Hailing from the plains and rolling hills of Tennessee, The Django Riders are all about religion – the religion of rock n’ roll that is. Practicing what the preach, through their music and lyrics, the 4-member group isn’t afraid to make soulful waves or as they put it, “This boogie is made for the righteous, dreamers, and free thinking bad mama jama's who rise up each day to take in as much as this groovy little planet will allow, before that sunset limited makes haste and finds its way to their doorstep, can you dig?” The Django Riders are what revolution is made – “an understanding that we’re all in this far out existence together.”
A Brief History of The Django Riders Front man Jay Cathcart use to carry a tune for the Portland, TN-based rock band The Oblivious Humans. Luckily that man found the good funky word and was soon writing for a new project. Saved by blues and livin’ off soul, Jay found himself in the company of Josh Gentry, the baddest bucket banger Nashville, TN had to offer. Gentry was never about slow shuffles or western swing. Traditional country drumming never found its way into his veins. His blend of rock and hip-hop style drumming brought an aggressive style to the group that had been absent in the songwriting before this skin playing Neanderthal came around. Now you can have beats and you can have rhymes, but God didn’t make the groove so that you could leave out the guitar slinger. Enter a 6-string plucking gitbox playing fool by the name of Tim Cathcart. His daddy was a working man and his mama could play the hellfire out of a piano. He was brought up on Christian and Western, with a rock and roll soul and a country pickers fingers, he decided to settle on playing a little bit of everything. The band had their heart and soul, the only thing missing was the balls. Sweet children, I tell you now, no one had a bigger bag of meaty clankers than bass player Daniel Raymond. Dan’s wide range of musical taste and creative technique made the fellas not only begin to redirect their music but completely change the style all together. The result is this soul singing, government defying, rhythm breathing band of mofo’s that stand before you today united under one understanding, to share the word of gettin down. Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Jay: Growing up I was always around music. My Dad was always playing around the house, there were always instruments laying around. My Grandma could play the HELL out of a piano and my mom wrote poetry. So we were always a very open family as far as art went. It was easy to fall in love with music cause it was all around me all the time. Dan: I grew up listening to lots of music so it just made sense that I should try to create it too. Tim: Elvis was my first inspiration to sing, Don Rich and Luther Perkins were my earliest influences to play, but make no mistake the first time I heard Eruption Edward Van Halen changed everything I ever thought I knew about playing guitar. Josh: Nothing specific I just always loved playing and I never really wanted to quit.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Dan: That ‘performance art’ gig I did while painted in various shades of blue and green. There’s still some blue pain on my strap from that – and it was over 20 years ago… Tim: Played a show at a Church of Scientology..... ONCE! Jay: I'm going to have to agree with Tim, the Scientology gig was no doubt the front runner. It was insane because we had no idea where we were playing until we where already there. The show must go on. Josh: See Tim and Jay's answers
What has been the high point of your music path?
Dan: I’ve been in many bands through the years, I’ve really enjoyed creating our own music with this band and seeing where things take us. Tim: Played in a band that opened for Merle Haggard when I was a teenager. Jay: At a young age I had a chance to throw a music festival in my hometown and with a lot of help from some great friends and my bandmates at the time...we threw one Hell of a show. It was the first rock fest the town had ever done and people responded. Also right now is pretty great. Finally get to release something that we have been working on for so long. I'm looking forward to the release of Friction. Josh: Releasing this new album is a pretty damn good one.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Dan: If I knew how it worked I’d bottle it up and sell it! Tim: Not one specific process. Always be open to letting it flow and when it sounds good record it immediately so you don't forget it later. Jay: I don't really have a process. I write a ton of my songs in the car when I'm driving by myself. I have thousands upon thousands of little ideas or reminders on my recorder. It just hits me when it hits me and I try and take advantage of that moment cause you don't get it back. I lost my last recorder that probably had 100 hours of ideas and music on it. It was the best thing to ever happen to me creatively. Forced me to work harder and come up with new ideas. Josh: A few cold ones
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Jay: With everything that's out there now the biggest problem I face is not only getting your stuff out there, but getting it to the right people. There are so many people in this business that can get your hopes up, I've learned to just kind of sit between the lines and enjoy what I create. Dan: It’s an interesting time to be in an indie band – there are so many cool ways to get heard! The industry giants are still stuck in their old ways – they’d do better to break some of those old habits. Tim: Same struggle it always was.... being heard and compensated. I do think independent artists are evoking change and have been doing it for some time now. The success of artists like Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams, Corb Lund, Andrew Bird, Dylan LeBlanc, Sam Outlaw, Sturgil Simpson, St Paul and the Broken Bones, Brent Cobb and Aaron Lee Tasjan (just to name a few) are proof that if your message is strong enough, and your music is genuine you don't need a major label.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Dan: I’d love to share the stage with Liam Finn someday.. Tim: Living - Van Halen!! From the grave - Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. I saw them together in 79 at the Ryman it was my first concert. Jay: I mean if I could share the stage with Al Green or Average White Band that would be a pretty damn funky time. As far as more modern musicians I think Allen Stone would be the coolest person in the world to share the stage with.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Dan: Let’s just say church choir rehearsals aren’t nearly as ribald or riddled with profanity as our usual band practice.
Tim: Animal House.
Jay: I bring down a groove and my fellas help bring it to life.
Josh: Plus there's alcohol.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Dan: There’s a song rattling around in our files called ‘The Natural’ – it still needs *something* - but I don’t know what! Tim: I don't think we are done with it yet, so I'm not at liberty to divulge the title. Jay: There's lots of them that are a problem for me. I find that the ones you struggle with and work and work to create never end up as what you want. It's the songs that come out of nowhere that always seem to hit. Josh: It's not so much songs for me as it is learning new techniques. Always trying to get better at what I do.
What's coming up in the future?
Dan: We’re looking forward to some great shows this year! And I’m sure Jay has about a hundred more songs he wants to work on! Tim: Album release, spring and summer festivals, hopefully make a bunch of wonderful memories and music. Jay: We have our new EP Friction about to come out and we have a full summer of shows and festivals coming up with more coming in everyday. Looking forward to experiencing new things with my bandmates. Josh: Our new EP Friction
Tell us where fans can access your music?