with them.

Dive: Can you talk a little bit about how you developed your musical style and who some of your influences are?

CP: It’s been kind of a trial and error thing since I was about seven. My dad got me a guitar and we had a bunch of old records in the house of guitar players and stuff. I couple of records that I really liked were the early country-folk guys and I really wanted to play like that. Eventually I taught myself a way to approximate the stuff that I wanted to try to play like, but I feel like I never really got there and I think it’s too late to change so I’m just going with what I do now. You play like you play; there’s only so much you can do. -Alex Dixon

Gross Ghost

Diversions: Have you ever attended Hopscotch? If so, what acts did you see/like the most?

MIke Dillon: Being involved with the last couple of years, I’ve definitely gotten to see some great shows. Lower Dens at Kings last year, Panda Bear the first year and then the Flaming Lips the following year in City Plaza. Sharon Van Etten at the Trekky day party was pretty tight. The day parties are where it’s at. I remember seeing the War on Drugs, but I can’t remember anything else. My mind is drawing a blank.

Dive: How did you get the invite to perform at this year’s Hopscotch lineup?

MD: It was down to the week before they were going to announce the lineup and I hadn’t gotten a call yet. I got one really early on the previous year, so I figured we weren’t gonna make the cut. Turns out, because I change my phone number every other month, no one knew how to contact me! I ran into Greg Lowenhagen and he said he needed to talk to me so I figured since we never talk that we were in. I got a call the week before the lineup was announced. Since this is our second year playing it, I don’t know if we’ll get asked back next year. I love being involved, so maybe we can work out something. I’m treating it as our last. You never know with Grayson and Greg. I’m just glad to be in the mix.

Dive: Do you happen to personally know any of the acts coming to perform this year since lots of them are also local? How would you compare yourselves to other bands attending? (On a side note, do you even have time to go see other performances or are you guys going to be busy preparing?)

MD: Since the Triangle’s music scene is so closely knit, I’d say I know about 90% of the local acts playing and I like them all for the most part. I don’t want to compare us to anyone else, I think that’s not really a good thing to do. I’d say that we can fulfill the needs of anyone who likes their songs to be a loud three chords in a loud three minutes.

Dive: How excited are you to perform? What will you be doing until the performance?

MD: I’m excited to perform for sure but you always wish you had more time. We got two new songs to play and one isn’t quite there yet. We got a practice the day before our show, so we’ll see how it goes! I can assure anyone who comes to see us that we play well 60% of the time, all of the time. -Thompson Wall

Phil Cook and His Feat

Diversions: Do you have any pre or post-show rituals?

Phil Cook: I try to warm up for 20 minutes or so to get my hands loosened up beforehand. After the show I enjoy talking to folks who came out. I’ve even given quick banjo lessons after shows, which I love.

Dive: Can you talk a little bit about how the Phil Cook and his Feat side project developed?

PC: I’ve always had a drive to practice daily, I guess I could say “play” since I’m not usually running scales and arpeggios, just figuring out what I hear in my head. I would come home from Megafaun tours and spend lots of time on my front porch playing for my yard and the neighbors. I saw William Tyler from Nashville play one night in Chapel Hill in 2008 and saw the joy he plays with and recognized it as my own. I went home that night resolved and had my first record finished by the end of the week. It’s fun to play solo around town because I can share bills with friends and build a different kind of network. There’s so much damn talent in NC it’s jaw-dropping. -Alex Dixon

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