Every once in awhile in this sea of new releases and onslaught of new music, you run into a band that really makes you listen more closely because they’re just so interesting. Chicago’s DUST BITERS really peaked out interest when we heard their new single ‘Progeny’. Not only was the song just a killer jam, it was unique to point we couldn’t really say they sounded like any other band.
Needless to say we had to talk to these guys and find out more about this 4-piece band that seem poised to break open the scene with a sledgehammer.
Dust Biters is Nick Kinsley (guitar, vocals), Nick Miller (guitar, backing vocals), Thomas “Tommy” R. van Arsdale (drums, piano, backing vocals), and Bryan Fonseca (bass, backing vocals).
RYR: Congrats on the album “Guilt”, I’m totally obsessed with your sound, can’t stop listening, I hear so many different cool things, some familiar, some are very original. Rather than me telling you how you sound can you explain where you guys are coming from musically?
Nick Kinsley: Thank you so much for the kind words! Original?!? Oh man I just rip off Coldplay! We have Miller and Bryan that are metal heads, Tommy that loves Steely Dan, and I’m punk and hardcore cause I can’t play my instrument.
Nick MIller: Torch, thank you so much for the kind words! We’re stoked you dig our music. We all share a bunch of influences, but as individuals, we all pull from a really diverse set of influences. We really just try to write songs that make us happy to play. We don’t put any extra effort into making sure something sounds original or any specific way, we just have no apprehensions against trying anything until something works. We also smoke a lot of weed at practice. It helps us get really experimental, but it also can really prolong the writing process. haha.
Tommy: We like playing music that’s fast and furious. Sometimes a little 2 fast 2 furious. Bryan: yeah dude thank you, I’m gonna piggyback on what Mullet said. Between us four we listen to an insane amount of the same music. But also drastically different tastes in music as well. And we basically throw everything in the pot and just pick and choose from what genre/musical style to splash in. And if it works we keep it and if it doesn’t we move on to the next idea. The one thing that I think is crucial to what we do is we never shoot down an idea/suggestion. We try anything and everything once or twice. Hell! I’ll try anything twice if you get a little cocktail in me.
RYR: I thought for sure you guys were from Europe, I heard and see a style that’s more prevalent overseas. There’s a mix of styles going on here, have you gotten the attention of the European scene or have you had more success stateside?
Nick Kinsley: Shit I wish Torch! Just a few hillbillies from the Midwest! I make sure these turds dress to impress.
Nick MIller: That’s a cool compliment. We would absolutely LOVE to get overseas and play Europe. It’s definitely a dream! The only area overseas that we know for sure that we started getting attention is Scotland and Ireland. We have been featured on a handful of podcasts and internet radio stations.
Tommy: Streaming metrics indicate the top cities of our listeners outside of the US are Auckland, Dublin, London, Sydney, Berlin, Zurich. Luxembourg is on the list. Let’s go to Luxembourg.
Bryan: oof that would be sick! I’m not entirely sure if we have or not other than the places Mullet mentioned. But would love to get out to Europe!
RYR: I told you I’m obsessed with your sound, so here’s another question. The album sounded almost “analog” and recorded as a whole band. Can you bring us into the studio and the process you went through laying down the tracks for “Guilt”?
Nick Kinsley: Hell yes! We wanted to give more of a raw feel for our first album! So when you see us live you ain’t disappointed! I did my vocals in our engineer Alex Lackner bedroom. The shitty part is that he never made a move on me and I was always laying on his bed.
Nick MIller: Nice! I guess we nailed what we were going for! Everything on the album except the guitar leads, vocals, and most of the song Goddamn Guilt was recorded live in our practice space. Our incredible engineer, Alex Lackner, hand built isolation panels to record drums and guitars, so we were able to get as close to our authentic tones and feedback as possible. We really lucked out getting Alex on board for the recording of ‘Guilt’.
Tommy: Alex is an incredible musician and friend, so he organically understood the way in which I wanted my drums to sound and helped motivate my performance on the record. We spent four days on drums, tracking at our studio then mixing at his. I improvised the piano and synth for “Goddamn Guilt” at his studio. The entire process unfolded naturally and his disposition gave us the confidence to both experiment and be neurotically specific in order to pursue how we heard the songs in our heads.
Bryan: Hell yeah dude thanks, when we started recording we had a pretty clear vision of how the record should flow and sound. And what songs would flow perfectly into each other and how other tracks were meant to stimulate the listeners in a completely other way and kinda cleanse their senses leading into the next song with fresh perspective. And Alex is fucking amazing to work with. He can see what we’re trying to do and deliver a finished product that we’re all incredibly proud of.
RYR: The art of putting out “albums” seems to be slowly dying, but this had an “album” feel where you could listen from beginning to end with a nice flow and cohesion, how important is it to the band to put out an album like this and will you continue to do so in the future?
Nick Kinsley: Yeah times are changing and everyone is getting more ADHD! When I was a kid I would buy a cd lock myself in my room to take advantage of myself and study that fucking cd from top to bottom. Why would you go on a roller coaster just to ride the beginning or have to get off before it’s done. I need to feel what the artist felt.
Nick MIller: Torch, we really appreciate you understanding us like you are! Haha. We really wanted our first big release to be a full-length album. We wanted your introduction to Dust Biters to be thorough. We’re also a bunch of old metal and punk guys that grew up listening to albums. So it was very important to us to put our music out in a cohesive package that can be digested in pieces and in one sitting. We will absolutely be putting out more full-lengths in the future. I think our next focus will be an EP or a split. We have about 4 new songs that we’re ready to start demoing and we’re really anxious to release them. Putting out a full length requires a lot of patience that we don’t have for these new songs.
