Bill Dress (aka Two Feet) after the concert, during our intrerview
Photo by Amelia Zeve
The first thing I noticed at the Two Feet concert on Tuesday was the bass. At most concerts I’ve been to in the Seattle area, the bass is obviously a key part of the experience, but at the Two Feet concert at Nuemos, the bass was the experience. As my +1 and I snaked through the densely packed, sold-out dancefloor, I could feel my teeth rattling in my mouth, my entire body quaking as the sheer intensity of the music seemed to push its way upwards and outwards, through me, through the crowd, through the stylistically grungy interior of Nuemos, and up into the overcast Seattle sky. Either that, or the bass was so loud that it caused me to astral project… I haven’t figured out which yet.
Two Feet during his Seattle concert
Photo by Amelia Zeve
Bill Dress, better known by his stage alias Two Feet, is a Harlem-based producer/singer/multi-instrumentalist (with talent in all of the areas, as he demonstrated at his Seattle show) who’s currently touring across the country. In between his setlist (which included songs like “Go F*ck Yourself,” the 2015 indie-electronic bop that put him on the charts), he gave us a quick taste of what he’d been going through. “I didn’t think we were gonna make it to this show,” he said, strumming a light melody on the red and white electric guitar loosely slung around his neck. “We were driving through the desert, and the radiator to our sh**ty van broke. I thought we were gonna be stuck out there, but then this kid—” he gestured to his tourmate, Geoffrey Hufford, who was producing the beats to back Dress’ guitar and vocals during the live show, who smiled and waved out at the crowd, “—got back there and fixed it.” Dress then went on to detail how Hufford figured out some way to tape the radiator back together, saving their “sketchy” van and helping stretch its lifespan until Seattle… only to discover after a quick Google search that the radiator was highly toxic, and shouldn’t be handled by a human. “So hopefully he doesn’t die,” Dress said into the mic, the crowd tittering in response. Hufford waved once again, smiling broadly. The two boys on stage exchanged a smile at eachother, and then segued smoothly into the start of one of his more popular songs. The crowd yelled wildly, their voices quickly lost in the loud thrum of the bass.
Bill Dress during his Seattle performance – red solo cup in hand
Photo by Amelia Zeve
A lot of the concert felt like that—Dress would give some sort of a monologue, interact with the crowd, laugh with his friend onstage, and then perform one of his songs. His music is undeniably sexy, grungy, and laden with enough curse words that definitely feels like a “screw-you” anthem to everyone who’s ever done you wrong—which is sort of how Two Feet felt onstage. He prefaced each of the songs with the sort of anger that translates so clearly in his music; some of them to exes, some of them to broken down vans, and some of them to his management. He spent a good ten minutes before playing his last song of the set, his wildly popular “Go F**k Yourself,” ripping into the company that manages him.
Bill Dress during his Seattle performance
Photo by Amelia Zeve
Onstage, Two Feet’s personality was both different than what I expected, but also exactly the mental image I’d painted of him. From his music, which is littered with soft, breathy vocals and haunting blues guitar, I expected Dress to be similar to the quiet, Mac DeMarco type softboy that’s so present in the music scene today. The performance I got when I walked onto the crowded dance floor of Nuemos was one from someone who was angry, someone who had a story to tell, and someone who wasn’t going to let anyone stand in the way of that journey. “A few years ago,” Dress said at one point during his performance, in between songs, “I was on the streets of New York City, living on three dollars a day. Asking people for a dollar just so I could buy a f**king cup of coffee.” He leaned close into the mic, the crowd silencing and leaning in towards him, wanting more of his story. “And then I uploaded some tracks online… and my whole f**king life changed. Because of my fans. Because of you guys.” The crowd went wild, yelling his name. I smiled, feeling the energy of the room crackle with excited, positive energy. Or, once again… maybe that was the bass.
