Put your Dresses on!

Jared Ryan Maldonado and a girl named Timothy Heller lead the band Dresses.

I don't really have a very complicated mind.  It is very simple, and works pretty straightforward.  But still, it's not that easy to take my little mind over.  But that didn't stop Jared and Timothy from the band Dresses from using their melodic powers to take over my brain and use it to rebroadcast their songs for at least 4 days in a row a few weeks ago.

I came across them in a round about way.  Short story long... here it is.  I met Joe Sib (comedian, musician, radio dj, and record company owner) when he was performing at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and we interviewed him for The Superslice.  Little fun fact, Joe was an incredibly cool guy, and he happened to be wearing a cool t-shirt.  Now, I'm not nearly as cool as Joe, but in an effort to be cooler, I bought the shirt he was wearing, a Side One Dummy Records shirt (Joe's company) available from their website.  Like any good marketer would, Side One Dummy took that one order, recognized that I may potentially buy more of their products, and added me to their mailing list.  Their regular marketing emails informed me that they had signed a new band from Portland.  I had been in touch with Side One's marketing director Jamie (another super nice person) already, so when I approached her about getting access to their new band she was excited and super helpful.

Now, for me, this was an exercise.  I'm learning better how to get access to the people I want to photograph.  First question I have to ask myself, so I will have an answer for others who will ask, is what's in it for them?  In an effort to have a good answer to that question, I approached my friend Tony who is the editor at The Superslice to see if they would be interested in covering the band.  He was in, which meant what was in it for the band was more publicity.  Now that we have a win win, it was an easy sales pitch to Jamie.

Well, now that we've been granted access it's time to study our subject.  Dresses had a fair bit of press on them already.  They had write ups in everything from the local weekly Portland rag to glowing reviews in national glossy magazines.  Like any good underachiever I skipped all of that.  I started my research by looking at the art they were making.  I checked out their videos on YouTube.  Probably three music videos into my research I had both the songs "Sun Shy" and "Blew My Mind" fighting for a spot on repeat in my brain.  One of them was always winning, for about an entire week.  I very quickly fell in love with their music.  Now, granted, I'm a bit of a homer.  They're from Portland.  I root for the Blazers, I root for the Timbers, I want the Ducks to beat Alabama in a national championship, and I want my Portland bands to be awesome.  So much so that I may like my home teams more than deserved (Blazers), but like the Ducks and the Timbers, the band Dresses are not just from where I am, they're really talented and deserve to win.  Their music is as catchy as anything I've heard in a long time, and it has a universal appeal.

When the day for the shoot finally came, I was as ready as I would ever be.  It was great to meet Jared and Timothy.  Oh, yeah, the girl in the band is named Timothy, after her father.  This endeared her to me even more, as some of my favorite women's names ever have been very androgynous if not downright manly like Theo or Chuck, now you can add Timothy to the list.  In keeping with what must be a tradition at Side One Dummy Records, they were genuinely nice and cool, without a hint of pretension.  We had a good interview, followed by a jaunt all over Portland for a photo shoot, and later that night I shot their concert at the Doug Fir.  I even got to meet Timothy's dad Timothy at the show.  He was proudly taking cell phone pics of his daughter.

So, this is the point of my blog post that I realize that I have no clear idea what this post is about.  Is it about the band Dresses?  Is it about getting access to subjects?  Is it about getting songs stuck in my head?  Is it a plea to the sports gods to finally get a Pac 12 team to win a huge game against an SEC powerhouse?  Is it just a meandering tale of a photo shoot I did recently?  All of the above? 

Take comfort in the fact that I have no clue.  Check out the band Dresses.  They are on tour right now, and my be coming to your town.  Or you can buy their album Sun Shy now.  Just listen to one or two of their songs, you'll realize it's easier to just buy the album than to sing it to yourself over and over for days on end!



Also check out the interview and more photos on The Superslice here: