Interview: Daniel Balk, David Dargahi and John Speyer of the Postelles (Part 2)

By on Tuesday, 28th September 2010 at 12:00 pm

Daniel, David and John of the Postelles are very funny guys. Here is the second half of my interview with them before they took to the stage at DC9 on the 18th of September. We talk about baseball, football and tv shows. Not very rock ‘n’ roll, is it? Read on. Trust me, it’s an entertaining read.

To read part 1, click here.

Since you mentioned new songs, take me through writing a song, from start to finish. Do you start with a really great guitar riff, an awesome lyric…
Daniel: It depends. It really depends. When we wrote ‘Stairway to Heaven’, we started with a riff. [everyone laughs]
John: Did you know Dan wrote that as a ghost writer?
Daniel: Did you know I’m a ghost? Yeah, it really depends.
John: ‘Let It Be’ started on piano.
Daniel: Yeah, ‘Let It Be’ started on piano. And glockenspiel.
Hey, don’t knock glockenspiels. Glockenspiels are making a comeback.
Daniel: Oh, we use it in a song. We’ve used them before. But yeah…’123 Stop’ started with a guitar riff, ‘Hey Little Sister’ started with a melody…
John: In a dream.
Daniel: Yeah, I had a dream about it. ‘Hold On’ started with…John had his pants off, I remember, and it all came to me.
Wha wha what?
Daniel: You don’t want to know. John had his pants off…
John: …and Billy was playing a bongo solo. And then, the whole album came together the next day. In a dream.
David: We wrote most of the album in one room, all together. We slept in the same house and just played everyday.
Daniel: Kind of? What, did someone sleep outside?
David: No no, we did. No we literally slept, woke up, played, slept, played…
John: Never ate…
Daniel: Ran around a bit…
David: Played some baseball…
Daniel: We did play baseball. Baseball is a big Postelles sport.
David: But we’re very competitive.
Daniel: And we’re very heated.
David: And the guitar player and the bass player are wayyyy better…
Daniel: I play guitar too! [to David] Are you saying me and Billy are bad (at baseball)? Because I will never stop taunting you…
John: [laughs] We’re all equally good at baseball.

How long were you there in that house?
Daniel: Well, we went there for weekends.
David: It felt like years.
Daniel: I think we’d spend a few days there, and then come back to the city, because we really gotta party.
John: I gotta get my party on!
David: Overall, I think it was a couple months. Two and three months going up there.
Daniel: We also did have a studio in New York.
David: But all the magic happened in the house, in the country.
Daniel: Because I’m a magician. Yeah.
So where was this house?
David: In Connecticut.
John: Dan’s boyhood home, actually.
David: He’s a New Yorker at heart.
Daniel: My boyhood home…we were all born in New York. But I left the city for the country because I’m a real country boy.
David: He was pursuing his baseball career.
Daniel: Which didn’t work out.
John: Country mouse, town mouse.
Daniel: What? {laughs]
John: Don’t you remember the story of ‘The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse’?
Daniel: No.
John: Did you have a childhood?
Daniel: No. I’m having it right now. Can’t you tell in this interview?
John: Were you in triple-A?
Daniel: Triple-A, like the minor leagues (of baseball)? Or AAA, like the car company? (AAA is a car service in America that if you buy a policy with them, they’re supposed to rescue you on the motorway if your car breaks down.)
That’s what I thought, the car company. [laughs]
Daniel: I have a AAA card because you need it to get $10 off at hotels.
Well, don’t you need it in case your van breaks down?
Daniel/John: Our van never breaks down! [They look at each other, baffled at how they could have said that at the same exact time.]
That’s good!
Daniel: But yeah, that’s how we pretty much came up with the album.
John: It’s so hot in here!
Yeah, it is really hot in here.
David: That was at our request.
Daniel: That’s ‘cos we’re here. We like to sweat it out.

What’s your…
Daniel: Why did we break up? We broke up because… [laugh]
David: You brought some demons that we weren’t ready to talk about yet.
Daniel: Pandora’s boxes.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
David: The newest one, usually.
Daniel: I like the oldest one.
So what is the oldest one?
Daniel: I think the oldest one we have is ‘White Night’.
John: I like playing ‘Can’t Stand Still’.
Daniel: I like not standing still. I think all our songs are pretty amazing.
John: As long as they connect with people.
Daniel: I think our newest song is the most fun to play, because it’s new and we’re not sick of playing it yet. We like changing people’s lives.

