July 30, 2009

Mile High Music Festival 2009 Wrap-Up: Misquoted: w/ Dead Confederate


Misquoted: w/ Dead Confederate

I got the chance to interview a few members of Dead Confederate the day before their set. They joked around, also talking about mistakes they've learned from, Lil' Wayne, and insights into what the next album may be like. It started with a compliment:

Brantley Senn (bass, vocals): Nice shirt

(he's commenting on my Blonde Redhead shirt)

LHJE: Hey thank you. I actually got this at the festival you guys played here last year.

(my statement did not seem to go over very well)

Uh oh, was that not a fun festival?

BS: Ah, it was an experience.

Walker Howle (guitar): Oh are you talking about the SoCo [Festival]? Holy shit, yeah, that was horrible.

What happened at SoCo? I thought you sounded fun.

WH: Yeah, we got too fucked up.

BS: Like, bad enough where they don't want to have us back for Lollapalooza or any of that stuff.

John Watkins (keys, vocals): Yeah, a lot of it was after the set, but still.

Well that's a shame, because I really liked what you guys played. Was that anything close to what you guys would usually play?

BS: That was…

WH: That was a crappy set.

JW: It was a bad set

WH: We're normally way better than that.

BS: We were up early in the morning and started drinking too early.

I remember a lot of noise and feedback stuff.

WH: (laughs) Yeah.

I thought it was really ambitious, you know, shooting for the "noise kids" demographic. So that's not …?

WH: No we do some of that stuff, but that wasn't our best performance. We drank for six hours. We drank all the liquor in the trailer, and then played that show.

Yeah. I've heard your recordings, and I figured you were just embellishing a little

JW: You could say that.

It doesn't sound like this is something you plan on repeating.

BS: Not really.

Well, I'm just going to ask a couple short questions. Have you guys noticed any trends in popular music or music in general?

BS: I've starting to hear a lot more stuff that's being done at home. A lot more home-based recordings. You can hear it in the way it sounds. I'm starting to hear a lot less tape recorded stuff. You can hear a lot of stuff is starting to be done with Pro Tools or Logic and all that. I think that's changing the way music's done in the sense that you start hearing songs that have a lot more going on in them, where it's not so simple and direct like two guitars, bass and drums.

How do you guys feel like you fit into that?

BS: I see us fitting into it, but I think we're working our way into it. We started off with a goal of making an album that was very raw and very natural and old school. The whole thing was designed around the old school rock band principle. No bullshit, no fake studio tricks, just straight ahead realism.

WH: Make it sound like what we sound like live. Because we've always felt we do a pretty decent job live. There's a lot of bands, I think, now-a-days that are recording at home that have a billion tracks. They can't pull that off live. So we just wanted to have something that represents us well.

BS: But, I see us moving in a different direction too. I could see us going into that, definitely, it's just a matter of when and how we do it tastefully without losing sight of what we started with.

How do you guys go about writing you music? Do you plan on making a certain type of song, or a certain type of sound before you start writing a song? Or do you jam out and then just have the songs kind of just happen, and then focus it?

WH: Well John takes the first hit, and then−

JW: −Yeah I like to look a lava lamp and then …


JW: … so whatever comes to mind from looking at a lava lamp…

(more laughs)

BS: The first record was varied, because I was still in the process of learning to write, so I was experimenting a lot with stuff. I feel like the writing was all over the place. The songs were all very different. I feel like, with the album we're working on now, that I've got a very concise vision of what I want the songs to be. So it's varied so far. The first is different than this next one. But I'm definitely challenging myself more to stick to a plan and really have a full idea before going in.

What kind of records have you guys heard recently that have really changed the way you think about music?

BS: That's tough to answer.

JW: George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, I'll just go ahead and say that's been, lately, what we've been listening to a lot. I don't know what you can get out of that, but, musically, I'm digging a lot of that. It's really awesome.

BS: On the writing side, what I've been listening to since the last album has been a lot of Lil' Wayne, and I think that's play a big influence, as weird as that sounds. Listening to a lot more of rap and pop music and electronic music. Which is totally contrast to what we did before. But I'm finding that I'm seeing that influence the things I'm doing now. Definitely more concise songs, and more hook driven. And I think that's influenced me a lot. I think I reached a point where I was just saturated with the "cool" music that I got to the point where I needed something fun. I've been through a long period of that. Now I'm kind of coming out of it, where I'm able to listen to some cool, experimental weird shit now, where as before I was just like "I'm sick of this." I got burned out on artsy music, I needed some dumb entertainment for a while.

What kind of older records still make you guys think about music in a new way? Albums that still really inspire you?

BS: Pink Floyd.

JW: Definitely.

BS: There's still not records being made as good as they were when they were doing it. Mind blowing. I could be in a grocery store and hear any track from "Dark Side of the Moon" come on, and it still blows my mind.

WH: It's amazing. And, like John was saying about that All Things Must Pass … I never got into the Beatles too much, but that George Harrison album … Damn. It has some amazing songs, and it's got a lot of layers too it. The way they tracked it and everything was pretty amazing. There's all kinds of old stuff. It's unbelievable what came out in the late 60's and early 70's. I wish I was around during that time, you know what I mean? It seemed like a pretty cool time to be young.

BS: I couldn't have dealt with the hippies though.

(laughs all around)

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