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La Dispute talk new film ‘Tiny Dots’: “It was very gratifying”

When you look back at 2015, it’s been an admittedly quiet year for La Dispute. They’ve had a lot of time apart and not been quite as relentless in work as in previous years. But, as Adam Vass notes, “It’s nice to have a little reset occasionally and get back together feeling fresh and excitable again.”

One thing that can perhaps fill the La Dispute shaped hole in many a fan’s life these last few months is the release of their new DVD, ‘Tiny Dots’. The feature-length release takes fans on the road alongside them, but began as entirely different concept following the release of 2014’s album ‘Rooms of the House’.

”The DVD was originally conceived as a performance piece,” explains Adam. “We were going to do alternate arrangements of all of the ‘Rooms’ songs, and a smattering of older tracks, each played in different locations or with different instruments or what have you – basically reimagine all these things in new context. 

”But as we started dealing with the logistics of that, and Niall [the director] joined our tour getting footage of shows and us backstage and stuff, the film transitioned from a performance to a documentary.

”Niall’s direction had a lot to do with this transition as well. He had a vision and we tried to help him reach that, with the interviews and the extra footage we captured when he wasn’t there, that sort of thing. So, the DVD changed completely, and the decision to make a documentary wasn’t exactly a deliberate one, but it’s one that eventually produced ‘Tiny Dots’, a result I still am happy with.”

Without delving into a point-by-point breakdown of their documentary, one thing rings out clearly: the community of fans they’ve built up. While the release itself is one that will give fans an opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of La Dispute as they tour, it also begins with their stories.

It seems that the ultimate dream in creating music is to build a connection with even one person, so as the footage begins with not one but several fans telling their own stories – some deeply personal, others on their hours of driving for that one show – it’s a nice way of welcoming you into the little world La Dispute have created. It’s a passionate world, dedicated and the kind of vibe that most music lovers will recognise.

“This was a very gratifying part of the film, and one I didn’t see until I actually was getting drafts of the documentary, since I wasn’t the one conducting those interviews or filming those segments. It was a pleasant surprise, and it’s always nice to be reminded that your work doesn’t take place in a vacuum, it has power to influence people or illicit an emotional response, which was one of the many reasons we write songs to begin with. It’s validating to know people receive our work in such a powerful way.”

But with the good comes reality, and it’s one element La Dispute don’t shirk as they progress. The road can be relentless, and a social life at home can be compromised by spending most of the year in all corners of the globe – it’s all about finding a balance. “I am certainly no expert on finding that balance,” he admits. “I have had to very actively seek that happiness. It’s easy to be lazy, or to just sound check, play, load out, sleep. 

”I’ve been focusing on doing at least one thing per day that makes me happy as an individual, whether that be working on my personal work, finding a nice coffee shop or vegan restaurant, or spending time with someone in town I wouldn’t ordinarily get to spend time with. Those moments help me break up some of the monotony of tour and keep me from falling in a rut, one that I and the others have fallen in many times before.”

’Tiny Dots’ captures La Dispute on the road, but with lots of other pieces brought in to complete that full picture. It’s fun, it’s emotive, and it’s a must for fans of both the band, and music in general. For anyone who has ever gone to a show and lost themselves momentarily in the music, the atmosphere, or even just the crowd alls with one shared love, this is a celebration of music and the journey it can take you on.

Taken from the December issue of Upset, out now – order your copy here. La Dispute’s documentary ’Tiny Dots’ is out now.