For D.C. locals, Redline Graffiti might sound like a reference to the oldest Metro line in the city, but according to their front-man and bassist, Dave Moten, that’s only one of three meanings behind the collective’s name. It also refers to ‘redlining’, pushing a vehicle’s speed to the limit, in addition to race-based housing discrimination.
Much like their name, the band is also known for creating multi-faceted music. Moten does all of the writing, which he told us is less of a job and more of a creative release. Their newest album, The Mere Souls, which released in September of this year, is about the concept of time and life’s brevity. Themes of regret, lust and redemption run throughout the album.
If you thought that being the sole person responsible for generating creative content for a band would be a stressful job, think again. Moten said the key to success in writing is not taking criticism too harshly from anyone and trusting his band mates to be honest about the stuff he brings to the table.
“The number of people who have never heard of you, or don’t like it, always outweighs the number of people who do,” said Moten.
The band, which has been fully formed since 2011, has played nearly every venue that they’ve wanted to in D.C. (except for The Anthem). Dave’s home in Brookland has even turned into a venue since moving in with musicians.
Though he says that Redline Graffiti’s sound is not directly derived from influences in the city, two of the band’s members are D.C. natives.
“D.C. drummers have a distinct sound; a groove that is unique to here that they play with,” Moten said about the band’s classically-trained jazz drummer, Dante Pope.
While D.C. will always be Redline Graffiti’s home, Moten shared that the band is exploring new avenues. Their goal is to get booked in California and Europe in the new year. As a veteran band in the District, they find themselves offering knowledge and words of wisdom to new groups hoping to make it in the local music scene.
“We’re the band that newer bands can ask about doing their thing around here. Hopefully we are becoming a resource for other musicians.”
Catch Redline Graffiti’s last show of 2017 on December 23 at 9:30 Club.