Dan and Matt Wilson: This is kind of a risky gig for us
GN: You guys played a duo show back in 2010. How did these duo shows come about?
MW: It came about because Dan suggested it, and I was like, "Yes! That sounds awesome. Sign me up; you say when."
GN: It was that easy?
DW: Yeah, I think one thing is we don't get a chance to sing together a lot. We don't get a chance to perform together either, and one thing was when I thought of asking Matt to do the show in 2010, I thought doing it just as a duo would allow us to pick songs from any setup that we'd ever done. If you do it as a band that you used to be in, then you are only dealing with the repertoire of that band. I thought we could do it as a duo, and we could cherry-pick from our own list of songs. Try to figure out ways to rethink them and interpret them for the present, which was one of the challenges of that show in 2010, but it was really rewarding to push ourselves to rethink them and put them in a way nobody had heard before.
GN: Are there songs where you don't ever want to perform anymore because you don't connect with them?
DW: [laughs] Yeah, maybe. There's one Trip Shakespeare song that I can no longer play because it's just too elaborate, and I've become a worse and worse guitarist over time. In Trip Shakespeare, I was actually a pretty good guitarist, and we did some complicated stuff. Now, there's no way I could even play it anymore, so we're only doing the things that we still can actually play.
GN: What are you most looking forward to with this show?
DW: Well, I live in L.A., and I love to have a reason to come back home. I'm looking forward to being home, and above other things, seeing and hanging out with family. This is kind of a risky gig for us, because we're not doing something we've been hammering away at on tour or anything like that. For us it's every experimental, and it takes a lot of concentration. We have to make it sound the way we want it to.
MW: I agree along those lines, because we're making up a whole two set show, although a lot of it is old material. It's challenging in how right up to the show, it's going to be remembering the lyrics and figuring out arrangement. I'm looking forward to just being on the sweet, great-sounding stage and finally being able to let go and just play.
GN: Dan, you mentioned that you were excited to be back home; what do you both love about the Twin Cities?
DW: It's home. That counts for a lot. I'm really appreciative of going to the Cities where the environment for artists is incredibly supportive. All of the press take their local artists seriously, and whether it's dance, classical music, theater, or popular music, there's a welcoming -- albeit demanding -- vibe in the Twin Cities that you don't get in a lot of other places.
MW: It's palpable. When you go to different towns, for some reason, the way they're configured, they can't have a real music scene. It's the way they're set up. The terrarium doesn't have the right mix and can't live. The Minneapolis music and art scene really lives.
GN: What do you both have coming up after this show at the Pantages?
MW: We're both working on albums right now. Mine is the Twilight Hours, and Dan's is his solo project. His is going to be great. I've had the privilege of hearing it. It's organic, and the instruments are non-heroic. It's charming and great.
DW: Yeah, I'm in the midst of mixing tracks for my album. I'm on the fourth song today, so that's really fun. It's sort of sad when you get into mix mode, because you're admitting that you're done tinkering with it. I'm sad to be out of tinkering mode, but I'm excited to be moving forward.
GN: When you're done with an album, are you excited, or are you emotionally drained?
DW: I get the blues after it's done. Even if it's a long-trailing process of finishing, I definitely get a month-long feeling of being down and sad. Usually I don't know what it is, and then I realize what it is.
MW: I agree. You don't feel like doing an end-zone touchdown dance. It's much more like crawling across a finish line and going across with your one finger. [laughs] It's very depleting. By the time you're done, you've examined it so carefully, even in mixing that you can't defend it anymore. A lot of the emotion that you should feel when the chorus comes, it's not there. It's not quite as cathartic as you want it to be.
DW: Matt and I are going to perform some songs from both of these new records at the show, so we're trying to get a real spread of music from the things we've done from different parts of our lives.
MW: It will be one song we've played together in college from when I was 18 or 19 and then all the way up to now.
GN: Did you both come up with songs that you wanted on the setlist?
MW: We actually had one "rehearsal" that was just spent thinking of songs that we wanted to do and went through past songs and thought about favorite songs. I think we're gonna do one cover. Maybe, Dan? So we're gonna try and pick out a good cover that takes us back to when we were together all of the time.
GN: What are the dynamics of being in a band with a sibling and spending so much time together?
MW: When we were together all of the time, it was a lot more challenging because we were both operating on the same frequency, and we'd knock heads at the same point. Not that that was a mean aspect of what we did, but that could be a lot more challenging when you're so familiar and working together all of the time. Now we don't get a chance to work together that often, so it's not hard to remain cordial because it's rare. It's exciting.
DW: Anybody who's been in a band with a siblings knows that the siblings are willing to have more horrible fights than the other people. If you have a sibling-like fight in a band with someone who's not your sibling, you have to break up the band. You can't actually survive it. If there's two siblings, the other people in the band have to stand by and witness these fights. Then it's over, and the next day the siblings are pretending everything is fine. They don't see why everyone else is still shattered by it. We don't have those kind of interactions now, and we hopefully won't have any at the show.
MW: Hopefully not onstage.
DW: If we had a huge fight onstage, it might set the social networks alight.
MW: That'd be better than auditioning a drummer.
Dan and Matt Wilson will be performing:
Bryant Lake Bowl - Thursday, January 30, 2013 - $40, 7 pm
Pantages Theatre - Friday, January 31, 2013 - $38, 8 pm
Both shows are sold out.