The Loved Ones Interview - Dave Hause | ThePunkSite.com
||Member: Dave Hause
Fat Wreck Chords
Edmonton Event Centre - Edmonton, Alberta
Saturday, September 26th, 2009
It had been over two years since The Loved Ones last made it up to Edmonton, in fact they didn't get here once in support of Build and Burn - something that came up a few times in the interview. Before they hit the stage for their long awaited return, I caught up with front man Dave Hause backstage to discuss the absence of massive tour plans and the possibility of both a new solo record and a new Loved Ones record.
Bobby: Starting with the basics, you guys have been on this tour with Gaslight, Murder By Death and Frank Turner for over two weeks now; how’s that going so far?
Dave: It’s been good man. We’ve had a lot of fun. It’s nice to be back out on the road after our break; especially to see our friends in Western Canada. We didn’t get to Western Canada on the Build and Burn record until now. It’s been fun. There’s a lot of good people involved.
Bobby: Has there been any really memorable moments from the tour so far?
Dave: Well, yeah there has. I’ll have to consult my lanyard (He pulls out his lanyard to look at the tour schedule). The shows have just been good; but for me, last night, I stayed behind in Vancouver. We played Vancouver two nights ago and I stayed behind to play a solo show. It was a pretty laid back show, me playing acoustically is kind of a new thing, uncharted territory. So it was fun to do that as it was but I got invited to go see Pearl Jam. Basically, I played at ten thirty and Pearl Jam was two blocks away or maybe ten blocks away actually and I watched like an hour of their set before I played acoustically. There was twenty-five thousand people and I had ninth row seats to Pearl Jam – last night. That, for me, has been the highlight; and sort of downshifting from that and playing acoustically was so different but really cool to have those things happen in the same night.
Bobby: Yeah, a massive juxtaposition.
Dave: Right. It was incredible though. They were so amazingly good.
Bobby: This is pretty much your only major tour of 2009 other than the ten shows you did back in May with the Souls. What made you pick this tour as the only big tour of 2009?
Dave: Well, we wanted to get back out on tour but we kind of ended last year and we were kind of burned out. We had toured all year and needed a little bit of a rest. Our drummer was kind of uncertain about… he was sort of working out some issues and so we wanted to give him some time. In that time I ended up writing a solo record. Dave and Chris have also been working on their own material. So we decided to do that spring tour to see how Mike was responding to playing and touring and we had a blast. We sort of regrouped and were able to get fired up and then Gaslight asked us to do this. I know that they’re doing pretty well and drawing a good amount of people out, so we figured it would be a good opportunity to get back out and visit Western Canada as well. Again, it was really important that we get back out here because it’s always been great but it’s rare that we get to come here for some odd reason and we didn’t get here for Build and Burn. It just sort of all came together and was a worth while thing to do and I’m excited that we did it.
Bobby: Like you said, you toured like crazy in 2007 and 2008. Was it nice to have a year where you weren’t living out of a suitcase?
Dave: Well, yes and no. I kind of need a small amount of balance in life to keep my battery charge. A lot of it was unexpected, the time off. I kind of, even more so now than ever before, feel like I’ve got to keep moving, just to keep inspired and to stay creative. So being home was good but with the recession, there wasn’t much work so you had a lot of time to kind of focus on being broke and being uncertain about the future. I don’t know. At this point, we’ve sort of came up with a good plan to make a new Loved Ones record and get focused on that. That’s kind of what’s happening next. I’ve got to go home and finish my record. Chris has a record to work on. We’ll probably still do other things while we’re putting together the next record, but once that record comes out we’ll hit the ground running like we always do. I just think we had a bit of a foggy period at the beginning of this year.
Bobby: Like you had said that you were taking a lot of the time of so you could write and just relax. Of course you did your solo material and you’ve talked about doing a new Loved Ones. Do you have any idea when the new Loved Ones will be ready? Or any plans for studio time or anything like that?
Dave: I think its’ kind of a strange place that we’re in. I think we’re all of the opinion that we need to make a record that we can tour behind and we really believe in. One that we feel like it out does the first two records and that takes time. As much I’m anxious to get to Australia and get to Japan again, and Europe, Canada and tour the States again; as much as I want to do all that stuff, I think the most important thing for us to do right now is to make a record that’s going to inspire people and if that takes time, then it takes time. I think being patient is a smart thing to do when you’re making art.
Bobby: Last time I talked to you back in 2007 with Strike Anywhere you said that when you’re touring you have to strategize. Because you’re busy, you have the solo stuff; you have the construction business and you kind of have to strategize your tours because you said that there are some places where it’s just not worth coming back again and again because people forget about you. With taking a year off from touring, are you afraid that there are some people who may have forgotten about you with you not touring through their town?
