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THE DANDIES ARE COMING TO GET YA WITH WHISKY & SONG - INTERVIEW BY MEL

The hotly tipped rock 'n' roll band The Dandies were formed in Lucerne, Switzerland by two enthusiastic & talented musical brothers Adrian (Vocals/Guitar) & Eric Weber (Lead Guitar/Vocals). Joined by two Swiss friends Fabian Voirol (Drums) and Adi Schröter (Bass). They have a new single and a stunning debut album, simply titled 'The Dandies' in the pipeline, a tour coming to our shores and they are destined to be BIG! I wasn't going to miss out on the opportunity to find out more about this new band of rockers.

Hi Guys, I see we haven’t been the very first to interview you in the UK, hopefully this is just your second one. I love your sound and your attitude and it’s about time we got some fresh young up and coming rockstars on these pages. Thanks for joining in with the interview today.  

ADRIAN: No, thank you very much! We are stoked that you like our band and are looking forward to the interview.

MEL: The Dandies are a newish band to us in the UK, could you introduce yourselves and tell our readers a little bit about yourselves? Two of you are American & two Swiss, that seems an unusual combination, how did you guys meet?  

ERIC: My brother and I are the Americans in the band. Our Mom is from Baltimore and our father is Swiss. Since before we can remember, it’s been like we have two homes and two totally different families. We spent our younger childhood growing up in both the states and in Switzerland. We feel equally Swiss and American. Its kinda weird having two homes. In the states we are “the Swiss guys” and in Switzerland we’re the yanks. Since our mother couldn’t really speak German when we were young, we’d always speak English at home, which hasn’t changed.

Once we were about to start school our parents decided that we’d live in Switzerland but visit our family in the states as often as possible. So that’s basically how the foundation for the combination came about. We met Fizzie (drummer) in primary school; he was already in a band at the time and had been playing the drums for a couple of years. So when my brother, Fizzie and I started taking a huge interest in the Rock Bands between 2001-2003, we finally decided to form a band in 2006. Our bassist used to be Sammy, one of our best pals who quit the band so he could pursue his academic ambitions. Adrian Schroeter then joined the band to play bass. He’s the oldest one of the bunch and took over the 'daddy' role. Like, he’ll sort us out before we get ourselves into trouble.  

MEL: Why the band name – The Dandies, didn't you worry that it sounded too similar to The Dandy Warhols?

ADRIAN: To be honest, at the time we didn’t really worry about it. It didn’t occur to us that it might sound too similar to The Dandy Warhols. At this point, we are confident that people will be able to tell us apart. Nevertheless we apologize for any misunderstandings that may or may not occur, our producer asked Courtney if we could use the name and he was all fine with it so I guess that’s a good clearance!

We chose the name because we saw ourselves as something like dandies at the time. When we were in our earlier teens not a lot of people considered wearing skinny jeans where we lived, or fulfilled their leisure activities, especially music, before anything else. Do not get me wrong, we are not hipsters, but when we stumbled across the name and thought about it, it just stuck.

MEL: Do you see yourselves in any way like ‘Dandies’ and talking of dandies, have you seen the brilliant new (Oscar Wilde) Dorian Grey movie? If not you should its brilliant!

ERIC: As Adrian mentioned before, we sorta did at the time. I have not seen the movie and I believe the others haven’t either. But I will be sure to see it as soon as possible. You have just fused our next band activity! Thank you!

MEL: Being in a band with a sibling is sure to cause some difficulties, I’m thinking about Liam & Noel (Oasis) and there you have an instant example. Adrian & Eric, what’s it like being in a band with your brother, any sibling rivalry?

ERIC: You bet it. At times, I was contemplating if we should put up a boxing ring in our rehearsal room. It’s funny though, because we have a way of speaking to each other that no one other than ourselves can understand and relate to. It’s gotten a lot better lately, that’s also because the other Adi (bass) gets involved if the argument starts getting dirty.

ADRIAN: There isn't really a sibling rivalry in that sense; we just don't have as much patience with each other as with other band members. Also, we're not really like Noel and Liam, we like each other and are good friends. We rarely ever fight, we just bicker a lot. Like Eric says, we've got a way of talking to each other.

MEL: How old are you guys, do you have a background in music, was anyone in the family musical, are you self taught musicians?

