New indie duo Cardiknox has kicked off 2016 generating more buzz than most. The Seattle-bred duo of Thomas Dutton and Lonnie Angle are currently on tour with Carly Rae Jepsen and awaiting the upcoming release of their debut studio album, Portrait. B-Sides met up with them before their Dallas show to discuss life on tour, travel, and what they are looking forward to as they hit the road.
Do you ever get a day off with such a full tour schedule?
Thomas Dutton: We get a day off usually every few days. Usually we do 3 to 4 shows in a row and then day off.
I take it a day is not enough of a break to ever fly home?
TD: (Laughs) Oh no. I mean I guess you could if you really wanted to but you’d have to fly right back.
Would you still consider yourself Seattle-based?
Lonnie Angle: We actually just moved to L.A.
TD: We were from Seattle and then we moved to New York and that’s really where the band started. We were there for probably 5 years and then we moved to LA about a year ago and that’s where we were signed and recorded our album. It’s not New York, but it’s nice. The weather is great.
Have you had the chance to get out and do some exploring here in Dallas?
TD: We walked to a coffee shop a few blocks away and we went on a run earlier. It was nice. We were talking about going to the aquarium but tickets were a little pricey and we leave tonight, then drive to Austin and then onto Houston. And the next night we are in El Paso.
LA: But we aren’t playing El Paso. We are just passing through on our way to Arizona.
When you pass through a place, do you get to stop and check it out?
LA: The schedule is built so that we are awake during the day and our driver is sleeping during the day. Then he drives throughout the night. So bus call will be anywhere from midnight to 4 a.m. and everybody has to be back on their bunks by then, and you wake up and you’re in another city.
TD: You don’t have to be back in your bunk.
So you guys have a curfew?
Both, laughing: Yeah.
TD: And then you go to sleep and you wake up and you are already in the next place.
What’s been your favorite place you have stopped while on tour?
LA: It’s only the third show of this tour but we literally just ended a tour, flew out, and started this the next day. We did a month with the Knocks and played a lot of really great shows.
TD: We did three nights in San Francisco that sold out which was really cool because you’re only usually only in a city for one day. We kinda got to explore around a little bit. We were right by where the Full House house is and there is a really beautiful park there, and we got to walk around.
LA: I feel like D.C was a standout too. We played the 9:30 Club. It sold out and it was just like, the crowd was wild, they were ready to go. There was a lot of wild crowds.
The crowd definitely makes a big difference, even just being on the other side of it. It’s got to be so rewarding to play for a crowd who is so excited to be there to see you. What does that feel like?
TD: It’s funny, because our album comes out in a few weeks and so there’s only 3 or 4 of our songs out there so even if you have heard of us, you only know a few songs. It’s definitely been interesting to see. Sometimes the crowd is moving and dancing a lot, but then you don’t get as many people coming up to you afterwards. Sometimes they’re just kinda more watching, but afterwards they all want to take photos and they are so excited to buy your shirt and CD, and you’re just like: How come you weren’t dancing along when we were playing? It’s just different crowds in different cities.
LA: Crowd mentality too. Monkey see monkey do. A lot of the times if they’re is one person willing to be that person (to dance around), it loosens everyone up.
TD: It’s been cool to already start to see people singing along. I can’t wait for the CD to come out.
How are you going to celebrate?
LA: We are going to be doing a show.
TD: We are going to be in like, Milwaukee or something.
LA: (laughs) We are going to go rage. In Milwaukee. Actually we need to plan ahead.
How long have you been working on this album?
TD: We finished the album almost a year ago actually, but we got in the studio about 6 months before that. So we started about a year and a half ago, which is crazy because before we were signed to a label, we’d write a song, record it, finish it on Tuesday, put it on Soundcloud on Wednesday and then its out in the world. Where is this, we are writing and we had people constantly remind us “nobody is going to hear this music for 1-2 years, so don’t listen to what’s trendy right now, don’t listen to whatever the cool thing right now is, because your music is not going to be cool because it will come out two years after that.”
