GETTING SERIOUS WITH THE UPBEAT DUO
Story by Tasha Zanin
Photo by Chris Benfey
It’s not just noodling around anymore for The Dirty Tees, who started off jamming in each other’s basements. Ryan Freeman and Grant Peters are fresh from a trip to L.A. and ready to get serious.
The Dirty Tees have remixed songs by Two Door Cinema Club, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and La Roux, recently adding the official remix of Natasha Bedingfield’s Touch to their list of accomplishments.
When describing their own sound, Freeman offers,“Someone said to me before it’s like Coldplay remixed. You know how Coldplay has, like, a really emotional element, where a lot of people can relate to it, not necessarily just through [the] lyrics but also through the chord progression and just the overall texture of the music, you know? So that’s something we almost model our own music after.”
They also take inspiration from some of their other favourite bands, like U2 and Sigur Rós. Mississauga band Pilot Speed is another huge influence on the Dirty Tees’ music. Though Pilot Speed doesn’t have the following some of their other influences do, Peters has their lyrics tattooed on his arm, and Freeman cites the lead singer Todd Clark as the model for his own voice on some of their tracks. The boys admit that they would love to work with Clark one day – they also joke about working with teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.
“I’m a Justin fan,” Freeman laughs. “He’s so ballin’ considering how young he is…. I don’t see how people cannot have respect for him.” Freeman also adds that collaborating is the new way for artists to get noticed among the throng of competition. “One thing we really learned when we were down there [in L.A.] was that since the music industry’s changing so much, people need to work together in order to sustain themselves, to keep relevant, and push something forward,” says Freeman. “It’s more of a movement now, rather than just stars up here doing their own thing.”
Freeman and Peters were hoping for a push when they sent their video, “Where We Are”, to Natasha Bedingfield’s husband, hoping for someone to help them break onto the music scene. He liked their sound so much he sent one of Bedingfield’s latest singles over for the them to remix. It took off from there, and they flew down to L.A. to work on more music with the pop star.“We just worked [on] six songs in five days. Just pumped out so much music,” says Peters.
The Tees first released their own tracks last year. “We were the only people that each other knew that actually produced music,” says Peters. “Both of us know how to play everything, we’re both trained percussionists, but we taught ourselves to play guitar and bass. We kind of noodled our way around, figuring out recording and all that fun stuff.”
What started as a side project, is now taking centre stage. They’re focusing on producing their music for now, and as their fan base grows they plan to play more concerts, like their upcoming St. Patrick’s Day show at Zu Bar.
“We’re going to be playing some unreleased tracks,” Freeman notes. “So it will be a lot of new music people haven’t heard before. And we’ll just see how the audience really responds to it. Get some good vibes, hopefully.” And who knows – maybe someone will be remixing some of these new songs soon.