Dearly Beloved Interview: “It was a whirlwind… (the album is) fast and raw”

dearly beloved interview

New album Admission out January 27th.

It’s not every band that gets to record an album on the analogue console on which Nirvana recorded Nevermind, and in Dave Grohl’s studio to boot. It’s also not every band that includes the nephew of Geddy Lee, the legendary bassist/vocalist with Rush, in their number. But not every band is Dearly Beloved, the Toronto based quartet who combine the immediacy of garage rock, the attitude of punk, and the melodic sensibilities of alternative rock to create something that is wonderfully visceral and insistent.

The will release their latest album, Admission, in the UK on the 27th January. A raw and bludgeoning affair, the album is a confident and swaggering blast that shows that they were not overly intimadated with recording at such a famous venue.

We sat down with the quartet to discuss that recording process, working with Daniel Rey, and the influence of Geddy Lee on the band.

Overblown: You recorded the new album on the Neve 8028 analogue console on which Nirvana recorded Nevermind and in Dave Grohl’s studio. Did you feel added pressure to produce something awesome as a result?

Dearly Beloved: Sure. It was an honour to be recording there and to be using that console so we definitely wanted to be at our best and create something we’d all be proud of. There’s no hiding your imperfections in a situation like that, we tracked live together in one room and had just 4 days to get all the beds done for 12 songs. So truly there wasn’t much time for anything but playing and more playing.

Had we thought too much about what we were doing and where we were doing it and all that we may have gotten lost up our own asses but once we settled in and started working at getting good takes the other stuff melted away and we were just a band in a studio playing our songs again. It could have been anywhere at that point. Then of course you’d go for a bathroom break and see the MTV Award / toilet paper holder and you’d remember where you were.

We had a terrific producer watching over it all and 606’s staff are amazing as well so there was definitely some pressure to kick ass and nail that next take but that was a good pressure that kept us on our toes. Dave was kind enough to come say hello while we were there and on his way out of the studio after the visit his parting words were “Have fun and make us proud.” That was cool … and inspiring. We didn’t dwell on it but, yeah, when you’re looking at your name on a piece of tape on that console in that room you definitely want to feel good about what you’re tracking. Thankfully, everyone had a blast.

O: The video for your track ‘I Tried To Leave’ is quite hectic. Who directed it and what is the concept behind the video?

DB: Rob Stefaniuk. The concept is basically someone gets stuck in a loop. He keeps waking up in this house he can’t escape from despite his best efforts. The song is about capitalism, monopolies … but written so that it could be interpreted a few different ways. In that sense, it tells three stories at once. We wanted to make something fun and allegorical and Rob ran with it. It was shot in a haunted house and released on Halloween.

O: You recorded the album with Daniel Rey, who has worked with everyone from the Ramones to White Zombie to the Misfits. What was it like working with him?

DB: A pleasure. He’s laid back. Smart. And he has a great knack for making your song better which is why we chose to work with a producer for the first time in the first place. He wasn’t that interested in sending demos via email ahead of time he was more about getting down to the rehearsal space and just playing the songs for him. We met for the first time January 6th, then spent the next seven days playing him songs live for 8 hours a day or so. Then recorded for a total of 14 days, then he flew back to New York Jan 26th. It was a whirlwind … definitely not of those albums you chip away at over the course of months, which we’ve done … this was fast and raw. I can’t recall a single change Daniel asked for that didn’t make that particular song better.

O: The new album is called Admission. Tell us a bit about the title and where it came from?

DB: These Data was the album’s working title and then it became Admission once the album was finished. Felt right. There are, of course, some personal truths in the lyrics but the title is more about the price some people are made to pay. Injustice.

O: A new song on the album is called ‘Strobe-Dosing’. I Googled this term as much as I could and couldn’t find anything out about it. Where did the title originate?

DB: ‘Strobe-Dosing Useless Eaters’ was the original title. It just became ‘Strobe-Dosing’ over time. It’s about the work that’s gone on at various think tanks over the last century relating to manipulation of the masses. Automation of our society is also a subject that interests us and references to it pop up all throughout the record, including that song.

O: Rob, your uncle is Geddy Lee from Rush. Does he influence your bass playing in any way?

DB: Sure. He’s the first bass player I ever saw live. I was pretty young when my mom started taking me to their shows so seeing him doing his thing and later studying his playing had a big impact on me. Right out of the gate I wanted the bass to be a melodic instrument so I pushed myself to become the best player I could be … one capable of writing adventurous bass lines … I also listened to a ton of Hendrix as a kid, as well as The Clash and Dead Kennedys so playing the bass with the intensity and feel of someone like Jimi Hendrix was important to me as well. The band NoMeansNo and, in particular, Rob Wright, their bass player made me believe colliding all those worlds was possible. I still work at getting better at it every day and being around Geddy as a kid definitely not only influenced my playing but my work ethic. We all only have so much time to get these things right so get at it.

O: The artwork for the new album is quite evocative. Who created it and what inspired it?

DB: Talia Shipman. It came to her in a dream. It was a dark and overwhelming period on some levels and these times generally speaking can be dark and overwhelming … when Talia sent us that image I think we all felt it conveyed that. It resonated. We’re capable of so much as a society but are also stuck in rooted beliefs and systems that divide and leave people behind.

OL I hear you have connections to Eagles of Death Metal. Jesse Hughes seems like a pretty intense guy. What is he like in real life?

DB: We recorded an album called Hawk vs Pigeon at Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree where EODM guitarist Dave Catching lives and works. He’s a wonderful human being that inspired us in many ways. It was Dave that inspired us to come to the studio without any songs, which we did for Enduro, the second album we tracked there. We wrote a new one every morning after throwing hand axes and a bit of archery. Good ways to get the blood flowing before writing a fresh jam for the studio. We don’t know Jesse Hughes.

O: Give our readers one piece of life advice. Please and thank you.

DB: I’m not big on giving people advice but I can say that based on my experience you may want to consider always taking your wallet onstage with you.

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