Bonnie & the BANG BANG is determined to go big, or go home
Bonnie & the BANG BANG is ready to take its music to the masses. Armed with its first full-length album, 2013’s The Dark Dream, and a plan to start touring indefinitely, the Bay Area indie rock band is going all-in in an effort to increase its fan base. Jacob Dineen, the guitarist, mandolinist and banjo player, spoke to GT about the new album, the changes to the lineup, and what this tour of theirs will look like.
GOOD TIMES: What was your mindset heading into the making of The Dark Dream?
Jacob Dineen: We just sat in my living room and wrote the album, just took out our acoustics and went with the vibe we were feeling at the time. It’s a little bit of a reflection of the first album, Ode to Darkness, as well. It has those darker tones.
Was it a free-flowing process? Or did you know exactly what you wanted to achieve here?
I think everything just came out naturally and that’s the way it all worked out. And as we were writing it, we even re-recorded some of the tracks off [Ode] to add more life to them, but we really didn’t set out to do it a certain way.
How have you evolved as a band since forming?
We’re a completely different band now because when we started, there were four members … It was our guitar player playing a kick drum and a tambourine. We were like that for a while and then our piano player quit before we went on a three-week tour. And then we took on a new piano player and a full-time bassist, and as we got back from the tour we added a full drummer, a full kit, and then we got up to six members at one point. And now, we’ve scaled down a little bit and are down a piano player, but it’s definitely changed the sound. … [Our recordings are] a little bit faster and dirtier sounding now.
How do lineup changes impact the band dynamic?
With the piano, it’s a little more of a driving force, so it’s been a little weird, but not too much. I think adding the drums was a harder process. The songs were already in place, but because we didn’t have a drummer to key off of all the time, we sort of set up our own little rhythms and timings that were a little bit different whenever a new drummer came in to learn the songs. But now, everything seems pretty natural.
Are you guys excited to start touring nonstop?
This is a different step for everyone. We’ve done the two- and three-week tours. We’ve been out to Chicago, up to Seattle, and down to San Diego, and everything in between. All of that has been good, but now everyone wants to push the band more and get the name out in front of more people. We’re planning on hitting the road for almost the next year, and pretty much going to all the major cities and setting up a residency there. We’ll get there and network everybody we possibly can about music and everywhere we can play, from busking on the street to playing coffee shops and open mic nights. [It’s nerve-wracking] because everyone’s leaving their apartments and jobs and this is what we’re going to be doing full-time, to really pursue making us an established band.
That’s a big leap.
It is a pretty big leap. We’re going to head out and do the Southern California circuit: L.A., Orange County, San Diego, shoot over to Arizona, come back up through Vegas and shoot around that area for a couple months. So it’s going to be an adventure, that’s for sure! We just want to know that we pushed the band as far as we could possibly take it. We all want to do this. All of us are in it to make something of it.
Bonnie & the BANG BANG performs at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. For more information, call 429-6994.