DOASON 4 – interview by creedle110
Ever been to Dao Son? It’s a little Vietnamese food joint over on El Cajon Blvd in University Heights. Well, apparently ex-Creedle frontman, Devon Goldberg, has and cares enough about the place to name his latest band after it: “DaoSon For”. Teaming up with Morricone Youth members, John Castro and Jefferson Rabb, they form an ingenious mixture of music which can’t be described with words. Their very first self-titled album, “DaoSon For” has been released and should be spinning on a college radio station near you. Interested in more then the music, I set about interviewing them for some inside secrets of their trade. Do you think Creedle will have anything to do with it? Let’s see.
I have to start off the interview with the most blaring question: Is The DaoSon For the second incarnation of Creedle? I ask this question because you re-create the Creedle classic “Co-Work Co.” and fabricate “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars”.
The DaoSon For is a natural extension of Creedle for me personally. But that is just me. It fulfills that little need to not have any constraints in writing songs and wanting to explore different types of music other than one specific niche. Nonetheless, there are, of course, three other different personalities who have their own individual backgrounds, influences and agendas with no association with Creedle besides, in the case of Steve and John, having seen the band a number of times and being familiar with the recordings. And actually, I just wanted to re-do, “Co-Work Co.” because it did not come out the way that I wanted it to on, “When the Wind Blows” so John was saying we should just re-do it. In hindsight, we did not really do that much differently to it besides substituting an organ for the alto sax, but hey… In the case of, “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars” (in addition to being the title of the 2nd album), it was also an old Creedle song that was never recorded but it was performed live a couple of times when the band was on its last legs. We tweaked it, re-arranged it and turned it into a palindrome. I am much happier with The DaoSon For version.
Every article and review I have seen of The DaoSon For has linked the band to Creedle through the presence of Devon Goldberg. Does it piss you off to know you are being compared to an older now non-existent band? Was this on purpose?
It wasn’t on purpose. It just seems to have happened that way, I assume, because of the similarities in sound and the fact that I sing in both and that I was the main songwriter in Creedle and a major contributing one in The DaoSon For. Of all of the numerous bands that the members have been or are presently in, Creedle is obviously the closest in sound.
Your new album, “DaoSon For”, contains many different styles of music. Could you tell the readers which bands influenced you the most? Mr. Bungle, John Zorn perhaps?
I wouldn’t really say either of those are major influences even though we all have respect for both of them and are familiar with them. We all have a huge array of influences and I would suspect that many of them overlap with those bands. For instance, I know that we are all fans of film soundtrack music such as scores composed by Ennio Morricone, Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones, Jerry Goldsmith, Peter Thomas and others. Every member of The DaoSon For has either been in or is presently in Morricone Youth which is a New York band formed in 1999 that re-works and performs soundtrack compositions in more of a traditional rock band format (drums, bass, guitars, keys, sax and vocals). But speaking for myself, I have a huge fondness for early N.Y., U.K., L.A. and D.C. punk, Can, Magma, Bowie, Kraftwerk, the Pixies, Velvet Underground, early Flaming Lips, James Chance, Tom Ze, Talking Heads, Eno, early Roxy Music, Arto Lindsay, Blue Note recordings, slint/bastro, Bitches Brew-era Miles, the MPS recordings, Coltrane, AACM recordings. We are basically passionate about a lot of different kinds of music, as I am sure they are.
Where does “The DaoSon For” fit in? Which genre would you place yourselves into?
We don’t feel like we really fit in anywhere, but truly, we are just an indie rock band. I would like to think that we are more multi-dimensional than that, but that is where we are filed in record stores.
It is obvious to me, you three, Devon, John and Jefferson, are excellent musicians. Are you all prodigies or did you have to work at it?
Come on. We have all just been playing music for the majority of our lives. We all come from different backgrounds. I was pretty much a ‘figure it out for myself’ guy starting in punk bands in the early-mid 80’s and then just keeping at writing songs and learning all that I could by listening closely to records. But I was also fortunate enough to grow up with John who comes from a very musical family. His dad, Joe Castro, was a jazz pianist signed to Atlantic in the late 50’s/early 60’s – look him up. He was a close personal friend of Duke Ellington’s and he played with and is on recordings with the likes of Cannonball Adderley, Philly Joe Jones, Billy Higgins, Stan Getz, Teddy Edwards, etc. His mom is a jazz vocalist as well. Anyways, I never really stuck with lessons or anything very long. I studied jazz improv in college for a couple of years but it didn’t help much. Jeff studied at Oberlin Conservatory but he will likely get mad at me for telling you that (oops, guess we spilled the beans!). He has played in bands since he was in his early teens, just like me and John.
“DaoSon For” is an incredible piece of work which has had much creativity pumped into it. How long did it take you to write the album? Was it a struggle?
Well, thanks for the kind words. Most of it was material that we hurriedly pooled together in a month in order to play a booked show. We kind of had the gig before we had a band. A lot of it was songs or ideas one of us had before we all got in a room together, then some of the songs developed. Some more before we recorded them a few months thereafter. We started recording the album just three months after the first show between July and September of 2001. So in a way, it is very old news to us.
Will there be a sophomore follow-up to “Dao Son For”?
Yeah, we have begun working on it and hope that it is more realized. We are shooting for a longer album, hopefully filling an entire CD with lots of rockers, soundscapes, cut and paste songs from fully-recorded studio material to four tracks – I guess, in that sense, it will not be that far off from the Creedle albums. Ideally, we would love to pull off some sort of Eno-esque “Another Green World” LP vibe. Of course, it won’t come off that way.
What is the food like at Dao Son 2? Is it decent?
Are you kidding? It’s the best! You haven’t eaten there? It is the greatest Vietnamese food I’ve ever had and very inexpensive. Try the Vietnamese Crepe, Chicken, Shrimp or Tofu Lemon Grass, Chicken Rice Pot, and Garlic Chicken. It all rules. Basically, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Eric and Tong from Dao Son 2 showed up to our Casbah show in San Diego last summer with ten + Chinese take-out cartons filled with everything. We were in heaven.
I know you guys have come out to San Diego and played at The Casbah. Will you be touring outside New York anytime soon? If so, where can we catch you?
We are trying to build it up and are hoping to do 2 weeks in the Mid-West this early spring. Besides that, we have some selected shows on the East Coast that we will try to fill up with additional shows. It is not an easy time to be in a DIY band right now. It is super hard to get out on the road with virtually no support. But being that three of the four us have roots in San Diego, I am sure that we will be getting out to California again for some shows eventually. Maybe later this summer?
It has been great talking with you. I have one final question: Devon, will there ever be a Creedle reunion? Please say yes.
I tried to organize a reunion around the time of the San Diego show last summer. I had visions of, if it was successful, maybe even trying to book a tour. Pieboy, aka Tim, didn’t want to do it though, so it never materialized, which was a bummer since I had everyone else agreeing to do it including Robert Walter on keys and samples. Maybe if Tim hears from enough people requesting it, he’ll change his mind. Who knows? I wouldn’t mind doing it though.