Friday, 20 June 2008
I recently had the opportunity to interview the notorious drummer and co-founder of the band DGN, Chris Bertoldi. Chris is a fun guy to work with and has a great sense of humor as you will see.
Tomas Gallucci: Hello Chris, it's good to see you again.
Chris Bertoldi: It's a pleasure to be here.
TG: Let's start at the beginning. Who is DGN?
CB: DGN is Matt Barnes, Andrew Melton, Joey Foucha, Chris Barnes and myself.
TG: Tell me a little bit about DGN. How did you first get started and when?
CB: DGN was started by Matt Barnes and myself in January of 2001. We played for years together covering songs, writing our own...not being very good at either really. (laughs) But it's all good memories to look back on.
So then in the summer of '06 we added guitarist Joey Foucha in order to develop a wider scope in our writing, and the following summer we added lead singer Andrew Melton.
TG: Then what happened?
CB: At the time of the additions we'd finally hit the point where we were serious and we knew it was time to make changes if we wanted to get to the level we wanted to be. Since then we've recorded our brand new EP, "The Getaway EP," and have started pushing out of the local scene and onto the road.
TG: Where is everyone from?
CB: We're all from Madison, AL, even though Matt and Joey weren't actually born here, we've pretty much lived here our entire lives.
TG: What does DGN stand for?
CB: The name. DGN. Everyone asks us that. The truth? Dirty Grandma Nipples.
There. It's out.
TG: Tell me about your first concert. What was it like?
CB:Oh boy. Our first concert? Ha! Good story.
Geno's party. We opened up for The Scorpads, and we were terrible. The first time Matt went up to the mic to sing, it shocked him. And that pretty much sums up how the rest of the night went. But during the first song the dudes from The Scorpads we're cool enough to dance around on the front row and pretend they thought we were good.
TG: How did you break into the recording scene?
CB: I don't think we really ever broke into the recording scene. More so we slipped and fell into it.
TG: Did you record any demos then?
CB: Yes. Our first two demos were awful. To this day, if we ever see you with one we will mug you and take it.
TG: From there?
CB: We dished out some money and got a real recording, and it was good. But we realized that if we want to get the sound that defines us, we're gonna have to do it ourselves. Because the truth behind recording is it's not how fancy the equipment is, it's the time put into it. And we knew what we wanted.
TG: What was it like to record your first album? What were some of the challenges?
CB: We recorded our first true album, Welcome to Stockeland, in 2005. I'm proud of what we did on that album. It wasn't perfect by any means, but it was us.
We still play two songs from the album.
But finally in 2006 we got the chance to fly out to New York and record 3 of
the songs featured on The Getaway EP at WaterMusic in Hoboken, NJ with producers Matt Robnett and Nik Tyler. That was an experience i'll never forget. To this day i'd say it's probably the most fun 5 days of my life. It was there that we learned how to make a song. It finally came full circle how the production process worked and what makes a song 1 song instead of 5 or 6 different parts.
TG: Where is the band now?
CB: Currently we're all off studying from fall to spring, but we're taking the summers and every extra opportunity to hit the road.
TG:Let's talk about making a music video. Was A Thousand Storms your first music video?
CB: Yes. The music video was an amazing, tough, stressful adventure. Stephen and I planned that thing for so long, and then suddenly you have 2 days to make it happen. And there's always problems, some big some small. But you have to make it happen.
TG: And Stephen is?
CB: A Thousand Storms' director Stephen Brock of Pixel Canvas fame.
TG: How did you meet Stephen?
CB:Stephen and I met on eHarmony.com. It's been 3 years, and i've never been happier.
TG: Was the experience of making the video what you imagined it would be?
CB: The music video was an amazing, tough, stressful adventure. Stephen and I planned that thing for so long, and then suddenly you have two days to make it happen. And there's always problems, some big some small. But you have to make it happen.
Shooting the video was pretty much what i thought it would be like. Lights, camera, action! The whole bit.
But the story i imagined and the final product were a little different. Even though we got everything we planned on shooting, the story wasn't quite as obvious as i thought it in my head. I love what we did, and I think the video turned out great. You just gotta look a little deeper for the plot.
TG: What were some of the challenges in making this video?
CB: We were definitely short on money making the video, but I don't think that ever really presented a problem at all. Thankfully, Bob Jones High School let us use most of their set design stuff and that took care of most of the expenses.
TG: What kind of promotion have you done?
CB: So far Stephen's been the one who's done most of our media work for the past year. And i'm sure he'll be doing more soon. He's truly amazing.
TG: A Thousand Storms debuts on The Gateway EP. What is the release date?
CB: The Getaway EP is pressed and ready to be bought, but we're having an official release show June 20 at Insanity Skate Park. However, it should be up on every major internet vendor(iTunes, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Best Bbuy.com, etc) in early July.
TG: What's the tour schedule look like?
CB: We'll be touring this album throughout Alabama and Tennessee this summer and throughout the next year we hope to expand our reach.This year we got offered a spot at Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, IL.
TG: What is Cornerstone Festival?
CB: Cornerstone is a sort of modern day Woodstock. Five days camped out on a huge farm ground.
TG: How did you get the venue?
CB: We got the spot through Indie Community, who we hooked up with this summer. We messaged them on myspace and they loved us, and they got us a spot on one of the hottest concerts around.
TG: When is the show?
CB: We're playing July 2 on the Indie Community Stage. June 20. CD release show. Blowout. Be there.
TG: When does the A Thousand Storms video release?
CB: It's out now. Check it on our MySpace.
TG: You don't have a personal website?
CB: I doubt we'll have a website until we sign with a label that makes us get one, pays for it, and updates it. (chuckles) MySpace does everything we need to stream music, contact other people and most imporantly keep in contact with our fans.
TG: How can a venue book you?
CB: People can book us through MySpace, email, AIM, or through Indie Community.
TG: Do you have anyone you'd like to thank in our final moments here?
CB: We'd like to thank Joe Byrd and all the guys at Quickstar Productions. They've done so much for us and helped point us in the right direction so many times. Stephen Brock. He put together the whole video shoot along with other countless hours worth of media. Indie Community for helping us get some dates booked. And of course Jesus Christ for giving us the reason to do what we do.
TG: Thank you for your time.
DB: You bet.