Why country music ?
~ DI: I entered into playing country music mainly because of my love for the 5 string banjo. Since I bought my first it I simply haven’t ever stopped playing. I’ve found my love, and country music just goes hand in hand with a banjo doesn’t it?
~ JS: I guess because of it’s simplicity, which means you really need to express yourself in the singing and lyrics. Thematically, you can talk about almost anything with country music and be in any kind of mood with it. It can be humorous too, which I really like. Hank Williams cracks me up. And it’s timeless, which is great if you’re getting old.
If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which two people should sing the ultimate country duet?
~ DI: I think I’d like to hear a duet between Lead Belly and Alison Krauss doing a version of Hank Williams Honky Tonk Blues. In addition to the fiddle and the 12 string with these two singing in harmony ought to be hard to beat.
~ JS: Johnny Cash with Kurt Cobain would be cool.
What song you ever recorded means the most to you and why?
~ DI: Not just one song but the last recording that Jason and I did together meant a lot to me as it was the first live recordings that we have done together. We recorded six songs in about five hours in a home studio and they came out sounding great. Very good for the ego!
~ JS: Yeah, that was a big challenge for us, we really wanted to do it live without any overdubs, so we practiced a lot beforehand, and when in the end it came out alright, it felt real good.
How would you like to spend a day with each other when you were not allowed to make music or to talk about music?
~ DI: I’d say if we weren’t allowed to talk about or play music we’d eat. Go shopping and cook at home all day long. We both are big fans of Indian food and both cook some pretty fine curries.
~ JS: We keep talking about playing tennis one of these days.
Whisky wine beer or water?
~ JS: I love beer, especially the beer here in Munich. One of the reasons I may never be able to move back to the USA. But beer makes me burp when I sing, so you’ll more likely see me having a glass of red wine before a show.
~ DI: It only ever depends on where the whisky, wine or beer you are talking about comes from. If the whiskey comes from Germany, the wine from Scotland and the beer from France, then you’ve got some problems.
What do you consider the most important change in country music during your career and what are your thoughts about it?
~ DI: Country I believe in the last few years has become much more of an accessible style of music for the whole world to accept. Younger people are moving into the genre from other styles and it is being used more and more as an important tool for cross-over music therefore hitting a larger audience. Mumford and Sons for instance, who have distinct country influences in their sound just won album of the year at the 2013 the Grammys. At least in Europe I believe the country music fan base will grow even more if the trend keeps going this way.
What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and…you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ DI: “What was the last country music concert that you attended?” I just saw Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Cromwell in the House of Blues in New Orleans in March. It was great to see such legends in a really cool venue.
~ JS: The less I say in interviews the better.
Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ DI: I think after describing my favourite recording session, that I would like to try to record a live album in a chateau in the Alps in summer with Steve Albini as producer. He is quite well known in his methods for pushing for a very big live sound. Not sure if he’s into country though?
~ JS: Maybe it should be in a strange and desolate place, with a pub down the road. A tape machine, and one of those nice old mixing consoles. Some big rooms, some small rooms. Good coffee.
Johnny or June ?
~ DI: Johnny because he was one of my first influences to follow my heart into country music territory. A ground breaker and a legend.
~ JS: Johnny. I cried when I read his autobiography. Tough life, very humble man. I liked the prison concert thing – he didn’t have to do that. And I like how he was such an outspoken Dylan fan. He didn’t have to do that either. He just really loved music and good songwriting and felt for the ordinary man.
What song or recording artists, as a teenager, do you hate to admit (now) that you actually liked?
~ DI: If I have to be honest, I used to like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers a lot in the early 90’s and I’m embarrassed to admit that now as I don’t like their music so much anymore.
~ JS: Loverboy.
What was the most memorable day in your musical career and tell us why.
~ DI: Opening up for Billy Bragg in Munich last year was most definitely the highlight so far. We played to a full house and had a great audience that night. Billy was such a lovely guy and congratulated us on a great show too. It was certainly an honour for us.
~ JS: Ditto that.