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Local Limelight: Q&A with Dust Jacket

 by Ljiljana Ciric
 published on Thursday, February 16, 2006


If you ever wondered how it sounds when five people are playing musical instruments like typewriters, Dust Jacket can give you a feel for it.

Conan Zimmerman, lead vocalist and guitarist, says that he always liked the idea of a typewriter, "kind of archaic, but the process [of typing] is much more deliberate," which is just the way Dust Jacket sounds.

After playing in bands This Instant and Five on One, Zimmerman formed Dust Jacket in mid-2002. This five-member indie band includes Conan's brother Tristan Zimmerman (keyboards and backing vocals), Shane Cook (guitar), Dann Spohn (bass) and Maurizio DiFranco (drums).

Currently focused on promoting their second self-released EP, Our Tapestries are Thrift Store Quilts, Zimmerman chatted about the new album, interpersonal relationships and process of aging.

SPM: Why did you name the latest album Our Tapestries are Thrift Store Quilts?

Zimmerman: When the bassist and I moved into a new house about a year-and-a-half ago, we converted a room into our band's practice and recording studio. The first thing we did was soundproof it. We went to about 20 thrift stores around Phoenix and bought every possible half-priced quilt. We stapled them to the walls and they reminded me of tapestries, like in a castle. [Tapestries are] making our walls hideous, because of the hundred different patterns of old grandma quilts that people have thrown away.

SPM: Why do you self-release your albums?

Zimmerman: There's a lot of footwork a band can get done on their own in the beginning, like booking shows and local distribution of the album. We don't need a label at this stage. When we begin touring a bit more we'll need a label so that we have some national support for booking tours, more widespread distribution and advertising.

SPM: Since you are the songwriter, how important are lyrics to you?

Zimmerman: I feel like the lyrics are our strongest point, so we usually try to do things to emphasize them. Sometimes the entire song is written around lyrics I have. I think that music itself is a language, and in that sense, I don't feel like I have a very large vocabulary -- our songs are very simple musically. The lyrics are an opportunity for me to complicate things.

SPM: How do five of you get along on and off stage?

Zimmerman: We get along great. Dann, the bassist and I have been friends since I was 14. We've been through every band. My brother plays the keyboards and we probably fight more than any of us, because well, he is my brother. Shane, the other guitarist, I've known him since high-school. Maurizio, we met about two years ago and got along really well. We never throw bottles of Jack Daniels at each other.

SPM: Which one of you gets the most girls?

Zimmerman: I would say Dann. He is tall. Girls like tall and skinny guys.

SPM: You look like you're 15, but you are actually 25. If you could, would you stay young forever?

Zimmerman: Who wouldn't? But, I am not afraid of getting old. I wouldn't mind wrinkles and grey hair, that's fine by me.

SPM: That leads to the next question, would you like to age like Mick Jagger or David Bowie?

Zimmerman: I guess more like Jagger. Bowie looks like porcelain.

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