Statistics is the solo project of singer-songwriter, Denver Dalley. His latest release, Peninsula, is reminiscent of the electronic infused rock-n-roll that defined his decade-old debut. But Statistics has matured into something vast, detailed, and deliberate, drawing inspiration from all corners of Dalley’s nomadic musical career.
Dalley grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. Joined by childhood friend, Conor Oberst, he started Desaparecidos. Their first and only album, Read Music/Speak Spanish, was released on Saddle Creek Records in 2002 and was praised for its emotional energy and raw production. With Dalley as principal songwriter, the Desaparecidos sound drew from Dalley’s love for the experimental spasms of the Pixies’ and the immediacy of Weezer’s Pinkerton, all while honoring the band’s roots in the Midwestern punk scene.
It’s been 8 years since the last Statistics album. Peninsula has been in the works for the past 5. But it doesn’t sound labored or meticulous. The album is instead made up of songs that have stood the test of time, that are at once nostalgic and cutting edge.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Dalley to discuss the album, doing the Desparacidos reunion tour, and my cousin Katie. This is what he said…
I think you may have gone to high school with one or more of my cousins — Christine, Katie and Patrick Anderl. Do you know them?
Oh yeah, of course! I feel like I hung out with Katie the most. She was in my younger brother’s grade and they were good friends, so I would run into her more.
You did some moving around before returning to Creighton for school. Was school the main motivator in returning to Nebraska?
Yeah- I moved to Nashville in high school, spent some time in New York, and then started at Creighton a year after I graduated high school. My dad used to teach there and I even went to pre-school there, so I always said that I would someday go to school there. Which I did, for a year, and then I got into a tour van and never looked back.
What are you studying? Is this your first run at college?
Oh, I’m not currently in school. I went to Creighton for a year in 2000 and studied the arts. That’s when I started Desaparecidos and my life took a different path then “university straight into 9 to 5 job.”
Working with Har Mar and Watson Twins had to be two completely different experiences. Were you testing your versatility as a player or just taking a job where it presented itself?
Definitely both. I only take gigs if I like the music, and almost more importantly, the people. I’ve been friends with Sean for over ten years and the Watson Twins actually went to University of Evansville with my brother and sister-in-law. So it was perfect to try something new and get to hang out with good friends.
I’ve read that you were the principal songwriter for Desaparecidos. Did you ever get bummed out when press mistakenly associated most of the credit for that with Conor?
No, I completely understand and its natural. Conor is a prolific songwriter and so I can see how people would assume that he does all of the writing for Desaparecidos.
What were the Desaparecidos reunion shows like?
They are so much fun! We are having the most fun we have ever had playing live together. It’s really incredible. Very high energy. The crowds have been unreal, no matter what size they are, they are rowdy and as fired up as we are.
When did you find time to work on Peninsula? Did you have that in the bag before the reunion?
Yeah, i slowly assembling Peninsula over the last few years. I went into the studio to finalize it about two years ago and I’ve been revisiting some of the songs- getting them to where I really wanted them in the time since then. I couldn’t be happier to finally be releasing it.
What milestones are you hoping to accomplish with the LP that you haven’t tried before?
I’ve never done a music video for any of my songs. I’m kind of obsessed with having visuals to go with music (I usually write songs to mental images, if that makes sense). So i really want to make videos for the songs on this album. I think that if I tour with it, I’m going to want to utilize video elements. So that is definitely my main goal.
I imagine you called in some favors in terms of guest musicians and production help. Who work on the record with you?
Well, let’s see… I tracked it myself as I was traveling and touring (much of it on my laptop and then later re-did things in the studio). To name a few, I have Har Mar Superstar singing with me on a song, Greg Dulli played piano on another, Steve Cobby from Fila Brazilia did some guitar and drums… The Estate produced a couple tracks — I really love their music and production — you should definitely check them out.
Can we expect a tour in support of the album?
I’m not sure… I’m hoping so. I really want to get those video elements and then I think I’ll take Statistics on the road again…
I’m actually located in Dayton and I know that the Pixies have been a huge influence on your work. If I run into Kim should I have her holla at you?
Sure! There is a small handful of people that I would get super nervous around. I’m sure that she would be one of them. Kind of a rush.
(Download one of the songs here: Statistics – “Nineteen Ninety Nine”.)