Denali

Silent Uproar: So is this you first time down here in Wilmington?

Keeley: Yes it is.

SU: Did you take the Dawson's Creek tour?

Cam: We didn't take the tour, but we did have trouble parking because of Dawson's Creek. They took the parking lot we were suppose to use. They're already on my bad side. And we went by the High School. I don't know if it is the High School in the show, but I know it's been in movies or whatever.

SU: We were down here like two weeks ago and apparently there is some kind of Pirate Tour or something. Well, Robbie thought the tour leader (who was dressed up as a pirate) was some hobo just messing with people, so he started messing with the pirate shaking this sign at him and stuff. It was pretty funny.

Band: (Laughing) That's great.

Jonathan: Was he like (in his best pirate voice), "Arrr, get off me sign. I'm not a bum."

SU: Yeah, he just made some comment about Robbie being a smart ass.

Ok, it seems natural that Maura would turn to Keeley when starting the band, and thus Jonathan was brought in, but how did everyone know Cam?

Cam: I paid lots of money. (laughing) Maura and I were friends. We played four tracks tapes for each other one day, and that is kind of how it happened. Then I guess Maura had mentioned how she was playing with Keeley and Jonathan and it was like ok, cool. Then we talked one day or something and Maura was talking about how she didn't want to be the only guitarist, and I said well I would like to play guitar. And that is kind of how it happened.

Jonathan: Very casual.

SU: It says in your bio that you shunned the major label attention you were getting to sign on with Jade Tree. Had some of the majors expressed interest?

Jonathan: We didn't have to fight them away.

Cam: We just didn't chase them.

Jonathan: We had some major label attention, but here was no bidding war or anything. And we are totally happy where we are.

SU: So what made you decide to go with Jade Tree?

Cam: We approached them first actually.

Jonathan: The have spectacular distribution and we like the bands that are on the label. They are very nice folks and we have some friends that are on the label. Again, it was pretty casual, but we are really excited to be with them.

SU: They do have that benefit of great distribution, and that is a pretty big deal.

Cam: Yeah, when we made our wish list at the first couple band meetings, they were definitely at the top of the list. We were like if we could sign to any label, they were it.

SU: Did you just contact them and ask them to check the band out?

Cam: Yeah, Tim (from Jade Tree) said they weren't signing any more bands and then he came back a couple weeks later and said, "I know I said we weren't signing anymore bands, but will you send something?" So I guess some people had talked to him about us and he ended up coming to a show and we went from there.

SU: What made you choose to work with the guys form Sparklehorse on the album?

Cam: Admiration probably.

Jonathan: And proximity. Like if they were form California, then we definitely wouldn't have done it. But the fact that they were in town and are affiliated with the studio that we sort of have connections to and that we were really interested, and Mark and Allen from Sparklehorse were really excited about doing it; it just all came together.

Keeley: We like working with people who are excited. It just makes it more comfortable.

Jonathan: We have never been like, "This would be a great career move to work with this persons, even though they don't know who we are or care about us, just to have their name on the record." We have never done that. It has always been like, this person cares, and we like them, so let's do it.

SU: I have noticed that for the live show Keeley brings along a CD player that you run some of the samples and beats from. When making the album was there ever the thought of, "Ok, how the hell are we going to pull this off live?"

Keeley: Um, well the CD player is really just music playing for a while, and for some reason it is the most quiet atmosphere when we are done playing a song. It is so uncomfortable, and we have to switch things because we have a lot of gear, and it is unnerving almost. We aren't really a band who is like, "So how's it going tonight. Alright!" So, I just wanted to keep the atmosphere going. It is mainly just dead space filler, using samples that I used on the album. I just wanted to kind of keep the feel of the album. It wasn't that hard, to answer your question.

Cam: We did think about it while we were in the studio though. We were never like, "Oh shit, we need to switch our whole paradigm now." But, it was like, "Well, I have something that can probably do that live, and Keeley has this thing that can probably do that live."

Jonathan: (showing us his new Chuck Taylors) We are quick on our feet.

Cam: (talking to Jonathan) Your shoes are pretty dirty already for just being one day old.

SU: Next question, how do your shoes get so dirty...

Band: ... in only one day.

Jonathan: Actually about 6 hours of use. I went out and kicked the tires some. (In his best redneck voice) "Whatta ya got there, michellins, firestones? Watch out for them firestones they blowout. Flip your Explorer."

SU: How big of a pain in the ass is it having to carry that piano around with you?

Keeley: (as a stretched Navigator rolls by) How about how big of a pain in the ass is it to drive around in that limo.

SU: Next question, why did your limo just drive by without you?

Band: Hey, we're over here.

SU: Dawson is inside going, "I wonder who those people are?"

Jonathan: (In his best Dawson voice) Why aren't they interviewing me?

Maura: Well, I make the guys carry it. I can carry it without the cover. I have been building up my muscles. See.

Jonathan: This is where the obligatory Maura wants to kick Gwen Stefani's ass comment comes in. We are trying to hype up and publicize a fight between Maura and Gwen Stefani.

Cam: Because...

Keeley: Because...

Maura: Because she just goes on stage and dances around and hops around. I actually haul stuff around, and I have to work for...

Cam: So Maura has the guns....

Keeley: You have to work for what?

Cam: ...thunder and lightening

Maura: I think I could take her.

Jonathan: That should be the pop out quote: "I think I could take her".

Maura: Actually, when I come face to face with her, the girl is awesome.

Jonathan: (in his best girl voice) Props, props girl, don't hit me.

