Artist Interview: Filtered Gems EP by The Dust Collectors

From casual jam sessions to playing shows all over Calgary, the best friends that make up The Dust Collectors have released their six track EP titled Filtered Gems. The folk-rock band came together and self-produced the project, taking inspiration from genres such as country and rock and the band Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Their creativity and ability to let other band members take the lead on different tracks keeps them interesting and versatile.

We had a moment to talk with The Dust Collectors’ bass player Steve Rozitis and the process of creating their EP, their 2023 goals, advice to younger artists, and more!

Q&A with Steve Rozitis of The Dust Collectors

Q: How has the past year been for you? Any highlights?

ROZITIS: How has the past year been for you? Any highlights?
The past year has been a whirlwind for us. On the heels of our first single and EP release, we’re eagerly anticipating the release of our next EP, and first full-length LP on vinyl this Summer.

Q: Can you talk about the indie folk-rock scene in Calgary?

ROZITISI: There are so many amazing artists in Calgary, the talent pool runs pretty deep. From the new Mike Tod album to the country swinging sounds of Red Hot Hayseeds, there are some real gems about to come out of Calgary real soon.

Q: You’ve got your new EP, Filtered Gems out now. Could you dive into how you landed on that title and the inspiration for the project?

ROZITIS: The inspiration for this EP was the softer, more rootsy/folky side of the band’s musical influences. The name came from how many tunes we’ve actually cut over the years, leaving only the “filtered gems” for your listening pleasure.

Q: “Take a Dive” is the lead folk single from Filtered Gems. What about this song made you decide to have it be track one and the lead single?

ROZITIS: The beauty of this song lies in its accessibility. Musical simplicity combined with linear storytelling, this one is easy on the ears and sounds familiar even on the first listen. It has an almost live, bar-room type feel that brings to mind feelings of libations and revelry, like you’re in an old Irish pub.

Q: The project was self produced with producer Pat Palardy at Public Lunch Studios in Calgary. Can you talk about what the production process was like and if the final product matched your initial vision for the project?

ROZITIS: Pat did all of the engineering and mixing, and we all had a say in terms of production. Being our first studio album, we were very open to new ideas and arrangements, and often tried new things out in real time as we were recording. For instance, even though I play bass in the band, in Old Number 9 Train I could “hear” these high harmonics and asked if I could try to make the sounds on a guitar. We ended up keeping them on the album, and same thing with the bigsby vibrato chords added to “Murder I Wrote”. Overall the production was very collaborative, and I think the end product exceeded all of our expectations.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger selves or young songwriters aspiring for a career in the music industry?

ROZITIS: We actually all have developed our careers outside of the music industry, and are well aware of the struggle it is to earn a living solely as an artist. The beauty of that is we get to make art for art’s sake. Finding that elusive balance between making art, and making a commercial product is a compromise we never wanted to make…

The best advice I could give is to find another way to earn a decent living, so the music that you make can be made strictly for art’s sake. The commercial approach and the artistic approach to songwriting are not mutually exclusive, but are often at odds.

Q: What does success as a band mean to you?

ROZITIS: Considering how well received this EP has been so far, we’ve already well exceeded our expectations. Success for us was simply putting this out into the world, and the fact that people are enjoying it is just icing on the cake.

Q: What are some of your goals – whether musically or otherwise – for 2023?

ROZITIS: Well our next EP, Hanlon’s Razor, is coming out this spring, and the physical album will be released in June both digitally and on vinyl. After that we’re already looking forward to getting back in the studio for some recording later this year. Our musical goal from the very beginning is to play Calgary Folk Festival, so we’re working hard to make waves on that front.

Reviewed & Interviewed by Katie Power





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