I sat down with Taylor Dittman of Doom Scroll to chat touring, podcasts, and what the future holds for the band.
We finally did it! We finally found the time!
Mars: It didn’t take almost 2 months!!!
Taylor: I’m excited!
Mars: So where should we start? How about “where are you from?”
Taylor: I am from Wyoming, I grew up in Wyoming – Rock Springs, Wyoming. It’s a really fun place to be from [laughs] Then I moved to Fort Collins, and grew up the majority of my formative years in Fort Collins, I would say from like, 14, to like, now.
Mars: What was your first exposure to folk punk?
Taylor: I used to play music on the street, I used to busk for rent money when I was 18 and didn’t have a job [laughs] so I would play with my friends on street corners for money.
Mars: What was your first instrument?
Taylor: I first played the bongos.[Laughs]
Mars: I love it!
Taylor: With my friends, there was just a random sundry of instruments around, and then I played the guitar for a little bit, then I got a washboard and played washboard.
Mars: Are your hands as fast on guitar as they are on washboard?
Taylor: Uh, no my strumming…its a whole different muscle! I can strum decently on a guitar, I can’t play anything from Doom Scroll on guitar. [Laughs]
Mars: Well yeah, that’s P’s job!
Taylor: Yeah, that’s P’s job! [laughs]
Mars: Well speaking of Doom Scroll, how would you compare the different types of crowds you pulled when you toured with Apes of the State versus Holy Locust?
Taylor: They were booked so differently, because the Holy Locust tour that we went on was booked through an agent, so we did a lot of big shows, a lot of big venues. Apes of the State was definitely DIY all the way, so it was house shows, and small venues, and it was all-ages. I would say I like the Apes of the State style of tour a lot more, in the way the crowds showed up. ‘Cause there were a lot of young kids, ready to show up and rage for the music as opposed to big venues where it was a lot of people there to drink. [laughs] So that was the big difference I noticed.
Mars: I have to say, having seen both, I also preferred the Apes shows…Apes puts on good shows.
Mars: How does it feel gaining so much traction on TikTok?
Taylor: Oh yeah, that was really weird. It still weirds me out, that so many people have seen me play washboard on TikTok. I just one day was like, “you know what? I’m just gonna…” Y’know I ask people all the time if they want me to play washboard for them and they just look at me like I’m crazy, for lack of a better word? I mean, they look at me like “absolutely not, who is this person?” I can never just whip out a washboard and show people how good I am at it, so thats the reason why I did it. I still don’t understand why it got big. I’m still processing the whole TikTok thing.
Mars: It’s pleasantly surprising.
Mars: I saw the Emmett Otter Jug Bang Christmas TikTok you made, and it warmed my little heart.
Taylor: I had never seen that before, and someone mentioned it on TikTok and I watched it and it was cute. So of course I had to cover it.
Mars: To be honest, Emmett Otter’s jug band was my first exposure to folk punk.
Taylor: [Laughs] I could see it. Its a solid jug band, it’s a solid little band.
Mars: So, the Doom Scroll touring van, does that thing fit through drive thrus?
Taylor: Yeah, it does! Barely. It’s got like two inches to spare. It won’t fit in a lot of covered parking.
Mars: That van is amazing.
Taylor: Yeah it’s so nice.
Mars: Do you ever do any of the driving?
Taylor: I try not to drive, we have people in the band who love to drive and then if we’re like on a 10 hour haul, then yeah, I’ll do some of it. I don’t like to drive personally, thats too much responsibility for my anxiety to handle.
Mars: Fair enough!! Do y’all take turns choosing the music, or the podcast, or whatever?
Taylor: Driver’s choice.
Mars: Ah, nice.
Taylor: And the van’s so big, the driver can be blaring music and you can be in the back with headphones on and you can’t even hear it.
Mars: What would you put on as Driver DJ?
Taylor: I make everybody listen to podcasts with me, I like to listen to, like, Freakanomics, and This American Life, and some Crime Junkies, some horror podcasts in there, some murder…
Mars: Just a little bit of murder.
Taylor: Just a little bit of murder with my economics radio. I make them listen to the boring stuff on NPR.
Mars: Hey now, I love NPR. I listen every morning and get my little recap.
Taylor: I love that.
Mars: What would you say is your favorite part about touring?
Taylor: Lets see. It’s not gas station bathrooms.
Mars: Oh no.
Taylor: That’s most of what you see on tour, gas stations. But I think my favorite part of tour is comparing the different scenes to each other. Like, you kinda get to see a little snippet of a city’s population and how they respond to music. So like, in Denver, the scene is very chanty, I don’t know how to explain this, like, if you’re playing in Denver they wanna chant. So you can start a chant with them and they’ll chant back. Or like, when we were in, where were we, I feel like it was somewhere on the west coast – everyone was clapping, they were a very clappy scene. It’s very interesting the little, slightly different nuances across the scenes…
Mars: You’re absolutely right, though! I’m making the connection – every scene brings something different to the table, I’m thinking back on a show I went to in Portland [Oregon] and they really big on stomping.
Taylor: Yeah, and then there’s the lighter crowds, the crowds that pull out their lighters, it’s always so different everywhere you play, just slight differences that make every place unique and special.
Mars: What’s your go-to gas station snack on the topic of touring?
Mars: Yes! I’m so glad I’m not the only pickle person. They’re so good!
Mars: Okay, last question about touring and gas stations – what’s your favorite truck stop?
Mars: Are you a Flying J? Loves? Pilot?
