Power trio Dirty Sound Professors have been working for many years, but have only been focusing on original material for the past few years since solidifying their latest lineup. Led by guitarist Will Stevens, the band plays a heady mix of blues-infused rock and roll with a little bit of funk for good measure.
Ahead of their show at The Jinx on June 28, we spoke to Stevens and bassist Nick Wright about their style, their process, and what’s next.
How did you guys land on this lineup of the band?
Stevens: Oh, man [laughs]. This is a heck of a long story, but I’ll try to get the best synopsis possible. We honestly started as a group of guys in college who were hanging out and jamming together. We decided to make a band out of it, but we were just looking to do some covers and have a good time.
We started that way, but I’m the only member left of the original lineup. Mike [Lirette], our drummer, joined us about a year and a half after we had officially started the band. We had a different guy playing bass and another guy playing guitar, and we were in that state for about two years. And then I got the bright idea to study music and move to Boston, so we took about a three-year hiatus.
Mike and Nick were playing with a much heavier band, and then I moved to Nashville in 2015. These guys were close enough to me that I said, “Hey, let’s put the band back together.” So we started writing and putting some material together.
It’s kind of cool being a trio, and just having a lot of space and a totally different approach than we’ve ever had. We finally got our EP out, and we’re writing a lot more. It was really a jumping off point more than anything.
Is the writing process pretty collaborative, then?
Stevens: I would say it’s pretty collaborative. We’ll generally get together and do these ridiculously long practice sessions, which are honestly just working on ideas and bouncing ideas off of each other. I’ll come up with a guitar riff, Nick will do something on bass, and Mike on drums, and we’ll all form ideas around that.
“Helpless,” one of the songs on the EP, Nick came up with that bass line. We were all sitting in a rehearsal space in Nashville, and then I wrote the lyrics to it the week after that when I was just listening back to the recording of what we’d done.
Wright: A lot of stuff just comes from us doing our own practicing, noodling around.
Nick, I’m curious about your approach to basslines in a band like this? Writing bass parts for a trio is a unique challenge because it’s about balancing space and you carry a lot more weight.
Wright: It’s definitely an interesting stretch. This is the second band I’ve ever been in, and the first one was also a trio. In this band, it’s tough because you have to do a lot of rhythm stuff but you also have to cover a lot of percussive elements. I lean on Mike a whole bunch, just to see where his kick is and stay in the pocket. But I also look at Will a lot because he’s the king of the melody.
Now that you’re writing for the next project, are you kind of hoping to expand the way you write or play? What’s the hope for this band in terms of evolution?
Stevens: I think I’ve always kind of been of the [mindset] that the more you do something, the better you get at it. I enjoy our writing process right now and how we all bring something different to the table. It makes us respond to whatever someone else [plays]. I think there’s something unique within that writing style that I want to make sure we keep, but at the same time I’m looking to grow a ton lyrically.