Sunday, June 17, 2007

this expectation never surrenders, pretenders

I got to sit down with some of the guys from The Dear And Departed before their record release show at Chain Reaction in Anaheim. Take a few minutes to read this interview and see what these Australians and Brits have to say about friendship, passion, and drive.

PPJ: First, can you tell us your names and what you guys do in the band?

Dan Under: I'm Dan, and I sing.

David Williams: I'm David and I play bass.

Darren Parkinson: I'm Darren and I play guitar.

PPJ: What were your favorite bands when you were growing up?

Dan: Favorite bands growing up, that is a good one, because I think you go through different things in your life, and some bands tend to stick with you more than others, you know? I was lucky to have my dad expose me to some really great bands really early on. I was born in England, so it was a lot of English bands like The Jam and The Buzzcocks, Style Council, you know, stuff like that. He was always constantly playing The Beatles and stuff like that growing up. So a lot of that stuff was kind of subconsciously burned into my memory.

Darren: I'm still changing all the bands I'm listening to all the time. My mom played The Beatles all the time growing up, so that was probably the earliest band I ever heard. And Madness, also, and the Ramones and stuff like that. Anything from like that to Oasis to U2 and Morrissey, stuff like that.

Dan: I think when you get older you kind of, you know, everybody goes through phases; different bands. We kind of got into electronica and stuff as well and you know, it kind of took over the world for a split second. And then, you know, you maybe kind of go through some hard times in life and get into some softer stuff, and then you'll go the other way, you know?

Darren: There's ones that stick with you for years, and those are the truly great bands. Like the Beatles probably stopped playing before I was born, and they're still legendary. Bands like that.

Dan: David?!

David: My favorite bands growing up were bands like Eurythmics, and I listened to a lot of David Bowie...

Darren: Yeah, oh yeah, good one.

David: Yeah, he's one of my favorites, thanks to my mom as well. But yeah, teenage years and stuff...Nine Inch Nails and stuff like that.

PPJ: Can you tell us a little about recording your new album and what went into that?

Darren: That was a great time, and it was really stressful at some times too, but it was great. I'd never recorded a full album before, and to see it all come together was really cool. We had a great producer, Chris Vrenna, who worked with us, and Jade from AFI worked with us too. We just had a great team of guys with it. The whole process was really cool, seeing all the songs come together in the studio.

Dan: Yeah, we really couldn't have asked for anything better, you know? We got to work with musicians who are not only well-respected by other people but by us as well, and being total fans of someone's music and to have that much respect and then to have them work with you is pretty amazing. So, personally I though it was great. I loved the stresses of it, I loved the frustrations because it seemed like everything we were frustrated about led to something else that was maybe cooler or that we didn't expect we were gonna discover.

David: It was smashing.

PPJ: Did you do anything differently recording this CD than you did on your previous recordings?

Dan: Yeah, the songs we first recorded were just rushed and just basically hectic and we got them done as soon as we could. We just did them and got them out. So we had...hey, that guy's shirt says "I love nothing." That's awesome.

Darren: That's sweet! [laughs]

Dan: Um, yeah, we had a lot of time to write. You know with recording it's always money and time and there's always these restraints. Not that we had an insane amount of money or anything, but we didn't really have those restraints. We were well-prepared and I think everyone's personalities really came out and we kind of knuckled down and got on the job pretty much as soon as we got into it, so everything went really smoothly. We were able to just be creative and actually get the job done at the same time.

PPJ: What was it like to move from Australia and New Zealand to the States?

Dan: Well, have you got a spare couple of days? [laughs] Well, it is majorly different. It's majorly different there. A couple of these guys are from the UK as well, so I think between all of us we've experienced every difference there is to experience from where we grew up to where we currently live. But you know, I think it always comes down to the people you're hanging around with, and the people who are there for you and your friends that make any situation better. And no matter what happens, I think, if you have good people around you then you'll always get through the toughest of situations, which, unfortunately, we have seen a few of in our lives.

Darren: It's bigger over here.

Dan: Yeah, the main difference is that obviously it's bigger. Traffic.

David: Yeah.

Dan: Where I grew up there's no freeways, basically, so you don't have to leave your house, you know, a week prior to getting somewhere. You know, if you have an appointment, say, here in L.A., you have to dedicate the whole day to it rather than just nipping down to the post office.

Darren: In England, I could walk to everyone I know's house, and I have to drive everywhere here. Everywhere. That's so weird.

