An Interview with ACL 2014 Artist The Districts


The Districts perform at Stubb’s. Photo by Bryan Parker.

We were impressed with the Districts when we saw them a few months back at Stubb’s. Their live set is aching and raw, full of sustained tension and cathartic explosions of emotion. The band shares their home state of Pennsylvania with our own Lukas Truckenbrod, who corresponded with the band ahead of their upcoming set at Austin City Limits Festival. In fact, these responses come to you straight from an Austin-bound van. Roll on, dear reader.

Pop Press INTL: How many times have y’all played Austin?

The Districts: We played a bunch of shows at SXSW last year, then came back another time to play at Stubbs.

PPI: Favorite city you’ve played on tour?

TD: Hmm that’s tough but I’d have to say New Orleans.

PPI: Your live performance is so physical, I can imagine it takes a toll after a while. How do you stay fresh on the road?

TD: Get as much sleep as u can and try and eat well. Drink lots of water and vitamins are a good idea. Stretching is a good idea too.

PPI: What do you want people to get out of your live performance?

TD: I guess just to have a good time and maybe not look at there phones or check Facebook for a bit.

PPI: Some bands take a few songs before they find their groove. At what point/song do you guys really lock in?

TD: Every show is different, sometimes right away it feels good sometimes it takes a bit . The crowd energy and venue plays a big part too.

PPI: Who drives the van?

TD: We all take turns.

PPI: Who’s the worst driver?

TD: Probably me (Braden) because I suck at parallel parking the big ole van.

PPI: Who drives the fastest?

TD: Probably Robby.

PPI: Favorite place to get food on the road?

TD: Whenever we see a sheetz randomly it’s a pretty big deal, it makes us feel like we’re back at home.

PPI: Anyone cook?

TD: Usually not on the road unless we’re staying somewhere and we go and get some supplies. We’re all pretty decent chefs. I can whip a mean breakfast scramble.

PPI: How many pairs of underwear does everyone have packed for this October run?

TD: We have about a pair each, we switch up with eachother every week or so, keeps things exciting. Leopard silks are up next for me can’t wait!

PPI: How do you recover after your van gets stolen?

TD: We have some amazing friends in St. Louis who drove us too the next two gigs and let us stay with them. We stayed with an awesome couple in Indianapolis who then delivered us to a greyhound station where we flew to Pittsburgh and another angel of a friend picked us up and delivered us around a bit. Friends rule.

PPI: Was any equipment recovered?

TD: Nah the van was found a few weeks after though!

PPI: Robbie, how does the Rickenbacker compare to the Mustang?

TD: It’s lovely! The mustang was great but just a tiny bit too thin sounding. This one hits the sweet spot.

PPI: Robbie, favorite song to sing?  Why are girls such good song subjects? What are your other main songwriting inspirations? 

TD: I would say my current favorite song is long distance or heavy begs which is a new song…the main inspirations are just the moments, people, and places that make me feel things at their purest. Whether good or bad. Love is just one of the stronger things that make that happen so I suppose that’s why!

We were sad to see Mark leave the band.

PPI: How do y’all know Pat?

TD: We played with his band Keepers a few times and met him though that. Great guy.

PPI: The music biz is a risky industry. What tells you yer making the right choice?

TD: We get to do what we love for a living, and there’s no college debt to swim around in. I guess it’s a risk but id much rather be doing something like this than not.

PPI: What does a band need to be successful?

TD: Good songs and play a bunch of live shows until something good happens.

PPI: What are some goals for the band in 2015?  Any plans you can fill us in on?

TD: We’ll be releasing an album and touring a bunch, we’re pumped!

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