DFW Music News

The World Is a Beautiful Place's Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak: "We're Used to Small Spaces"

Sure, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die might someday make a list called "All-Time Most Emo Band Names." But before such a dismissive listicle appears, the eight-piece band is incredibly busy and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Still touring off of last year's highly acclaimed Whenever, If Ever, the band will be at the Prophet Bar on Friday night.

Guitarist Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak took time to speak with DC9 at Night a few days ago as the band traveled through Arizona. He discussed the band's immediate and future plans, the bands that got him into the music he loves and the importance of seeing bands in the now.

DC9 at Night:The last time the band was in Dallas, there was a mention between songs of two albums in the works. What is the status of those said records?

Shanholtzer-Dvorak: We just finished recording an eight-song EP called Between Bodies. It's a collaboration with Chris Zizzamia, a spoken word artist. He was with us on that tour. I'm not sure he was at the Dallas show. That record is finished and coming out this fall. Currently, we've been writing our second full-length. It should hopefully be out sometime next year.

The last Dallas show was at Sons of Hermann Hall. Did you know that part of the original Robocop was filmed there?

Wait, part of Robocop was filmed there?

Yeah! Evan Weiss mentioned it at the show, but it's hard to tell the police station was filmed in the place. You just have to accept it as fact.

I can't believe I'm finding that out until now. [laughs]

Fellow kindred spirits Tiny Moving Parts and Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) frequently play the DFW area. Is there anything in particular you like about the area that keeps you coming back so often?

Our shows are really good every time we've been through the area. Kids seem really into it. We just have a good time.

Didn't you play 1919 Hemphill in Fort Worth?

Yes! The first time we were in the area, last summer.

How did you fit onto the "stage" there? [laughs]

I think we sort of just spread out. As I remember it, it was just a floor. We've gotten used to fitting into weird and small spaces.

It seems like your band and those other bands are living purely for the moment and doing their bands to the highest, reasonable degree as possible. Could you cite anything in particular for the World Is . . . that drives you to do the band this way?

We've been doing this since 2009 and we've always done things on our own terms. The growth of the band has been really organic. We haven't been shooting for the stars, or anything. Every time we come back on tour, the promoters put us in bigger rooms. More kids are showing up. We're rolling with it as it happens. Rather than be [like], "We need to be doing bigger and better things," it's like, "Oh, cool. This is gonna happen."

It's obvious that this music and the personalities behind it are coming from a genuine place. Unlike when Fall Out Boy was at the peak of their popularity, I was so disgusted and I wanted to listen to my Braid records.

Yeah, definitely. I was the same way when the Fall Out Boy singles were playing everywhere I went.

Who are some bands you would cite as gateway bands that have had the most influence on your music?

When I was 14, 15, I listened to a lot of regular punk bands and then I heard At the Drive-In for the first time. I was like, "This is wild." Stuff like At the Drive-In and Isis. They opened up to me that you can do anything. There are no rules.

Did you ever get to see At the Drive-In live?

No, I didn't actually. When I was in high school, a bunch of my friends were going up to see At the Drive-In play in Pittsburgh. I couldn't go and my parents wouldn't let me go on a school night. Two people I knew went and turns out it was the last time they toured. So we all fucked up.

What I stress to people is go out and see the bands that are really inspiring you now. Because in 15 years, people will say, "You saw that show? That's awesome!"

Yeah! [laughs] I was really into Planes Mistaken for Stars and I got to see them a few times before they broke up. They were incredible every time. I saw the Paper Chase play in a small DIY room to 25 people. I had never heard of the Paper Chase at the time. The Paper Chase ended up later on turning me onto Explosions in the Sky. John [Congleton] produced the Modest Mouse record. It was really weird to see him and think, "I saw your band on a floor."

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We're taking the rest of the summer off from touring to write our next full-length. We're recording stuff for splits that will come out next year. This fall, we'll do another full U.S. tour.

The World Is plays the Prophet Bar on Friday, June 27, with Dark Rooms and mewithoutYou.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs