AthFest is an annual festival in downtown Athens, GA designed to raise money for music and arts education. The District Attorneys are no strangers to the festival, having played for the past four years, but this year they’ve got a coveted spot on the Pulaski Street outdoor stage. We got a chance to catch up with co-founder Drew Beskin and discuss new material, The Modern Skirts and favorite Georgia bands.
It’s been about a year since you last talked to Ticket Alternative, around the time you released the Jr. EP. What’s changed since then?
Since we released the EP we went on tour for a little bit. We went out to SXSW and did some shows. Now we’re getting ready to make our new album. All the songs are written – we have about 14-15 songs. We are trying to just wrap our head around them and eventually find time for all of us to get together and record them because everyone’s kinda busy this summer working on different things. The main goal is to have our second full-length album out by the end of the year.
What can we expect from the new album? Any major departures?
I think it will all sit well within what we’ve done so far. When we first started the band, we had these songs that sounded like “alright we have this amount of time to learn all these songs,” we tried to throw in as many clever parts or change-ups as we could but we basically just wanted to get some material so we could play some live shows. Then once we got to our first album we were focusing more on craft and actual riffs. Now that we have that under our belt, we’re thinking of what we’ve done so far and trying to elaborate on that – trying to expand on what we think our sound is.
You’re playing AthFest again this year, this time on the outdoor stage. Is this your first year doing that?
This is our fourth year doing AthFest. Last year we did the Hull Street stage, this year’s our first year on the main stage on Pulaski, which we’re excited about.
And you’re playing the night of last Modern Skirts show, correct?
That’s right, which is sad but we’re glad to be a part of it. We went on tour with those guys last summer – they’re some of our best musical friends and they’re just great guys.
How was your SXSW experience?
It was great, this is our second year going, the year we went before was…alright. We toured out there and then once we got there we had 9 shows booked but only two of them were even somewhat legitimate/in the area where you’d actually get something out of being in Austin. This year we knew what we were doing. We had about nine shows. We played the Georgia Theatre/40 Watt party, a party hosted by Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, then our label (This Is American Music) had two parties. It’s great going back and knowing how to handle the festival, we can’t wait to do it again.
Any Atlanta or Athens bands you’re admiring right now or playing with?
Our favorite band is called Quiet Hounds, they’re playing between us and Modern Skirts. They’re an amazing band, I think they should be the biggest band in the world right now. I’ve been listening to songs from the T. Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate, Diamond Rugs) solo album. Frank and TJ are in a band called Tedo Stone, which is also the name of the frontman and one of my best buddies. And then a band that Walker (our guitarist), me, Frank and two other local Athens musicians are playing in called Party Dolls which is kind of our side project.
What else have you been listening to?
I just got Spotify! I’ve been listening to the new Justin Timberlake record a lot, the new Dawes record, a lot of Rilo Kiley always. It’s summertime, listening to music in summer is so different than listening to it in the winter, it’s not about what genre you like, it’s about what you’re in the mood for. In the summer, I’m in the mood for like Black Crowes, Third Eye Blind and fun stuff like that.
AthFest runs from June 19th through the 23rd. The District Attorneys will play the Pulaski Street Stage at 6:15 pm on June 21. Stay tuned for more previews and coverage from the festival.