Interview: Emile Mosseri of the Dig

By on Thursday, 23rd December 2010 at 12:00 pm

Emile Mosseri, bassist of New York’s the Dig, kindly answered questions that I had about their debut album released this year, and what it was like touring with some big names in UK music. Read on…

The name of your debut album is ‘Electric Toys’. What does the title mean to you?
The title was taken from a lyric in the song ‘She’s Gonna Kill That Boy’ on the record. There is no hidden meaning behind it, we just felt it fit the tone of the record and we always liked plural album titles. It kind of suggests that the record is a collection of electric toys we which liked.

I like the cover art – a big yummy red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting and a cherry. Who came up with the idea? Is the cupcake ‘eaten’ on the back cover symbolic?

The idea for the album cover was conceived from a poster my girlfriend drew for a show a year or so back. It was a concert poster featuring a girl’s face trapped inside of a cupcake. We considered using it for the album cover before deciding we wanted to photograph it to get something more vivid and sharp, we found that little man in a hobby shop where collectors buy train sets and miniature people and recreate miniature cities. We thought that the little business man was interesting (he cost $40!)

Let’s talk about the songs in ‘Electric Toys’. Some of them have pretty ‘aggressive’ titles – ‘She’s Going to Kill That Boy’, ‘Penitentiary’ – while others sound more conventional – ‘You’re Already Gone’, ‘I Just Wanna Talk to You’. Does the Dig have two sides?
I guess you could say that. The more ‘aggressive’ titles usually belong to songs that are stories. ‘She’s Gonna Kill That Boy, ‘Penitentiary’, ‘He’s a Woman’, etc. are a mixture of stories that we invented and stories based on nonfiction. Where the more conventional titles you brought up are more straightforward songs about girls and other things.

I really like the guitars of the Dig. Who are your guitar idols? I was thinking possibly Jimmy Page…?
Jimmy Page is definitely in idol of ours. who doesn’t love Jimmy page? They don’t get any better than that. Others maybe Keith Richards, Hendrix, etc.

Do you have a favourite song(s) to play live, and if so, why?

I think ‘Just Want to Talk to You’ and ‘Sick Sad Morning’ are two of our favorite songs to play live. They work well opening and closing a show. There is certain energy to them that lends itself well to a live show.

The first time I saw you guys was as support for Editors at 9:30 Club in Washington in February. I thought you were really great! What was it like touring with a band like Editors, who have been around for quite a while and have a sizable worldwide fan base?

Touring with Editors was great. They are great guys and the shows were amazing for us. The Antlers were on that tour as well and it was great touring with a fellow New Yorker band. It was really inspiring and exciting being a part of that bill.

You just toured with Welsh band the Joy Formidable, who you’ve toured with one other time, correct? Tell me about touring with them, what’s it’s like in comparison (and contrast) with other bands you’ve been on the road with. Do you prefer touring with American or non-American bands?
We prefer American bands! Just kidding, the Joy Formidable are great friends of ours who we have toured with several times. They are a truly great band, with a huge sound and great tunes and we’ve really enjoyed traveling with them.

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[…] The Dig’s drummer (James Alegre) is energetic, but isn’t pounding out rolling tom rhythms – mostly snare and cymbals.  The vocals of singer/guitarist Dave Baldwin are odd – sounding a bit like Clinic’s Ade Blackburn – while co-singer/bassist Emile Mosseri has more of a pop voice.  Together, they have a fascinating range that is engaging – though, again, I can’t recall a single melody.  They’re playing Red Palace again in June, and I might have checked them out, but the final song – Arnold and I were debating what it sounded like – Rush?  Billy Squire?  Foreigner’s “Dirty White Boy”?  Eddie Money?  Regardless, it was a jarringly frat-rock, classic rock-inflected and squalid (and overly-long) end to the set, shaking me from my pleasing revelry and leaving me wishing they’d stopped with the previous post-punk stormer.  Ah well – I should have heeded the interview references to Led Zeppelin. […]

[…] Emile Mosseri […]

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