Interview: Dead!

For Dead! 2014 was something of a landmark year with the band determined to make an impression on as many people as possible, as many times as they were physically able. Given that the outfit barely stopped moving for an entire year, it’s surprising that we managed to pin them down long enough for a full interview. But that we did. And at this year’s Takedown Festival we were able to grab a sneak peak of what 2015 had in store, as well as get the lowdown on how their recent relocation to London was treating them.

This year is likely to be just as intense for a band who epitomise the potential bubbling away amongst Britain’s emerging rock acts right now, and you can catch a sneak preview of their plans right here.

Already Heard: Takedown Festival has always been a festival that’s pretty much right in your back yard. With this being the third time you’ve played here, and as it is a home town festival, does it affect how you approach the show compared to other events like it?

Alex Mountford: I think in a way yes with the hype that’s built around it, especially in our heads. Our second ever show was on the main stage here after we won their competition. Last year was amazing and we’ve been quite busy since then, so it’s good to have that homecoming. We can’t really think too much about that though, we’ve just got to get out there and play a show the same way we’d play to ten people in the ass-end of nowhere. That’s the important thing , it’s playing a show. If we go out there any differently then it’s gonna suck because we’re not doing it for the right reasons.

Louis Matlock: With it being the third year, I can’t speak for the band, but it’s cool seeing the growth each year both here and with ourselves.

Sam Chappell: Well we have decided to stick in a sort of golden oldie, but yeah it is.

AH: It seems like you’re on a quest at the minute to just play every single stage of the festival.

AM: Exactly! How many stages are there, five? So two more to go after this year.

SC: We’ll do it.

AH: You mention last year being a busy year. It seemed like if there was a tour you guys were on it, and if there was a festival then you weren’t that far away. Did you have much time to breathe through that?
AM: I think there’s always room for more, there’s a lot of things we’d like to have done last year. We’re obviously always hungry to grow and do more and just be out in a band. But yeah, last year was a busy year. I think the song’s we’ve just written and been recording show the growth we’ve had as a band. Even for me when I’m writing lyrics it feels a lot more mature, and also it’s good inspiration to have from the last year so there’s that too.

AH: The approach for you guys in the last year seemed to be along the lines of getting the EP out – which we’re still never confident we can pronounce – and then just get out there and spread the word as much as possible. Is your approach to this year any different or is it another case of studio work then straight onto the road?
SC: We’ve been really lucky this year to have a bit more structure and be more focused with what we’re doing which is cool Because we’re quite… chaotic when it comes to certain things.

AM: The thing is, it’s hard to have a plan when you just want to put it out and be like “here’s the songs”. We still need to formulate a plan. We’ve been talking to some guys though, changing up how we’re gonna release the music. Not like U2-style though. We’re not gonna release it in some super-format!

AH: So there’s gonna be no sneaking it into people’s phones whether they like it or not?
AM: Some poor old lady wakes up with Dead! on her phone and “oh god, it’s a message!”

AH: We were talking to Fearless Vampire Killers earlier, obviously you toured with those guys last year, have you had much chance for a reunion here?
AM: They never leave us alone.

LM: We all live in London now, so we actually see each other quite often. They’re really nice guys. I know our music isn’t exactly that similar but as people we all just get on really well. They’ve been really nice to us and really helpful.

AM: It’s always helpful to have someone that little bit ahead of us where we can watch what they’ve done and they’ll tell us things. They’ve been a massive help to us. I’m sure in a few years then hopefully we can have that same ethos and do the same kind of thing.

LM: It’s important I think, when you’re doing well, to pass that down. The music industry relies on a lot of people helping each other out. There’s a lot of people on a shoestring budget these days, so you need that kind of advice.

AH: Other guys we spoke to earlier on are Zoax. You’re out on tour with them next.
LM: Yeah we are stopping off at a lot of odd towns on that tour but, once again, places we’ve never been so should be exciting.

AH: Well those guys, right after they’re on the road with you, they’re out with Fearless Vampire Killers as well. It seems like there’s a family building up amongst you guys. With all three bands being pretty London-based right now, do you feel that sense of camaraderie yourselves?
AM: I don’t know so much. I mean we only managed to say “hi” to Zoax for the first time earlier today, but we didn’t know they were from London. We just found that out but hopefully we can catch up again in the next couple of weeks before the tour. There seems to be a scene building up around the UK though. You kind of got it before with Deaf Havana, Young Guns, You Me at Six and Lower than Atlantis. You can tell when Deaf Havana are writing songs quoting their friend’s names from other bands. It feels like there was that scene back then and you had certain bands make it from there. Fingers crossed that there’s another one starting.

AH: It definitely seems like you had Deaf Havana and Lower than Atlantis, now we’ve got Mallory Knox and Blitz Kids. We’re definitely hopeful that the next batch is just as successful.

AM: Oh yeah, it definitely feels that way and it feels like a far more eclectic selection this time around. I’ve got a really good feeling about this wave, and if it turns out well then it’s gonna be amazing. Especially bands like Marmozets fronting it, it should be pretty good.

AH: Well we mentioned Fearless Vampire Killers earlier, they’ve curated the stage you guys are on today. Do you feel like that’s a thing that you could pull off, and who would you bring with you if you did?
SC: Miss Vincent who opened the Obsidian Stage, they’re an amazing band who are hugely underrated.

Sam Matlock: They’d still be on the stage, just a lot later in the day. So that’s one. Fort Hope we’ve just got off the road with. Fearless Vampire Killers I’d probably put on because they put us on.

LM: Moose Blood, Allusondrugs?

SM: Definitely Allusondrugs, we haven’t seen them yet. Marmozets as well, definitely.

LM: Who was that band you found before, you said were like the next Brand New?

SC: Better Off?

AM: Yeah, Better Off. So we can have them on too. And we’ll get Ghost Frequency back! That’d be amazing. All these bands no one knows, it’d be brilliant!

AH: Another thing you mentioned is the music you’ve got on the way. You’ve been in the studio recently, are we able to hear a bit more about what to expect from that?
SC: When we’re writing songs we like to get in a vibe. And we’ve been having a lot of good vibes lately…

LM: Lots of vibes?

SM: Oh vibes, so many vibes. Vibraphones, vibraslaps… all the vibes!

SC: Vibrators?

AM: Vibrators! No. We’ve just recorded some songs with a guy called Dan Weller who helped out with our last EP, we’ll hear those back next week and see how we feel. They’ll hopefully all see the light of day but we’re gonna see how we feel about releasing them and then get them out there.

AH: Do you know at this point whether it’s a full-length album or an EP?
AM: Definitely an EP. We feel like albums are less sought after by music fans these days. And I think we’re the kind of guys that when we work on an album, for our own integrity we’d want people to listen to the whole album. If they’re just playing four or five songs off it out of ten or more tracks then we’d be better off sticking with EPs.

AH: Well cheers guys, best of luck later on and good luck with the Zoax tour as well!
AM: Cheers!

DEAD! links: Facebook|Twitter|BigCartel

Words by Antony Lusmore (@Metacosmica_)

View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Takedown Fest 2015 here.

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