INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK
Prior to forming THE DC GENTLEMAN, vocalist Ryan Lucas had a desire to create music with like-minded individuals. Therefore, through Craigslist, he began his search to find equally talented musicians with a passion to create. Through his endeavors, he found keyboard and keytarist Jehrel Pickens, drummer Daryl Dudley II, and bassist Trevor Waling to be the best fit for his project. Since forming, the band has been featured in the the RAW artist showcase and has played many shows and music festivals in the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, and the surrounding areas. Currently, the band is in the recording studio producing their debut album. We spoke with the band regarding how they began and how they interacted with each other, how the city of Washington, D.C. influences their music, as well as how the Washington, D.C. music scene compares to Virginia.
How would you describe the brand that you have created as THE DC GENTLEMEN?
Ryan: Basically when we say THE DC GENTLEMEN, we are representing the region. We established the band in D.C. a year ago.
I know you guys have the t-shirts with your logo on them that you wear during your performances, but how do you think you represent gentlemen of Washington, D.C.?
Jehrel: We’re really nice people (everyone laughs).
I heard that you guys originally met through Craigslist. What was it the first time your guys interacted with each other?
Ryan: Basically, I put the band together. I created a body of music producing on my own months prior to getting together. I decided that when I was going to start performing, I needed to have a live band to back the music. Daryl, who is the drummer, is my cousin, but I met Trevor and Jehrel off of Craigslist. As far as our first interaction, basically I sent them the music that I wanted them to perform, which was about six songs, to practice on their own and to interpret the music that I sent them. Then they came to the first initial meeting ready to perform and jam. Really we were focused on a particular show. We didn’t necessarily worry about building friendships [at first]. We had a mission to perform for this show in Charlotte, N.C. We gave ourselves about a month to practice for it, and we started putting it together.
Which of your band members live in Virginia, and who lives in Washington, D.C.?
Daryl: Ryan and I live in D.C.
Trevor: Me and Jehrel live in Virginia.
Do you guys have a second vocalist?
Trevor: It’s just Ryan for that. We actually had another vocalist that was with us for a little while, but due to his work schedule, he had to drop out. We’ve continued on with just Ryan since then.
One thing that I really love about your band is that you use a keytar in some of your songs. Why did you guys decide to go with that instrument since it is so rare in music today?
Jehrel: For the versatility. There was two things: one, being able to move. We don’t pull it out that often, but we do some dance moves. You just feel a little more like part of the band if you can move away from the keyboard, and the other thing was that we have been trying to use more analog sounds. The pedal that I run through is called a Monophonic Synthesizer, so it can only play one note at a time. So with the keytar, I can put effects onto it with my other hand. So I use one hand to play notes and the other hand to manipulate the sound.
Since you guys live in both areas, how does the music scenes in Virginia and Washington, D.C. compare to each other?
Trevor: We definitely play a lot more in D.C. There are a lot more shows, especially for our genre of music.
Daryl: I feel, like Trevor said, we get a lot more shows in D.C. If we got more shows in Virginia, we could see how it turns out, but I think D.C. is mainly where everything goes down at.
Can you tell me about how you got involved with the RAW artist showcase and what it is about?
Ryan: We got involved with RAW Artists because I had been to a number of their showcases prior to them selecting us. Pretty much, it’s a showcase for up and coming independent artists, and they give them a platform to share their work. It’s not just music. It’s [also] visual art, poetry, films, short films, modeling, makeup, [and] fashion. They bring all those different elements together once a month, and it’s not just in D.C. It’s all around the world, I think. I know they do it all across the country, and they do have some places outside of the country where they get together. So basically, after going to their events, I saw they had a sign up for new talent, and I signed the band up. They took a look at the music that we had posted and our Facebook page, and they selected us to be a part of their showcase. It’s a cool thing because they only have a couple of artists from each genre of art, and they also film the performance and post it on YouTube. They also took photos of us that we could utilize for our own promotions.
How influential is the city of Washington, D.C. on your music?
Daryl: It definitely does inspire us. In D.C., we have an art form called go-go music, which we are trying to implement into some of our songs now. Also, when you go to bars in D.C., you hear a lot of different sounds, and we take a little bit of what we hear and try to make it our own sound.
I know that you guys are currently working on a new album. What can your listeners expect from that?
Ryan: We are still in the early infant stages of it, meaning some songs haven’t been created yet that I think would go on this project, but what the direction is now is a fusion of different sounds. It’s sort of like a hip-hop, R&B, soul, rock, house, and electronic sort of mixture with the music, and I am laying over the music with the lyrics of the “every man” and the comings and goings of instances of living the city/suburban lifestyle. That’s pretty much my perspective on it.
Jehrel: I guess as far as the process right now, we have been tracking it live. So it is still a lo-fi recording where I guess we would go back and layer the sounds. That’s still to be seen, but hopefully it will be close to the way our performances are, which is why we wanted to record [this way] because we noticed a difference to the recorded product that compared to how Ryan produces. It’s very polished, and the live show we put on is a little more raw.
Do you guys have a projected release date for that yet?
Trevor: As soon as we can get it done (laughs).
I noticed on your Facebook page that you guy have been playing a lot of shows and festivals. When is your next show?
Trevor: Right now, we are just concentrating on getting these songs recorded, so we’re not focusing on the live music quite as much.
Where can people listen to your music?
Daryl: They can go to YouTube and our Facebook page.
Jehrel: We can add you to our email too.
For more updates on THE DC GENTLEMEN, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and visit their RAW Artist Profile.