SU: Ok, Maura, in reviews you have often been compared to Portishead's Beth Gibbons. Do you see this connection?

Maura: I am flattered that people even make that connection.

Jonathan: I don't think it is that far off base. We are a more rocking version, but to have people even put us in that realm is really cool.

SU: I think the name Denali really fits the mood of your music, kind of cold and just the over all feel of it... You know, it is mountainy and hilly and... At what point in the band's formation was the name Denali chosen?

Jonathan: I think we were probably getting ready to play our first show and we needed to decide on a name.

Cam: We had been playing for probably 5 or 6 months at that point.

Keeley: We had a demo with a different name on the cover. And I misspelled it anyway.

SU: What was the name?

Keeley: Turquoise.

Cam: And it was The Maura Project before that.

Keeley: We were at a bar and Cam was talking about reading a book that he came across when his mom was going to climb a mountain, because she is a climber. And he said Denali. I have a graphic design background and I saw the word, and visually I knew that was it. So, that was before the car and all that. e weren't trying to do anything, and actually it is really annoying.

SU: So along with your Converse sponsorship you also deserve a Denali sponsorship?

Keeley: Yeah we each tour in our own.

Cam: I realized too when I was reading this National Geographic magazine and it was saying that only one in three hikers in Denali National park actually gets to see the mountain. And that is kind of like one in three audience members gets to see Maura, because she is usually down at the Rhodes.

Maura: And the youngest girl to climb Mt McKinley is named Maura.

Cam: And my uncle's dog is named Denali, but we found that out after the band was named.

SU: Is the album self-titled because you couldn't think of a name, or is there a different more mysterious reason?

Jonathan: Because we felt that the name fit very well and we didn't want to sully it with anything else. We wanted to make a strong statement, like you will notice graphically we have an identity, and a lot of the same imagery is used. We wanted it to be ..."HI YA..."

SU: Since we are on kind of a Dawson theme here: if Dawson and Jarred Leto got into a fight, who would win?

Jonathan: Jared Leto would whoop his ass. The guy is ripped.

Maura: That guy is built.

Keeley: I don't even know who you are talking about.

Cam: I don't either.

Jonathan: The "beautiful guy" in Fight Club.

SU: Did you see him in Panic Room though, when he had corn rows? He was kind of sketchy there.

Jonathan: And he is the sensitive bearded man in Girl Interrupted too.

Keeley & Cam: Oh, ok.

SU: I read that Maura is taking the Fall off from school for you guys to do some touring? So after the Fall are you done for a while?

Cam: She is staking the Spring off now too.

Maura: Whatever happens.

SU: Are there any overseas plans?

Jonathan: Loose, loose plans. There are overseas hopes.

SU: Is the fan base really there? Or do you just kind of schedule shows and see if people show up?

Keeley: I don't want to do that. We have done that twice already with Engine Down, but we want to make sure it is going to be worth our while.

SU: How big an obstacle is it working around school?

Maura: It got kind of annoying sometimes. When we do weekend shows that was kind of difficult which comes first, your project, or the band.

SU: So which does come first?

Maura: Right now, it's band! I guess my motto now is that school will always be there, and the band is here and now.

SU: I read that you (Maura) were training in classical music at UNC Greensboro at one point, is that right?

Maura: Yeah they have a really good music program. It just wasn't my thing I guess. I was doing that and I didn't have anyone else to play in a band with, but I wanted to do music in some way.

SU: Believe it or not, one of the questions I had down was do you guys ever fell like the Gwen Stefani effect is going on with more attention being given to Maura?

Cam: If there is that effect, it is our fault because we pushed her out there.

SU: I was going to say that it seems like you are setting things up with the music and the songs to where she is the focus.

Jonathan: Yeah, we know what we got.

Cam: You don't use a screwdriver when you need a hammer or something like that.

SU: Maura, do you ever see yourself branching off from the guys and doing something more solo, like a piano/singing type thing?

Maura: I'm thinking of a choreographed dance sequence and tassles. That's the only way I will go solo.

SU: What kind of music are you into and what is the last record you bought?

Jonathan: Today, Keeley bought 2 CDs.

Keeley: Three. I got Aimee Mann, Coldplay, and Queens of the Stone Age.

Cam: Last album all I bought was Mum, that Icelandic band.

Jonathan: My last couple records are Beatles Revolver and Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here.

Maura: I just pulled out the old Lush album.

SU: What is the 5 year plan for Denali? Touring for a year, another album down the road?

Cam: That's a long time. How about the five month plan? I just wanna write some new songs.

Maura: Yeah, new songs. Mmmmmmmm...

Jonathan: Definitely an album down the road... we can't wait to expand our repertoire.

Keeley: Of course we want to expose our first album to as many people as possible, meaning much touring, but yeah, we are having a hard time sleeping without working on new material.

SU: Say Denali blows up and gets huge. Would you consider signing to a major, or do you want to keep that indie connection?

Maura: You know, it's a gamble to go with a major, but we would consider it.

Cam: Wait, you mean blows up like, gets fat? In that case I hope that no label would descriminate on basis of weight.

Keeley: We will do what seems good for the band and our mental stability.

Jonathan: We'd only consider signing to a major if they could get us major "Jar-Jar type" roles in the next Star Wars movie.

SU: That is all I have, anything you want to say to the masses?

Keeley: Everyone should vote Winter as their favorite season.

Cam: Thank you.

Band: Hey. Uh, we need to go play...

Aug 28 2002