New Science Projects' Dale Jones may look like a dirty, bloody, undead mess when he's performing—he screams at his audiences and belts out songs about demons, death and his "evil heart" like a man possessed. But, in reality, Jones is far from a mess. And it's not the devil that makes him do what he does, either.
It's the music. Or so he says.
"It's not like I'm playing some character," Jones says. "It's the music that makes me like that."
Well, the 20-year-old bluesman's songs are packed with enough gritty realism that they may as well have been penned by some grizzled gravedigger who has shoveled more than his fair share of dirt. And people have been paying more and more attention to his music and performances as of late.
Three weeks ago, Jones' grimy, greased-up mug landed on the front flap of local weekly publication Quick. A week later, New Science Projects garnered a nomination for our own 2009 Dallas Observer Music Awards in the category of Best Experimental/Avant-Garde Act. Then, last week, Jones won the award for Big Solo Artist at Quick's Big Thing.
Of the whirlwind week and a half, Jones says he didn't get to enjoy any of it. He was too busy preparing to leave on tour with Christian Medrano of Arlington's Kids of Cons.
But, fact is, with people's interests perked, Jones' local shows are starting to draw larger crowds. Most recently, a large crowd packed into J & J's Pizza for Gutterth Productions' official album release show for New Science Projects' new four-song 7-inch, Poison Culture.
"The recent publicity certainly hasn't hurt," Gutterth's Michael Briggs says. "That was probably the most packed I've ever seen that basement."
Speaking of basements, Jones says that playing the recent award show at the Granada made him "uncomfortable": "I'm used to playing basements and living rooms," he says. "I'm not used to seeing people in suits eating hummus off of shiny silver platters."
Instead, he prefers playing more, well, unusual, intimate affairs. By the second day of his current tour, he had stumbled into a last-minute gig at a public library in Fayetteville, Arkansas—playing for 8- to 12-year-old kids. Obviously, Jones played a more down-tempo, less in-your-face set than his typical.
"The library show was horrible—and exciting—because some of the little kids heckled me," Jones says. "When people my age do that, I can heckle them back, but I couldn't do that with the kids. I'm used to being able to run up to people and get in their face. Yesterday, we went into this 24-hour laundromat and had an impromptu show while these old folks were doing their undies."