Dave: Well I think being a self managed band you have to consider all these things. But my problem is it’s hard for me to think about those strategies and write music that’s compelling at the same time. I think you use two different parts of your brain. So I think that being fearless about what we’re doing is what we’re focused on at this point, so if we have to come back and do extra work because we took time off but we end up with a record that’s going to knock people over, then it’s not really that big of a deal. At the end of the day, I think that when you make compelling music, it gets to the people that are willing to be reached anyway. So I’m not as concerned with those strategies anymore. I’ll be concern with them once we make our record; then we’ll strategize a whole year of touring. If that means having to hire a manager or having to sort of recalibrate our infrastructure if you will – whatever that means - then so be it. But I’m not really that worried about it, I’m not really that focused on any of that stuff. That doesn’t really give people answers that they want to hear but at this point there’s one thing ahead and that’s making a great Loved Ones record.
Bobby: Your last release was the Distractions EP that came out in January or February of this year. What made you decide to release the six song EP?
Dave: Well, I think subconsciously we knew what we were about to go through. Again, Mike was kind of uncertain about his future but it was important that we got something out to people and that we maintained some kind of release schedule I guess. They were cool songs that didn’t quite fit with the other records that we still thought were great and wanted to put out to the world. In terms of fans, I think people were excited. There are some cool little covers on there. It’s just like a little treat, a little stocking stuffer type of thing.
Bobby: The song Spy Diddley was a bside from the Keep Your Heart session which was released on a Fat Wreck Chords online Christmas comp, why did you decide to re-release it on the Distractions EP? Did you not having any b-sides from the Build and Burn sessions?
Dave: Distractions has six songs. The first two are from the Build and Burn session; Spy Diddley is from the Keep Your Heart session. I mean, I think it was a Hanukah comp and it was online. I mean, come on. That’s like putting it into a glass tube and putting it in the ocean and hoping people will find it. It’s like “hey, do you guys know that song?” I mean a Fat Wreck Chords Hanukah comp? It really didn’t see the light of day so we figured we’d put it on a real release. And the song’s cool and it shows a point in time where the band was at at that time.
Bobby: The other three songs are cover songs. Springsteen, Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer. Why did you pick those three songs for the covers?
Dave: The only one we really picked was the Joe Strummer one because the other two had been recorded in the Keep Your Heart session. We were pretty busy during that record. When Brian McTernan would go home, sometimes I would stay back behind and I had the ability to kind of record. I recorded that Bruce Springsteen cover late at night. The Joe Strummer thing we thought would be cool to do and we wanted one more song where our current band was on. All these songs from the old days or whatever were on it. So we figured it would be a cool thing to record that cover; everyone loves that song. It’s just a little tribute to Joe Strummer.
Bobby: Yeah, it’s one of my favourite Strummer songs. Build and Burn had a very thematic element of building something and then just kind of destroying it. Was that intentional or did it just kind of happen as you were writing it?
Dave: I guess early on when you’re making a record, or you’re writing songs for a record, you come up with a theme. At least for me, if there’s a theme that ties a few songs together, at that point you just have to run with it. That’s kind of what happened. The theme ended up being how people make decisions and how these decisions affect the rest of their life. So we figured that was an interesting concept, especially in these times, to kind of look at. So that ended up being the theme I guess.
Bobby: That was also the first record with Chris and Dave formerly of the Explosion. Did having them on there affect the writing process? What was it like having them in the studio with you?
Dave: Having Chris and Dave with us has been like an absolute bolt of lightning, especially live. It’s been awesome and it’s been super fun and at this point I can’t conceive of the Loved Ones without them. In terms of the way that the writing went for that record, I think we were all kind of uncertain about how to write that record because we went from having a band with one song writer to a band with three song writers. It took us that record and the subsequent touring cycle to determine how it’s going to look. I think that it’s important to have a pretty concise vision of what you’re going to do when you’re making an album. To me, we’re an old fashioned band in that respect. We make albums. We’re not worried about singles. I mean, it’d be nice to have a single that hit but it’s not really the point of what we do. I was raised on full albums and that’s what I’m interested in doing. So I think we’ve kind of sorted out how we’re going to approach this next album. It took maybe one album to figure out what that’s going to look like. It definitely affected it. Any personnel change in any group setting is going to make things different; but there’s no way that people can deny that we’re ten times better as a live band with Dave and Chris than we were prior.
Bobby: The record also had more of an Americana, rock and roll vibe to it. You’ve also said that you consider yourself more of a rock and roll band as opposed to a punk rock band. Why did you decide to start making that distinction?
Dave: I don’t really know man. I think some people fall into a trap when they make a record that people respond to and they want to run in the other direction. I think it’s something that many, many people do and I guess I just didn’t feel all that excited about making another record that sounded like the first one. I don’t know. I think it’s important to be creative all the time when you’re writing. Sometimes you try some things that are a little strange and I guess that’s just part of writing songs and making albums.
