The Dear & Departed - What are they all about?

Dan Devour talks with Dan Smith and Jimmy Walsh
London, Barfly, UK

Dan Devour chats with Dan Smith and Jimmy Walsh of The Dear & the Departedabout their last album and the feel of their music.

Music Trespass: What was the concept behind your latest album ‘Every waking Moment’ and how does it relate to you as a band?

Dan Smith (Pictured) Photo by Dan Devour

Dan: The concept, I don’t know, I like to think that every concept for every band is that they write music they want to write. Its honest music, that's the only thing we really wanted to do. Display a collection of songs that we have been writing and into for a little bit. I think every song has a little bit of a different direction, but as a whole I think it was basically, an exciting way to put out a bunch of songs.

Music Trespass: Are a lot of songs from the heart?

Dan: Yeah I think its heartfelt, its honest, which is what it has to be. Anything thats not that, your kind of fooling yourself. I think its fun to tell a story, but personally, with the band we just try to do what we can do. We try and push ourselves, but I just think we do what we want to do, from our influence and whatever else. We just try to have fun with it and be ourselves first and fore-most.

Music Trespass: The songs on the album, were you working on them for quite a while?

Dan: A little while

Jimmy: There were songs that we had cooking for a while. A lot of them came together during the rehearsals. Theres a few that I wrote that I had been working on for a while, fine tuning it as best as I could. There were some other ones that came together towards the end. My favorite part of being in a band, is writing the music.

Music Trespass: The imagery of your record is like something out of nip tuck, how did you come up with the idea for the artwork?

Dan: Basically I’ve always been fascinated with the bands that have very memorable covers. A lot of the bands tha'ts we really like a lot, are all guilty of very memorable record covers. Ten to twenty years later, you can instantly say ‘oh that's that record’. Personally I just wanted to have something that was very memorable, got people thinking a little bit more maybe.

Jimmy Walsh (Pictured) Photo by Dan Devour

Music Trespass: It had a little bit a Placebo's artwork in it.

Dan: We love Placebo as a band, there probably one of my top 5 bands really. I love all there art, and I’ve always been inspired by them musically. A couple of other people have said that and thats great.

Music Trespass: The album was produced by Chad Gilbert, who did ‘Day to Remember’ and ‘New found Glory’, what do you think he brought to your sound?

Dan: What I loved about working with Chad is that he was a total outsider here. He’s defiantly very accomplished in what he’s done in his own life, but he’s really, really diverse to what he has worked with. And even though we don't sound like any other band that he has worked with, his experience and knowledge of music, writing songs, structures, has really helped us and complimented us. Having that outside opinion is kind of crucial, its probably something we couldn't have done on my own.

Music Trespass: When I was looking up your biographies, the thing i noticed was that he was very different from what you do? Was that a risk bringing him in?

Dan: Yeah it is, but were friends with Chad and he obviously has a very wide range of music influences and taste. I would hate for anybody to lump his producing style into the style of New found Glory, just because of the band, that doesn't make any sense. We were super happy with everything he’s done.

Music Trespass: I think he had brought a lot of direction to the band, with some of the choruses coming in.

Dan: Yeah, primarily he a sort of Pop writer, but we love all kinds of Pop music. Whether its early 80's darker Pop or something more relevant. He understands all of that stuff.

Music Trespass: What new Pop do you like?

Dan: Ladyhawk

Ladyhawk (Pictured Above)

Music Trespass: Just because I get to go see lots of different types of music, and a lot of people ask how can you go see Black Metal and then see something acoustic, I think every genre of music has a place in your life

Dan: Of course music is just the soundtrack to your life, and whatever your going through, whatever time it is in your life. Anybody that shuns other styles of music, obviously hasn't really experienced anything in there life yet or is pretty closed minded. Everybody that I know had the same upbringing. Your 15 and you think your going to take over the world so you listen to hard music, and then you grow up and mellow out a bit and listen to something a bit happier, and then you break up with your first girlfriend and listen to Joy Division. Music is there to accompany you through your life.

Music Trespass: If you had to pick a song off the new record, that your life was most affected by, what one would you say it would be?

Dan: That's a tough question. This record, for me, was a lot of songs that were just waiting to come out. I pretty much cover everything, every topic in my life. I think that its all important, it all affects me in a big way. The last few years for me have been kind of crazy. It really covers everything, I wouldn't want to short-change another song by saying, ‘One in a Million’, because I think every song has its own value. 

