Interview With Dinner And A Suit

Dinner and a Suit has been going basically non-stop since the release of their 2012 LP, Since Our Departure, performing with the likes of Imagine Dragons and X Ambassadors. They still managed to find time to write and record their new EP, Stay. Jonathan Capeci was nice enough to sit down and answer some questions for us about Stay, touring, and what we can expect next from Dinner and a Suit.

First, let me say that I’m really enjoying the EP. I feel like it’s, for lack of a better word, more mature than Since Our Departure in a sense that the overall sound is a step forward. I can tell that it’s without a doubt Dinner and a Suit, but I think it’s a great example of what fans can expect from future releases. Can you tell us about what your goal was with Stay? What you wanted to accomplish overall when you decided to start working on it?

Jonathan Capeci: Thank you! It means a lot to hear that. For the most part, we wanted to be really open and exposed for this EP. We went through a LOT of songs, and met with a bunch of different producers until we found what we were looking for. We want people to feel something when they hear these songs. I think a big goal was to take a step forward, and not just stay in the same place we had been

I know that Stay was written on the road. Are there any specific things from your touring experience that influence any of the tracks or even the overall sound of Stay?

Jonathan: Writing on the road was actually a cool and different experience for us. It’s helpful when you’re writing with a group of guys that you play with every night; it makes communication much easier. Also, you learn what things work live and what things don’t. Beyond that, even just the change of scenery from day to day is inspiring.

Since you were writing on the road, were there instances where you would play a track live and then tweak it due to the crowd’s reaction or maybe even just something that happened on stage that you felt might make it better?

Jonathan: Playing new songs in front of a crowd is always a good way to get an initial reaction. But just playing the songs together as a band – whether it’s in a rehearsal space or on a stage with people in the room – is what really fueled the evolution of these songs as they were being written.

Another great thing about the EP is that it was recorded live.  Was there any one particular reason you decided to record it this way?

Jonathan: Honestly, we hadn’t really even considered recording live until we met with producer Paul Moak.  The process definitely challenged us, but I think it was a crucial element in capturing the vibe that we were looking for. We wanted to find the soul in our music, and that helped strip away a lot of the stuff that can sometimes cover it up. It’s going back to the basics.

What was it like working with Paul Moak (Lovedrug, The Weeks)?

Jonathan: Working with Paul was great. He’s got a very old-school approach to producing and recording, hence the live tracking. He pushed us to make everything we did better. He also has a great ear, knowing exactly how to find the tone and feel that we’re looking to capture. Most importantly, he’s not afraid to say when something sucks.

I also assume that certain challenges come up when recording an album like this. Was there anything that you came up against that may have influenced a track or perhaps helped you learn something for future albums?

Jonathan: There were lots of challenges for this EP. I feel like almost every step of the way was difficult: choosing a producer, forcing ourselves to take a break from touring in order to record, tracking live. And we wrote a lot of songs, so deciding which ones to record was so tough. But the challenges forced us out of our comfort zone, and we’re better off for it.

I know you guys have spent a lot of time on the road during the last two years, how has your touring experience overall been? Is there one city that you particularly like to play in or are looking forward to playing that you haven’t hit before during a tour?

Jonathan: We all love touring. It’s hard to beat traveling all over and playing music with your best friends. We love to play anywhere that people want to hear us. We have a few cities with close friends and family like Philadelphia and Nashville, but honestly the shows that I will always remember have been the ones in random cities where the crowd unexpectedly sings every word along with us.

What do you hope fans take away from Stay?

Jonathan: When I was younger, some of my favorite bands had such an impact on me. Whatever I was going through in life, music was always something that resonated with me deeply and helped me so much. To not even always know what the song is about completely, or know what every lyric is, but to feel it so deeply. That’s what I want with any of these songs, for people to feel something. Good or bad, just to get the feeling that we had when we wrote them.

I know you guys are doing even more touring over the next coming months. What can we expect from Dinner and a Suit for 2015? And most importantly, even though we just got new music, when can we expect more?

Jonathan: We’re very focused on sharing this new music and touring. Stay means a lot to us, so we want to give people a chance to hear it, but I will say that this EP is the first of lots of new material that we’ve been working on.

You can pick up Stay on iTunes, Amazon, and the band’s official site. Don’t forget to check out our review of Stay. There are also a few dates left on their current tour:

9/30 – Brooklyn, NY – The Rock Shop
10/25 –  Atlanta, GA – Vinyl
11/14 –  Nashville, TN – High Watt
11/17 – Indianapolis, IN – Hi-Fi
11/19 – Lansing, MI – Mac’s Bar
11/21 – State College, PA – Penn State University