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Q&A With El Ten Eleven’s Kristian Dunn

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Photo by Michael Klayman: Kristian Dunn of El Ten Eleven playing his double-necked bass. The band will be playing March 11 at JR's Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville.

 

Q I’m really curious, how did you two get into looping music and the electronic scene?

A I don’t think we are a part of the electronic scene, or any scene for that matter (no one will have us!) but we got turned on to looping via Jon Brion.  He was doing it a long time ago … brilliantly.

 

Q Can you recall that moment when the sound came together, and you said, “Yeah, this is it. This is OURS.”

A The very first band practice!

 

Q What is that like for you guys on stage? Playing double-neck bass and guitar, fretless bass, keyboards, drums, recording, pedaling, looping. Is it a choreographed routine?

A There are no keyboards (people get mixed up about that, I think, because of the My Only Swerving video, in which Tim plays a bass line with a keyboard whilst playing the drums.  But we abandoned that a long time ago.  Now he plays that bass line with drum pads. But ANYWAY …) but it’s a lot of work onstage. We watch other bands that play with tracks, or just do the normal bass, drums, guitar type of thing and think, “That is so easy!”

 

Q With so much going on, how do you recover from mistakes during a live show? (By now I’m sure you’re seasoned professionals, but at one time, you had to make mistakes, right?)

A We used to get really flustered, sometimes having to totally restart a song. Occasionally we still do, but usually we cover mistakes up without anyone (hopefully) noticing. Let us know if you catch any mistakes!

 

Q I heard you are writing a book. (Go English majors!) Tell me more.

A Yes, I’m about halfway through, and it’s quite difficult. Obviously, the process isn’t as natural to me as writing music, but I’m plowing through it. The problem is that I want it to be good, so I keep having to revise. I have a feeling I’ll eventually release it even though I don’t think it’s quite good enough, just because I’ve got to stop at some point (the El Ten Eleven records come out this way, too). I really would like to be like George Lucas: the way he keeps redoing his Star Wars movies but, let’s face it, that’s kind of lame.

 

Q The new album, Transitions, can we expect to hear some of this during your show at JR’s?

A Yes …

 

Q SXSW! What is your favorite thing about it?

A The unexpected. Last time we wandered into a restaurant one morning to get some breakfast and Judy Collins was playing! And she killed. I mean just killed. Here’s this 70-something woman up there with an acoustic guitar and she just blew away all the dumb indie rock bands playing at SXSW. It really proved to me what little talent most of these bands actually have. But anyway, that kind of thing is what’s great about SXSW.

 

Q It’s such a dynamic event, do you guys get a chance to meet other bands or listen to new things while you’re there? Or is it just work,work, work?

A Well, we are meeting people while we work, which is part of why it’s cool.

 

Q What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not on the road or working on music?

A Fly helicopters, play with my 5-month-old daughter, ski and surf. I don’t do them all at the same time, but I’m working on that.

 

Q OK, last question. What do you consider to be your most rockstar quality?

A My insistence on a hotel every night. No couches!

 

 

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