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Thursday March 31, 2022

Photo: Anneille Little Photography
#Throwbackthursday to when I was heavy into the Toronto music scene and hopped over to a nearby bar on my birthday. I was talking to friends, not really paying attention to the bands playing, until I hear this singer with serious vocal chops, belt out some Axl Rose-esque high notes. I turn around, and it was the future lead singer for Drop Top Alibi, Brandon Gregory!
Fast forward 7 years: they share the same awesome publicist as a wicked band in the U.S., that my dear friend, Max plays guitar in. This leads me to have the absolute honour and privilege of premiering Drop Top Alibi’s music video for their latest single, “Dylsong” on my blog, after Spill Magazine  premiered the single a couple of weeks ago! Such a full-circle moment!
Drop Top Alibi is made up of Brandon Gregory (lead singer/rhythm guitar), Dylan Wykes (lead guitar/vocals), Luc Ricci (bass), vocals, Jeff Cox (drums,/vocals), respectively. Drop Top Alibi possesses a “nostalgic meets modern” sound. Here is my interview with them, and the world premieres of their video for “Dylsong”!
TCK: If I’ve never seen or heard of you guys prior to the “Dylsong” video, I would think it was a video from the ‘90s or something (shout out the lava lamp in the background)! Was that part the goal when coming up with the video concept?
Brandon Gregory:
Haha always gotta have the lava lamp in the background! We really wanted to do something simple, yet engaging, and with an alternative / darker vibe. The song is punchy and catchy, but it’s not talking about anything fun or happy. Our creative director (Shoutout to Anneille Little) really just wanted to put us in a position where we can be ourselves, but ultimately let the song tell the story. People nowadays listen with their eyes, not their ears. This is our way of trying to bridge both, without having to do anything that doesn’t feel like us.

TCK: Can you tell us about the evolution of the signature DTA sound? Influence-wise, I’ve always heard a mixture of ’70s classic rock-meets- ’90s post-grunge. Can you tell us what ingredient you guys added to the new sound in “Dylsong”?


Brandon Gregory:
I think we just completely accepted the dark and the weird that lives within all of us both as people and as songwriters. As you said, there’s always been an alternative side to us. This new era is us completely unhinged with the shackles off. Queens of The Stone Age really became a huge influence on how we wanted to execute things. Not just from a songwriting perspective, but also in our production choices and in how we recorded the song. We went totally old school, live off the floor, with vintage gear, and with very minimal overdubs. Similar to how those old QOTSA records were done, and exactly how rock records were made in the ’70s. Graham Shaw (Producer) has really become a fifth member of this band.


It helped us capture the raw energy that’s always been present at our live show. That freedom, and that harnessing of the live energy really just made us want to be heavier and weirder. And truthfully, now we really do feel like ourselves, and really do feel like we’ve found our sound.

TCK: I love that DTA 2.0 = no creative inhibitions! Our last interview was pre-pandemic. How has the pandemic affected DTA (for better or worse), and what great lessons did you learn (example: how to monetize or promote the band without doing shows or leaving the house), that you can share with other musicians?


Brandon Gregory:
All things considered, we were pretty lucky as individuals when it came to a lot of the challenges people experienced during the pandemic. As a band, we saw a lot of our peers choose to pack it in, and we’re very grateful that we are still a unit. The most positive thing that came from the pandemic was the ability it gave us to just hyper-focus on writing and rethinking how we wanted to do things moving forward. We do feel like we’ve found our sound, and we’re really excited about the songs that we wrote over the last two years.


As you said, without live shows, we had to get better at other avenues like digital marketing and social media. The singles we did release during the pandemic all garnered better streaming numbers than we previously had, and we saw a lot of social media growth too. Not having the shows to lean on forced us to get better at those things and we’re glad we did.

It sucked losing our 5 – week Canadian tour in 2020, which would’ve really helped move some things along no doubt. But all of that was out of our control, we still have our health, still have our band, and now we have an exciting new era for the band as well.


TCK: Sounds like gratitude helped you guys through the past two years, to guide and manifest positive experiences! Now let’s speak it into existence: anywhere in the world, top 3 festivals DTA is working towards playing?


Brandon Gregory:
Haha ok, wish list time! We’d love to play Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, and Rock in Rio. I’m not sure if Rock in Rio is still around, but a major festival in Brazil would be fantastic!


TCK: Those are fantastic choices! If DTA were to collaborate with artists of different genres, who would they be, and why?


Brandon Gregory: Damn, this is a tough one to answer. There are a lot of great artists that we all love across genres, but if I had to choose a few I think I can confidently say we’d all love to collaborate with artists like Idles, Vulfpeck, and Anderson Paak.
The Idles boys are just so high energy, unhinged and multifaceted. It would be a no-rules collaboration and would be fun as f*&k.


Vulfpeck, I mean there are so many great musicians involved with that group. Having an opportunity to work with anyone who’s that good would be such a positive and enlightening experience. Humbling too!


Anderson Paak is just cool as f*&k. Great songwriter, great player, and really well-rounded. I think it would be really cool to work with someone like that.

TCK: I just tried to imagine how those collabs would sound- they would sound siiiick- especially with Anderson Paak! If you could make up the wackiest rider for your shows, what would be on it?  


Brandon Gregory:
Damn, a wacky rider? I mean we’d all want our favourite booze and foods, no doubt. But wacky? I guess everything would need to smell like cotton candy, and there’d need to be puppies. We can’t work like this if there aren’t any puppies.

TCK: I like the way you think! Puppies are life! What’s the weirdest/most interesting thing that happened while writing or recording “Dylsong”?


Brandon Gregory:
The most interesting thing about recording “Dylsong” was that it was a brand new approach to recording for us. We had dabbled with live recordings before in other capacities, but this was the first time we all tracked beds together at the same time. Jeff was the only one who had the click going, and we all used DI tones while we played so we could re-amp everything later through any amps we wanted to. It was different but very


To be able to just play to the drummer was really natural and having to power through not having the tones dialed in ahead of time was a new experience too. It’s hard to gauge certain performance-based things when the tone isn’t there, but it also forces you to be really precise and really on top of the quality of playing when the tone can’t massage certain things for you. Take 3 was the magic take for this song, and it was a really pleasant surprise to hear how clean everything got recorded once we did start re-amping tones.


No need for retracking anything, all we had to do was add the vocals and any additional ear candy tracks we wanted to.

TCK: Right on! Sounds like an experience you’ll carry with you at every show and studio from now on! Any shout-outs?


Brandon Gregory:
Huge shout-outs to our team! Graham Shaw, Anneille Little, Allyson Song River Jaynes (CowGirlZen.Entertainment Publicity), Shay Drinkwater, and Harry Hess. Also, to everyone who’s supported this band throughout the years, the pandemic, and the new fans that are emerging as new music comes out too!


TCK: Anything else you would like to add?


Brandon Gregory:
Whether you’ve known about us for some time, or you’re just discovering us now. If you like what you’ve heard, we invite you to stick around. We have a lot of new music coming out, and we aren’t holding anything back.


TCK: Awesome! Thank you guys so much for your time, and I look forward to see what’s in store for the future!

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