Meet the Dry River Yacht Club

Kristilyn DRYC 300MusicaNova president Bob Altizer spoke with DRYC’s Kristilyn Woods about the group’s history and influences.

How did you happen to come together in 2007?  Were you all in school together, gigging at the same club, or what?

We came together through mutual friendships. The bassoonist worked with the singer, who was in a band with the original guitar player, and he worked with our original cellist. The singer was also in another band with the bass clarinetist and drummer. 

Do you now play all original material?  Any covers or classics?  What style or repertoire did you play when you first got together?

We play almost exclusively original material, and that has always been the case. Writing is what brings us together and keeps us playing. We didn’t start doing covers until a few years into our existence.  Our first cover was actually Ennio Morricone’s “Ecstasy of Gold” (from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). Other covers come and go based on who is in the band and how much we like the song. Recently we were inspired by David Bowie’s passing to work up a cover of “Heroes.” 

When we first started playing, we wrote very sweet, quiet, artsy songs that went over really well at small venues. After we added a drummer and started playing bigger and bigger stages, the sound had to grow to fill up the space and get people moving. It’s been a constant evolution. We do regularly play some of the very first songs we ever wrote, but they have a different feel now, and a lot of the quieter songs have fallen out of favor.

What groups, orchestras, soloists, and composers are your big influences?

One of the best things about our band is that every single person has their own influences, and they bring that energy and style to their songwriting. It’s what gives DRYC such an eclectic sound. Our drummer is really into electronic dance music, the guitar player is a straight-ahead rock guy. The trombone player is a fan of anything with a great horn line, and the violinist is into bluegrass/country inspired indie rock. The singer loves musicals and was classically trained, the bass player is really versatile and can play in basically any style to compliment whatever song we’re forming. The bassoonist feels her songwriting style is probably most influenced by The Beatles, Modest Mouse, and Stravinsky.

Is the personnel list you sent the original lineup, or has personnel changed over the years?  If so, how frequently? 

Over the last 9 years the band has gone through several in lineup, which includes changes in instrumentation. Only the singer and bassoonist have been in the band since the very beginning, and the drummer joined shortly after the project was started. People leave when their lives take them in a different direction. We never really “replace” anyone, we just add a new person to the mix. And we never have auditions, people are brought into the group based on relationships and their talents. We’re kind of like a family business in that way. In the past, DRYC has also included cello, viola, French horn, and tuba. It would be great to get everyone on the same stage one day, we’d definitely be a force to be reckoned with.

Do your members play in any other group, like theater pit bands. sitting in with symphonies, or church gigs?

Yes, half of us are professional musicians who actively gig and play with other bands around town (Wyves, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, Everyday Players, and The Henry Co. to name a few). The bassoonist is the only classical musician in the group, and she plays with the Phoenix Symphony, West Valley, Symphony of the Southwest, and whoever else will have her.

What are some of the “day jobs” (if any) of the members?  Does any of you teach in a school, conservatory, or privately?

We have a mortgage broker, a research analyst, and a substitute teacher in the group. The bassoonist has a studio of private bassoon students and teaches at Grand Canyon University. The drummer teaches a course at Mesa Community College and also has a private lesson studio.

How much does DRYC travel outside Arizona?  Are you a favorite opener for groups who come to Phoenix?

DRYC did tour for several years, but these days we mostly play within Arizona. We do open for a lot of touring bands, but recently we’ve preferred playing local festivals and headlining our own shows.

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