Interview | Did You Die
Tell the folks at home who you are.
Richie Felix Alexander, front-man of Did You Die.
Did You Die... let's talk about the name first. Did the inspiration really come from a text message as your Bandcamp suggests?
It did. I was late meeting a friend one night and she texted “did you die…”. After we had a few beers, my friend Grace and I became convinced that should be the band name.
When did you first get into music? Who were your musical heroes growing up?
When I was in grade one my dad played Led Zeppelin II for me and I remember picturing a large blues musician until I heard the first 2 seconds of Whole Lotta Love. Early inspirations in my youth also included The Byrds, Edgar Winter, The Kinks and The Doors. In grade 6 we heard Nirvana for the first time and well, the rest is history. I don’t know if I had any heroes but I found songwriters like Kevin Shields (MBV), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Thurston/Lee (Sonic Youth) and J Mascis (Dino Jr) unique and interesting in their own way. These bands were all coming up in my teen/tween years. Also, I was heavily influenced by local Canadian bands Mystery Machine, Tristan Psionic and SianSpheric… heavily.
How did Did You Die come into being?
I guess I can say we started this band because we missed playing this type of music and at the time we started there weren’t a lot of bands like us. Both those elements combined inspired us to start Did You Die.
Any band hobbies outside of music?
James and I play music around 5 to 6 times a week, either jamming or recording stuff so there isn’t much else outside of that. We mainly hangout with bands and friends we play shows with or share a jam space with. I know that Ben has some outside interests, one being grappling. He’s probably, out of the three of us, the band-mate that has the most hobbies outside of music.
You put out 4 EPs in 2015 before releasing your debut full length "Weird Love" in November of the same year, what made you decide to release your music across multiple EPs the way that you did?
We do whatever we wanna do, however we wanna do it. The first year of being a band we released a lot of stuff, but we’re more focused on promoting “Weird Love” for the next while. That means less studio time and more time playing.
You worked with producer Felix Fung on this album, recording with him at his space Little Red Studios in Vancouver, how did that relationship develop?
Felix has become a dear friend and a trusted confidant for me personally. I met him through my ex who was recording an album for her band Bad Channels with him at the time. Whenever I popped by the studio during those sessions I got into in-depth conversations with Felix about shoegaze bands and recording procedures, you know, how we like records to sound. It was during those conversations that I realized I really wanted to work with him because he understood my music better than anyone else. If he lived elsewhere I would have gone to wherever he was to record. The possibility, which became a reality, of making an album exactly how I wanted to was an ideal situation. Not to mention his past work was very impressive.
You released "Weird Love" on Wiener Records, what sold you on them?
The guys at Wiener, which is an offshoot of Burger Records are really sweet dudes and super easy to work with. They essentially allowed us to have 100% creative control. They've a built following of kids who buy everything from the label. To us it was a no-brainer.
Any plans to tour soon?
We’re working on expanding our regional following first before we hit the road. We have a few awesome shows lined up in the following months, one being a show with NOTHING (Relapse Records) and the other is Taco Fest which will be held at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby. We can see progress as we are being asked to play these bigger shows now and we’re not chasing anyone around anymore. We also want to focus on other cities in the Pacific northwest and California. In this band, we really want to focus on touring smart and being able to hit up cities in our region a bunch of times instead of spreading ourselves too thin.
What does it mean to you to be playing alongside NOTHING, at Levitation Vancouver no less?
Playing with NOTHING is super awesome. I remember being depressed about music and then being turned onto NOTHING by a friend and feeling like, finally, some individuals who are like-minded and making awesome music! I'm sure anyone can relate, you hear a lot of bands in a particular genre that aren't quite nailing it, or sound too much like somebody else. I find this happens in the beginning of any sort of musical movement. NOTHING isn't that band. They made it all their own sound. It is so refreshing...and so fucking impressive.
And being chosen to play Levitation? How's it feel landing a festival like that?
I think the first thought that comes to mind is exciting. It's an exciting time for Did You Die. It's also nice to see promoters recognize our band's hard work to get to this point.
Who else are you stoked on at Levitation?
Cherry Glazerr, Eric Campbell & The Dirt, Holy Fuck....
Let’s talk about the Vancouver music scene. What's great about it?
It’s a really diverse scene full of extremely talented bands. Their is a heavy focus on supporting friends and local bands above all which makes for a really great scene. There is also a lot of cross-genre type shows happening these days which makes things even more fun because bands are reaching different audiences that are extremely open to accepting them now. It’s a great time to be playing music in Vancouver nonetheless.
Finally…. any advice for the children?
You’re only as good as your record collection! Keep jamming with your pals and keep jamming to new records in your room.