I had the chance to sit down with The Districts just after their soundcheck for one of the last shows of their european tour. Just between London and Glasgow there was Manchester, and the band was sitting at the bar waiting for some burgers before the gig.
The quartet, composed of Rob Grote (voice/guitar), Pat Cassidy (guitar), Connor Jacobus (bass) and Braden Lawrence (drums) had its origin in Lititz, a small town in Pennsylvania. They soon moved out to Philadelphia and now, after their Buzzsession and the release of their debut album A Flourish and a Spoil, the boys are selling out shows around Europe.
I handed them some sticky notes and markers and asked them to write or draw whatever they wanted. Here’s what came out of it:
Then, I gave them some words and heard their thoughts about them:
Rob: Bad band name. A terrible band name.
Pat: Big boys, small brains.
Pat: Lititz is the town that I’m not from.
Rob: Pretzels and skateboards.
Connor: Good place to tour.
Rob: Sandwich platters, baby!
Braden: So many countries, so little time.
Pat: Beautiful men, beautiful women, great venues, great food, great times, great job.
Connor: Very smelly.
Rob: Water bottles filled with pee.
Braden: Radiolab in the van: “I’m Jad Abumrad and this is Robert Krulwich”.
Pat: Big boys, tiny tiny tiny, tiny, tiny, pants
Rob: The first half of our album title.
Pat: A flourish and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s bulging biceps.
Connor: Spoiled eggs.
Rob: Spoiled with a lot of toys. My nanny used to buy me G. I. Joes every time we went to Target. I have a collection!
Pat: Gremlins lurk and cauldrons boil.
Braden: We’re just spoiled with the amount of gremlins that come out to us after the show. We love our gremlins. Our fans are gremlins!
Rob: Let me tell you more about presents: G. I. Joes had a grip. You could put things in their hands like the gun grip. There were big ones and small ones. It’s like Barbie dolls for boys but I don’t want a Barbie. I want something that can shoot things and push things. G. I. Joe!
Connor: G. I. Joes with the Kung Fu Grip can give presents to other GI Joes.
Pat: The present is right now. That’s all we have. We only have the present. We’re all gonna die soon. What are you doing? What are you doing reading this interview?
Braden: And you’re not even in the present. As it turns out we’re always living in the past because our minds can’t perceive time as it actually happens.
Connor: It’s happening right now man. The future is everywhere. It’s like going into a big portal dude. Just a giant portal.
Rob: Robots that can make me dinner. Robots that can rub my back. Robots that can cut my toenails and kiss my toes. Robots!
Pat: The future holds only death, destruction and sadness. We’re all gonna die. Just party on!
After the meal, the band went up on stage with setlists handwritten in ketchup-free napkins. The crowd was ready, and the four-piece was eager to rock it! As the nostalgic lyrics filled the room, it was still April, but Spring was over. After “Rocking Chair”, “Hounds” came like a raw, visceral cry, displaying the incredible energy these boys have on stage, rocking their hair and having fun together.
Growing up in Lititz wasn’t easy, and Suburban Smell is a reminder of those times. The folksy “Funeral Beds” delighted the audience, and “Young Blood” closed the encore of a band that’s definitely meant to be seen live.