David: I don't have a car.

Darren: He doesn't know how to drive. [laughs]

David: So yeah, I'm 20 years old...

Darren: 21!

David: Oh, that's right, I'm 21 actually.

Dan & Darren: [laughs]

David: And for someone 21 years of age out here, not being able to drive is incredibly weird, and back home it's really not a big deal. So it's definitely strange. There are three sheep to every one person where I'm from.

Dan: [laughs] And me. Maybe more, actually.

Darren: I love sheep.

Dan: Big on wool. Dear & Departed, big on wool, big on bricks. [laughs]

PPJ: How did you guys get hooked up with some of the big name bands like AFI?

Dan: Well, just through meeting them, really. You know, they're just amazing people and we were lucky enough to meet them, and it's just kind of how every basic kind of friendship blossoms. I met Dave at a Bauhaus reunion at the Glasshouse in Pomona about two, two and half years ago. We were actually just demoing some songs at that time in L.A., and he was recording Decemberunderground there, and I needed a lift to L.A. and he had a car and he offered me a lift, and we got lost and we ended up driving around for about two hours just talking like complete girls. We do that often. [laughs] And yeah, we just became the best of friends. They asked me to sing on the record, which was a dream come true for me. I think it's just the best feeling when people that you really respect turn out to be amazing people too. I know there's a lot of stories where people have met people that they really look up to and been completely disappointed. So yeah, pretty simple story, just friendship, you know?

Darren: We were all fans of that band before we even knew them. It's kind of crazy, becoming friends with a band you really really respect and really like. They've been awesome about it all.

PPJ: So I've heard you guys have shoes that were designed by Nike?

Darren: Just one pair.

Dan: Yeah, it was just a pair. Nike have been really awesome to us, and they have this really cool laser machine, laser etching machine, and we had our video coming up and they were like, "Hey, let's make a pair of shoes for you." So we kind of watched it in front of our very eyes how they do it. They put our logo and our name and stuff on a pair of shoes, and you can see Simon wearing them, I think, in our video for "Tonight's The Night," which should be out by the time this gets...

Darren: Whatever you do to it.

Dan: Yeah, aired or written or whatever...

PPJ: Posted?

Darren: Yeah, posted, or thrown in the trash, whatever. [laughs]

PPJ: What drives you to keep making music?

Darren: Some bands out these days that aren't really doing anything special, and just makes me want to take the reins, you know? Try and do something original and honest. I think music needs that right now. We're doing something different to a lot of things. Music, that's all I've wanted to do since I was a kid. Before I could even play guitar I just wanted to play in a band. I think that we all just share the same passion of wanting to do really great music and wanting to tour, and to be out there and doing it.

Dan: Yeah, it's just life for me. I don't really know any other way, you know? A wise man said a long time ago, "Sing your life," and that's kind of what I've been doing. It's all a journey, you know? It's a bumpy road, and I think if you can get out some of your frustrations or just release what's inside you, be it happiness or misery, it's the thing to do. I don't know any other way.

David: I think it's just the only way that I can communicate. I'm not very good at communicating with people.

Darren: As you can tell. [laughs]

PPJ: What do you guys do when you're on the road to keep your live show fresh?

Dan: I think if the music is honest, it kind of can't really ever stop being fresh. You know what I mean? I'm sure there's plenty of that get up there and say, okay, this is the 400th time I've played this song and we have to do it, and that's part of it, but I just think that if you're doing it for the right reasons every show that you play should be a release of the feelings of that song. If your heart's in it, it's definitely fresh.

Darren: I don't personally think, like, oh, I've gotta to this right now on stage, you just kind of do it. The song brings it out of you.

Dan: We're not really a choreographed band.

Darren: Exactly. We don't need to be doing silly guitar spins or anything like that, you know? We just do what we do. Like, dance with the music. If it's a good song, it'll take over you anyways.

PPJ: You guys are on a lot of Warped Tour this year, are you excited for that?

Dan: Yeah, definitely.

Darren: It's going to be good. It's going to be really hard, but to play on that tour is definitely a big deal. It's exciting to get out there.

Dan: Yeah, it's definitely the opposite to most of our personalities. None of us are beachgoers, none of us like to lay out and get a suntan. Most of us being from the UK and England, we have very fair skin, so that means we turn into a beetroot within a matter of minutes, so we're going to have to stock up on the sunblock, I think.

