Daughters Of The Sun “The lineup changes always seemed to jumpstart new directions that led to new realms.”

Daughters Of The Sun formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, almost a decade ago. After a few lineup changes, Nick Koenigs, Bennett Johnson, and Colin Gorman Weiland solidified into the current iteration of DOTS we’ve heard on records put out by Modern Radio Record Label, Moon Glyph, and Not Not Fun, who released last year’s Ride To Die, the group’s first album in four years. What’s striking about the new record is how the trio meld raucous rock jams (title track) with more psych-leaning slow burners (“Lonely at the Top”) to such great effect. I can’t say I’ve heard an album quite like this one, despite my dive into the rock realm this past year.

In addition to the new DOTS album, Koenigs put out a new tape under his solo guise Filthy Huns (Leopard On My Right), and Weiland and Johnson have been busy with their killer techno project Dreamweapon. There’s been more time for different projects over the past few years, since Nick’s moved out to L.A., but Daughters Of The Sun remains a vital project that brings out the best in each member. I e-mailed Collin and Bennett to learn a little more about the band and their respective solo projects.

After reading a profile about you guys from 2010, it sounds like the band went through a few lineup changes since forming in the mid-2000s. How did the current lineup come together, and had you all known each other before then?

Collin Gorman Weiland: I joined when there was a definite change in the air around ‘07 or ‘08. I was 19 or so at the time and I just knew the boys through ragers at this punk house I lived at. Nick noticed half my room was basically a shitty make-shift studio and figured I could play an array of instruments, which I really couldn’t do, and asked me to be in the band. Through a few more months we were a four-piece, then Ryan parted ways after moving to Seattle. After that it’s been a consistent lineup.

Bennett Johnson: I joined the band in 2005-2006. The lineup changes always seemed to jumpstart new directions that led to new realms. Introduction of synthesizer, deconstruction of percussion, etc. It was all a result of that. And the changes were always natural and non-dramatic. It also seemed like we got another amp anytime someone left. We were traveling with 6-7 amps for a 3 piece band. [A] sound guy’s nightmare.

There seems to be a tight scene in Minneapolis surrounding DOTS, Moon Glyph, and Food Pyramid, to name a few of those involved. As Nick and Moon Glyph have moved out to California, have things changed in the city, and are there new bands and venues that keep a community going?

CGW: In my opinion there will always be a vibrant weirdo and punk scene in Minneapolis. The best part about living here is there’s an abundance of community and there’s almost isn’t a line dividing in scenes, but I would almost say that’s more or less due to the lack of actual “venues.” For example me and Bennett would volunteer at a fucked-up warehouse called Medusa, where most nights would span from crust, to noise, to psych shit, all within four hours. It’s a kind of desperation through art that I can’t find anywhere else, and that’s mainly why we keep on living here, in a sense.

Johnson: Things are pretty open here. The “scene” is really diverse and people support artistic quality no matter what the genre or niche. It’s great. Things have changed a bit, having Nick and Steve gone. For one, DOTS slowed way down, but that’s OK. We’re still active and moving forward with DOTS and our various other projects.

At this point two of you are still in Minneapolis, and one is in L.A. Was that the case for the writing and recording of this record? What’s the biggest adjustment for the band to be in a long-distance relationship like this?

CGW: I think the reason why this record worked for us is because of the distance involved. None of these songs were done in an online sort of sound-swapping way, just because we are so technologically inept haha. When Granny (Nick) first got a smart phone a couple months ago I couldn’t fuckin believe it! So we all had to meet up wherever we were across the country to write and record these tracks in the limited amount of time we were together. Most tracks were written in L.A. and Austin, Texas, and were all recorded in MPLS. The distance applies to how tight we are as boys, so when we haven’t seen each other in like four months we rage and flow ideas and rip it up 10 times harder.

Johnson: All the tracks were sort of on the fly. Which was a shock to us all probably how well it worked. We’re just so used to playing together we can get back into the flow pretty quick. As far as the heavier tracks, I think we were always considered part of the psych scene overall but we’re just punks and always wanted a harsher sound, and that really came through on this record. Gotta really shred it sometimes. And we had the time to get it there. Cole mixed his ass off, corresponded with Sonic Boom to maximum degree to make this record great.

Most of us don’t know how to play anything or what the fuck a C minor diminished or whatever is, we’re just all boys and toss beers and throw down together as pack. That’s all we know.