What song would you say gets the best response?
Daniel: Whatever song I’m most into. ‘White Night’ probably, because we released that on an EP in March, so I’m guessing most people know that song.
David: And we gave it away for free, so people kind of have that.
Daniel: They have to have that.
David: We sent it to people…
Daniel: ‘Hey Little Sister’ gets a big response too. David sings (lead in) that.
Let’s talk about ‘Hey Little Sister’. So you came up with that in a dream? Tell me about that.
Daniel: We were in Connecticut and I had a nightmare.
David: That I had become the singer.
Daniel: This melody was in my head, “hey little sister, won’t you tell me your name?” And I thought, this isn’t going to fit with my voice. So I said, “hey David, you should sing this, I just came up with this”. And John took his pants off. And we played baseball. No, we tried it out immediately, really early. Which is weird for us, because we usually play later. And it worked out. That’s the only song that’s ever come out like that, from a dream. [under his breath] It was a wet dream…
(to David) How did it feel, getting the lead vocal?
Daniel: From such an amazing person…
David: I was a little scared. I was excited. I mean, it’s small footsteps to follow. [John laughs]
Daniel: [laughs] This is like he won the beauty pageant…
David: What?
Daniel: What was it like, winning the beauty pageant?
David: The biggest thrill of my life! [laughs] Ahhh no. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, because I’m so shy. But then, it was good.
Daniel: I make him very nervous. Because I’m very arrogant.
David: But now I want to sing more songs, but Dan won’t let me.
Daniel: Well, I haven’t had any good dreams lately. I haven’t slept in a while.
Well, you did say you had a nightmare for the last one…
Daniel: I did!
So your bandmates need to help get more nightmares.
Daniel: Yeah, I need more boogey monsters in my room.
John: I’ll scare you at night if you want. I’ll set a trap for you tonight.
Daniel: Anyway, yeah, that’s how we came up with ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

What about ‘Boy’s Best Friend’, which has a very interesting plot…
John: That’s a very sensitive subject.
Daniel: ‘Boy’s Best Friend’ is about a girl that Billy and I both dated in high school that ended up…she liked another girl, she became a lesbian. Probably because of us, probably to our fault. I have that effect on girls.
That’s not a good effect.
Daniel: Well, that’s not what they say. They say women understand women more than men do. But it might not be a good effect in, say, terms of evolution, because, well, you know…
John: What are you, Dr. Followill?
David? What?
Daniel: [to John] What do you mean?
John: I’m done, I’m done!
Daniel: Explain, what do you mean. Do you mean Dr. Phil? (Dr. Phil is a daytime American telly counselor.) Can I tell you a real problem with our band? We try to play and rehearse and John does not stop watching Dr. Phil, he’s addicted. It speaks to him.
John: And all of us.
Let him have his 1 hour in the day, and then turn the tv off.
Daniel: That’s what I say, but he watches the marathons.
John: [to Daniel] I meant the televangelist.
Daniel: Followill. Who’s the homophobic televangelist?
Jerry Falwell?
John: Yeah…!
Daniel: [to John] You called me that?
I thought you meant Followill, like Kings of Leon.
John: You said evolution!
Daniel: Take that back! No no no, what I meant was, ‘Boy’s Best Friend’ was about a lovely lady that ended up liking girls. And it’s not my fault, it’s Billy’s.
David: Print that!
Daniel: [looking at my recorder] I think it might explode. [looks at John] But she might become a lesbian if I touch her.
You guys are too young for me, it’s fine.
David: Do you know how old we are?
Yeah, AOL had a whole biography on you.
Daniel: That’s AOL 2.0. We’re now 36. Wait, AOL has a biography on us? [I hand the printout to David]
David: Wow! It’s really long. [reads from the page] “Soundchecking is really easy…”
Daniel: It is, though. Soundchecking is always easy. [to John] You know it’s easy!

So where did you guys play this summer?
Daniel: We played Bonnaroo, we played Camden Crawl, we toured with Interpol. We played a show with Kings of Leon (in St. Louis – if you remember, it was the infamous pigeon poop gig).
John: We got pooped on.
Daniel: [to John} You know what? I don’t want you to bring that up. Jerry Followill. Charles Manson. Yeah, so we did a lot of shows. And what other weird festival did we do…
South by Southwest?
Daniel: Yes, we did that one! It counts. Right that down on our resume? But yeah, we’ve played a couple festivals in the past. [adopts French accent] Lollapalooza.
John: [in French accent] Iceland Airwaves.
Daniel: [still in French accent] In Chi-ca-go. Illi-nois…
John: That works. Because that’s a French name.
Daniel: This is why he was my tutor.
John: Yeah, the Falwell idiot over here.
Daniel: Charles Manson was my tutor.