Darren: Yeah. But it'll be good. There's a lot of really good bigger bands that I want to watch. So playing on that tour is definitely...a lot of people want to do that tour, and we're lucky enough to get on that, definitely. It's gonna be a good time.

David: We get to go to a lot of new places.

Dan: Yeah. Canada.

Darren: Yeah, I'm excited for the Canada on that tour.

Dan: Yeah, I think that's what a lot of people forget. You're kind of in and out of a new place every day, but at least you're in and out of a new place.

Darren: Even if it's only a parking lot, it's still something new.

PPJ: What are your favorite parts of the new album, and your least favorite parts?

Dan: I actually really don't think I have a least favorite part.

Darren: Yeah, it's good.

Dan: I love the diversity of the whole thing, and I think that's what I've always respected about the great bands. Like The Cure example, they can fulfill exactly what you're looking for when you're completely miserable, and they can do exactly the same when you're on top of the world. I think diversity in music is a key. I like to think that our music has that too. We have the hits, the rockin' hits, and then we kind of have the more reserved songs.

Darren: Yeah. I don't have a least favorite thing. I think if we didn't really like something we wouldn't have put it on the record. There's a few songs we did with some guest vocalists, and that was awesome. We did a song with Dallas Green from Alexisonfire, and Jessica from The Veronicas did "Under The Milky Way" with us, that's a cover song, and both those turned out amazing. Those are probably some of my favorite things about the album, but I really like all of it. I like what we did. I like what Dan said, the diversity of it. It's great, there's a little something for everyone.

David: Yeah, I don't think there's anything to dislike, really. I just like the whole thing. You can't really pick it apart because each song is individual. I think that each song has its own personality, and if it didn't have a personality it wouldn't be on the record. It's hard to answer that question.

PPJ: Alright, my last question is: what are three bands you think everyone should be listening to?

Dan: One each? Or three each?

PPJ: However you want to do it.

Dan: Let's do three each. You go first, Darren.

Darren: I'll try and do a couple new ones that I'm really into. I like this band called Silversun Pickups, they've been around lately and they're really cool. Alexisonfire, from Canada, good friends, I think everyone should listen to them. And I think everyone should listen to Oasis. For obvious reasons, you know? They're legendary. I think that's one band that everyone's probably listened to in their whole life and liked at some point at least one of their songs. So yeah, those are my three.

David: Dan, you go. I can't think of any bands I like.

Dan: You can't think of any bands you like?

Darren: Even old bands? You just named a couple earlier.

David: Oh, yeah, okay. Um, The Beatles. Yeah, The Beatles. You know, Uncle Paul. And probably Ultravox.

Darren: Who?

David: Ultravox. Vienna?

Darren: I don't think I've ever heard of them.

Dan: My three bands would be, one, Attack In Black, from Canada.

Darren: Oh, yup.

Dan: And...I don't know. It depends on what kind of a mood you're in, you know? Doesn't it?

Darren: We could list ten each, actually.

Dan: I think...that guy has got a Michael Bolton shirt on. [points through window] Time, love, and tenderness.

David: Oh, that should have been one of mine!

Dan: Michael Bolton is not one of mine.

Darren: It's one of David's apparently.

Dan: Um, I think Attack In Black, I think City And Colour, I think if I'm saying an old band just for the sake of it, probably, I mean without being stereotypical, probably The Smiths. If anyone can take away half of what I've taken away from a band like The Smiths or Morrissey, then that's a lot, and it's a lot more than a lot of other bands have ever given out, I think. Bands back then actually seemed like they were standing for something that just couldn't be stood for these days. It was going against society and what society was kind of throwing at them. It seems nowadays that society is just kind of totally turned around. You know, it's in every mall and it's all over the TV. You're not deemed cool unless you have this or that. My dad first gave me The Smiths' Meat Is Murder when I was a wee, wee lad and some of that stuff just stuck with me forever. So yeah, those are my three.

Darren: There's a lot of good music in Canada, as you can tell.

PPJ: Alright, well that's all I have. Thank you very much.

Dan Thank you very much for your time.

Darren: Yeah, good questions, thank you.

Thanks again to Dan, Darren, and David for taking the time to answer these questions for me, and thanks to Mike Cubillos at Earshot Media for putting things together.

Make sure you pick up The Dear & Departed's new LP, Something Quite Peculiar, and catch them on the Hurley stage on Warped Tour from June 29th through July 28th.

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