The Postelles Lead Guitarist David Dargahi Talks Touring, the Pigeoen Incident, and More
I had the chance to sit down and chat with David Dargahi, lead guitarist from The Postelles, before their show at the Bowery Ballroom on July 28, 2010. Here, he discusses how they made it, touring , getting attacked by pigeons, and much more.
Are you guys originally from New York?
Yeah, we’re all from New York City.
How did you guys make it – you know, going from a band that played in smaller places to headlining at the Bowery Ballroom?
I think it was because we relentlessly played shows on the east coast for a while. We did a residency in New York and we played every Thursday night. We did that so much that we ended up developing some kind of permanent fan base. We also released a lot of free songs online, which always helps.
It really does help a lot these days! How did you guys all meet?
We all went to the same high school. John (bass) and Daniel (singer) and I all formed a band in 10th grade. And we were friends with Billy (drummer), who was in another band. Later on, we asked Billy to join our band, changed our name, wrote new songs, and that’s kind of when the buzz started.
What do you think sets you guys apart from each other?
I think Dan’s probably the goofiest one, the one who’s always making jokes. Billy’s the “Ringo,” definitely the drummer type. John’s the intellectual bookworm. And I guess I’m the guy who collects the records.
Who would you guys love to play with someday?
We’ve done a lot of work with Albert Hammond from The Strokes, but we’ve never played with them, so that would be really great. The Libertines would also be a cool band to play with. We look up to them a lot.
What is your favorite venue to play in?
The Bowery Ballroom has always been our favorite. It’s really cool for us to headline here – we feel like it’s come full circle. When we started out, the Mercury Lounge was our goal. After we did that, we were like, “We’re getting to Bowery.” We finally made it!
What are the good and bad aspects to touring?
Touring is really great. It’s still all very new to us. I feel like some bands get burned out, but right now we’re just running on adrenaline, and we’re super psyched to be playing our material every night. I feel like we have a purpose for the band now that we didn’t have when we weren’t touring. Being in a different city every day is really cool. Sometimes, it’s a little hard to be cramped up in the van, trying to sleep there or in some bad motels. But overall, it’s just such a great experience.
When you guys play your songs over and over again, do you change it up a little bit or do you just try to rock it out the way they sound on the record?
I think the audience changes it up for us. We’ll generally play about the same. We don’t ever jam it out or anything like that. We’ll play the songs as they pretty much are. As a guitar player, I might change it up on the solos a little bit. But I feel like the same song to a crowd in New York might feel totally different in Paris and have a totally different meaning. That’s what keeps us from not getting tired of it.
What’s the difference between touring in the U.S. and touring in the U.K.?
I feel it can be really hit or miss in the U.K. They’ll either get behind you like they would toward a football team and support you till death. We’ve noticed how they hum the bass lines at festivals, which is something that I feel Americans don’t do. They’re so into it and they know every part… so passionate. But then, at the same time, if they don’t know you, they can be a lot harsher than the American crowds. I feel American crowds are a lot more open to listening to anything, whereas in England I find they are a supporter or you or they’re not.
What are you guys looking forward to in the future?
Just touring places that we haven’t played before and even going back to the places we have. We’ve seen some amazing places in the Midwest. I’ve fallen in love with the country in a way that I hadn’t before. The goal right now is to do a big headlining tour of the U.S.
Would you be interested in going outside of Europe and the U.S.?
Oh yeah, for sure. We’re excited to make it to places like Japan because we’ve heard they’re nuts about music.
The Iceland Airwaves Festival is coming up. Are you playing at that?
We did last year, but we’re probably not playing this year. We were talking about it the other day. It feels like you’re on Mars in Iceland. You have no clue where you are, but it becomes like a little summer camp when you’re there. And there aren’t too many bars to go to, so the people who go there stay there for a longer amount of time. We had an amazing time there. Definitely looking forward to going back there.
What musicians do you look up to?
We look up to a lot of the bands from the 50’s like Buddy Holly and Sam Cook. They wrote some well-constructed rock songs that were melody-based, and that’s what our goal as a band is. We like to keep it very classic and concise. We love the 2:45 rock song.
What was your most memorable recent show or traveling experience?
We had a pretty ridiculous experience recently. We opened for Kings of Leon in St. Louis and there were a bunch of pigeons in the rafters that ended up pooping so much all over the stage that it forced Kings of Leon to cancel the show.
Yeah, I don’t think anything can top that. Fortunately, we were able to get through our set, and we still had a great time.
And how was Bonnaroo?
Bonnaroo was great. It was really hot, but the lineup was so good, and Tennessee is such a great place. We really enjoyed ourselves. That was one of our best shows in terms of the energy.
Where does your music fit in best – if you could choose the perfect location, time of day, etc.?
I think it’s definitely very danceable. I think the ideal place would be a school gymnasium.
Do you feel like you guys have that energy especially because you’re friends from high school?
Yeah, I think we have a different dynamic than a lot of the bands. There will be times when we look at each other and just start laughing because we’re putting all of these experiences together.