Dichotomy on Nocturnal: We think more in tones than instruments

Does the band name have anything to do with the sound?

It definitely does, but it wasn't really intentional. The longer we have been a band, the more accidental meanings we discover for our name. The original idea was that there were two of us.We both came from different musical backgrounds, yet here we are making music together. Then people starting asking us if it was a dichotomy between classical and modern or between violin and guitar or between strings and keyboard. And we were thinking all those ideas sound cooler than what we had in mind, so we might as well keep the name open-ended. If you notice a dichotomy in our sound, then you just invented another new meaning for the name. We like that.

When you started writing, was it a conscious decision to not have lyrics?

Not at first. It became a conscious decision when we realized that the two of us are at our best when we are both jamming on instruments. We always wanted that to be the centerpiece of our live show. We spent so much time not doing lyrics that we just started doing what we were good at. Not that we are opposed to doing tracks with vocals. We both love making hip-hop beats and working with vocalists. It's just that when we sit down and try to create the best music that we can, it usually ends up being instrumental.

How does writing work when you don't have lyrics? How do you get the concept and meaning of a song across to the listener?

That's a good question. To us it's more challenging, because we feel like we have to work harder to make it interesting. One thing that we had to get out of our heads was the idea that we make music without vocals. We have to just make music. We can't see it as something that's missing something. We were in the middle of a sort of classical "renaissance" when we started honing in on instrumentals. Listening to the way those classical masters did it, we became convinced that instrumental music can be as interesting as anything out there. Melodies tell stories. They take you on emotional paths. They can take you up a mountain or down a valley. There is lots of building. That was one idea that we kind of latched onto, the idea of constant building. We have a lot of tracks where each section is building towards another section. Everything is in the act of becoming. So even though there are no words, you are feeling an emotional narrative. You are feeling the piece moving forward with emotion. Each song has its own unique arc. We think of it almost as soundtrack music.

What are the benefits of working with just one other person when making musical decisions? What are the downfalls?

Two people is a good fit for us. We're small enough that our sound and musical vision stays pretty focused, but it's also an advantage to have two rather than one. It's good to have another person to keep you honest. If we both feel strongly about a track, then it's a winner. If only one of us digs it and the other isn't sure, then we need to go back to work and figure it out. It keeps us both in check. We are pretty unified in what we want to do, so that helps. We're both just really open to trying new things.

What's the plan with the new album? Are you looking to tour?

We'd love to tour, but we don't have one in the works yet. We want to keep playing shows and collaborating with people in the area. We just started working on a hip-hop mixtape with our own beats. Our goal is to get as much local talent on it as we can. We want to have different MCs on every track. Our focus right now is a lot of collaboration. We want to try some different things.

What can we expect to see at the album release show?

It'll be a great party of high energy beat music. Chris Neviator is DJing for the night with a nice
mix of hip-hop and electronic sounds. Our friends and MCs Q's Junction and Big Al are doing sets and both of these guys can rock a mic as well as anyone. We'll be playing afterwards with tunes from the new album, as well as some improvised jams. It should be a great time.

Dichotomy will release Nocturnal at Honey on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 with Q's Junction, Big Al, and DJ Neviator.
21+, $5, 9 pm

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