Melodic, punchy and truthful. Since their inception, Dear Seattle have carved out a sound and their own community in the Australian punk rock scene. This year marks the release of their debut album Don’t Let Go via Domestic La La – the label with Violent Soho’s James Tidswell at the helm.
2018 was a huge year for you guys, rewarded with ‘Maybe’ being a massive shout for the Hottest 100. How will it feel if ‘Maybe’ makes the countdown?
Obviously it would be a dream come true! We’ve all grown up listening to the H100 every year so it would be wild to be a part of it. I still remember growing up listening to the 1997 Hottest 100 CD dad had in the car all the time, introducing me to bands like Blur, The Whitlams and The Verve. Too good.
The film clip for ‘Maybe’ looked like such a fun and carefree video to record and suits the song perfectly. How did you enjoy filming that?
Oh it was just a good day caught on film! We just wanted to be ourselves and be really genuine about what we enjoy doing. So why not just make the music video a barbecue with your mates?
Your debut album Don’t Let Go is due to be released in a month – how exciting is it knowing that all your hard work will soon be out for everyone to hear?
Disgustingly exciting hahaha. It’s been about 2 years in the works now from when the first song was written to the date of release, and I am definitely not the kind who enjoys sitting on finished music, so I am champing at the bit to get it out!
There are a lot of recurring themes in the album, perhaps the biggest being the topic of dealing with fake friends. Did you plan to write about this or was it just something that continuously came up throughout the writing process?
It’s not necessarily fake friends, it’s more to do with fake people in the music industry. I always write based on my own experiences and I think it just got to me.
As we started to get a bit bigger, I realised how many people there are in the industry that treat artists as nothing more than a commodity, as well as artists that deceive their fans, be it through a fake image or straight up lies and gimmicks to sell tickets.
Another theme we see a bit of is that of honesty – how does this tie in with the above theme whilst writing the songs?
Honesty is the driving force of DS. I only ever write music for myself, I’m not considering whether people will like it or not, only if I like it, and I feel like that imbues a strong sense of genuineness. At the end of the day, what is the point in writing a song if it doesn’t mean something to you? It can mean as little as just wanting to make you dance, but if you’re writing something just to get popular or make money you’re doing it wrong.
Never afraid to shy away from writing about one’s mental demons, it feels like in the past you have attacked it at its core however this album is more specific to the dealings and revelations one can have when they’re in that head space. “It seems funny to me to find a sense of relief and learning that I’m bigger than my brain believes” is a lyric that really highlights this in ‘Bigger Than My Brain’. Is it hard to shift between the two similar but differing themes – being in it versus self reflection?
Personally I believe experience and self-reflection are always simultaneous. I don’t find myself going through a period of self-reflection, I am just a self-reflective person, and I always try to learn from everything I experience.
That particular lyric is the perfect example of it, because I wrote it during a flight anxiety induced panic attack on a flight home from NZ. I managed to calm myself purely through analysis of why I was feeling the way I was, reflecting on what may have led to the anxiety in the first place, all the way to monitoring my breathing. Afterward I was just laughing at how a brain can be so fragile and weak, yet so triumphant and strong at the same time, thus “Learning that I’m bigger than my brain believes”.
From a fan and listener’s perspective ‘I Keep Dreaming’ is the best song you have ever written. Talk us through the writing of this song. Being something so personal, were you trying to write a song of this calibre or did it simply come through on its own – quite literally whilst watching a Pink Floyd documentary as the lyrics state?
Literally just watching a Pink Floyd doco! I was sitting and watching one called Wish You Were Here, all about the making of the album. Just hearing the words “wish you were here” over and over in the documentary must have sparked something, because I stopped it half way got writing. Honestly I think the whole song was written that night, and it just spewed out of me without even thinking.
The whole idea of the song is that I so badly wish Dad was here today to see everything that is happening, because he is the reason I became a music lover and I know he would’ve loved to see it unfold.
There are a lot of singalong moments throughout the album, noticeably the ends of ‘Bigger Than My Brain’ and ‘Homegrown’ that will be great live. What new songs are you most looking forward to playing?
To be honest I can’t even pick! I want to play them all for different reasons, but mostly I am really excited to put together a setlist with all of the new material. There is such variety in the pace, intensity, and feel of each song across the album that I feel we will be able to shape a really captivating live set.
Lastly, on that topic – when can we expect 2019 tour dates and is there anything special you have planned for upcoming shows that you could give your fans a teaser of?
Tour dates will be announced around the time the album comes out. To be candid, I haven’t even thought ahead to the live shows yet because there has been so much else to organise and think about! But it’s been over a year since our last headline shows, so we will make it incredibly special for all involved that’s for sure.