Dead! are four young chaps (Chappell on bass, Louis and Sam on guitar, and Alex on vocals) whose blistering alt rock takes no prisoners
They’ve been honing their craft for a good few years, and it seems to have paid off, with the band signing to Infectious Music / BMG in April.
Alex Nelson sat down with the band to talk their south coast origins, and being “everything wrong with art”:
What’s the story behind the band?
Sam: “I guess it was just a bunch of guys realising that we all needed to do something creative with our lives. We met in Southampton and went straight from there, got a house together, booked some local shows, booked some shows further away from home, kept going and now we’re here.”
Dead! is a pretty arresting name. How did you settle on that moniker?
Sam: “It’s actually kinda like a carpé diem thing. If you put that word in front of people it makes them think; we aren’t out to make anyone think but obviously we like sharing our thoughts.
“It goes back to us needing to build something together. If you got hit by a bus tomorrow, would you be happy with your life?”
For anyone who’s never heard you before, how would you describe your music, and why should people listen to you?
Louis: “We’ve been described as ‘everything that’s wrong with art’ so that’s a pretty good starting point. Honestly there’s no reason people should listen to us; we’re a selfish band, we write and play for ourselves mostly and other people seem to be resonating with that – which is obviously amazing. Give us a listen if you’re intrigued, I guess.”
What sort of bands influence your own music?
Sam: “Oh, that’s such a difficult one to answer; we’re all into really different things. Obviously bands inspire us but I think we’re influenced more by films, books, stories and moments… just those things you witness and capturing the vibe they give off in a song, so people can be transported to their own similar experiences or connect with that moment and that feeling a bit stronger.”
You guys seem to straddle grunge and elements of pop-punk pretty well, which isn’t that common a combination. Was this a conscious choice or just a product of a varied palette of influences?
Louis: “We’ve spoken about this before between us. It’s weird, when we go to festivals we nearly always split up to go watch other artists; there’ll be maybe one or two acts that actually overlap which I guess is a pretty good representation of where we’re at as a group, and would only make sense as translating to our music.
“It’s not that we’re not mates, we just like different things which I think hugely contributes to a sound that isn’t necessarily ‘common’ at the moment – not that our sound is unique or unheard of; it’s not and we’re happy knowing that. Too many bands try and kid themselves!”
What can fans expect from one of your live shows?
Chappell: “I would like to say that you would have a life changing experience by coming to a show, but all I can promise is that there is gonna be five people on stage loving every moment of the gig.”
You’ve been about a couple of years now, how has the band evolved over that time, and is your music different now to what it was back then?
Chappell: “It really does feel like we have changed a huge amount both as a band and as people. Back when we started we just wanted to get in a room and play music together.
“Now even though that is still very much the case, we get to work more on the overall experience that is Dead!. Making sure that every single thing we put out as a band is exactly how we want it to look and feel.”
You recently signed with Infectious Music / BMG, and to Rise Records in the USA, which is a pretty big deal. How did that come about, and what was it like to sign on the dotted line?
Louis: It’s felt very much like a natural progression. We didn’t go out of our way to get the attention of anyone [i.e. management or label]; we just played a real lot of gigs in a short amount of time because it’s what we collectively enjoy doing and people started coming to us.
“Obviously signing a record deal is massive for us but there’s no room for naivety, there’s no time to sit back and relax when the other ‘next best thing’ is right behind you.
“Yeah, we’re enjoying every second of it, but there’s also a lot of work to do.”
Tell us about your online creation the ‘Damned Restless Future’; why should people sign up?
Chappell: “‘The Damned Restless Future’ was the title of the very first song we put out as a band; since then those words always meant a lot to us. It meant just getting in a van and turning up to a room the other side of the country and just playing music together.
“When we wanted to create a place for people to share their thoughts and ideas it just seemed to fit. You can sign up on our website theinternetisdead.co.uk
“Forums are dead: the Damned Restless Future isn’t.”
What can we expect in the future from Dead!? And how is festival season shaping up?
Louis: “Festival season is great; we’re playing so many festivals it’s hard to keep track… I think we’re playing in the Czech Republic?
“We’re doing Download Festival, Reading and Leeds, 2000 Trees, Y Not and so many others that I can’t think of right now. We’ll be releasing an album next year too.”
For more information on Dead!, head to www.theinternetisdead.co.uk