I found myself wanting more after the show ended—an hourlong slot simply wasn’t enough time to get to know Two Feet, his story, and his music. So I pushed through an excited crowd of fangirls, asked the right people if I could slip backstage and chat with him on behalf of KXSU, and then, ten minutes later, I found myself in the catacombs of Nuemos, staring in awe at the environment around me, sitting directly across from Two Feet, an artist who I’d been listening to since sophomore year of high school. Saying that I astral projected and felt like I dreamed that moment was an understatement.
L-R: Geoffrey Hufford and Bill Dress in the Green Room at Nuemos, unwinding after their performance. (Side note: the Nuemos green room is incredibly cool – the panel wall, like the one behind the boys, is signed by every band who has ever toured there.)
Photo by Amelia Zeve
What we did was technically an interview, but it felt much more informal than that. Dress was tinkering with his guitar, playing light melodies, while Hufford walked around the room, offering refreshments to the crewmates, to Dress, and even to me (which I excitedly but politely declined). I turned the mic on my phone on, tilted it towards Dress, and sat back in the comfy green room at Nuemos to hear about his tour so far.
After I gave the crew a little background on what KXSU was and who I was, I asked them about their previous show in Seattle—a show at the Crocodile in early March of 2017. “We had a really great crowd,” Dress said when I asked him about his experience at the Crocodile. “I mean, the city is really nice, the people—you know, everyone who works at this venue [Nuemos] is really nice, and so was everyone who worked at that venue.”
“They have good pizza,” Hufford added, and we all laughed.
Bill Dress’ at his LA show
Photo courtesy of @la_mapguy on Instagram for Entertainment Voice
Two Feet’s persona offstage was very sweet and thoughtful, and a lot more subdued than his onstage presence might suggest. When you were speaking to him, he held intense eye contact, giving you a kind of attention and focus that made it feel like the two of us were the only ones in the room.
I asked him about his tour (which he was nine days into), and what his life looked like over the next few months while he finished out the tour. He was about to have what he and his bandmates dubbed a “sanity break,” which was essentially a short stop back in NYC to keep their stamina up and help them “retain their sanity” in between grueling shows. When I asked him what he was most excited to do during his so-called ‘sanity break,’ he told me that he was “looking forward to relaxing with his friends and family in New York City. You get enough excitement on the road that I, you know, go eat dinner with my grandma a lot.” His eyes lit up when he said this, and I found myself smiling at him, mirroring his expressions. The idea of this sort of rock-star persona sitting down to eat dinner with his grandma was an unexpected one, but an endearing one just the same. “She’s a sweetie,” he said. Dress told me she was from Harlem, just like he was.
A photo from @twofeet’s Instagram of his awesome grandma, mimosa in hand. Photo courtesy of Two Feet’s instagram
Two Feet’s west coast tour has been entirely sold-out, starting with a show in LA and ending with one in Portland. This speaks volumes to the kind of fan following he has—people dedicated enough to find time in the week to come see him and sell out his show, even if it was on a random weeknight. I didn’t want to keep him and his crew for too long, as I knew they had a big night behind them (and a commute still as well), but when I asked him if he had any favorite moments from the tour, his first response was the audience watching him. Two Feet’s care for his fanbase is apparent, and the feeling goes both ways. “Towards the end of my show, the audience really got into it,” he told me, “I think it had a very nice curve to it. Like I said, the people here are wonderful, and the people who work at this venue are wonderful, and so it just worked out really nicely.”
Young Dress, showing his musical talents at a young age.
Photo courtesy of Two Feet’s instagram
When I asked him if he had any advice for any other musicians who might be in what his shoes were a few years ago, he told me to “not listen to any friends who say negative things and keep believing in yourself and your work. It’s super cheesy and cliché, but it’s the only thing that works in this world, so, yeah. That’s my advice.”
I left the venue feeling warm and fuzzy, happy I got the opportunity to chat with such a cool, down-to-earth person. No matter where Two Feet’s musical skills take him, I had a feeling that myself—and everyone else who was in Neumos that night—will be following in his footsteps.
AMELIA ZEVE | I needed two feet and two hands to get this article in on time | KXSU Arts Reporter