ERIC: Adi Schroeter is 23, followed by Adrian Weber who’s 21 and Fizzie and I are 20. Fizzie and Adi Schroeter have been in other local bands before joining forces with my brother and me. If I am not mistaken, Adi Schroeter has an older brother who is also in a band. Fizzie’s dad is an amazing Jazz Musician and teaches Saxophone at the Jazz School in Lucerne. His whole family are very artistic. Adi and my grandfather from the states is our families’ musical influence. As a kid, he played in Polka bands in Baltimore and he studied music. We all had lessons on and off. Adi and I started playing the guitar as small kids but stopped for a couple of years and started teaching ourselves again before returning for more guitar lessons.

MEL: So, you all get together in 2006, what were you doing previously to this ?

ADRIAN: We were all still in school back then. Music wise we were still overwhelmed by bands such as the Strokes and Kings of Leon. So we were all attending school with nothing but music on our mind. We had been covering our favorite songs together, just for fun, before we started writing our own material as The Dandies, Adi S was in another band at the time and he currently works for UBS.

MEL: I presume you all live in Switzerland, so what’s the music scene like there, is there any bands you recommend?

ERIC: The majority of the people listen to Pop and a lot of Hip Hop and Rap. The Rock scene has been growing and growing though. There are countless bands around now, which is very cool. You should definitely check out our buddies ‘The Bucket’ & ‘7 Dollar Taxi’

MEL: I'll be sure to do just that.What music/bands did you grow up listening to? And which inspired you to form your own band?  

ERIC: I am speaking for Adi and myself now. Our dad is into Rock music and pushed us into the right direction at an early age. We’d be jumping around on the sofa in our living room as kids, screaming the lyrics to “Twist and Shout” and other Beatles songs. So we grew up listening to bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Cat Stevens. Our main inspiration to form a band was, probably split 50-50, the Strokes and Kings of Leon. We loved, and still do, how they express themselves in their songs and their attitude, their sounds and the vibe you get listening to the songs, basically the whole nine yards haha.

ADRIAN: Eric and I always wanted to be John and Paul. Our middle names are John and Paul and we'd always joke that we were named after the Beatles but in fact it's after our Uncle and Grandfather respectively. The Libertines were another band who made us want to form a band.  

MEL: Talk us through your début rock album (which I’ve had the privilege of listening to in full, very impressive). Any news on a released date? What feeds your creativity & writing and who writes the lyrics? Talk us through some of the tracks and which are most personal and special to you?

ERIC: Thank you, we are glad you like it. No news on a released date as of yet but be sure to check our social pages regularly for updates. Adi Weber is the one who is in charge of writing the lyrics. At this point all of the songs carry the same weight for me, every song is unique in its own way and addresses a different topic. I’ll just pick one and name the song “Dark Passenger”. It describes the mental battle between yourself and that darker side inside of you that wants you to do something you know you shouldn’t. You still think about it though, knowing that doing so would give you satisfaction. I think a lot of people can relate to that kind of a situation. Everyone has had a boss or teacher he would have loved to knock out, or not? I think it stands out lyrically because it is about something darker. It shows you that our album is a cake with many layers haha.

ADRIAN: A lot of things in our life feed us with creativity. Sometimes its experiences we make along the way, sometimes its things or people who are currently in our life. 

MEL: Chris 'Frenchie' Smith, is the esteemed producer in charge of the ‘faders’ on the album and it's been mastered by Frank Arkwright (Arcade Fire, The Coral, Belle and Sebastian, The Stereophonics, The Killers, Bloc Party, Coldplay, Razorlight, The Dead 60’s, Damien Rice, Embrace, Hot Chip, The Kooks, Snow Patrol, The Charlatans, The Wombats, Armand Van Helden and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club). What have they been like to work with, were you nervous at all? Any special moments you care to feedback?  

ERIC:
It has been amazing. We got to live at the Farm with Frenchie for 35 days, which was so cool. Frenchie has been our roommate! He is amazing and a real rock beast. We were very nervous at first. Frenchie hit us like a freight train. It seems like he never gets tired and always gives 500%. He has been an exceptional mentor and his knowledge about music and everything it involves is overwhelming. There are so many special moments. I guess one of the most special moments was when he told us that he believed in us. That still makes me shiver. He is a real pal and a great guy to hang out with. We miss him a lot and look forward seeing him at SXSW. Unfortunately we did not get to spend time with Frank, It was a last minute thing, our manager Antony Meola attended the session and when the results came back we were very impressed, it gave the album that finishing touch it needed.

