Deli Magazine


Where Is My Mind?: The Districts' Rob Grote

- by Q.D. Tran

I’ve been going back through our earlier posts about The Districts to put together the intro to this interview. It really almost feels like yesterday when I came into the old HotBox Studios to check out our first collaboration together with Lushlife for our Choice/Cuts video series. Matt Smith was excited to show me footage of an in-studio session that they did with a high school band from Central Pennsylvania. Obviously, we now know that they were The Districts, and the video was their performance of “Funeral Beds,” which eventually went viral two separate times on Reddit. Soon after, they were victorious in our bi-monthly Featured Artist(s) Poll. The band also won the hearts of our Deli editors in other cities in the Open Submissions round of our Year End Emerging Artists Poll 2012. In 2013, they spent a lot of their time winning over the Philly music community with each fiery live performance, and then came the big news that the group had signed to well-respected indie label Fat Possum Records. Since then, the floodgates have opened with offers to open for their hometown heroes Dr. Dog at the Electric Factory and tour with Austin rockers White Denim, who they are currently on the road with right now. So it wasn’t really a surprise to us, here at The Deli, when the votes came in, and The Districts unanimously became our Philly Emerging Artist of 2013. We had a chance to chat with frontman Rob Grote, before he left on tour, about the amazing experience that they had last year since moving to Philly, what’s next, and more, which you can check out below!
The Deli: How does it feel to just move to Philly and already feel accepted into the music community?
Rob Grote: It's been really great! I was just thinking the other night about how awesome it's been. A year ago, we were driving down to Philly many times a month from our hometown to play shows here, and it felt like such a foreign place that we were trying to break into or something. It's been so awesome that people have welcomed us. it feels like home now!
TD: What do you think the best advice to give someone would be who just moved here from a smaller place like Lititz, PA?
RG: I guess just kind of be open to things, and go to shows and museums, and make friends. It's got a totally different vibe than a small town, but Philly's a small enough city that it feels home-y, and you get to see familiar faces a lot.
TD: Your video session with HotBox Studios for “Funeral Bed” went viral and really got the ball rolling for you. What are some of the funniest comments that you’ve seen posted about it?
RG: Well, to be honest, after the first surprise about it, we stopped reading them, but there was a lot of hate on greasy hair and Mumford and Sons comments. Haha…we don't listen to them, but they have a lot of quarter note bass drum which that song also has so maybe that's it.
TD: You’ve been recording with Bill Moriarty, who has worked with some of your favorite artists like Dr. Dog and Man Man. What is the most important thing that you’ve learned from him that you’ll take with you into the studio moving forward?
RG: He really helped us tighten things up. He was really aware of really subtle things we were playing that might not have struck as strongly as they could, which definitely helped us grow musically. 
TD: Things have been moving fast for you. What happened in the past year that taught you a valuable lesson about the music business?
RG: I'm not quite sure. A lot of it is still kind of confusing and beyond us right now; we're still kind of waiting to see what happens from all of this. I think we'll be able to recognize lessons we've learned from the experience once the cloud of uncertainty settles a bit.
TD: You’ve put school off to see how this band thing goes. What were you thinking about majoring in college? What are you doing for day jobs now?
RG: I was going to go for English! I think the other guys were planning on starting out undeclared. We're all living off money we'd saved up for the most part right now. We'll probably work some odd jobs once we get a chunk of time after touring.
TD: Practically whenever I see you, you are wearing your “College” sweatshirt. Do you love John Belushi or the movie Animal House? Why does the sweatshirt obviously mean so much to you?
RG: He was certainly an awesome dude, and that movie's a good one, but honestly, the sweatshirt's just super comfy!
TD: You are about to hit the road with White Denim. What’s your favorite part about being on tour?
RG: I love getting to see new cities, eat different types of food like po’ boys in NOLA, and meeting tons of cool people and musicians!
TD: What are your plans for the rest of 2014 after tour ends?
RG: After tour, we're going to hang home for a little, and do some more recording, and then probably hit the road again a good bit before putting out a new full-length sometime late this year!






The Districts
The Districts