We’ve followed Dead Confederate for quite a while. Their rootsy approach to rock, coupled with their amazing live shows have always kept us on the edge of our seat. Thus we were thrilled to get an opportunity to interview the band and help spread the word. Hardy Morris talked to our newest writer Sania (aka @Dark_vanity) about their newest record, Sugar.
TDOA: How is the tour going? Your playing small clubs this leg, is that your preferred type of venue, or are festivals more enjoyable?
HM: I have always preferred smaller clubs. It’s ore fun for the band and the crowd. There isn’t that separation between band and audience. Small, dark, dirty = fun show.
TDOA: What is your song writing process? Are there constant acoustic sessions on the tour bus or does everyone just come to the studio and let the sound happen organically there?
HM: I almost always write on acoustic guitar. It’s just always around and easy to pick up if you have an idea. I have written in other ways, but the acoustic feels like home…even though I have NEVER played an acoustic onstage with the band! As for the songs coming together with the band, I just write and record the demos on acoustic and let the band hear them and they come up with all their parts. It’s a rewarding progression to hear these simple acoustic songs turn into a wall of sound.
TDOA: You’ve been called everything from alt-country-mellow to gloom rock. Ridiculous terms aside, what would you consider your sound to be?
HM: I think it is just rock-and-roll; our version anyway. It’s just the songs we write and the way we play…we didn’t have a specific genre in mind when we started the band, we had songs and dudes that played instruments…and I’m sure that’s the story behind almost all rock n roll bands.
TDOA: The new album Sugar has a few upbeat tracks and has a softer vibe straying a bit from the darker elements on Wrecking Ball, what was the inspiration for the name of the album and what’s behind this evolution in sound?
HM: We had written some new songs that strayed from the bleak, sad-bastard sound of Wrecking Ball, and at first that was a little scary, but we all genuinely liked the new songs, so we said, “these are still our songs and it’s our band, so we can do whatever we want.” I don’t feel it’s that far off though. There are still plenty of dark moments on the album, we just explored more melodically and texturally…no crime in that. It was fun. As for the name of the album, it is actually a direct reference to the snowfall that we were in while recording the album in New Jersey. It was white everywhere and it just seemed to fit with this batch of songs and music…I don’t know, we just kept coming back to that word and it fit.
TDOA: What are you listening to right now? Any albums that absolutely blew you away so far this year?
HM: I really liked Cloud Nothings album Turning On. We leave for tour tomorrow with fellow Athens, GA pals Futurebirds, and their new record Hamptons Lullaby is also great.
TDOA: One of the new album tracks “Giving It All Away” has a collaboration with J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., how did that come about?
HM: We did a couple of tours with Dinosaur Jr. last year, so we got to know J. from that of course, but it was really our producer, John Angello’s, idea. He has recorded Dino since like 1992 so he and J. are very close. We were recording “Giving it All Away” and John said, “we gotta get J. to play on this song.” So of course we were down and John sent J. the song and he liked it, so he played and sang on it. Pretty much John just called his friend to ask him to play on our song and his friend just happened to be J. Mascis.
TDOA: In the beginning, what made you want to pick up an instrument and want to start creating your own music?
HM: My mother is a musician, so there was always a lot of music going on in the house. She encouraged the arts in us from a young age. I think she has a cassette of me singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at like age 2. There was always a guitar around that my Dad played a little bit, so eventually I picked it up. I learned a few songs that my folks taught me, but I quickly started what I thought were possibly songs (?). I still don’t knw how to play many cover songs.
TDOA: You’ve toured with so many great bands, which tour mates did you walk away from learning the most?
HM: I learn a lot on every tour, but I’d have to say that touring with the Meat Puppets last year was quite the experience. In fact it’s an entirely different interview….you learn more about rock n roll in one night touring with the Pups than you do in ten tours on your own.
TDOA: A dollar for every copy sold of the live EP Dirty Ammo is donated to help rebuild the burned down Georgia Theatre. Is that a place of personal significance to the band?
HM: It is significant to us and the entire town of Athens, GA. There have been countless great shows there and it was simply a legendary venue for our little town. The guys that own it had put in so much work over the past few years, and to see it (literally) go up in smoke was very sad. If we can do even a little bit to help out then we will.
Catch the band on tour:
Aug 25 2010 One Eyed Jacks w/ Futurebirds New Orleans, LA
Aug 26 2010 Chelsea’s w/ Futurebird Baton Rouge, LA
Aug 27 2010 Mango’s w/ Futurebird Houston, TX
Aug 28 2010 KUT’s Red River on the Rocks Festival @ The Mohawk w/ Futurebirds Austin, TX
Aug 29 2010 The Loft w/ Futurebirds Dallas, TX
Aug 31 2010 Old Town Pub w/ Futurebirds Steamboat Springs, CO
Sep 1 2010 Belly Up w/ Futurebirds Aspen, CO
Sep 2 2010 Urban Lounge w/ Futurebirds Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 3 2010 Neurolux w/ Futurebirds Boise, ID
Sep 5 2010 Official Bumbershoot After Party @ Hard Rock w/ Surfer Blood and Futurebirds Seattle, WA
Sep 6 2010 Doug Fir w/ Alberta Cross Portland, OR
Sep 8 2010 Great American Music Hall w/ Alberta Cross San Francisco, CA
Sep 9 2010 SoHo w/ Alberta Cross Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 10 2010 Detroit Bar Costa Mesa, CA
Sep 11 2010 Troubadour w/ Alberta Cross Los Angeles, CA
Sep 12 2010 Belly Up w/ Alberta Cross Solana Beach, CA
Sep 14 2010 Plush w/ Alberta Cross Tucson, AZ
Sep 15 2010 Rhythm Room w/ Alberta Cross Phoenix, AZ
Sep 17 2010 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Telluride, CO
Sep 18 2010 Larimer Lounge w/ Alberta Cross Denver, CO
Sep 19 2010 Fox Theater w/ Alberta Cross Boulder, CO
Sep 21 2010 The Firebird w/ Alberta Cross St. Louis, MO
Sep 22 2010 Double Door w/ Alberta Cross Chicago, IL
Sep 23 2010 Musica w/ Alberta Cross and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band Akron, OH
Sep 24 2010 Rex Theater w/ Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band Pittsburgh, PA
Sep 25 2010 The Note w/ Alberta Cross West Chester, PA
Sep 26 2010 Middle East w/ Alberta Cross Boston, MA
Sep 28 2010 Music Hall of Williamburg Brooklyn, NY
Sep 29 2010 Rock and Roll Hotel w/ Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band Washington, DC
Sep 30 2010 Cat’s Cradle Carrboro, NC
Oct 1 2010 Snug Harbor Charlotte, NC
Oct 2 2010 Patriot’s Point w/ Widespread Panic Charelston, SC
Read more: http://www.myspace.com/deadconfederate