LA: Don’t chase trends.
TD: You have to go past that and look for whats going to be cool in two years? whats timeless? whats classic? The focus was just to put out music that’s good no matter what.
Going immediately from recording to touring must be exhausting.
LA: It definitely takes a lot of energy traveling non-stop. It’s a rush too because your whole schedule shifts. It’s like the high point of the day is 10 o’clock at night, and then your up eating dinner at midnight because you’re starving when you’re done with the show. Then you’re out with friends afterwards. You’re up super late. You’re sleeping late in the day and then arriving to the next venue and doing it all over.
TD: It’s really easy to get into an unhealthy lifestyle in terms of sleeping and eating so you got to be disciplined.
What’s a daily like schedule like for you on tour?
TD: Well today we got up, we walked to a coffee shop and took care of some emails, talked to our manager, got breakfast…
LA: And by breakfast, it was like 2 o’clock, so lunch.
TD: Then we came back here and we sound checked, went on a run, and finished up sound check. Now we are going to go eat dinner and then do the show.
What do you guys like to do when you do get some free time on tour?
TD: We like to exercise a lot.
LA: It’s nice to maintain some normalcy to keep your body feeling kind of normal. It’s always nice to walk around and just see wherever you are in the city, even if you don’t get a sense of the entire city,
TD: We spend so much time on the bus and so much time in the venues and it’s just always so dark. Just being outside in natural light is nice. We like to try to find good spots to eat in whichever city we are heading to. If we have friends in a city, we try to meet them for lunch.
LA: We are pretty heavy-duty Yelpers.
When you’re en route to a show, do you find time to catch up on your Netflix queue?
TD: I really want to watch this show called Broad Church. It’s like a British murder-mystery-thriller.
LA: I’m watching The Affair right now on Showtime.
You have gained a lot attention for your sense of style lately. What would you describe as your go-to look?
LA: Basics. Skinny jeans and just a basic top because you’re going to be wearing it so much and you kind of want it to blend in.
Packing for a tour must get tricky because you don’t have that much space but have to plan for weather and being on the road for such a long period of time.
LA: The last tour we were on, it was freezing the first couple weeks, like below zero. It was terrible. I literally lived head-to-toe in a floor-length down sleeping bag jacket.
TD: You kind of have to pack for like two weeks.
LA: And then pack a couple of loud outfits you can wear to events or other nights out here and there.
TD: She’s terrible at packing.
LA: I’m terrible at it. This was like a 3 month packing job too. I wasn’t very successful. I’m going to want to burn everything in my bag when we’re done.
TD: All the stuff that’s at home you’ll get to be like, “Wow, I love this”.
LA: Or I just need a new wardrobe.
Do you have any cities in particular you are excited to visit as the tour continues?
TD: We’re really excited to go back through Seattle because a lot of friends and family will be there.
LA: I like hometown shows. We are playing Terminal 5 in New York City, which is a big venue we went to a lot while we were living there. It’s massive and it feels very spectacular to get to play there. We have a lot of awesome stops on this tour, I was actually looking at them all today. I haven’t yet processed completely all where we are about to be.
Do you ever just look at each other and just have a “pinch-me” moment where you stop and think, “this is crazy that this is happening?”
LA: Yeah, you work for such a long time and so hard, and all of a sudden you’re just in it you have to take moments to slow down and be like “this is what we are doing.” Like today, even just loading up to the stage and its spectacular and massive and its just like holy shit, we get to play this stage tonight.
And there’s a whole crowd of people just waiting to see you. Do you ever get nervous?
LA: Every night
TD: But like in a good way, right?
LA: Yeah it’s like excitement. although I’ve been sick the last 2 weeks and then I was actually nervous because my voice just wasn’t working the way that I wanted it to. That was tough.
Their highly-anticipated Portrait drops March 11. In the the meantime, check out Cardiknox on tour through March and follow their journey through Instagram and Twitter.