Dollar Signs (Fest Interview)

Dollar Signs are playing Fest 14 this year. We sent Punknews writer Ricky Lineberger out to interview them at their album release show, but instead of interviewing them, they decided to binge on pizza and then engage in a wall of death with cigarette pool noodles.

SO, we had to send him out again to interview the band, who are playing Fest 14 this year. You can see the interview below.

Punknews: I ask this lame question to everyone, describe your band in 10 words or less. Arion Chamberlain (Drums): Nervous wrecks who drink too much.
Dylan Wachman (Bass): A post-college wet dream. No strike that, a post-college dry dream.
Erik Button (Guitar): I'm not sure how to respond. [Erik Proceeds to ramble off about 20 different things.]

PN: That's more than 10 words. AC: Dollars Signs don't play by the rules!
DW: We're a party band for people who are anxious at parties.

So you're like the anti-Andrew W.K.? DW: No, we're diet Andrew W.K.
EB: We're the guys outside texting our girlfriends at an Andrew W.K. show because they are mad at us.

PN: Arion, what is most exciting about going to your first fest? AC: Getting to see and play with all of, well most of, my favorite bands. And Flaco's tacos.

PN: At least now we're getting the canned answers out of the way and getting to the truth. DW: Is this a feature on us or are you interviewing other bands?
PN: I'm interviewing some of the smaller bands that I'm excited to see at Fest.
EB: In that case, check out the band Muttz.
AC: Definitely.
EB: It's a band from Chicago that Arion and I are friends with.

PN: Dylan, how many fests have you been to? DW: This is my fifth, no wait sixth Fest. I'm glad to be playing but it's going to be a lot more work. I'm knowledgeable about to how to have a good time though, so I'm not worried.

PN:What bands are you excited to see? DW: Mean Jeans, Night Birds and PUP. AC: I've never seen PUP live, I'm excited to see them. Jeff Rosenstock, no scratch that Antiarco Vespucci and Direct Hit! PN: You're just hoping to see them cover Dollar Signs! EB: I want to see Defiance, OH!

PN:Why should people check out your band? EB: We sound a ot different live, the live show is a lot of fun. And, Luke will be there which is an added bonus.
DW: If people like to get together and bask in their anxiety.
EB: We're self desctructive in a fun way.
DW: Not like drinking or doing drugs, just like eating too much.

PN: How have things changed going from an acoustic two piece to being a full band?
EB: Everything's been an evolution. Being in a two piece was fun and it gave me time to get better lyrically, which you have to when it is just you with an acoustic guitar. But, songwriting as a three piece has gotten me to be much better musically.
AC: Even in the last two months we've gotten better.
EB: And we all live together , so it's a lot of fun.

PN: Is that always fun? EB/AC: Yes!
EB: But Dylan likes to play Magic.

PN: Erik, last year was your first fest, correct? EB: Yes, it was a lot of fun. I played two solo shows at the host hotels. The shows were weird, weirdly fun. Overall pretty awesome. I spent a lot of time eating Flaco's.

PN: Did you try Five Star Pizza? EB: No, I don't think so.

PN: You didn't have Five Star?! It's the pizza stand outside the High Dive. EB: Oh yeah! I had that.

PN: It was obviously pretty memorable. EB (laughing): I eat a lot of pizza.

PN: How do you forsee things being different as an official Fest band? EB: It's weird and exciting to have so many people see them play. We haven't really toured a lot, but it is weird to have all these out of towners excited to see us play. But I can't wait to play for them. It'll just be weird.

PN: Do you have any special plans for your Fest shows? EB: We're playing a pre-Fest show at the 8-Bit bar with Radon on Thursday and then again on Friday. We're playing two different sets. We're trying to play as many different songs as possible.
AC: We might break out some shenanigans.

PN: Any specific details? [The band declined to share any information on shenanigans on the record, but suffice to say, there will be shenanigans.]

PN: You guys have drawn a lot of comparisons to Andrew Jackson Jihad and Bomb the Music Industry! Do you think those comparisons are still apt or do you feel you've sort of broken out of that mold? EB: Absolutely, especially with what Andrew Jackson Jihad does now. I still love both those bands but I mostly listen to non-punk music these days. I listen to Run the Jewels more than Minor Threat.

PN: Do you feel Yikes! is more personal that previous releases? EB: Yes and No. I wanted to do less sarcastic stuff, because it seems like everyone is doing sarcastic stuff these days. So I wanted to avoid that. Life started moving in different directions when I was writing the songs for this album. Hopefully not too emotional of a record though.
AC: We're anxious.
EB: Yes. It's about anxiety and your twenties. Anxiety, stress and your twenties.

PN: How much input have the other two members had in songwriting? EB:Musically, outside of "Hope I Don't Fuck This Up," we collaborated.
AC: Lyrically, we consulted. If something didn't sound right, we'd point it out or we'd suggest things. Music was pretty much collaborative.

PN: I know you say this isn't a more personal album, but are there any songs that are particularly difficult for you to play live? EB: It's all catharic. I don't really write songs about other people, or I try not to. These songs are about me. But "Try Hard" is hard to play. AC: But fun as balls. And "Brutal Dan" is not about anyone. EB: It is, but it isn't.

PN: How do you feel you've grown as a lyricist? EB: I'm not as bitter, I've grown as a person. The world's not out to get me. I realized I'm a straight white dude, life is pretty good. I'm not as angry or whiny, but we're still Dollar Signs so we're still angsty.
AC: You've grown up.

PN: You said you're a straight white dude, but not everyone is. Arion, have you encountered any issues in the punk scene that makes you uncomfortable? AC: A bunch of confederate flags, nazis, people calling me monkey…nah nothing really. But we have witnessed a lot of sexism. Far more sexism than racism.
EB: Our band doesn't really attract bro-y punks.
AC: Yeah, other than the guys that grope girls. Whenever we see that kind of stuff we like to call it out.
EB: We like to foster a better enviroment at our shows.

PN: It's been great talking to you guys, is there anything else you'd like to add? EB: Listen to the songs and learn the words before you see us because I have a shitty voice and it's more fun when people sing it back at me.
AC: I think we're playing a house show.
EB: No it's at preshow at 8-bit bar. So if you can come out and see us Thursday night and Friday night. It'll be a lot of fun.