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Five-Question Interview: The MTHDS

Every ski town has a band. The one locals follow religiously, filling venues three days a week. A skier’s passion for snow is almost matched by a passion for music. If that ski town is Vail, then the band is the MTHDS and they happen to feel the same way.
posted: 11/05/2010
MTHDS play at the Snake River Saloon in Keystone, Colorado
by Kevin Luby

They all met in Vail. But the MTHDS (pronounced Methods) backgrounds are slightly more scattered. Nick “Dilly” Dillen and Lawrence “L” Kerr come from Boston. Chris, “Chip” Chipouras and Neil Yukimora hail from Connecticut. Dustin “Durtee” Zentz is a Michiganean and the lone local boy is Johnny Schleper—you may know his sister, Sarah. It’s an appropriate mix for their eclectic blend of hip-hop, reggae, power guitar, and electro. I decided to sit down Dilly and Johnny after seeing them rage a bar in Keystone to discuss the finer points of building a band in ski country.

Start from the beginning. What’s the MTHDS story?

Johnny: Durtee and I were in a band. I was throwing a house party. These guys were all there and I had my stuff set up. We had a jam session and that was the spawn of what ever it is we’re doing.

Dilly: We spent a lot of time in that basement. I ended up moving into that room cause I was running out of rent money.

What brought you all to Vail? And what did you do when you got there?

J: I’m from there. I’ve been working in my dad’s ski shop (Buzz’s Board) since I was 12.

OK, besides you.

D: I’ve known Neil, Chip and L going on like 10 years. I think Neil was the first one out and he told everybody how dope it was and then Chip went, then L moved, then I moved all within six months.  I got a job at a hotel and I was also snowboard instructing part time. I don’t think I did enough days so they didn’t ask me back but I got a pass out of it.

How long did you play in the Vail circuit?

J: A year and a half at least. We couldn’t get enough of it back then. We played every weekend two or three times a weekend. I’m sure people got sick of us.

D: We’d take any gig that came our way. If a random pizza joint asked us to play we’d do it.  But the experience helped us feel each other out as band.

How has living in the mountains influenced you as a band?

D: I never really thought about it before. Maybe that did have some influence some on our sound. I tell people we’re very A.D.D. we like to mix in a little of everything and then we play it as loud as possible. The people in Vail bars came from all over and definitely weren’t all into the same kind of music. We wanted to get invited back so we had to play to the crowd, which meant we had to play some classic rock tunes and then we were like ‘people like reggae why don’t we play some of that.’ I think that had something to do with that A.D.D. style. I thinks it has some influence on our original music.

J: Any time we get a chance to play in the mountains and ride together we definitely do. That’s why we like to play places like Vail, Steamboat, Aspen and Winter Park. We can try and get some lift tickets the next day.

Tell me about last Friday’s show at the Bluebird in Denver. Is it going to be a pretty big one?

D:  We’re releasing the new EP. It’s a seven track EP. And we’re releasing the new video. Then we’ll be touring the West Coast for a couple weeks before coming back to Colorado.


For tunes, tours, and tickets check out the MTHDS website

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