Taylor: You know what, I experienced a…what was it called, Chuckey’s…Buccees!!! Thats what its called! That was the most bizarre place I’ve ever been to. I think I was awestruck by the…the whole nine yards.
Mars: That place is surreal.
Taylor: It’s like a fever dream. You step out of the van and you’re like “where are we?” It’s like the Walmart of gas stations. I was so confused. But their bathrooms were immaculate! It was so weird. I would have to say, just from that experience, that was my first time going to Buccee’s, but I was like, “I wish all gas stations were as clean as this one.
Mars: They do have nice bathrooms.
Taylor: Immaculate. I could hang out in the stall for a hot minute and not have to worry about anything.
Mars: You don’t have to like, put your foot against the door to keep it closed.
Taylor: Nope! [laughs]
Mars: So does it feel like you’re in a folk punk supergroup?
Taylor: [Laughs] We came together with the joke that were a supergroup but we’re just people that have played music in some capacity for the past ten years…I mean, I wouldn’t say we’re not a supergroup because we’re all so cool. [Laughs] I think we just have all just played music for so long that getting together and actually touring, thats a hard thing to find, actual musicians that can tour, so the fact that we can all get together and tour, we can all get along decently, and hang out. I think thats what makes it more of a supergroup than being quote-unquote “famous folk punkers”, I don’t know what makes a supergroup but usually its famous people, and we’re definitely not that.
Mars: I would say Doom Scroll is like the Spice Girls of the scene. [laughs]
Taylor: [Laughs] Okay I can go with that! That’s great, I’d love to be the Spice Girls of the scene. It sounds way less…whats the word, pompous? I feel like the word supergroup gets thrown around out there and we’re all like, “No! Thats absolutely not what we are.”
Mars: Okay, but that means you all have to choose a spice.
Taylor: Okay, I’m down, we can do the Spice Girls, I’ll pitch it to the group. I’ll make them all take a picture in regards to their Spice Girl.
Mars: I’d love to hear back on that! For some reason here in my notes I wrote “grey cat” in all caps…you have a grey cat, correct?
Taylor: I do have a gray cat!
Mars: I have 2 grey cats, so I’m a bit of a connoisseur of grey cats, what’s your grey cat’s name?
Taylor: His name is Mordecai. His unofficial name is Meow Meow, I yell Meow Meow and he comes running.
Mars: I have Baron and Costco Hotdog.
Taylor: Aww, thats cute!
Mars: Besides music, what do you wish people would ask you about?
Taylor: Huh…[long pause] Wow, I don’t know! I recently quit my job to do music full time and make art full time.
Taylor: So I don’t know, I’ve thought about music and art so much in the past three months I haven’t really thought about much else. I dunno…I mean I enjoy an array of different things beyond music and art. I worked in healthcare for a long time and would really like to see more people put more effort into funding mental health and healthcare and society.
Mars: I saw you were recently making patches.
Taylor: Yeah, yeah, and I make a lot of the merch for Doom Scroll.
Mars: Did you make the underwear?
Taylor: I did, I did make the underwear.
Mars: I didn’t get a pair and I live with that regret.
Taylor: We will make more in the future!
Mars: Speaking of doing music full-time, what do you foresee for the future of Doom Scroll?
Taylor: We’re definitely touring a bunch this year. We have at least two tours planned. Some with some friend bands but we’re not allowed to announce yet but I’m very excited, and we’re doing a midwest tour.
Mars: East coast maybe?
Taylor: Maybe, we’re doing a midwest tour and then we might do a midwest-loop-to-the-east-coast little jaunt next tour? That one is still in the works. But I know for a fact we’re hitting the midwest in April-ish. So that’s exciting. We’re working on like, four music videos right now, and we’re getting vinyl pressed this year so we’ll have vinyl. We’ve also got a new EP coming out that we’re also pressing on vinyl as well. It’s a very exciting year for Doom Scroll.
Mars: That is exciting! Do you think you’ll continue making music with Elliott [Lozier] under Hermit Stew?
Taylor: So yeah, that’s also is a fun thing thats happening right now, Elliott is actually currently recording in the other room of the house, I don’t know if you can hear those sweet guitar licks through the walls…he’s recording right now and I think he’s putting out as Hermit Stew. We’re gonna do an all electric album. I’ll probably just sing on it, I don’t think there will be sick electric washboard on that album. So thats another thing thats in the works. It’s a lot of old Atrocity Solution songs and some We the Heathens songs that didn’t make the cut, and so its like, all Elliott basically.
Mars: Tell Elliott I’m nudging for Rah Goes The Dragon, and I’m pretty sure Stufy is too.
Taylor: Yeah, we should do that one.
Mars: I would love for that song to get a resurgence.
Taylor: I’ll let him know.
Mars: Finally, what are some of your influences?
Taylor: Well my first band that I fell in love with was Green Day, back in the day when I was like, 12. Love some Insomniac. I think that just spiralled me into the alternative kid universe. Then I was really into emo kid stuff as well, I really like Taking Back Sunday and the Used and all of that great, great music. Then when I was like 16, when I was busking for money with my friends, we’d play lots of Mischief Brew. So I’d say Mischief Brew was what threw me into folk punk.
Mars: Yeah…Erik Petersen’s birthday was a couple days ago…Wow, I made myself sad. I’m so sorry.
Taylor: Let’s end this on the saddest note ever. [laughs]
Mars: Right? And I have nothing else to segue into!
Taylor: Its okay, it’s a very sad tragedy and that’s why mental health and rehabilitation matters.