November 11th, 2014
Apart from having a band name so long time would be jealous, The World is a Beautiful Place and I am Not Afraid to Die also has a show tonight. So to prepare ourselves for the semi-evangelical madness that takes place their live shows, we caught up with founding member Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak about their new spoken-world album Between Bodies, making music on LSD, why no one cares about their “emo” image, and his infamous ability to communicate with fans.
Derrick is great for two reasons. First, he’s concise. There’s a lot to be said for someone that unloaded the entirety of their verbosity on a band title, but knows how reign it in during conversation. Second, he’s hilarious. Couple those things together and you have a hell of an interesting interview to precede a hell of an interesting show.

Hey there! To start out and set the tone for the rest of this interview, can you describe to us the following:

  1. Where you are: The desert.
  2. What are you doing there: Getting the fuck out.
  3. What you’re wearing: Disgusting jeans that haven’t been washed all tour and my shoes are off. Kittyhawk t-shirt with marinara sauce on it.
  4. What you picture me wearing: All over print hoodie with ketchup stains and probz something with pleats.
  5. What you’re hungry for: Beef apple.

You new album, Between Bodies, is very spoken-word, and to make it you collaborated with poet Chris Zizzamia. In doing that, you’ve created one of the biggest record-to-record changes I can think of, it being so different from your first album, Whenever, If I Ever. Where do you get the balls to make such drastic changes? Having little regard for the longevity of the band and lack of interest in giving our audience something to enjoy probably.

What’s it like to perform the material from Between Bodies live? Do all the necessary people remember all the necessary lyrics? Connecticut was stoked. I really hope people don’t try to recite the spoken word parts along with Chris.  He performs them differently each time and shit could get real incoherent real quick.

Although the phrase “I am no longer afraid to die” is part of your band name, death seems to be a huge theme on Between Bodies, as well as in your previous releases. So, a two part question …

A. Can you tell us what death means to you and why it’s such a common theme?
Everything dies, baby that’s a fact. Maybe everything that dies someday comes back? So put your makeup on and fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in Atlantic city.

B. Okay, be there in 10. What happens to pets when they die?
They go in the trash.

When you guys play live, there’s nearly a dozen people on stage and you’re, in a way, preaching to the audience, which gives your performances a sort of evangelical, spiritual power. Is that intentional? Nope. We are just trying to push the boundaries of “unnecessary.”

Everyone asks you if you’re an emo band and thinks you’re “reinventing emo.” Is that a task you want to take on, or do you feel constrained by that label? None of us care. I think all of the bands that get that tag don’t care either.

If you could add any person, alive or dead, to your band, who would you chose? Elizabeth Bathory.*

*Elizabeth Bathory is the most prolific female serial killer in history. She and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls between 1585 and 1610. The highest number of victims cited during Bathory’s trial was 650. Metal.

You’ve got a songs called “Space Exploration to Solve Earthly Crises” on your and “You Will Never Go to Space.” Similarly, your music seems to question existence in a way that makes humanity seem very small, as if you were looking at the world from a distant planet. What’s the deal with you guys and space? Space is sick.

I think it’s safe to assume that one, if not all 10 of you have taken LSD, and I only say that because some of you (you, actually) have directly said things like “take LSD.” Any good acid stories? I once followed an arrow spray painted in the street that said “storm” to a gorgeous hidden clearing by the Ohio River and hung out there all day on acid. I called it “the storm.” I also once started a band on acid called “I Sell Guns, I Saw God” we were sick. I think at least four of us have done acid but don’t anymore. I did it a lot in my early 20s.

What songs have any of you written while tripping? A song called Life Metal. None of the TWIABP shit has been written on acid though. I quit tripping before we ever started this band.

On your Tumblr, you have an “ask me anything option” where you get pretty fresh with people and it’s hilarious. You also just did a Reddit AMA.  Why do you communicate with fans to such an extent? It seems like you go more out of your way to do it than other bands. I require constant attention and praise to validate my self worth. I also drink too much and I like to swear at strangers.

Some examples for our dear readers …

thedangeroussnyder: Greatest band ever.
Derrick: What about Bungle?

Anonymous: why do y’all keep skipping San Antonio??
Derrick: Why don’t you celebrate flag day properly?

Anonymous: Will there be a show date without Chris Z soon so I don’t have to hear him bitch about how unfair life is?
Derrick: Nah, stay the fuck home.

We read that Katie taught herself how to play the keyboard while sitting on the floor of your tour van as you traveled between shows. Katie, are you there? It’s me. How did you do that? What keyboard were you using? What was the first song you learned? Katie is sleeping. It was a micro Korg though and she was in a seat. She taught herself some Ace of Bass songs and that is cool.

What do you guys want people to get out of listening to your music? Joy.

 If you were to add another 10 words to the end of your band name, what would they be? “What am I supposed to do with my lips?”

You guys haven’t toured the West Coast too much. What do you think of it? What can we expect from your upcoming show in L.A.? West Coast is great. This will be our fifth time in California since Whenever If Ever came out last summer. I’ve been getting real stoned before we play and in turn we have been really fucking around more with our improv parts. Expect annoying sounds and unlistenable pretentious garbage.

Catch The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die tonight at The Echo with The Hotelier, Rozwell Kid, and Posture & The Grizzly!