Bobby: You’ve also said before that there’s basically four main parts of any song: rhythm, melody, words and harmony; and that if you do it right you should be able to transpose that songs to any other genre. You even said you could transpose it to electronica if you wanted to, if those four elements are there. Do you keep that in mind when you’re writing songs? To make sure that you can transpose it to another genre if you wanted to?
Dave: That’s not really the focus. I think you just want to make something that you’re immediately drawn to and you can immediately relate to. I think I was saying that with regards to what I consider to be good songs, but you know, I don’t know if that’s even true. I mean, think about a lot of Bob Dylan songs. They can be played in a lot of different ways and they can still be compelling but a lot of his fans get upset with him when he does that. I don’t know man; I’m no expert on any of this shit. I’m trying to put one foot in front of the other. I don’t know exactly what I meant by that at this point.
Bobby: A little while ago you also released a split seven inch with Chuck Ragan called Give and Take on Ten Four Records. Whose idea was it to do that split?
Dave: I got his record and I finally saw him – we were always touring when we would come through each other’s towns. I saw him at a show and told him that I thought his record was great and I thought it would be cool to cover For Broken Years as a rock band in sort of a loud way. Chuck is a really passionate guy. You can come up with an idea – even fry a turkey or build a bird house – if he’s into it, right away you know. He’s like “yeeeeaahhh!” So he kind of responded that way about the idea of us covering it and he’s like “well, I’ll cover a Loved Ones song.” Initially I thought it might have just been drunk talk and then we moved forward with it and we recorded it in when we were doing some other session and sent it to him. He was so psyched and then all of a sudden I got this email from Chuck with a MP3 attached and that was his version of Pretty Good Year. So it was pretty exciting to have a guy whose music you love and is an aspiring artist, feel that excited about collaborating with us.
Bobby: Why did you pick Chuck’s For Broken Years to cover? What made you pick that song out of all his others?
Dave: I just thought it was a really poignant way to describe the current political situation. He’s able to infuse his heart into whatever he writes about and I thought he did a great job. I thought it was a cool song that I felt we could pull off as a band.
Bobby: There are some bands who, for some reason or another, say that they never bother reading reviews about themselves online. Of course with you guys that’s not the case. I mean, in Player Hater Anthem, the line “they’re trying three percent too hard” you took from a PunkNews comment. Do you think it’s important to read what people are saying about you guys and take that into consideration or just ignore it?
Dave: Well, it’s hard to ignore because when you’re dealing with people who spend all their time playing music and playing in front of people, you have a certain amount of ego that comes along with that. And you also have a publicist that got you that review. So they send it to you and its kind of like Pandora’s Box every time. There’s a link and you can click on it and if they say something that’s rad about you, then you think you’re the greatest thing ever; but if they say something particularly harsh then you can have the tendency to respond in a negative way. I think it’s probably better to stay away from it but it’s difficult to do. Neither of those things are the truth; it’s just some guy’s opinion. If you’re deriving your self worth from what someone else thinks about the art that you made – that when you made it, you were excited about – then you’re kind of missing the point. But it is tough. It’s part of what we do and you gotta know your own mind and know what you’re capable of when you make those decisions.
Bobby: You were talking earlier about working on a solo album and you’ve released three demos on your MySpace. I think you were just recording your solo album with Pete from the Souls last August. Is that right?
Dave: Yeah, just last month. We spent time on the basic tracks and when we get done this tour, I’ll go in and finish up the vocals and some piano stuff and wrap it up and then we’ll have to mix it.
Bobby: When do you think we’ll be able to see your solo album?
Dave: Not sure man. Again, I’m trying to stay focus on what’s directly ahead which is finishing the record. Like I’m not sure who’s going to put it out, or who I’m going to play it for or what’s going to happen with it. I just want to get it done and listen to it.
Bobby: And then see what happens.
Dave: Yeah. I think there’s a certain amount of innocence in that and a certain amount of honesty in that; and that’s more refreshing to me than constantly having to make plans a year in advance. That takes some of the fun out of it.
Bobby: Yeah, yeah, sometimes it’s better to just go with the flow.
Dave: I’m not a band manager. It’s not what I signed up to do. It’s part of what I have to do in order to keep the wheels running but it’s not what I want to think about when I’m trying to write music. I kind of like being able to say that I have no idea when you’re going to hear any of the music that we’re working on; but I would imagine both of those records will come out next year. I don’t think it’s going to be like we’re going to hold up until..
Bobby: 2015 or something.
Dave: I highly doubt it. I can’t wait that long. I can definitely see us taking a few months to get our heads around the next record and then all of us to kind of get together and start to put it together.
Bobby: I guess that’s about it, thanks a lot. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Dave: Nah, just thanks for the interview and I hope you enjoy the show.