Portland, Oregon is a city churning out the most original and organic bands to hit the airwaves form all genres of music and Blind Pilot are just that - organic and original. After the band's UK tour supporting The Decemberists, Sam Murray caught up with Blind Pilot drummer Ryan Dobrowski to find about the band and album '3 Rounds and a Sound'.
How did you first get into music?
I am pretty sure it was because of the Talking Heads song 'Burning Down the House'. I would go on road trips with my parents and make them play that song over and over. That is the first song I can remember really loving.
How did Blind Pilot first meet?
Israel and I met at the University of Oregon. He was studying music and I was studying painting. It wasn't until after we graduated though that we started Blind Pilot. Everyone else came into the band while recording 3 Rounds and a Sound.
How do you go about writing your songs?
Israel does all of the song writing for Blind Pilot. Some of the songs will come out of us playing together, but others I don't know where they come from. He's always writing ideas down. Some of those end up in songs and others just remain just ideas.
What is the album '3 Rounds and a Sound' about?
I wouldn't feel right saying what it's about considering I didn't write the lyrics. Mostly it seems to be about a relationship between two people though. It's been great to hear people tell us how the songs have affected their own relationships.
How did the tour with the Decemberists come about and how did you enjoy it?
It came up pretty last minute. They asked us just about three weeks before heading out. We were just going into the studio to record so our minds weren't thinking about touring at all really. But, we really enjoy the Decemberists and Europe, so it seemed like a pretty great thing to do. I'm really glad we did, and I think it is going to improve the recording a lot.
Where is the most exotic place you've played a gig?
I don't know about exotic. We have played some pretty great places, but nothing screams exotic to me, of the most beautiful places we have played is Telluride Colorado. That place is stunning.
Why did you decide to do the 'We are the Tide' bike tour?
We had done one bike tour before, and had so much fun we decided to do another one with a full length record. It's sort of funny how much it has become part of our identity as far as media goes. We never really intended for it to be anything other than a fun thing to do. There could definitely be worse things to be associated with though.
Do you prefer to perform live or to record in the studio?
They are such different things. I love the process of recording although it can be pretty difficult at times. There is something great about hearing the songs really take shape though. Playing live is such a different thing. When it really works, I can't think of anything better. The exchange of energy between the band and the audience can be pretty powerful.
You are based in Portland, what is it like being part of the music scene in the city?
The music scene in Portland has become so amazing in the last few years. There are so many bands and different styles of music going on. People really root for one another which is great. It is a very casual scene too. There is a lot of playing on each other's albums and sharing of stages. It seems a lot more about making music we like and believe in as opposed to becoming the best band in the world.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
At this very moment, I am in the cafe where Kati and I used to work and they are playing Bo Diddly. It's nice to be back in Portland.
What is the future for Blind Pilot?
That's a good question. We are going to make this next record, and then hopefully continue with the same excitement and love for music and adventure that we had when we first started this band. The more people seem to get concerned with the amount of records they sell or what festivals they're playing, the less fun it is. I'd love to play all of the festivals and sell a lot of albums, but I'm more interested in having a good time.