Now you can read us on your iPhone and iPad! Check out the BTRtoday app.
Welcome to Philadelphia: a growing, modern city that plays one of the largest notes in American history. Here you experience the best of the past and the future. So it’s only fitting that a city like Philly would produce a band like Dulls.
Comprised of Erica Carter on guitar and vocals, Evan Raab on guitar, Jack Pfeifer on drums, and Kirk Bray on bass, the foursome will hit you hard with nostalgia while simultaneously producing music like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
Since they’ve only been playing for less than two years, their sound and style is still in its incubation phase—which means they keep their audiences and fans on their toes, always wanting more. However, they hold tight to a defining sound of ‘90s garage rock. Carter’s dreamy vocals along with the melodic beats and eerie guitar riffs combine to create a sound relatable to Sonic Youth, yet extremely unique.
They’re some of the most versatile tunes you’ll ever hear, perfect to daze out to while also helping you get shit done.
Raab and Carter’s friendship blossomed over their shared love for The Smashing Pumpkins, and agree that in one adjective, Dulls can be explained as “noisy.” BTRtoday spoke with the two about the history of the band, their creative process, and what’s in store for the future of Dulls!
BTRtoday(BTR): How did you guys all meet and create Dulls?
Evan Raab (ER): I met Erica through a friend around two summers ago. The band started as a three-piece and then we needed a good vocalist. I knew Erica through a friend and one night at El Bar in Fishtown we were all hanging out in the backyard of the bar and Erica was there and we started talking about music. I was like, ‘well, I’m trying to start a band if you want to come hang out and play some music,’ and she did.
BTR: What are some of the inspirations that go into the music?
ER: The band as a whole has a bunch of pretty different inspirations. For me, I really like old ‘90s music—like Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, and for my guitar playing, I really like some of the older Telescopes albums—the guitar style in that. That’s stuff I’ve been incorporating into my style. I don’t know, Erica?
Erica Carter (EC): I listen to lots of old ‘60s garage and blues stuff. I feel like when Evan and I met, we were talking about Smashing Pumpkins, so that was kind of one thing that we agreed on that we liked.
ER: Yeah, a defining sound for us.
BTR: What’s each of your musical backgrounds like?
EC: I got a guitar when I was 12 and then I just kind of played that for a while. Then I went to college and I studied classical and jazz music, and I’ve just been playing around ever since. So it was nice to meet Evan and the other guys in the band—they’re all really good musicians and really fun to be around. I think I’ve gotten a lot better since I started playing with them. It’s been nice. It’s a little bit of a different style for me, than what I normally play. It’s cool playing with them. They even lent me some guitar pedals and showed me how to do that kind of stuff.
ER: For me, it’s a similar story. I started when I was around 14-years-old. In high school I got a guitar and I played in a really bad punk band. Then in college I didn’t really play a whole lot until my last year; I started a band with Jack, the current girl in Dulls, that’s how we know each other, from college. So we started a band together. After college the band went its separate ways, but then in the last two years we started playing again.
BTR: How long has Dulls been together?
ER: With the lineup we have now, as it stands? Ummm… Our first show was March 2015, and we were practicing for a couple months before then. So it’s been about a year and a half, two years.
EC: Not the first show with me.
ER: Right, that was just the first show as Dulls. I would say it was a totally different band then—back when it was just those three of us.
BTR: What’s the future looking like for Dulls?
ER: Well, we just played a really good show with this band called The Stargazer Lillies, and right now we’re having a show coming up, but we’re working on recording a new 7’’—the songs are all set. We have a whole new set that we’ve been playing and we’re going to record it, hopefully within the next month.
We actually have a pretty clear schedule right now. We’ve had a couple offers, but it’s hard because of scheduling conflicts and the fact that we’re going to start recording. So we don’t have any dates coming up, but I’d say keep an eye out for when we have the new record come out!
BTR: Awesome! Could you paint us a picture of what your live shows are like?
EC: It’s catching on more and more! More and more people are coming to our shows and getting into it, which is nice.
ER: Our new material is a lot louder, and at the same time, catchier too. There’s a lot more hooks in our music.
EC: Yeah, a little more concise.
ER: Yeah! We’ve definitely been getting a good combination, I think, of melodic music and noisy guitar rock. We’re finally getting a good blend of the two now.
BTR: If you guys could describe Dulls using one adjective what would it be?
EC: I have no idea! [Laughs.]
ER: I’d probably say noisy, but not like the blog!
EC: Ummm…. What would mine be?? I would say… Ah! I don’t know, I can’t think of one word…
EC: Yeah! Like a little bit airy. When I first played with them, my biggest hardship was the waiting and the timing, and there were just lots of things going on in the songs—like Evan would play something and then I would come in with something, and then I would wait a little bit. I guess the music just had a lot of things going on, which now, like we were saying, it’s a little more concise.
The music takes me back to my high school days, so it makes me feel a little nostalgic when we play, and I think some people have told me that as well. They’re not throwbacks, but they definitely have that feel like something you recognize, but still new.