Interview: The American Dollar
Hailing out of Brooklyn, New York, The American Dollar was formed by school friends John Emanuele and Richard Cupolo in 2005 to as they say themselves “play the kind of music that we wanted to hear”. The bands captivating blend of cinematic post-rock( if I can call it that) has won them a large amount [...]
Hailing out of Brooklyn, New York, The American Dollar was formed by school friends John Emanuele and Richard Cupolo in 2005 to as they say themselves “play the kind of music that we wanted to hear”. The bands captivating blend of cinematic post-rock( if I can call it that) has won them a large amount of critical acclaim and a loyal following stateside. I recently caught up with drummer and keyboard player John, to find out a little more on all things American Dollar.
D: Hi John, thanks for taking the time to do this, you and Rich met in school could you tell us about how The American Dollar came about?
John: Yeah, we met in high school and played in a few different bands through high school and college and we began American Dollar in August 2005, when we were taking a chance making a side project from our other project at the time. Upon our first track that we made being licensed by MTV Battlegrounds, we decided to go forward with making our first full length album.
D: And what about the origins of the bands name?
John: We just thought it fitted the band pretty well, it can be seen as provocative and the phrase has many meanings in different contexts, yet it’s internationally understood and relative especially with what’s happening politically and economically.
D: How would you describe your sound and what are some of your influences?
John: We sometimes describe it as cinematic music, it has characteristics of experimental, indie, post-rock and electronic mixed within it. Our biggest influences have been The Album Leaf, Telefon Tel Aviv, Explosions in the Sky and Pink Floyd to name a few.
D: Do you feel there is huge progression from your debut record to your latest one?
John: From our first album we’d say there is a noticeable increase in the complexity as well as increases in fidelity that have come along with equipment upgrades from album to album.
D: What is the recording process like when you make an album?
John: We record all of our tracks on the fly, they are not written in advance of recording.
D:And what is the most difficult part of transferring this when you play live?
John: Initially the challenge was figuring out how to get all of our live samples to play our keyboard parts, figuring out how to get everything sync’d correctly and be able to hear it properly. Figuring out that part of the equation ended up taking about 2-3 years, so we only began performing live in August of 2008.
D: Since then you’ve toured quite a bit any highlights spring to mind?
John: We once played a show on the roof of the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn for the Rooftop Films festival. Our friends who came to the show said they could hear our music from several blocks away, mostly due to the three rows of PA speakers that were amplifying our equipment into the night. As we played, people from the tops of the other apartment buildings around us watching were applauding.
D: That’s pretty cool, would love to see you guys play over here, are there plans to tour outside of the States any time soon?
John: Always hoping to tour outside of America, but still no concrete plans.
D: Some critics have said your music would be the perfect compliment for dark, dramatic films about depression, drug use, death, or horror, would you agree with this??
John: Our music definitely has been used in that context in CSI:Miami and many other placements we’ve had in different media. We appreciate and cherish that people think this!
D: So what’s your idea of a perfect soundtrack?
John: I think a perfect soundtrack comes about if it stands on its own beauty and completely fits the dramatic, comedic, or horrific elements of the media it is written for and then goes a step further and impresses you beyond your expectations. Personally, most of my favourite soundtracks are from when I was a child where the music usually appeals to me on some sort of subconscious or emotional level.
D: What bands are you listening to at the moment?
John: Lately we’ve been listening to a lot of different music but two of my favourites at the moment are Baths and Boards of Canada.
D: And John, just before you go, what’s on the horizon for the band in the near future?
John: More recording and just taking on whatever opportunities present themselves. I just want to mention that we have all The American Dollar back catalogue on a name your price download at theamericandollar.bandcamp.com.
D: Cheers John, thanks again for your time.