Hey Dave, So tell us about your new album ‘And the Light Goes White’ “And The Light Goes White” is the second album for The Dramedy, and I guess you can say that I have the pandemic to thank for that. It was originally going to be an EP because I had set up a string of shows for the band that would have taken us from March to about mid-June. Then the lockdown happened which pretty much scrapped that plan! Overall though I don’t mind though because I really like the way this album turned out, and who knows if I would have written some of these songs had the lockdown never happened.
Musically I would describe the album as “britpop goth rock” or “dark alternative.” Or you can just call it rock n roll. In addition to the usual things like Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Nirvana some artists that influenced me on this record were britpop bands like Pulp, Suede and Lush. New York bands like Patti Smith and Television. Some stuff from early 2000 like Rilo Kiley and The Rapture. I listen to a lot of different things and pretty much grab the bits I like, be it for musical/lyrical content or merely as aesthetic.
Did you record this over the past year of the lockdown? What were the challenges in getting this finished? Yes, all the recording was done last year from July to December with mixing stretched across the first three months of 2021. And man were there A LOT of challenges! The pandemic made getting together at the same time very problematic not to mention stressful the times we did. Other than one song none of us had ever played these songs together in the same room at the same time. We also had to record our parts separately on our own so four recording studios were used. The whole process was like an assembly line really.
One incident that comes to mind was when Africa Swenson was recording the bass and piano for the song “Waiting On You.” She would record, email it to me, I would listen, email back notes, repeat. Sounds simple but when you have to say stuff like “from 1:04 to 1:10 hold out that note” or “down strum from 2:13 to 2:16” it can become a bit nerve racking. Thankfully that only happened for that song. We eventually came together to record the rest of the tracks.
Have the events of the past year influenced your writing? As far as influencing the lyrics on the songs, no I don’t think it had. The title “Parasite” and the chorus for that song (“Outside there’s nothing to hold on to) I would say are directly influenced by the pandemic, but not the whole song. If anything the pandemic from last year influenced me with recording. Prior I have never recorded an album in separate studios. All my vocals were done on my own as well which I did find comforting and will probably do again in the future.
I will say though that I was a little bit more “loose” when I was writing these songs. I kind of let things flow a bit more with both the lyrics and music. If it sounded good then I would keep it and flesh it out. Whereas before I would really pay attention to the details, etc.
I know you have a radio show as well, tell us about that. Yes, I do have a radio show! It’s called Radio Dramedy with a new episode on every Weds night 8 pm (pst) at www.xstreamradio.net.
I pretty much play whatever I want so it tends to be all over the place. Most of the artists I spin are known with some even being mainstream. The other shows at Xstream Radio tend to lean towards more underground artists so I figured it would be nice to have a show that was not.
Some of the artists you would hear my spin on Radio Dramedy are Skinny Puppy, Public Enemy, La Roux, Robyn, Sylvie Vartan, Scott Walker, Bowie, The Clash, Roisin Murphy, Client, Carpenter Brut, Kylie Minogue, Ministry and Roxette to name a few
What are the plans to promote the record considering the challenges of live shows right now?
The plan right now is to pretty much do everything that can be done to promote the record that’s not playing a show. Music videos, reviews, radio, articles, interviews like this, etc. I’ll be updating blog pieces on the Dramedy’s website www.thedramedy.com so people should check there from time to time. Even though we have a vaccine out I pretty much made the decision to not do any live shows for the rest of 2021. 2022 maybe. I still need to see how everything plays out and I’m not too trusting with numbers or the public to just go out there.
What do you feel is different than your last release ‘StrAngr(S)tiL’ ?
Oh there are so many different things between the two albums! “StrAngr(S)tiL” was a full on “guns blazing” hard rock attack! The guitars were upfront, the drums were booming, very high energy with the vocals pretty rough edged. What I wanted to do with this second album, “And The Light Goes White,” was something that was a little less rough, a little less “in your face” and more melodic.
Being an artist I constantly want to move forward, challenge myself and do new things.
For this new record there are more slow songs. There are acoustic guitars on half the songs. The drums have a certain swing to them that’s not really found on the first record. Vocally I wanted to try things out with doubling, tripling and layering. I knew for sure that what I did on “StrAngr(S)tiL” I did not want to do again with “And The Light Goes White.” Why would I? I’ve already done it. But if you listen closely to “Light” I don’t think I strayed too far away from what I did with “StrAngr(S)tiL.” You can still tell that it’s The Dramedy. It’s not a complete 180.
Who else is on the record?
On bass and drums we have Africa Swenson and Michael Collins respectably. I must applaud both of them because as the rhythm section they had things stacked up against them since we didn’t rehearse on the songs at all. Michael and I rehearsed together because I felt that so long as we get a good groove going with the drums laying down the bass wouldn’t be too much of a problem. And though Africa was on her own working on the songs I think that she did a really good job as evident on songs like “Circle The Road” and “Popsicle.”
I also had Caroline Blind formally from the goth rock band Sunshine Blind do back up vocals on “All Our Yesterdays.” I was her touring bassist/acoustic guitar player throughout 2018/2019, and even contributed some guitar playing on her first solo record “The Spell Between that came out last year. She lives on the East Coast so I guess you can say that five studios were used in this recording.
And finally we have Robert Frank who played drums on “Vow” and “All Our Yesterdays.” Not only did he play drums on the record but he did the recording, engineering and mixing for “And The Light Goes White” as well as all of my previous releases. He’s also the drummer for the psychobilly band Coffin Draggers.
Are you involved with any other projects?
At the moment I am not. The Dramedy has taken my full attention as far as music goes.
Besides this album, how did you spend the past year?
Like everyone else the majority of last year was spent indoors! I didn’t really mind it so much because pre-pandemic my life was just a whirlwind of activity so it was good to take a much needed break. I pretty much spent a lot of my time reading a lot of my books. When restaurants were doing take out I figured it was my chance to try some places I have never tried before. I discovered a lot of music artists using the internet and showed my support by ordering records straight from them. I also spent a lot of time keeping healthy by doing things like yoga, pilates and kickboxing. Taking walks outside from time to time. Doing all of this was really nice.
What do you think the next year holds for The Dramedy?
I haven’t looked into 2022 just yet, but as far as 2021 is concerned it’s all focused on pushing the album! So what I’m seeing is a whole lot of work and sleepless nights. Actually there may be a couple more releases this year so people should keep a close eye on that.
all photos by Janine Driskill
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