Music Trespass: Recently you have changed a couple of members, how do you think this has changed the dynamic of the band?

Dan: I think it has changed it 100% for the better. A band can only work on the right members, and up until now we haven't had that at all. Its been very difficult. The currently line-up is the best there has ever been. It feels right, theres nothing worse than playing and it doesn't feel right. I would love to think that this is what we are going to stick with for a long time, but sometimes life gets in the way. Its not easy to be in a band, its not easy to tour the world. Financially its not what it was, theres a lot more fingers in the pie now so theres a lot less pie.

Scott Sprigg (Pictured Above) Photo by Dan Devour

Music Trespass: How do you survive or get by is it from merchandise sales?

Dan: For this tour we wanted to do it so badly we ended up putting money into it. Thats how we get by, a lot of us doing it. It makes it all worth it on the night, as cheesy as that, its true.

Music Trespass: What bands most inspire you?

Dan: That's a tough one. I don’t want to speak for anyone else. That's a tough one really, me and Darren were born in England and grew up here. We heard a lot of British music from a very young age, late 70's early 80'sBuzzcocks, Jam, Elvis Costello, through to The Cure, Smiths, Sisters of Mercy. Everything from the heavy stuff to the dark stuff, that is what has influenced us the most. The other things is that were all pretty much Hardcore kids, we all love hardcore music. That what we listen to in the band. I love that its like that, we all love music and we all love everything we are into. We don’t really stick to one thing, we don’t listen to just the starlight music that maybe our band gets compared to. 

Listen! to the track 'One in a Million' Below...

Music Trespass: If you had to pick five bands who would they be?

Dan: New Order is defiantly a favorite, The Cure is my favorite. Its such a weird question, like I said before music accompanies your life. Theres times when I listen toEarth Crisis and just smash every window in my house. I still feel that passion from a band like Earth Crisis 15 years after listening to them for the first time.

Music Trespass: So you top five changes?

Dan: Oh yeah, life's crazy it though all kinds of curve balls at you. Having a wide variety of bands that you love and that you can turn to. I think its crucial, for me a band like The Cure pretty much takes every feeling or mood I could possibly go through in life. Early, early stuff like ‘Three Imaginary Boys’ through to ‘Disintegration’ those two are very different on their own, but once ‘Wish’ comes around its all happy and poppy.

Music Trespass: For me my favorite is ‘Wild mood Swings’ and people say oh that's a very happy album, and I say listen to the lyrics.

Dan: Yeah, that's a great record. I don’t think they put out a better record ever. I think the ‘Dream’ record that they put out a few of years ago that was perfect too. I don’t know why people don’t think this, but I feel like I grew up with The Cure. My dad first gave me a record when I was thirteen years old, from then I grew up with them through different records. You can’t turn your back you back on a band you have been listening to for ten to thirteen years.

Music Trespass: But loads of people do, especially Marilyn Manson now he’s getting everyone hating him.

Dan: The thing is people change, to go back and say I don’t like that anymore because he doesn’t sound the same. You need to give him the freedom to do that.

Darren Parkison (Pictured Above) Photo by Dan Devour

Music Trespass: Paradise Lost it was doom metal and then he went through a Depeche Mode phase, and then they mixed the two and for me that was a better sound.

Dan: At the end of the day they are doing what they want to do, and you need to be supportive of that. They are not here for you only, but you benefit from them being a band because you like it. There are bands that maybe you don’t listen to as much anymore, but I’ll never be like you know what screw that band because they did a more poppy song. Unless a band is turning around and completely changing their style for some reason, you should just give them the freedom to express themselves the same way that you would want people to let you.

Music Trespass: What do you think of bands changing crucial members like New Order?

Dan: In a perfect world it would be the same line-up. I’ve had tones of members over the years. If you want to go to the show then you have to keep that in mind, I’m going to see this version of it. Were kind of in the era of reunions, were in the second wave now where a lot of bands are like ‘Wait, maybe people like us a lot more now than when we were on the first wave’, not so much New Order, but every band that happened around 10-15 years ago are getting back together. 

Dan Smith (Pictured Above)

Music Trespass: And they are playing their definitive albums, but with a new line-up so its going to sound totally different.

