2010 was a great year for Dayton indie rock quintet Me & Mountains. They played with a bunch of local favorites, landed a coveted time slot at Midpoint Music Festival, and released their debut EP to glowing reviews in the local media. And in their live show they’ve already demonstrated that they’re tighter and hungrier than most other bands out there.
We caught up with vocalist/bassist Burris Dixon recently to ask him a few general questions about the band, to get the scoop on their sophomore effort – which should drop this Spring/Summer, and to find out what their plans for 2011 entail. Before you check out the band this Thursday (January 20, 2011) with The Seedy Seeds and No No Knots at Blind Bob’s, read up on your soon-to-be favorite locals.
You Indie: Who plays in Me and Mountains currently and how did you meet?
Rodger Smith – Keys
Pete Bowser – Drums, Vocals
Tim Collete – Guitar
Marshall Norman – Guitar, Vocals
Burris Dixon – Vocals, Bass
I met Marshall at college and we hung out some and were in a band called Draw Your Knife. I played drums and he played guitar. It was heavy and ridiculous. If you were one of the five people at our Elbos or Jags shows then you may have seen us.I met the rest of the guys through Marshall. Pete knew most of the people I knew through Marshall and I met him next. At one point we had mandolins, drums, acoustic guitars. We just screwed around mostly. Marshall just kept adding dudes to our little “jam sessions” around 2007/2008 or so and eventually we had all five of us.
It’s nice to because we all get along nicely. we hang out together too. That’s important.
You Indie: Where did the name come from?Burris Dixon: Marshall came up with the name. He said he envisioned a lonely person living in the mountains and saying to himself “Its just Me and these Mountains”. I don’t know if it’s an image of loneliness or what. I like it though. Most of our lyrics deal with frustration with the outside world, so it fits.
You Indie: Who is the primary writer in the band? I know Tim and Norman have written songs, and you have as well. How does the band typically adapt those songs from initial idea, to fully formed song?
Burris Dixon: I write most everything as far as the songs themselves, but the band makes the sound. The guitar parts, key parts, drums, none of that is me. I play a song for those guys and they just go to town. If I make a “full band demo” at home by myself, they end up changing it around a lot and it’s always better than my original demo. Songs change slightly all the time too. We already changed a few things live that we recorded for the first EP.
You Indie: Are you doing your next record with Darryl Robbins, who recorded your self-titled debut in January 2010?
Burris Dixon: Darryl Robbins did the first record. We did it live, added vocals later and did a few guitar overdubs. It was done analog and transferred to digital later for mixing. We are doing our new record ourselves. We are doing that so we can have the money to get more songs mixed and mastered. Plus we get unlimited time. Hopefully Darryl will mix it but as for mastering, we are not sure who will do that.
You Indie: For this record are you recording digitally or do will you still have access to analog?
Burris Dixon: It’s all digital. The analog thing was through Darryl.
YouIndie: How has your sound evolved since the last record? How would you like this record to differ from the last one?
Burris Dixon: The first record was whatever we could get on tape at the time. Most of those songs were older but some were written right before we recorded. It was quick and easy. This new record is a lot more layered. We don’t just rock out the whole time. Plus the first EP was very fictional lyrically except for “Wake Up” which is about my wife. The new record is very personal. There are songs about: suicide, the end of the world, my grandfather, God, guilt, and so on. It will be all track by track and not live which is fun and challenging for us. Rodger is kind of the mastermind behind the mics and recording too.You Indie:
Has Dayton’s indie music community been supportive of M&M?
Burris Dixon: The scene has been great! It’s weird how people want to just hang out because you are also in a band. People sometimes recognize us or have heard of us and it’s usually positive too which is fun. The best part about Dayton is that bands will help you out. You get a few shows under your belt and you start getting emails/calls about opening for other bands. The bars are great too and so are the publications/blogs/radio. Very supportive.
You Indie: In 2010 you guys participated in the Midwest Music Conference in Cincinnati, right? What was that experience like?Burris Dixon:
MPMF 2010 was probably the best show we have played. We packed a tiny bar in OTR in Cincy. Some people posted their MidPoint schedules online too and we ended up on a few who wanted to see us before the Surfer Blood show started which was cool. I don’t know if that was a lucky break but we got a good time slot. Something about being out of town made us step it up a notch too. Hopefully we can play there again. Cincinnati rocks. My wife still says that was our best show and she is brutally honest. Hopefully we can top it sometime.
You Indie: Does M&M have any tour plans for 2011?Burris Dixon:
This year we are planning out of state/town shows. We are gonna do some weekend things in KY, IL, IN, PA, et cetera. We love Dayton but it’s time to branch out. Only weekends though, we all have jobs and wives and school and blah blah blah.
You Indie: What are Me and Mountains most lofty goals? Are there bands that you’d like to play with or other lofty milestones you’d like to achieve?Burris Dixon:
Lofty goals? Our first show was gonna be with Marcy Playground and we said no. We just weren’t ready. Haha. We wanna play the Southgate House ballroom with a respectable band. I would like to release at least two albums this year. I guess getting paid to do music like everyone else aspires to. It’s lofty for sure but that’s the point.
As for bands to play with…I would love to play with SSLYBY, The Soft Drugs, Guided By Voices, Midlake, Starflyer 59. Although, my favorite shows have been with local bands I love…Motel Beds, Okay Lindon, Floods, Turkish Delights. We have yet to play with Smug Brothers or Astro Fang though, both of which are rad. I don’t want to leave anyone out. Dayton is full of good stuff.
You Indie: Who is SSLYBY?
Burris Dixon: Someone Still Love You, Boris Yeltsin.You Indie:
Are you still writing music with your wife and doing solo stuff as well? Do you have any projects that you are wrapping up in either of those arenas?
Burris Dixon: I still write music with my wife. She rules. We slowed down a bit because of school and M&M but we are gonna start doing some open mics VERY soon. All the stuff people have heard is getting re-recorded along with some new stuff. She is one of the only people I write songs with. She says “do that” or “do this” and I like her ideas and it works. A lot of our stuff is her melodies. She is good with vocal harmonies too which I am not. I want to make a solo record as well. I like my songs to sound a certain way and I need an outlet for that. A band is a band and it needs multiple inputs and that’s why I love M&M, but solo is all me. It’s selfish but I think that why everyone and their dad has made a solo record at one point. Who knows, maybe M&M can do a series of solo record like the ones KISS did.
You Indie: Are all your solo and wife duo plans going to be self recorded affairs or do you think you’ll hit up Darryl or Rodger for either of those?
Burris Dixon: Self recorded with Rodger probably if he has time. If/when I release those, they will have to be mixed so probably Darryl for that. Not sure. It all depends on if he is available.
Here are a couple thing you can post if you want for solo and Maria Burris things. No new M&M tracks yet but they will be coming soon.Maria & Burris – “Sorry”
Solo – “Radio Rats (Demo)”