I N T E R V I E W
Trevor Faville from DateMonthYear
by Ian Duggan
‘DateMonthYear’ declares themselves to be not a band, but a way of making music in the 21st century. Under this moniker, you might have seen a solo performance, a ‘typical’ live band, or a live band with experimental and electronic elements. Their recorded output is similarly diverse, including everything from electronic instrumentals and soundscapes, to experimental tracks and guitar driven pop songs. On top of all this, the personnel involved in recording and performing have also been highly variable over short and long time scales. In this interview I talk with Trevor Faville, drummer, vocalist, and the one constant in DateMonthYear since their formation in 2003.
HUP: Between 2003 and 2008 DateMonthYear (DMY) were quite prolific, releasing three albums and an EP, but besides the release of a couple of individual songs, you have been pretty quiet since. Can you tell us about what you were doing in the interim and the upcoming album?
Faville: After 2008, things got a bit unstable in terms of personnel; one of the consequences of the DMY approach. We had done some cool things — the albums, two live videos, a concert with Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra, where I arranged our stuff for a full orchestra — but we were running pretty fast. After that came a redesign. The focus came on recording material. An entire album of collaborations and covers was scrapped because of a) the contentious material b) the high profile nature of some of the collaborators, and c) sabotage. DMY redesigned itself with almost the current line-up and road-tested a whole lot of new material. There is a great deal of new material stockpiled! Currently eleven songs are 90% ready to go. Recording has already started. The upcoming album will have no overtly ambient pieces. Those are being kept for other stuff.
HUP: Contentious material?!
Faville: Yep, I think two of the covers might have got me in trouble!
HUP: And what other future plans you have for DMY?
Faville: DMY is doing a triple music video release in January. The idea has been that three independent movie makers have gone through the DMY catalogue and have put the 'cinematic' element to the test. Each movie maker had complete artistic freedom to shoot the vid of their choice to the song of their choice. The results will be released on January 15th 2016. The future [also] involves an entire prog/ambient album... and a movie!
HUP: A movie?
Faville: The movie we are planning will probably be 2017s project, but will be a kind of musical, featuring our fair city Hamilton.
HUP: A number of your songs sound perfect for music soundtracks, and several of your songs were indeed included in a 2005 ‘erotic thriller’ called ‘Luella Miller’. How did that come about?
Faville: We had always had success with getting the songs placed in movies, T.V. and ads overseas. This was our first 'local' experience. Our songs were pitched to the directors, who thought they fitted perfectly. The end scene in particular, involving death by shovel, was really effective.
HUP: What movies and adverts have your songs appeared in overseas? And how did you get them considered?
Faville: Well, we are signed to a company in New York that does music placements. Part of the deal is that they don’t tell you where the music gets placed. I used to get statements telling me what T.V. channel they were used on. For example, MTV South America, The A&E Network, the Discovery Channel, but now I have to check the royalty statements to get clues!
HUP: A listing of your former personnel makes for interesting reading. Members have included Sehai Orgad as a vocalist, who ran for Labour in the Hamilton East seat in the last election, Bevan Galbraith of The Deadly Deaths and Big Muffin Serious Band, and guitarist Simon Hirst, who has just released his debut EP. Who is in the band now, and how have you attracted such a diversity of people?
Faville: Current members are Tyler Leet on guitar, Brooke Baker on vocals, guitar and keyboards, Emma Koretz on vocals and Jared Constable on bass. As to how we attract diversity, well, diversity is one of the central tenets of the DMY philosophy. Heroes of mine are people like David Bowie, or Miles Davis or Robert Fripp; people who consistently find new people to work with and whose music is always moving forward as a result. I love that. In DMY someone's commitment is defined by their contribution and that means people do come and go, but not in a negative sense (mostly!). The music develops depending on who is involved. It’s a fantastic way of making music, because while it can be stressful, there is a consistent sense of moving forward.
HUP: With the naming of DateMonthYear, I assume you were referring to the date notation used by most of the western world, which contracts to the nonsensical MDY format used in the United States?
Faville: The 'DateMonthYear' name does indeed follow the European system. It evolved from a discussion I had years ago with some colleagues. We worked in a prominent London hospital and we were bored. For fun we decided to find band names based on anything that we could see around us. The phrase Date: Month: Year: was on a patient admission form that was lying around. Second on the list was Sturflowe, which was a German brand name of an air-conditioner (or so I recall).
HUP: Given the diversity of everything that is DMY, what might punters expect to see from your performance at the upcoming Hamilton Underground Press Xmas Party?
Faville: At the Hamilton Underground Press Xmas Party DMY plans to play four songs from an upcoming album. They are ‘rock’ songs in the sense that they as close to rock as we might get! The material is still being road tested and every gig is a chance to refine. We are also taking the opportunity to work in our ‘sub’ guitarist, to prepare for future eventualities.