Dan: You have to be realistic about it. I’ve seen a lot of reunions which I wish I didn’t, because I prefer to have that memory in my head of that band. I think its just the age we live in we have to go to the show expecting to see this version of the band. For some people thats enough, but for me its great thing to go see it because I didn’t get to see it.

Music Trespass: Have you ever brought a CD, not knowing what they sound or look like, and then gone to see them perform and them being different to how you imagined it?

Dan: Not really. When I was younger I used to buy a CD because I liked the T-shirt he was wearing and be like ‘Oh they vouch for it so must be good. But no, I don’t really have the time to do that.

Dan Smith (Pictured Above) Photo by Dan Devour

Music Trespass: How do you think you get your sound, because you sound very current, it fits in with current music but has the old 80's, 90's sound?

Dan: Speaking for the guitarists and stuff, theres certain sounds that we love about the mid to late 80's that are classic. Whether we like it or not were a band of this day and age, were not trying to be a carbon copy of anyone. Were doing what we know. There are bands out there who love to rip-off all the bands they know, I just don’t think that is the way to go.

Music Trespass: When I was watching you yesterday, you had that sound thats really hard to get that came from The Smiths.

Dan: We all have a big part in writing the songs. There hasn't been a pre-meditated though process like ‘This song sounds like this era of this band’, we just kind of do it and it comes out.

Scott Sprigg (Pictured Above) Photo by Dan Devour

Music Trespass: The first thing I noticed about your band, and I know you weren't trying to do it, but it always seemed to be there, and you just play what you play, a bit of hardcore, but theres that under path of The Smiths like its come from nowhere and its grown into your music.

Dan: Yeah obviously everybody's different but if people can see some similarities between us and some great bands then that's only a compliment really.

Music Trespass: How would you describe the New Zealand music scene, and have you seen any up and coming bands from New Zealand? 

Dan: New Zealand has always had a lot of amazing music. The music that I grew up on, I feel so, so lucky that I did. I could list off a million bands, but labels like Flying Nun and a lot of the Wellington bands. Theres just a huge scene of music there. Even going back to bands like Splitends and Crowded House. I feel like they are kind of like a secret, I know a lot of people listen to then but its such a specific thing over there. I just feel so great that I was able to be brought up on that stuff. 

 

Dan Smith (Pictured Above)

Music Trespass: Are there any new band just coming out that you would recommend to people?

Dan: I kind of guilty of going back to the older stuff that I liked. There was a great compilation from 1979 that featured all kinds of Punk bands. Bands like the Tearaways, The Scavengers, Toy Love, Crowd Scum, Suburban Reptiles, and those are all bands that I love just because it hit me at an age when I needed that stuff. Newer stuff, my friend called Bradley was in a band called Sterogram is now in a band called No now, he’s moved to L.A. and he could be big.

Music Trespass: How did you get involved in LA Ink?

Dan: I got asked to do it. I worked in a shop where it was filmed and my friend Kat Von D asked me to come work in the shop, and 6 to 8 months later I started filming myself. I did four seasons and it was crazy. Craziest thing I ever did but none the less great opportunity, and it kind of changed everything for me.

Music Trespass : Can you tell us about how people get tattoos from you?

Dan: Yeah I do conventions all over the place so, if theres a convention near you then I could be working it. If people just get in touch with my website then ask me to do something for them. Then if I like it, then I’ll oblige.

Luke Johnson (Picutured Above) Photo by Dan Devour

Music Trespass: Can you tell us about tattooing Luke Johnson, did he fidget a lot?

Dan: No, he’s hard as nails Luke Johnson! I think it was the first filming I did. Luke was staying round my house on the couch. He was staying because he was trying out for Lost Prophets, it was a great time.

Dan Smith with Luke Johnson (Pictured Above)

Music Trespass: What bands do you most enjoy touring with?

Dan: Alexisonfire, Outline Trio, we have been lucky to tour with a lot of bands. Its hard you know, because I like a lot of older stuff and we have to find new bands and its a little bit difficult.

Music Trespass: If you could pick a band to tour with, who would it be?

Dan: Placebo, there due for a record I think its written, so I would love to do that.

Listen! to the Track 'Hometown Hero' Below...

Interview and Questions by Dan Devour

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www.dansmithtattoos.com

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