INTERVIEW: A Chat With Rob Grote from The Districts

Thursday, July 9, 2015

With their appearance at this years Splendour In The Grass festival in Byron Bay fast approaching, we had the opprutnutity to talk to vocalist and guitarist of The Districts, Rob Grote, about visiting Australia, their new album A Flourish and a Spoil, and what to expect from their live shows.

Emily: Just having conquered Glastonbury recently, how stoked are you to be heading down to Australia for Splendour in the Grass?

Rob: Were extremely excited, yeah. Gonna be the furthest, that and Japan, that we’ve ever played from home. Going to be super exciting and like super strange to be on the other side of the world. It will be our first time playing Australia. 

E: Are you going to be able to see much whilst you are here?

R: We will be at the festival the day that we play and that evening, and then were going to Sydney and Melbourne. But were hoping to be able to do some sightseeing.

E: So whilst you are at Splendour are you going to have any time to be able to rock out in any mosh pits of the other bands?

R: Yeah we will have a bit of time. I’m getting pretty bad at memorising the line ups, so I can’t remember who’s playing at it exactly but I’m sure there is a bunch that we will try and see for sure.

E: You guys have recently released A Flourish and a Spoil, how are you finding the response towards it?

R: It’s been good so far. Yeah we have never put out like a full length album, we’ve put out the EP, but yeah first full album. It’s definitely been crazy, like fat possums help, and getting extra exposure. It’s been super exciting.

E: And with that album, you worked with John Congleton, a guy who has worked with huge names like, St. Vincent, Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand, describe what that was like and was he a big influence?

R: Yeah working with him was awesome. We’ve worked with a producer only once before, but we haven’t done much, we more work with friends, haven’t had an outsiders opinion like that. So getting to work with him was defiantly mind opening, and I mean we immediately clicked and got along, and had similar opinions on stuff. I don’t think he really changed the outcome of the album sound, other than the fact that he would just do everything we wanted, but better. Haha. We would just be fumbling around and f***ing around, whereas with John he was just way quicker and better at getting the sounds awesome, so he helped us reign in our ideas. 

E: Now you guys formed in 2009, what are some of your highlights from then to now?

R: Oh man there have been tones, well defiantly playing at Glastonbury was super awesome, and we did our first bigger scale US and European headlining tours. And then there was a lot of venues we have always dreamed of playing, like in Philly, where we live, we played my favorite venue in the city.

E: Yeah that would be awesome. So how has your time in the districts developed you guys as a whole?

R: We have definitely learned a lot about working together. So like 3 of us are original members and I guess about a year ago now our original guitar player left, and now Pat has joined. I guess over the years we had developed a kind of comfort but it’s kind of nice now having a new person, forces us to reassess things and I totally love it.

E: Where do you see you and The Districts in 5 years’ time?

R: Oh man, haha no idea. Um I feel like in 5 years it could go one of a million ways, like we could be doing some top radio dance music… or we could go the death metal route, or we could still be doing the same thing. It’s really hard for me to envision, coz we have kind of spent our whole, quote on quote, career, although it’s hard to think of it as a career yet. Coz our whole time as a band we have been focused on the present and just try and work hard on what’s in front of us, make good songs, have a good tour whatever is happening in the now. 

E: Now you guys have gained such great word for your live shows, what can fans expect from your live shows here in Australia?

R: Um I mean we tend to be kind of loud, haha, we try to keep it dynamic. We don’t really plan ahead of time, the songs themselves we pick about a half hour before shows. We just try and play as best we can and get in the zone, be passionate. Yeah just a bunch of dudes and some gear on stage, haha. 

You can catch The Districts at Splendour In The Grass and their sideshows below.

Monday 27th July 2015
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Tickets Secret Sounds
Tuesday 28th July 2015
Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Tickets Secret Sounds

Written by Emily O'Brien