Interview with Dredg

Every now and then I get a chance to write about something I was not aware of. Sometimes it can be a chore or I can just feel stupid for not even knowing about it. This is one of those times I feel stupid about not knowing. The band Dredg and they are a four piece band playing out of San Francisco, playing music that you need to know about. With a serious progressive and alternative feel I found myself losing track of time while learning up on their catalog. Now on tour with Circa Survive, Code Seven & Animals as Leaders, I got a chance to talk with Gavin Hayes before their November 20th show at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, Michigan.

FM: For all the folks at home, please tell us who you are and what you do in Dredg?

GH: My name is Gavin and I sing in the band Dredg, I play slide guitar as well.

FM: Right on, so how long has the band been together?

GH: Sixteen years, or something like that.

FM:With a lot of bands that are together that long, most seem unable to keep the original lineup.How have you managed to stay together for so long?

GH: I don’t know? We have been friends for so long, maybe we do not have any other option. I guess are sense of progression keeps us together, thinking we couldn’t do it any better.

FM: Over the years you guys have been touring pretty extensively, what would you say is your least favorite/favorite part about being on the road?

GH: Least favorite is lack of sleep. Favorite part is the traveling,meeting interesting people.

FM: Who has been your favorite band to tour with?

GH: My favorite has been Animals as Leaders.

FM: They are on tour with you right now?

GH:Yeah they are. We are sharing as bus with them right now, we are having a great time.

FM:Where would you say your main influences stem from?

GH: It’s really changed over the years. With everyone in the band there are a lot of different influences. We all pull from many different places and the writing process is very democratic so I think our own individual likes just come together into one idea. I can’t really speak for everyone but as a vocalist I have really always had a lot of respect for peter Gabriel, Ozzy Osborne. I really dug him in Junior High. I think a lot of growing up in the Eighties influenced me as well.

FM: Many bands go their whole career attempting but not even being able to put together a concept album, Dredg has not only done it multiple times, but has done it quite well. Is it that you set out to make these records or it it something your process just leads you to?

GH: Yeah, with the last record we really didn’t evolve the process. With a lot of my lyrics, we just found a direction and went with it.

FM: Can you tell me about the new record?

GH:This record we didn’t do a conceptual album. It was more of a spontaneous approach. We wrote and recorded within a year, which I don’t think we have done since we made our first record.  This one is more of works just thrown together, it is what it is. We had to do something different so we dropped the concept thing on it as well.

FM: Do you have a name and release date on it?

GH: It’s going to be released either February or March of 2011. We are still working on a name fro it.

FM: Would you say this new album is going away from a lot of what you have done in the past, or taking what you have done in a different direction?

GH: It is for sure a new direction, it’s almost a collaboration. We worked with Dan the Automater, he comes from almost a different world. He has produced a lot of records, the foundation of his career has been based in hip hop and darker pop. There is influence on this record and we just kind of rolled with it. I am happy with it. I think at this point in our career we needed to do something different.

FM: Your last album was you first release on your own label, did you find that doing that on your own freed you artistically?

GH: You know, Interscope was never controlling in that manner. They pretty much just let us do what we wanted. I feel like they signed us for a reason and they weren’t really going to interfere with songwriting or anything like that or how we marketed ourselves. In a way we were always in charge of that.

FM: I’m writing this before your November 20th show at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, Michigan, what could you say the fans could expect to see at the show?

GH: Well we are going to to be performing a new song. Possibly by then we might be playing two new songs, we’ll see. We have some headliners in between these Circa Survive dates. It depends what we can work out with sound checks. With those you really don’t get too much time to hash out new songs. This isn’t really our tour. One new song for sure though. These sets are forty five minutes so I feel like a lot of people don’t even know who our band is. We try to give a broad range of all our records and material.

FM: Have you ever played in Detroit before?

GH: Oh yeah many times.

FM: How do you like the city?

GH: We always have a good time in this city.

FM: So what band that you think no one was heard of would you like to be……heard of?

GH: I would say Jack Parow, A South African hip hop artist. I’m not that in touch with new music. I’m sure most people have heard of what I have heard of.

FM: One last question, Is there anything else you’d want people to know about you that are not hip on Dredg yet?

GH: I guess we’ve already nailed it. Well you know we have the record coming out and it’s going to be a different record. I think it’s an interesting approach to what we have done in the past. I am looking forward to hearing what people have to say, the reactions.

FM: I want to thank you very much for your time and I am really looking forward to the show

Check out Dredg November 20th at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, Michigan, tickets are $18.50.