You just finished up a brief West Coast tour. You played in some pretty cool venues (the Masonic Temple in Seattle comes to mind). What were some highlights of the trip? And with Nick out in L.A., are DOTS shows going to be less frequent? Or are either of you (Collin and Bennett) planning to move out of Minneapolis?

CGW: Yea dude the Temple with Midday Veil was a trip. Super fucked occult vibes! Ritual chamber and everything. Every night was a banger though, and roots roll super deep in the west with us so it all feels like a blessing playing with your best dawgs. Playing with SMEGMA in Portland was the daddy. Playing with CCR Headcleaner boys, Tatterbug and Mike Collins (Run DMT) as Como Se DJ in Oakland was such a ripper. All the L.A. shows. Too many lovelies.

Johnson: The West Coast is really home away from home for Cole and I.

CGW: Shows are less frequent but it’s all good. When were in the same place at the same time, then it’s a thing. As far as moving it’s tough cause winters are close to impossible, but the vibe is so right we can’t.

Johnson: We’d love to play out together more its just coordinating it. They’ll happen and so will recording, with less frequency, but that’s not stopping anything. No definite plans to move, but the snow is falling Day 1 in MPLS right now and that California sun is pretty enticing right about now.

Bennett and Collin, can you tell me a little about Dreamweapon? How did this project come about?

CGW: Dreamweapon came about with the starting of the 777, which is basically a space of like-minded freaks in Minneapolis. After I collaborated with Food Pyramid on records, we all wanted to start something that spoke more to us at the time. Then Puen (Bennett) joined the mix and made it complete. With Dreamweapon the idea was creating an experience of pummeling live industrial and techno, with 5 dudes ripping drum machines and synths. Due to us having no idea of a techno scene in this city, and personally never really seeing a techno act or DJ, the only way to play it was through punk houses and DIY venues with like-minded punk and hardcore bands. With that sort of environment you end up with those results.

Johnson: When I was asked to join Troll (Cole) reassured me “Its no problem. It’s just house music.” To which I replied “I don’t know what that means.” So I was already thrown off. But once we were rolling on a track it clicked. And through playing out I realized there are NO five-piece techno acts. Like none. Haha. It’s a whole new space for me, [a] whole new musical vocabulary and approach. It’s great fun and were busting ass on new stuff all the time.

As far as the heavier tracks, I think we were always considered part of the psych scene overall but we’re just punks and always wanted a harsher sound, and that really came through on this record.

Do you guys do Dreamweapon shows often? How do you approach making songs that are more oriented toward electronics, versus the rock vibes of DOTS?

CGW: The majority of shows performed live by us in Minneapolis and around the U.S. are Dreamweapon shows. We did a West Coast tour in support of that tape earlier this year, which was a banger. It was great performing and hanging with like-minded friends like Silent Servant or Marshstepper or Beau Wanzer, to name just a few. The best part is seeing people react in such a foreign show environment we weren’t used to. Like kids throwing the fuck down on some bangin electronic shit! Like woah- people get this dingy Minneapolis shit here haha.

Surprisingly it doesn’t seem all that different performing and writing when comparing the two projects. It’s truly dependent upon who you’re collaborating with. As you can hear through Nick’s solo shit, mutha slays at riffs! Like homeboy shreds. When you’re so tight with the homies you’re collaborating with you know the majority of how their creative process comes along. Most of us don’t know how to play anything or what the fuck a C minor diminished or whatever is, we’re just all boys and toss beers and throw down together as pack. That’s all we know. As far as separating our efforts, I really don’t much. My talents lie in adding or accenting the other players. The only major difference between projects is physical. Playing drums for DOTS this last tour was my only worry. Being physically able to do it after a long break, and it worked out fine. Playing in DREAMWEAPON and DOTS are similar for me mentally and creatively.

Johnson: We play A LOT around here and would love to tour again. What’s great about MPLS is we do get to play parties, warehouses, houses with crust bands, punk bands, loner bands, etc. It’s pretty rad to see some chained/studded/torn out/shredder/dystopian motherfuckers going nuts for some dark house jams.

With a busy 2014, what’s next for the new year? Any new projects that should be on our radar?

CGW: We got a lot of new bangers come ‘15. New Dreamweapon, new Leisure Birds, new Collin Gorman Weiland shit, maybe new DOTS. But watch out for Nightcourt homie, that’s all I gotta say.

Johnson: We’ve got a lot of DREAMWEAPON stuff this upcoming year. As well as WAVEPOOL, which is me solo with most/all of DREAMWEAPON and some other friends. I’d love to work on some more DOTS stuff. And yes…Nightcourt is gonna be one to watch for.

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