So where is your favourite place to play?
Daniel: Wherever they pay us the most, we’ll do that.
John: That’s good you said that. It shows real commitment.
Daniel: Favourite place to play? In New York? In the world?
Daniel: I really liked Koko. Koko is a great place to play.
John: But is it your favourite place to play?
Daniel: No. She said anywhere in the world! So I’m bringing it back around.
David: I liked playing in the (American) South.
John: What don’t you understand about “what is your favourite place to play?”
David: I thought Nashville was cool. Just playing there seems like what you should be doing when you’re there.
Daniel: Or eating barbecue.
David: We did both.
John: I like playing New York.
Daniel: I like playing New York too.
John: Bowery Ballroom, New York. Feels like home.
Daniel: Texas is great. Austin was cool, really cool.
John: Portland is great.
Daniel: Santa Fe, New Mexico, not so great.
John: Toronto’s great.
Daniel: Montreal’s cool. We really want to play Mexico. Because they would call us ‘los Posteos’. We have friends down there. We’ll run stuff down there.
John: We want to control their entire tequila industry down there. We want to smuggle tequila from Mexico. Because that’s more profitable than music.
Daniel: Have you gotten anything out of this interview.
Yes. [smiles]
Daniel: Too much?
I don’t know, how many minutes do we have?
Daniel: We’re on 30 minutes!
Oh, it’ll take me a while to transcribe.
John: Have fun listening to it.

So what’s next for the Postelles?
Daniel: We have some new songs. We’ll do some more recording, we always like recording.
David: A new video.
Daniel: We’re adding a new song to our album, actually. It’s called ‘Stop the Alarms’. It’s a…it’s a hit! Seriously though, we actually never told anyone about this, so you’re the first person we’ve told. We also have a residency in New York, but we’ve told everyone about this so you don’t have to write that down.
John: Then we’re going on tour in November into December.
David: We have a new music video coming out.
Daniel: Yeah, we have a new music video coming out for ‘Sleep on the Dance Floor’. We haven’t told anyone about that either. That’s pretty much it.
John: Blowing up. Getting big.
Daniel: Dropping beats. Changing worlds.
John: Writing ‘Stairway to Heaven, Pt. 2’.

In the long term, what’s the biggest thing you want to do with the Postelles?

David: We were just talking about that today. Playing the (Madison Square) Garden would be fun.
Daniel: Yeah, playing the Garden would be fun. We actually have a few offers coming down, that we’ve rejected…
It’s definitely possible. A band from my high school sold out the Garden.
John: More likely we’ll be invited to clean the Garden.
Daniel: Yeah, they asked us to clean the Garden. And we got stuck in the closet.
David: What, what band was this?
David: Ohhh!
Daniel: What, what did you do?
Not me…
David: [to Daniel] OAR went to her high school.
Daniel: No way!
Yeah, in Rockville.
Daniel: Rockville? It exists? (I think he meant he didn’t think the Rockville in ‘Don’t Go Back to Rockville’ by R.E.M. actually existed.)
Yes. The singer was our SGA (student government association) president of my graduating class, and the bass player and I were in a carpool together in elementary school. Doubt he remembers me, though.
John: I’d remember anyone who was in my carpool.
Wait, I have a important question. What does OAR stand for?
Of a Revolution.
Daniel: Really? Why would they do that?
Why don’t you go to the Garden and ask them.
Daniel: What a strange name. Why not? Whatever gets you through the night. [under his breath] Maybe they’ll open for us…

So what are your final last words to your British fans?
John: I think we’ve said too much.
Daniel: Yes.
John: Can’t wait to come back.
Daniel: Start flossing. A little more.
John: What is wrong with you?
David: [grabs recorder out of Daniel’s hand] Listen! I’m English. I resent that.
Daniel: You are not!
David: My dad is!
John: English extraction.
Daniel: Honestly…
David: We love you and we will be back soon.
John: [to Daniel] You don’t like England?
Daniel: No, I love England. I would say…let’s name our favourite football teams. Arsenal.
John: Liverpool.
Daniel: That’s because you don’t know any other ones.
That’s ‘cos they’re the best.
David: You like football.
Daniel: Really? I liked Arsenal because of (Thierry) Henry, but now I’m like… I do like Liverpool too…let’s name our least favourite…Chelsea.
John: I was going to say Chelsea too!
David: Manchester United.
John: The New York Red Bulls.
Daniel: Fulham.
David: Everton.
Daniel: Hopefully we’ll be back soon in the UK, we had a lot of fun touring there.
John: Tottenham?
Daniel: Yeah, I like Tottenham too. Yeah, just keep listening to music and having fun at shows, and we’ll see you soon.

Great, thank you so much.
David: Yeah, thank you.
Daniel: It was a pleasure.

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