No Depression-Chasing Down the Devil with Dead 27s

BY EMILY HINDE
 

Dead 27s are carving out their on own mark on the music world in 2016. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, the band drives Rock n' Roll with a dash of the Blues, home. The group, who has garnered praise for their releaseChase Your Devils Down, is set to release their follow up to the record this year titled Ghosts Are Calling Out. We caught up with Trey Francis, Wallace Mullinax, Will Evans, Oliver Goldstein and Daniel Crider from the group, to see what Dead 27s have up their sleeve for 2016...and beyond.

 

Chase Your Devils Down blends the forces of rock and soul music. What musical influences helped to hone the Dead 27s' sound on the last release, and can we expect the same for the upcoming album? 

Wallace: The Allman Brothers, Black Crowes and Tedeschi Trucks band are obvious influences, being from the south. We also love the tight sound of funk and soul artists, like Al Green, Bill Withers, and Mayer Hawthorne. Our new album will definitely have those influences, but we tried to push it tonally with different sounds in some spots. 

Will: It will have the same foundation, but with new textures and influences mixed in. Definitely a growth from Chase Your Devils Down. 
Chase Your Devils Down has garnered the group a great deal of attention. What can you tell us about the pending follow-up? 

Wallace: It will feature all new material. Some songs have been played live recently, while others are creatures of the studio. 

Trey: The new album will still have a lot of the same feel as the last release, but the overall production and attention to detail on this one will be noticeably different, and in our opinion, much improved. 
Oliver: The upcoming album continues to display the melding of ourselves and our influences while pushing the envelope in several other aspects. We have poured a lot into this one, can't wait for everyone to hear it. 

Daniel: On the new album, our influences are much more blended together while more risks were taken production wise. We're more a much more experienced unit that's been playing together and basically living in a can together and you can hear it in this album. 

Will: We tried to allow ourselves to try things we didn't have time for on Chase Your Devils Down. And as mentioned before, we wanted to stay true to who we are and our foundation, but push ourselves to add different influences and sounds. Each band member was really able to add their own input and inspirations, which makes this a special album for us. The fans will definitely hear growth with the sound of the band. 
Is there a title for the upcoming release yet? 

Wallace: Ghosts are Calling Out 
While penning songs for the upcoming release, do you find the pieces continuing in the same vein as Chase Your Devils Down, or are they a departure from your signature sound? 
Wallace: Hopefully, it's an extension of our sound. We did a full album this time, so we had more room to try different ideas and textures. 

Trey: We wanted this album to be something that helps us broaden and expand our audience, but still excites and satisfies our existing fans. 

Oliver: You can definitely hear aspects of Chase Your Devils Downon the new album, it wouldn't be right if you didn't. Its still "us", but we have focused on progressing the sound, pushing the envelope in sound and texture while maintaining our identity. 

Daniel: Working with a producer like Ben helped shape our vision with more focus while also shaping our identity by taking risks in production we might not have thought to take. He brought the best out of what the song wanted to be and that's why you hire a producer. 

Will: It's still very much the same band... And we feel it's important to keep that foundation and sound. But, we also feel it's very important to try and grow and a band an continue to evolve. That keeps it fresh for us and for the fans. 
How did you team up with Grammy nominated Ben Ellman for the upcoming record? 

Wallace: Our manager is close to a few people who have worked with Ben. They recommended him highly and thought we'd be a good fit. 

Trey: After the first Skype meeting we had with Ben, we knew he was our guy. 

Will: The introduction was made and it felt right. Ben is such a pleasure to work with. He's not only an incredible musician, he's just a great person all around. His production style put us at easy and he really helped guide us through the whole thing. He has a great knack for finding what's best for each song while allowing us to experiment and try things out. 
You are known for your live shows. How do you take your in-studio sound and tailor it for the stage setting? 

Wallace: We try to take some risk with the material and give space for those special moments to happen. With an album, we try to consider all the different environments a listener might be in, which brings its own set of pros and cons. 

Oliver: Transferring songs to a live environment is always fun and exciting. You want to make sure the/a message is getting across without seeming overly contrived, but while maintaining precision. 

Will: In the studio you are under a microscope, but you have time to figure things out. Live is a little more raw and definitely brings another energy. 
What is your favorite city to play? Is there a city you haven't played in that is a goal for you right now? 

Wallace: Charleston is our hometown, so it ranks pretty high. Charlotte is fun too. We haven't played in New Orleans yet, strangely enough, but we'll change that soon. 

Trey: We've also had a lot of our friends in western states asking us when we were going to come out that way. Hopefully we'll start moving in that direction after the release. 

Oliver: Its great to feel the hometown love in Charleston. There are so many cities on the east coast that make us feel at home, its a great place to play music. We hope to make our way to Colorado and the western states soon. 

Will: Charleston is definitely fun. So yea, New Orleans is in the "sooner than later" wish list. 

What is the inspiration behind the Happy Friday Videos you have been sharing via Facebook? What has been you favorite cover so far, and which covers are you planning on doing down the line? 
Wallace: Will and Trey might want to chime in here. I loved the Zoo video with the lions. 

Trey: Adding more video content to our social media presence is something that we had discussed a lot prior to the Friday series. I went over to Will's house one night and after playing around with some songs we just decided to record a quick video of one and put it out there to see what happened. It caught on immediately. The "Happy Friday" thing was sort of a happy accident, and I have to say, that first song we did is still my personal favorite. It was "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears for Fears. 

Daniel: My favorite is "This is How We Do It". We filmed that while traveling in the van. It was creatively thrown together at the last minute and we just had fun with it. I didn't expect it to do much on social media, but unexpectedly, it got the most reaction out of everyone. Go figure. 
Will: Those videos are all about having fun and we want to make people feel good. Friday makes everyone happy, especially for those who may have had a shitty work week. We just started with one video and kept it going! The Zoo video with the lions was great, so that's probably a band favorite. The Prince one was great too. We will take requests down the line, but most of the songs we pick the day of. Sometimes just a few minutes before we record it... Depends on the mood at the time or what everyone's feeling. So who knows what we might play! 

When people listen to your music what do you want to be the big take away for them? What do you want to be known for as a band? 

Wallace: We just want them to feel that we are tapping into something genuine when we perform. People should be confident that when they come to our show we are going to be on-our-toes leading an elastic collective. 

Trey: We have made a concerted effort to stay true to our roots while constantly exploring new ideas. I hope that when people see us live or listen to our albums, they feel engaged, interested, and entertained. The last thing I ever want to do is give our listeners something bland. 

Oliver: We want to engage our audience, make them feel something. Whether it be the way we feel about a song or something totally different, conveying emotion is paramount. We hope that people see/hear a familiar-ness with us as well as originality. We hope to be known as a genuine band giving it their all, producing quality music that endures 

Daniel: I want them to forget about what hardships the day may bring and get lost in the music. When you're able to have that connection with an audience, there's nothing like it. If you're not connecting with them, you're not doing something right. 

Will: Hopefully the listeners will be moved in some way by our music and live shows. We want people to have a good time and enjoy the ride with us.