"It’s sort of… comforting"; Clay Parton of Duster Talks About the Band's Resurrection and Growth
When Clay Parton came up to me, I had no idea who he was. There he was: A man I considered to be an idol, beard pouring down to his toes, hands tucked into his pockets, and voice meek as a sleepy mouse. I had no idea who the hell I was looking at. Perhaps it was because for the past five years I’ve been looking at Duster like a thing; a thing that fits my ear holes just perfectly enough to cry to. Or maybe it’s because eighteen-years away from playing under the moniker can really just do that to a man.
Last week I had the chance to sit down with Duster member Clay Parton before the band’s show in Portland, Oregon at Mississippi Studios. Duster— known for often being referred to gods of the genre ‘slowcore’ (a sentiment it seemed Parton could take or leave), has come back to bless our aching hearts. After an eighteen-year hiatus, the band will soon be coming out with a re-release of all of their previously recorded works, as well as a new EP.
For reference, a few of these questions are also asked by a colleague, Jordan Portlock.
How would you describe Duster to someone who doesn’t listen to you?
Experimental depressed music.
How is playing on this tour for you? Is it weird at all?
Yeah, it’s fun. It’s weird to just kind of not do it for so long. It’s weird relearning your own songs. Guitar music is irrelevant now, so there’s that.
Do you find yourself looking at tabs?
God no. They’re all wrong anyway. *laughs But yeah, we definitely didn’t want to feel like a cover band. Now, coming back, the three of us are all sort of… on the same vibe.
Do your older songs still have the same emotional resonance for you
No, now they’re even more depressing. *laughs
I don’t know, now there’s memories, all that stuff, they kind of come back. It’s weird because we kind of reflect on who we were back in that time. It’s a change in perspective.
How do you think you’re different than you were back then?
Well, we’re probably actually the same.
What was the process coming back to this? Was there pressure?
We’ve always talked about it, but it never sort of worked out. Finally we’re at a point where each of us isn’t going through some shit. We’ve lined up, it’s the right time.
How has the new recording process been? Was it weird for a second or…?
No. We’ve never stopped recording. We’ve always been recording and sharing our stuff with each other. Jason’s done Helvetia, does that. It’s chill. We’re really slow about doing anything. Obviously… reeeally slow.
Was there an awareness that people were still listening or, kind of catching on over time even though you weren’t active.
How did you become aware that people were actively listening to Duster after you all had been inactive?
Dove’s roommate was like, '“you guys are really popular on Spotify”, but I don’t even use Spotify so I don’t know what that means.
What’s the takeaway that you want fans of your music to get from your resurrection?
Our new music is probably not gonna resonate with you if you’re looking for our old music. I mean, it’s the same formula: keep it simple. How much can we take out and still convey the same underlying sentiment?
You’ve used “depressed” a few times to describe your music, do you feel depressed when you’re playing these shows?
No! I say depressing but it’s sort of… comforting, that’s probably not the best word. We’re just glad to be doing it together again, it feels good, we love each other.
How do you feel about the fact that your vinyl sells for over $300 on Discogs?