“It feels like summer in October
And I hope this day is never over”
--“Gainesville” by Dillinger Four
A recurring name among Fest talk is Dillinger Four. The Minneapolis band embodies many of the same qualities that make Fest what it is: a DIY spirit, drunken revelry, and bearded men approaching their forties are just a few. To commemorate Fest 4 (2005), Scene Point Blank caught up with D4’s Erik Funk to find out what he remembers from six years ago.
Scene Point Blank: If the records I found are correct, this was your first time at Fest. Was it what you expected? Did it have a reputation yet?
Erik Funk: I’m not sure what we expected. I think at that point the only “fest” type things we had done were probably, like, SXSW and it was awesome to see how a fest could be when you took out the whole industry aspect of it.
Scene Point Blank: What’s your dominant memory from that year?
Erik Funk: Sadly they all kind of bleed together. Anytime I’m walking down a street packed with people and I see Davey Tiltwheel stumbling along looking for people to go have a drink, I know I’m in a good place. That happened that year and every other.
Scene Point Blank: Do you remember your favorite performances at Fest 4?
Erik Funk: I totally don’t, I’m sorry! Again they all bleed together. I couldn’t be sure which show was what year.
Scene Point Blank: As you’ve returned to Fest over the years, how has the event changed?
Erik Funk: Well, obviously I know the whole scale of the thing got huge. Maybe too huge, in some ways, for a lot of people. But for me, at least, it seems like the basic ingredients are all still there the same every year.
Scene Point Blank: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen at Fest?
Erik Funk: Wow, sadly I really can’t think of anything on the spot. I learned after the first couple times not to be out festing at 6am, which I’m guessing is when the weird stuff really happens.
Scene Point Blank: Of all the bands to write a song about Fest, I never would have predicted it would be D4. Can you talk a little about “Gainesville” and what the song means to you—does it strictly apply to Fest, or to any time you’re in Central Florida?
Erik Funk: Well, of course that song isn’t about the Fest in a very literal way. I just wanted to write a song that was over the top positive, and that’s something I do feel at the Fest much of the time. But the song kind of came together as an idea before the connection to the Fest and choosing to go ahead and call it Gainesville happened. It just kind of summed up the spirit of the whole thing for me.
Scene Point Blank: Was there a particular reason why you didn’t play Fest 9?
Erik Funk: We had done a lot of touring in 2009 (for us anyway), and I really wanted to take 2010 off from playing. I think we only played one show that year.
Scene Point Blank: Over the last decade you’ve only gone on a handful of tours. Are festivals more conducive to your personal schedules? Do you still enjoy more extensive tours?
Erik Funk: Festivals are way more conducive, for sure. Fest in particular is great because we get to catch up with all the people from around the country we used to see more often when we toured. I think we all prefer playing our own shows in different cities on tour to playing a festival, but that has just gotten harder and harder to make time to do it over the years.
Scene Point Blank: One thing that struck me reading older interviews, from 10+ years ago, in preparation for this is how little some things have changed. Even back then you clearly stated where the band ranks in terms of personal priorities and in the whole career vs. hobby kind of thing. What is the biggest change in how you approach the band now as compared to when you were getting started?
Erik Funk: I think we approach it basically the same way: if something sounds like fun, we totally want to do it. We never felt like we needed to work hard at it so we could achieve some level of success. We just figured if we had fun with it good things would come, and they did, and they still do. There’s just less time to spend on it. I don’t know if we ever really envisioned D4 as forty year –olds. There’s no blueprint for it in my mind. We just kind of take things as they come and try to keep it fun.
Scene Point Blank: It’s possible you don’t agree with this statement, but it seems like a lot of current bands show a pretty strong D4 influence, especially within the Midwest. What’s it like to be watching another “generation” of bands coming up and citing you as an influence?
Erik Funk: Yeah, there are some great bands that seem to be kind of kindred spirits with us now as far as how they go about it. I’m not sure it’s a musical influence thing, although maybe in some cases.
Scene Point Blank: It’s already been two years since Civil War. Are you working on new material? Do you get tired of this question?
Erik Funk: A little bit, yes. Paddy and I have been talking about how we want to go about making another record. I think there will be more for sure, but when and how is hard to say.