Dollars to Pounds: Dignan Porch

March 10, 2010

Dignan Porch's debut album Tendrils has an insidious way of grabbing hold of you. If it took you to the cinema it would pull one of those fake-yawn-to-arm-around-your-shoulder moves, but in a dorky, sweet way. You would be into it. It's a gently psychedelic and charmingly nostalgic record. Funny too, it includes "a song for all the lonely hedges in the world." We're premiering the London quartet's first ever video and have an exclusive track from their album, the dreamy, delicate "I'm Certain I'll Die." I spoke to them about Tooting and their amazing album cover.

Download: Dignan Porch, "I'm Certain I'll Die"

Joe and Sam, you are brothers. What is your favourite band featuring real life siblings? I'm stuck between Jesus & Mary Chain and The Jonas Brothers...
Joe: The Everly Brothers spring to mind. "All I have To Do Is Dream" is one of my favourite songs. Hanson have the looks though. We also have a 16-year-old brother called Luke who plays drums, we will start a family band soon. We'd be like an ugly, drunk version of Hanson.

Your record has a very nostalgic feel, it's like a box of old fading photographs. And the video for "On A Ride" is perfect.
Joe: Video credits go to my girlfriend Hayley Akins, who did the bulk of the video. She is a graphic designer and she did all the trippy effects. Philippa filmed and edited the initial footage. My friend Ed Harris did the animated sketches. It was filmed in my bedroom, also that's where most of the album was recorded.

Philippa, you make cool videos, how long have you been making films and drawing?
Philippa: I've been drawing pretty much since I could hold a pencil, I went on to study fine art at uni where I taught myself how to make basic films, and have been making music videos for the past year and a half. I love Super 8 and the nostalgic aesthetic it creates so am hopefully going to make some future Dignan vids using that medium. I think the two would work perfectly together.

You were all born in Tooting, which is my second favourite London place name (behind Penge). Do you all still live there?
Joe: We all still live in and around Tooting. Philippa lives in Wimbledon which isn't far away. Sam lives five minutes away with his friends. Our lives are okay, we pay the rent and make music and drink a lot, like typical English people. Sam has received letters from the police because we rehearse too loud, and I've really annoyed the lady who lives downstairs so we can't rehearse at home anymore. I knew Philippa through art class at school since we were about 16. I met Ben through music and local bands and friends. We always spoke about starting a local collective of musicians. Dignan Porch is the start of that really. We will let our friends join in and play with us.

Ben: Tooting is a small pocket of south west London which seems to come alive around three main roads which all lead away from the centre. Although void from any scenery of any beauty...

What is Dignan Porch? Is it to do with the film Bottle Rocket?
Joe: I was gonna call the band "Porch" just for that peaceful suburban vibe. My friend had a dog called Dignan and I liked that too so I just stuck both names together. The name is not a statement, like a lot of our songs it's not very well thought through, it's just how I felt at that time. I don't like to dwell on stuff for too long. Yes, I like Wes Anderson films a lot, but I think it might be time for him to break away from his trademark style. I Think that'd be a wise next move.

Philippa: I love Wes Anderson Films

There is an awesome interlude on the album called "I Am The Hedge." Who is the hedge?
Joe: I felt like I was covering up my vocals with effects too much. People always tell me off for doing it. I wanted to scare myself by doing a song that was just plain vocals. I remember coming up with the words "I Am The Hedge" when I was waiting for a bus in the cold. I was thinking about when you get a train to the country you see loads of fields and hedges, there's no one around. I guess living in London all my life I really appreciate the countryside. It's like a song for all the lonely hedges in the world.

What is the awesome picture on your album cover? It looks like the coolest play ever.
Philippa: i found it whilst going through my mum's old photo albums. It's her (the little red haired girl on the left) in a school play aged 11. I think it's the weirdest, coolest picture ever. There's a girl dressed as a bear on a string, for Christ's sake! And there doesn't seem to be anyone in the audience either which is quite eerie.

Dignan Porch's debut album Tendrils is out soon on Captured tracks.

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Dollars To Pounds
Dollars to Pounds: Dignan Porch