Interview: DredgPosted 05/17/2012 09:54AM by Decoy Staff as Interview
Californian alt/prog rock band Dredg has never been one shying away from experimentation. Their latest release, Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy was also pushing the envelope – although not necessarily the way some fans may have expected. Attila Timar of Decoy Music hit up Gavin Hayes with some questions to find out what is on the mind of the singer of one of the most unpredictable bands these days.
With its ambient and dreamy pop, Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy may have turned out to be the most controversial Dredg record to date. Looking back at it now, how do you feel about this record? What makes you most proud about Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy?
I think it was a bold but necessary move on our part. We really didn't want to go into the studio and regurgitate another Pariah or El Cielo so we felt like it was a good time for collaborative effort. We have always, and will continue to, take chances with our music. The day we stagnate is the day we stop.
How much of a challenge has it been to play the new songs live?
It presented some challenges but I feel like they have translated very well in a live setting. I think they've helped create a much more diverse setlist and show.
Dan The Automator and Chris DeGarmo: two musicians who were involved in the making of two of Dredg’s most song-focused albums. How would you compare their artistic contributions to the records they were involved with?
Well, they come from completely different backgrounds and that was apparent when we worked with them. Chris is rock guitarist; Dan comes from the hip hop world. Chris mainly worked with us during pre-production on structuring and some writing. His guitar playing skills and sense of melody were really beneficial, not to mention his role as mediator. Dan was involved from the very beginning to the end. He was in there with us during pre-production, he co-wrote some tracks, recorded the record, and mixed it. His hip-hop roots are very apparent on the record.
It was quite a surprise to see Chris DeGarmo ending up as a co-writer of two songs on Catch Without Arms. How did this come about?
We met Chris through Terry Date (producer). Our label felt it would be good to have someone come in for about a month and work with us on pre-production (structuring, a little writing, polishing, etc.). Since Terry isn't a musician he proposed the idea of bringing in his friend Chris DeGarmo to lend a hand.
Incidentally, were you ever a fan of Queensryche’s music?
No, not really, but I was familiar with their work.
You paired up with Fair To Midland for some dates. How was it for you regarding the personal experiences and also for possible new fan coverage?
Great dudes, great performers. We got along well. I feel like we have a similar fan base so it was beneficial for the both us.
What do you think of the so-called "nu-prog bands" (most of them coming from down under), like Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus or Turbo?
I don't listen to prog but I've heard good things about Karnivool. We almost toured with them some years back but it fell through. I'm not familiar with the other 2 bands... guess I'll have to check them out.
Your drummer, Dino Campanella, has joined Crosses for a couple of live shows. As we are talking about one of the main songwriters of the last Dredg record, aren’t you afraid that Chino and Shaun will make him contribute to later Crosses releases, which may mean Dredg losing out on some great ideas? [smiles]
I have no clue but I just saw them a few weeks ago and had a wonderful time. It was great to see old friends together on the same stage.
Most, if not all full Dredg releases have been very much grounded in the rather set framework of an album format. In a digital release age, when more and more artists decide to put out singles or EPs, what chance do you see for Dredg changing the formula in this respect?
Well, our last record was a direct response to the state of the business and how people purchase and listen to music these days. That being said, we come from the days of demos on casette tapes and networking by playing live so I think those roots will always be there on some level. We still believe in the idea of an 'album'... one cohesive idea and presentation. I'm sure our next release will be more along those lines.
Incidentally, in a previous interview you mentioned that not making another Dredg record is also in the cards. So how do you feel about this now?
I see us making another record - I'm just not sure when.
Which 2011 record made the most lasting impression on you?
I listened to a lot of SBTRKT and Goyte.
Where do you see yourself and the band in 5 years’ time?
Almost over the hill...
Personally, what gives you the highest level of gratification out of being in Dredg? Completion of an artistic product (song/record), audience response at gigs, something else..?
I think it is, and always has been, the simple joy of creating music together. I can only compare the feeling to how an architect must feel after finally seeing what was once only sketches turn into a tangible and functioning building.
What is the meaning of life?
To keep moving onward.