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A Dirty Dozen with JAMIE DiTRINGO from THE SEES – November 2023

| 21 November 2023 | Reply

Photo credit: Kevin Condon

According to a recent press release: “With debut single “The Calling,” Brooklyn-based four-piece have established themselves as a band who can capture the essence of life and humanity with their songs. Its hypnotic pulse draws you deep into their dark, existential and Lynchian world, and refuses to let go. It’s the perfect introduction to both the band and its debut album Conversations With My Future Self, which sees frontman Jamie DiTringo explore the nuances of time and the effects it has on us by always slipping away. Yet while The Sees—completed by Alex Daly (bass), Tim O’Brien (drums) and Yoni Wilkenfeld (synths/keys)—are aware that it’s impossible to stop time running down, their music is a wonderful reminder to make the most of whatever time we do have, and not be afraid to confront the harsh realities of it running out. Formed during the pandemic, the band have a long history of playing music, both together and separately, and that’s resulted in a truly accomplished sound. Indeed, the album as a whole sounds like a dark night of the soul that takes place over the course of a lifetime. “The Calling” is your doorway into that world. It’s one that’s easy to step through, but once you do, it might not let you back out once you cross the threshold. A bold, brooding and beautiful first step from a band with a long future ahead of them—as long as time allows for it.” We get frontman Jamie to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Very proud of this record from the writing, rehearsing to recording of the album. I’d say the first time through one may not pick up on the theme of the record being about time travel in an earnest sense that life is quick and to be thankful for the people that are in your life. It’s a common thread of the quasi-dystopian times we live in.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My dad was a drummer and music was always playing in my home growing up. From The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Band, Van Halen, sounds were always coming out of speakers throughout the house. The sound of the electric guitar always gave me goosebumps and the sheer volume of what an amplified instrument can do exhilarated me. My dad has an old Fender Telecaster and I remember being like 10 years old plugging the guitar into a small amp he had. The feedback and dissonance gave me a huge smile and knew this was something I had to pursue.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

The first time I saw Page & Plant of Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden on the No Quarter Reunion tour in the mid 90’s blew my mind. The stage lights went off, dark orchestral music played as the band entered the stage. I see Jimmy Page walk onto the stage with lit cigarette in hand, Les Paul in hand and they open the show with “The Wanton Song” off side 2 on Physical Graffiti and was absolutely floored. The aggressiveness of that opening lick was everything.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Jeff Tweedy. I fell in love with Wilco while in college when Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was released. I love Tweedy’s song writing, especially the variety of styles and soundscapes he and the band can employ. His taste in production decisions when recording in their loft in Chicago is what motivates me with my writing and recording. Being able to try different guitars through a variety of amps, pedals, recording gear, gets me going every day. I constantly thinking of the next song to write and how to record it.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Going to the movies. As passionate as I am about music I am just as excited to go to the movies. I typically go on a weekly basis at our local theater in Brooklyn, Nitehawk Cinemas. You will find me in the backroom sipping a Negroni and wolfing down popcorn like a kid first seeing Star Wars. The trailers get me excited and when the screen expands and the movie begins my attention is locked.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I like to write music without limitation. I enjoy sounds and varieties of styles so I don’t lock myself into one specific genre. I am impressed with writers who have their singular style but I like to play pop rock to heavy metal to something acoustic. Luckily I haven’t had any recent reviews that has been cringe worthy but get annoyed when people think we are consciously trying to rip off John Dwyer and Osees name changes. Honestly I just liked the name, The Sees, and as one who fancies himself a student of rock and roll there have been plenty of bands with close sounding names. Have people forgotten about The Who and The Guess Who? 😊

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I would say everyone is rather generous about getting the drinks. When hanging out together I like the focus to be just us hanging without instruments so it won’t be me to insert myself musically into a hang!

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Years ago I was at Rivington Guitars in the East Village of Manhattan playing some guitars. I hear in the distance a voice that was so familiar and iconic. I turned around and it was Robert Plant. This was around 2015 and he was in town to play Prospect Park Bandshell with his Sensational Shape Shifters band. I walked up to him, thanked him for being a conduit of my favorite music, shook his hand and was on my way. He couldn’t be more relaxed, gracious and sweet.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Best part is the work. The time put into creating something that one pulls out of the ether may sound daunting, but the journey is the revelation. Other than music I would love to be a filmmaker.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Great question. Maybe around what the frustration is that in the United States the valuation put into art as a vocation is diminishing by the day. Something like that. I hate answering the questions “What bands does your band sound like, and why?

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Recently over the past year I have taken the time and effort with vocal lessons and treating my voice as an instrument. I have always been a lead guitarist who stomped on a lot of pedals and sung back up vocals supporting a lead singer. If I had any regrets, it would be not focusing on singing in my early twenties and becoming a front man then.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The Beatles – Revolver. That to me is when the band took the Rubber Soul sessions and started to push themselves even more sonically ahead, thus creating a soundscape that became “Tomorrow Never Knows.” There are so many records to choose from but I think going backwards to learn how to get ahead is always the move. You got to crawl before you walk!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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