manual dexterity music zine x topshelf records summer 2013

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For this issue of Manual Dexterity, we devoted a whole issue to Topshelf Records and their bands! Feature Interviews with The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, Slingshot Dakota, & Caravels. SIXES interviews with A Great Big Pile of Leaves, By Surprise, Cut Teeth, Diamond Youth, Empire! EMpire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), Lion Cub, My Fictions, Pianos Become The Teeth, Prawn, Pswingset, The Saddest Landscape, Sirs, The World IS a beautiful place & I am no longer afraid to die, & You Blew It!. Transmissions with Have Mercy, A Sound Design with Brian Mietz & Into It. Over It., and a SCRND with Kevin Duquette.

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  • National Record Label League

    T o p s h e l f R e c o R d sTeam Guide 2013

    A GreAt BiG Pile of leAves // By surPrise // Cut teeth DiAmonD youth // emPire! emPire! (i WAs A lonely estAte)

    lion CuB // my fiCtions // PiAnos BeCome the teeth // PrAWn PsWinGset // sirs // the WorlD is A BeAutiful PlACe &

    i Am no lonGer AfrAiD to Die // you BleW it!

    05

  • Whats the best advice youve been given?Tucker: When we first met with Richard Grabel, our bands lawyer, he said something along the lines of: its a marathon, not a sprint. As we have grown, somehow each new project that we have undertaken demands more from us in terms of planning, decision making and discussion. This has required more time and an unexpected amount of patience. When I am not sure if I am making an impact with our art, I remember his words and wait for my second wind. Peter: You can get a hell of a good look at a t-bone steak by sticking your head up a bulls ass, but Id rather take the butchers word for it. -Tommys Dad

    How do you measure success?Tucker: Tattoos. The first AGBPOL tattoo I saw on a human being really stopped me in my tracks. I personally dont have any tattoos so my under-standing of the significance of this act may be out of proportion. To me its a very strong sign that our music is affecting people in a deep meaningful way.Peter: Three measures of Gordons, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until its ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. OR, if you are working hard, doing something that inspires you, and gaining enough intrinsic rewards to still be loving and kind to those around you when you are stressed.

    Who or what do you owe your success to?Tucker: Our success in creating music that matters (a dubious claim) is personally a result of strong support from my family and peers. It has been a long time of practicing, listening and going in a wide variety of creative directions to arrive at this moment. My family and friends are outrageously supportive of what we do, and that means all the difference when youre carving time out of your day for music.

    Peter: Mom, Dad, family, and friends, hands down.

    Would you rather work for your money or win the lottery?Tucker: We work hard for our money. Im cool with it.Peter: Win the lottery, then give a bunch to charity, the rest to my family, and then work for my money.

    What is the worst job youve ever had?Tucker: When I first moved to New York, I had a job stopping people on the street and asking them to support various social and environmental causes. I immediately became a close friend to rejection, and if you accept this premise: this was at once the worst and most useful position I ever held.Peter: Dishwasher. Although I got to eat all the pizza scraps at the end of the night, so that was nice.

    What is the best advice you can give to new musicians/bands?Tucker: Be brave. Dont worry about the end game of your involvement. We are all translating emotions to sounds. Its a wacky idea in the first place, so be courageous and create things that make sense to you.Peter: Be kind to people. And, have fun and enjoy your time with each other. It wont matter whether you play in front of 0, 1, or 1,000 people.

    A GreAt BiG Pile of leAves tuCker YAro Peter WeilAnd

    06

  • Whats the best advice youve been given?I have a few things that Ive always carried with me, and its more about general conduct than some kind of inspirational message, but the big one came from my mom, and that was talk less, listen more. You dont always need to have the answer to everything, even if you think someone is looking for one from you. When you allow yourself to absorb everything around you, it gives weight to your words when the time comes to speak. Apply it to relationships, business, personal conflict - whatever the choice may be.

    The other one came from an old sound engineer that I used to work with at a venue, and thats Dont talk about a gig until its booked. Granted, the word gig is still funny to me for some reason, but this applies to the overall rule that you should always think before you act. It keeps your feet on the ground without letting your head get into the clouds.

    How do you measure success?I measure success in small doses - I feel like its way too easy to drive yourself into the ground with personal expectations. If your idea of success as a band is to put out an album, make your first goal writing a song. The most self-satisfying accom-plishments all come from baby steps. Rome wasnt built in a day, and you can surely do more damage with a brick in your hand than with the keys to a cement truck. Does that make sense?

    Who or what do you owe your success to?Thats a two part answer. For me, I owe my own personal success to being passionate about the things I love and always being hungry to learn or do more. I feel that success is simply about hitting the different stages of figuring out what your potential is as a person. The only way you can get there is by allowing yourself to fully fall in love with whatever it is you care about, with-out allowing it to control your life.

    Would you rather work for your money or win the lottery?If I won the lottery, would that make me feel like I was succeeding at something? Self worth is something that comes from within, as does work ethic. If I won the lottery, I would only use it as a means to provide myself with a safety net so that I could continue to put work into the things Im most passionate about.

    What is the worst job youve ever had?None, really. Ive been fortunate enough that all of my jobs in the past (and currently) all demand a high level of work ethic which ultimately give way to feeling accomplished in one way or another. Whether its selling coffee 6 days a week at 5am (done that), setting up microphones and helping bands load in and out of a radio station (done that), or working as a publicist in the music industry (currently doing that), each one requires you to be on your A-game at all times. I can tell you the worst job to have, and thats having a job where youve lost interest. ...that, or something that involves touching poop. Especially poop that isnt yours.

    What is the best advice you can give to new musicians/bands?Easy. Have fun and dont turn what you love into a job that youll lose interest in.

    BY surPrise roB WilCox

    07

  • Whats the best advice youve been given?The first thing that comes to mind is Dave Grohls entire The Musician Comes First keynote speech at this years SXSW - the sentiment of which basically said to me, make music that you like, and do it for no one but yourself.

    How do you measure success?In this band, the only success that really matters is the holy shit moments that take place in the practice space, and occasionally on stage or in the studio. Were really only out to impress ourselves and ea