I got the opportunity to chat with Jordan at the Mod Club in Toronto. The lights were dim and the venue was a quiet hush of preparation hours before the show. Jordan’s a well spoken guy who delves deeply into the semantics and process of music writing. With his strong interest in literature and the spoken word, La Dispute is unique in its lyrics and exposition of sound and voice. Reflecting the substance of the lyrics with instrumentals, and intertwining both to tell a passionate story with interchangeable narratives; this band has deeply ingrained themselves into the hearts of their fans. Their new album comes out in 2011, keep an eye out!
You played with Touche Amore in Ottawa recently. How was that, and did you enjoy playing with them?
Jordan: It was really fun! We’re really good friends with them in particular and a lot of people came out, it was great. We’re going to Europe with them in a couple of weeks.
What was it like working with Koji on your most recent EP?
Jordan: Great. It was very challenging for us to do something so different, we had to change and switch up the process in order to work with an artist like him. We also rewrote an old song from one of our albums on this EP, we’ve never done that before.
What can we expect from your upcoming album? What’s the writing process been like, and has it been difficult balancing touring with writing?
Jordan: Uhm, yeah it’s been pretty difficult. We have lots of things to juggle. Still, it’s been very fun and rewarding, we are very meticulous and quite the perfectionists. We knew what we wanted from this album and had a specific idea. We’ve put a lot of work into accomplishing this view. We’re getting it mastered and the album should be coming out sometime in 2011. Inevitably, we have changed and grown as a band, and so has our sound. It reflects our experiences in the past couple of years.
How did you come up with the idea to ceremoniously release the Here, Hear EPs?
Jordan: Originally, we wanted to do something to supplement our releases and tide us over until our next album. We had a lot of conversations about how we would do that. So, we decided to start these EPs. It gave each member a chance to write something and showcase their individual taste. All three EPs have been written by different band members. The third EP was my poetry and the first two were exerts from various authors and literature.
Check out the song “Eleven” here.
You guys are well read. Any favourite authors/writers?
Jordan: Personally, I’d say Vladmir Nabokov, and Kurt Vonnegut. I can’t speak for the other guys, but we all do enjoy reading different things. It ranges from comic books, music literature, to the classics.
You’ve touched many fans with your music, especially with the release of Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River between Vega And Altair. What goes through your mind when you hear that?
Jordan: It’s very flattering and humbling to know that the things I’ve gone through have positively affected others. At times, it’s almost uncomfortable just because of how hard it hits home. It’s very cathartic, and puts my own experiences into perspective.
I have to ask. Why don’t you play “Such Small Hands” or “Andria?” Did it get tiresome? I’ve heard many opinions and would like to set the record straight.
Jordan: I don’t think we’ve been played these songs a lot since our ’08 release of Vega And Altair. We try to switch things up and be diverse. “Andria” is personal to me, and to our fans. Not playing these songs the first time around when we come to town keeps these songs special.
Have you played in Toronto before?
Jordan: Yes. The first time we played in Toronto was in a small basement with Native. Second time around we opened for Alexisonfire, and here we are again. We love it here. Toronto and Montreal have to be our favourite places in Canada to play.
What’s been blaring from your speakers lately?
Jordan: We like to listen to our friends’ music. Balance And Composure, Defeater, Hostage, Make Do And Mend, Touche Amore and Pianos Become The Teeth. It can go from that, to Beyonce. There’s nothing wrong with music that’s fun to listen to. I can appreciate good production value and top 40 talent. There’s merit there.
You guys are very experimental, and it seems like there’s no limit to your sound. Is there anything that you still want to try?
Jordan: I don’t think anything is out of the question. We enjoy the creative process. Putting a limit on our sound is detrimental. I think we’ll always stay in the same vein of how we think we like to sound, but it’s cool to try new things.
What has your favourite place to play been so far in your touring experience? You’ve been all over Europe and North America.
Jordan: If I were to pick anywhere, I’d say Australia. It was the first place we went to overseas. I really enjoy going everywhere. Canada has always taken care of us. And of course; there’s Michigan. The Mid- West will always be our home.
Any crazy tour stories worth telling?
Jordan: We haven’t had a crazy night on this tour. Although, on our last tour with Defeater we went to a bar in Nashville. There was a cover band playing called the Sex Panthers, and a bunch of us band members were hanging out, when someone asked the cover band to play a Bon Jovi song, “Livin’ On A Prayer”. So our bassist Adam Vass, and our buddy Dave knew all the words and got up on stage and started singing because the vocalist of this cover band didn’t know the words. Both of these guys are straight edge; so we’re at this bar, watching two of our sober friends covering Bon Jovi and having the time of their life. There was crowd surfing and stage diving going on. It was ridiculous, yet hilarious.
Being a professional musician is time consuming. You’re doing what you love, but does it often interfere with and become difficult to maintain relationships with the people that you love?
Jordan: Yeah. It’s the biggest downfall of this lifestyle. I mean, you get to meet new people and make some good friends. Still, you’re always leaving. It’s difficult to have a romantic relationship and keep up with what’s going on at home. With this lifestyle comes the acceptance that you can’t be involved with and keep proper contact with people the way you want to.
Many of your instrumentals have a sense of nostalgia and bittersweet emotion. Would you say they reflect the lyrics, or that the lyrics reflect the instruments?
Jordan: Last record we wrote starting with the music. I had things i wanted to talk about, so it became a mutual process in that way. With the new record, we switched it up. We have a new concept with this one. I would bring new ideas to the practice and we would work with it. This album’s much more inclusive, we’re all working together.
Any closing comments for you fans?
Check out the song “Nine” here.