ATH Interviews: The Dears
One of our favorite Canadian acts, The Dears, are stopping into town next week at The Parish. We’ve been pretty excited about this show for a while now and we were even more excited when leading man Murray Lightburn took some time to answer a few of our pressing questions. We talk to Murray about all sorts of interesting topics. Follow the jump to read our full interview.
ATH: How does Murray feel about being compared, vocally, to Morrissey? Is this a huge compliment, or does he think this detracts from his own talents as an individual singer?
ML: To be honest, Murray is very rarely compared to Morrissey. Nevertheless, it’s probably a compliment, due to the fact that Morrissey is a talent of enormous popularity on a global scale, with people hanging on his every word. In the end, however, Murray sounds like Murray and no one sounds like him.
ATH: With the most recent album, Missiles, the album was marked by the absence of several long-term members. How did this shape the sound of the record?
ML: It made the album free of a lot of bullshit that can really bring down a pure, whole, artistic experience. It kind of has no strings attached to it which can only be a good thing. There was really only two “long-term” members missing and their absence was a relief.
ATH: Speaking of Missiles, this is the first album where the title doesn’t seem to have a dim sense of reality, a la Gang of Losers or No Cities Left. Is there specific meaning behind the title this time around?
ML: The album title kind of came about mid-way through making it and we agreed that it sounded tough. Like switch-blade tough. There is some threatening sub text to the album, conceptually and lyrically. It just worked but not in an overly intentional, calculating way.
ATH: Natalia and Murray have a child. How does this change the dichotomy of the band? Does it make it more difficult to tour for long periods of time, and do the kids come along?
ML: First, it only changes logistics a little. It doesn’t change the band at all. That would be like asking anyone if having a child changes what they do for a living. We are on a six week tour right now, which is a little long and we are making it work. Mostly because as Spock once said, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one…”
ATH: Your web site alludes to new music being written, or at least in the works. Can you give us any insight into the future sound? Will it be similarly stripped down like the most recent album?
ML: There is no way of really knowing how the next album will sound. You can have all kinds of intention and ideas of what you think should happen and then suddenly you realize that you went the wrong way and the direction changes. Making records to us is almost alchemic. We can say that we’ll be swinging for the fences, as always, combing both nasty and pretty elements in the process…
ATH: In going over fan sites and what not, there are a lot of mixed reactions as to which album is The Dears best. Which album are you most proud of, and can you explain why?
ML: The innocence, naivety, and melodrama of EOAHBS; the heavily orchestrated, meticulousness of NCL; the gritty, abrupt GOL; and of course the beautifully sad, and soul-crushing density of Missiles. All truly great, timeless works for totally different
ATH: If you were not working as a musician, what job do you think you would rather pursue?
ML: Maybe cooking. Maybe something that required me to carry a gun at all times.
ATH: In a sentence, describe the sound of your band as you see it.
ML: Challenges through the deconstruction or simply destruction of pop music.
ATH: What are the biggest influences, not necessarily musically, to you as a songwriter, or group of songwriters?
ML: The universe; all she wants to give us and all she wants to take from us.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Murray, we’ll see ya on Monday. Tickets are still available for that Dears, Eulogies and Great Northern show at The Parish this Monday. You can get them for $15 here.