Tommy: We are naturally drawn to stories and grew up listening to records and watching movies, so we wanted to create an album that could be heard as one piece of music with several movements. Behind the curtain, the process of making an album can be told as one giant story made up of many micro-stories. Recording and releasing singles or EPs feels different because the intent is different and the final result is different. You can listen to ‘Guilt’ however you want though. I can’t stop you.
Bryan: Absolutely the days of a full-length album are almost gone. We all grew up listening and dissecting every second of whatever record we were listening to, to us was a no-brainer it was for sure something we wanted to check off the list.
RYR: Let’s talk about the song-writing and lyrics, lots of emotion and angst, but yet there’s a little “party” like atmosphere too. Can you talk about the song construction process you guys take?
Nick Kinsley: Well torch it’s cause we like to party real hard. I don’t drink and I have three kids. I get down! This is the first time I ever sang in a band and first time writing lyrics. I stopped drinking 3 years ago and holy shit was I hiding a lot of stuff. I wasn’t a good person especially to my ex wife. She was a saint for dealing with my drunk self. I think we as humans deal with such egos and we can’t admit when we are wrong or if we are being slime bags. I play these songs live just so I can feel who I was and remember who I am now. Wait… what was the question?
Nick MIller: Usually, either Kinsley or myself will come to practice with a riff or a portion of a song ready to go. Then Tommy will add in his ideas on drums which will influence the direction of the songwriting. We try to make sure our songs are dynamic. I think the “Party” vibe comes from our heavy influence of 80’s metal and great rock bands like Thin Lizzy and ZZ Top. I can’t speak too much on Kinsley’s process for writing his lyrics, but I can say that he’s been through a lot and has plenty of life experiences to draw inspiration from. I think the one thing we can’t do is be inauthentic with our music and lyrics.
Tommy: We have fun playing music. The goal is to write parts that make each other laugh. Songs start as sketches. We jam on any idea no matter how small and let the music bloom naturally. We finished some songs in a day while others took months. Bryan: yeah for sure it starts with a riff and everyone trying to express the ideas of what directions the song can take. Which can be many cause when we all throw in our input or ideas oubackgrounds start to come out! Lol of what we listen to and what heavily influences us. We’ve written songs and think their done, and we go back and revisit them and tweak and change certain things and before you know it. It’s not even the same song that it started out in the beginning.
RYR: Here’s one of the weirder questions you’ll get… there’s a band from Chicago I absolutely love who have taken classic polka and mixed in heavy guitars and aggressive vocals called yes, “THE POLOKAHOLICS” have you ever heard these guys??
Nick Kinsley: No, but it sounds like I need to take Bryan’s mom on a date to Red lobster and then make out with her at a POLOKAHOLICS show!
Nick MIller: No, I personally am not aware of THE POLKAHOLICS, but holy hell am I glad that you introduced them to me. Their music rules and I’m going to be getting into this for sure! Thank you!
Tommy: I think Gregg Elzinga told me about them. He would.
Bryan:…well I know what I’m gonna be listening to later tonight. No I haven’t heard of these guys. I can’t wait
RYR: On a more serious note, let’s talk touring, shows, festivals, what are the plans looking like for 2023?
Nick Kinsley: Hopefully some rad shit! Miller needs to get on that! Haha. We will do a tour in the summer? I would like to play all the festivals! Even the EDM ones just so we can ruin their high!
Nick MIller: We have a few shows in Chicago booked right now. All our dates are always posted on our website. We have been working on new material for the past few months and the last couple weeks we have been promoting the Progeny music video. We’re really hoping to jump on some festivals this summer and we definitely intend on booking a small midwest tour or possibly going south for 10 days. Who knows, maybe a really cool opportunity will come through and we’ll get out there for a lot longer. We definitely want to do a big tour, but we have to be really selective with what we sign on to, but even if we’re not playing shows, you can count on us writing new music!
Tommy: All of it.
Bryan: yeah we’ve been shooting around the idea of talking as a band and trying to figure out what that looks like for us. But I can’t wait to get back on tour and play.
RYR: Guys THANKS again so much, I really really love the sound, I’m into bands like Peter Pan Speedrock, The Chuck Norris Experiment, The Bones and other bands like that from Europe, you have that vibe but with your own spin and I totally dig it. Is there anything you’d like to add and how can people find more of your music?
Nick Kinsley: I’ve never heard of them! I will check them out! I didn’t know Chuck Norris started a band in EUROPE?!? Is David Hasselhoff in it?!? Thank you for being awesome and being so kind. We appreciate you and appreciate this experience with you.
Nick MIller: All of those bands are brand new names to me, I’m going to go listen to all of them right now! Thank you for sharing their music with us and thank you so much for the kind words! It’s definitely been a journey finding our audience, so it means a lot that you like the music so much and that you are willing to share our music with your readers.
The only thing that I would like to add is that if you made it this far into the interview, please go watch our new music video for Progeny and leave a comment letting us know what you think!
Instagram = @dustbitersband
Our website is www.dustbitersband.com
Everything else is at linktr.ee/dustbiters
Thank you, Torch!
Tommy: Merci. We are grateful for every opportunity. Whether it is Dust Biters or other artists, support creatives directly.
Bryan: Appreciate you listening to us and thank you for having us. And to anyone that reads this and gives us a listen or a watch or a like?! Thank you! The road to get to this point was not easy and every listen we get and every new fan is incredible to us.
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