Q&A with Orange County, California’s – DIRTY HEADS – Who Get “Weird” on Their Latest Album, “Sound Of Change.”
Posted On 18 Aug 2015
Tag: 311, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, anti-bullying, Any Port in a Storm, Beatles, Billboard, Billy Preston, Bruno Mars, Buzzfest, Cabin By The Sea, Check The Level, Dance All Night, Dirty Heads, End of The World, Five Seven Music, Florida, Grammy, Houston, Huntington Beach, Jared "Dirty J" Watson, Jared Watson, KRQQ, Lay Me Down, Major Lazer, Matisyahu, My Sweet Summer, Nicole DeRosa, Nina Sky, Orange County, Rolling Stone, Rome, Slash, Sound of Change, Spread Too Thin, Sublime, Supa Dups, T. Swift, Taylor Swift, The Cataracs, The Dirty Heads, Ty Dolla $ign, Ward 21
Huntington Beach, California based band Dirty Heads have those songs that just stick in your head, and for me those would be their newest singles, “My Sweet Summer,” “Sound of Change,“and their latest single, “End of The World.”
Formed in 2003 out of the Socal Swagger of Orange County, Dirty Heads combine an intriguing mix of underground hip-hop, post-modern reggae and riff-driven rock to form their own mesh of rhythm and vibes. Dirty Heads sound touted raised flags coast to coast; as Rolling Stone dubbed the boys “One of the year’s best new bands.” Dirty Heads’ debut album, Any Port in a Storm featured the runaway hit “Lay Me Down,” which spent eleven straight weeks at #1 on the Mediabase Alternative chart…more than any other single that year by any artist.
The Sound of Change can’t come from external forces, it has to emanate from within. For Dirty Heads, evolution beyond their reggae-rock roots has developed over time and is manifested on their new album Sound of Change, (Five Seven Music) boasts some of the groups’ most diverse and ambitious work to date. Sound of Change takes a literal meaning with the production of this album, as the band links up with Grammy award winning producer Supa Dups (Nina Sky, Bruno Mars), Buddah Shampoo (Ty Dolla $ign), Niles (of hip hop duo, The Cataracs), Ward 21 (311, Major Lazer reggae collaborators) and long-time friend and collaborator, Rome (Sublime).
The feel-good vibe associated with their sound was not forgotten. Sonically, Sound of Change amps up the groundwork laid by previous albums. Fine-tuned alternative choruses work harmoniously with hip-hop influenced production that seams the songs together. Universal themes of compassion, reflection and happiness are at the core of the album.
“We wanted the songs on this album to touch on the things we deeply care about and the people we are inside” front man Jared (Dirty J) Watson asserts, “but then we want to address the other side – when the weekend comes and we need to let go and just rage.” Who can’t relate to that feeling?
The band was gracious enough to answer a few questions from All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa during the midst of their current tour. Peep their Q&A below!
Hi guys! How are you? Where does this interview find you today and what else is on the agenda besides this interview?
We are in Los Angles today just getting ready for the show at The Greek for sound check and a cool meet and greet with some fans.
The new album, Sound Of Change is great and I was glad to hear you guys challenging yourselves with this one. How is the new album different then the last? What was the running theme or vibe to the new album that you wanted to capture?
We wanted to do something more dynamic for this album. Something bigger more uptempo. The vibe and theme was more to lean towards our hip hop and alternative side. And also do something innovative that no one else was doing.
Anytime we did something we thought people would expect, we would say, “Alright now let’s go left, let’s get weird, let’s think outside of the DH box”.
What was the inspiration for the new single, ”Sound of Change”? How did that song come about? Did the lyrics or beat come first?
The music came first. It was that driving synth lead then verses and hook came after. The inspiration is a call to arms for people to embrace the change in the world around them and try and do something beautiful and good with it.
You guys worked with so many talented people on your album, Any Port in a Storm, including legendary Beatles collaborator, Billy Preston, and also Slash performing on the song, “Check The Level,” and one of my favorites, Matisyahu, on the song, “Dance All Night.” What was it like working with those guys? How did those relationships come about?
They were all organic relationships. Friends of friends that we became acquainted through. We were honored to have such legendary people want to work with us. That feels really good to have people you respect want to be a part of what your doing.
I heard a great quote from Jared on KROQ awhile back about the song, “Spread Too Thin.” (off the album, Cabin By The Sea) where his Dad said, “You’re like a little bit of butter on too much bread.” This was in relation to the ups & downs of the music business. I love that quote! It’s true but it also makes you laugh and lighten up. Any advice you guys can give for bands just starting out?
Keep your head down your smile up and play your ass off. Play as many shows as you can and keep that fire lit to be the best musician you can be. Everything else will fall into place as long as the quality of your music and shows is original , and genuine. People will gravitate towards something that’s real. And if you have the fans and foundation of a big following / community then you have more power when it comes to the business side.
What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes?
It’s always different inspiration can strike at any time. It usually starts with a small guitar part or melody , maybe even just some cool words I have. You just need I keep a lot of material floating around.
What was your favorite song growing up and why?
I don’t remember my fav song but when I was very young I loved Geoff Mulduar. My parents would play his vinyl all the time. Really cool folky hippy stuff.
Who is currently in your playlist? Any “guilty pleasure” songs or artist we would be surprised to find in there?
“T. SWIFT man, I can’t not like her music hahaha. It’s just so catchy and well written for what it is.”
What’s on tap next for Dirty Heads?
Take over the world!
Oxfam America will be joining Dirty Heads at a few more dates this summer. Stop by their booth + learn more about the amazing work that they do!
To learn more about Dirty Heads and find a tour date near you, check out their website, here