ADRIAN: I remember the first time I put my guitar around my shoulders in the Studio with Frenchie and when I sang for the first time especially. He's heard so many awesome singers and so many great guitar players. It was scary at first but Frenchie is awesome! We couldn't have had a better producer!  

MEL: Did Frenchie challenge, or push the band to perform better than your expectations?  

ADRIAN: Oh yes. Frenchie did. He made us believe in our capabilities and pushed us to perform at our best every day. Sometimes, you didn’t even realize what was happening to yourself, because he works at light speed. We learnt a lot from him and are forever grateful that we are fortunate enough to have met him. He was really inspirational to us and still is. We really look up to him as a mentor and friend.

MEL: What were your experiences of being holed up in the glorious location of The Leeders Farm Studios which has been used by many notable acts such as The Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds & The Darkness.? I saw your great photos on Facebook, what a superb location.

ERIC: Thank you, you are very kind. It was magical. The Studio with its equipment, the house, its surroundings, the people, everything there is beyond words. I mean, the bulk of the residential house has been there for hundreds of years. There is a spirit to the place that you can’t describe. You forget about the outside world and have the feeling that everything evolves itself around music and the last remaining people on the globe are whoever is in and around the studio. We most rarely left the compound, we all totally lost track of time and of reality for that matter. It was weird returning to a place like London and seeing all of the people. I guess one of the things that struck us was that you feel free in a place like Leeders Farm.

ADRIAN: When we went to London after the studio we almost had a culture shock. I mean, after 35 days of only seeing the same 9 or 10 people and then hitting the big city was crazy. But Leeders Farm is amazing. The people working there are some of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met. It's an awesome place to record. Like Eric says, it has a spirit.  

MEL: Have you done many live shows yet? When is the first show? We are being heavily enticed but what can people expect from a live performance?

ERIC: We have been playing shows all over Switzerland and are looking forward to playing SXSW in Austin, Texas in March. People can expect to enjoy themselves and have a good time at our shows. Let go of whatever’s bugging you and give in to the music!

MEL: If you could swap places with any person on stage for one day alive or dead who might you choose?

ERIC: Jeeeesh, now that’s one I really gotta think about. If you’d also get to time travel, it would probably either be Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock or George Harrison before they were about to break with The Beatles.

ADRIAN: Mick Jagger. Who wouldn't want to be his age and prance around on stage like that?  

MEL: Are there any causes which are close to your heart which you support?


ERIC: There are a lot of causes worth supporting, not enough is being done for the less fortunate ones. Every once in a while I will donate to Amnesty International, Greenpeace or WorldVision. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference, you know, and there are so many ways to help nowadays, that it's probably harder to find an excuse than to actually help.

ADRIAN: Any fighting serious illness I support. I don't want to sound like an environmentalist but Global Warming does scare the life outta me. We obviously messed up a lot in the past and present and our future generations, will see the bad effects of it all. Something clearly has to be done.  

MEL: OK, it’s time to sell yourselves in one sentence, why should people buy your new album 'The Dandies' when it’s released?

ERIC: If you like to rock and you wanna hop on a roller-coaster ride and enjoy yourselves, you should buy our album.   

MEL: Last but not least, are you ready to be catapulted into the limelight of the bright lights of rock n’ roll? If so what would be your biggest rockstar excess?

ERIC: I believe we are. Are you guys ready for us? I really can’t say. I guess we will have to find out. It is up to you guys.  

ADRIAN: We're always ready and curious to see what the future holds for us. I don't know we'll see. I don't know what the biggest rockstar excess will be, but if there is one, whatever it is, the odds are it'll come from Fizzie, our drummer aka rock beast.

MEL: Thanks Guys, I hope you manage to keep your charming personality intact when you hit the big time. We wish you all the best, we’d love a copy of your album to review.

ERIC:
Thank you for the interview. May the force be with you and god bless.

ADRIAN: Thank you, Mel!

Check the guys out:

www.myspace.com/thedandies
www.thedandiesmusic.com

Interview by Mel 22.01.10
Photo: by Patrick Bussmann - supplied by Bill Cummings @ Sound and Vision Pr

Thanks to Antony Meola