PropertyOfZack had the chance to sit down and chat with The Dear Hunter frontman Casey Crescenzo at Riot Fest for a brief interview. We spoke with Casey about the festival, taking out a string section on his current tour, an IndieGoGo for the funding of his symphony, and so much more. Check out the interview below!
So, did you just get out here [to Riot Fest Chicago] today?
Yeah we played… I want to say the night before last outside of Detroit. And we drove out last night. We basically got into town late last night. Then we checked in this morning at 11:30.
POZ: And rolled right onto the stage. Wow.
And rolled right onto the stage, yeah.
So you haven’t even had time to walk around probably!
Well I walked through the crowd from our stage here. It’s pretty wild.
POZ: I’m really blown away by the whole thing.
Yeah. It’s pretty sizable.
POZ: Yeah. That’s exactly it. I’ve been to lots of big festivals that have a couple of punk acts playing. And I’ve been to lots of punk fests that are these little affairs. But I’ve never seen anything like this, that’s so punk-centric but so big.
How does it feel to be involved in something like that?
It’s awesome. The thing is, no matter what the ‘genre’ of festival is for us – like we’re going and doing a cruise, like a prog-rock cruise – there’s two things: 1. The fact that anyone wants you to come play and thinks that you’re worth anything, that you would make their festival better, that’s amazing. But 2. How arrogant can people be that you would decide not to do a festival because you don’t want to attain fans from different genres? So for us, those two things are amazing. The fact that people want us here and the fact that we can play in front of a crowd that’s obviously a different crowd than say a festival like Bamboozle, or SXSW or Coachella, it’s very unique to itself. To be able to come here – we love Chicago. So it’s awesome. And it’s very flattering. Very, very flattering.
Do you have bands you’re going to try to check out while you’re here?
Well one of the bands I was really excited to see went on right when we were done — and I had to go do an interview – was Stars. Big fan of Stars. And then, I know, between me and the guys in the band… is it FLAG?
POZ: Yeah, it’s FLAG that’s here. It’s not the Greg Ginn one, it’s the one with all the other guys.
Blondie, The Pixies, The Replacements…
POZ: I’m so stoked for The Replacements.
Yeah. So I’m sure that once the musical clutter that’s associated with any festival clears out, and the real names get up, I’m sure we’re going to be running around to make sure we catch everything.
Are you doing both days of the weekend? Are you here all weekend?
Tomorrow I have a show in DeKalb, a solo show. But probably some of the guys from the band will stick around to check it out. I wish I could, tomorrow looks awesome. And we have some friends playing tomorrow too. But I’ll miss it.
So are you in the middle of the string quartet tour right now?
I guess this would be kind of the middle. What’s the date today? It is exactly the middle. And it’s awesome. It’s very different for us. It’s a dream. We’ve wanted to tour with a string quartet for a long time. Doing it in this setting, especially being able to do it at a festival like this, it’s awesome.
Did you have to go compose string parts for the whole thing?
Yes. There were some songs – some of them already have the parts there. And some of them already had charts that I made up before. But for a lot of them, I had to go back and just re-approach the song, knowing what might have been a horn section, or “let me do it with strings here.” So it was a lot of fun.
The Dear Hunter has released a new music video for “Shouting At The Rain.” Watch it below after the jump.
The Dear Hunter Frontman PledgeMusic To Record Symphony
The Weekly Tour Round-Up
Trailin’ T. Mills
Banquets on NOFX
The Industry With Jesse Cannon
Crime In Stereo - 89 North Tickets [Ended on April 26th]
To Paint The Sky - “Burn Away”
The Dear Hunter’s new album, Migrant, simply takes your breath away.
The album sets itself apart from The Dear Hunter’s previous three full-lengths all in sound, technique, and concept. No song in particular stands out, as they are all impressive by their own means. Setting that aside, everything about Migrant—from the instrumentation to the song writing—is subtle, but impactful. The songs are theatrical, enticing movement in an emotional and physical sense.
Every song on Migrant sounds different, but all of the tracks work in sync together. There’s pop, rock, and a pinch of folk to keep all types of listeners tuned in. At first, “Bring You Down” sounds like a sinister medley from a Hitchcock film, but then transitions into something much more comforting. The call-and-response between the chimes and the piano are mesmerizing. Add in Casey Crescenzo’s compelling voice, and the musical magic plays on.
“Shame” has the unsettling factor again, but feels like an elegant tango between quarrelling lovers. But then “An Escape” follows, which literally feels like an escape to another musical realm with gorgeous melodies dripping from every word. (For some reason, the arrangement of “oohs” midway through reminds me of the enchanting snow scene from “Edward Scissorhands.”) This is a song to blast in the car with the windows down as you speed down the highway en route to a spontaneous adventure.
Senior Writer Jesse Richman had the chance to catch up with Casey from The Dear Hunter at SXSW for an in-depth interview. Jesse and Casey discussed SXSW, Equal Vision Records, getting away from concept records, tours, and much more. Check it all out below!
So Casey, how are you doing?
Doing good, how are you doing?
I’m doing alright! When did you get into town [for SXSW]?
We got in around 11:30 today.
You’re doing a showcase this afternoon. What else are your plans while you’re here?
We’re doing a Showcase and then at like midnight or 12:30 I have an acoustic show somewhere. Then tomorrow we’re playing on the roof of a Whole Foods, I guess. That’s about it.
Do you think you’ll have time to see other bands while you’re down here?
I’m sure I will have time, but I think I will be so overwhelmed that…
POZ: Was going to say, was there anyone you were trying to get to?
I don’t even know who’s here. I don’t know who’s here.
Alright. So let’s talk Equal Vision [Records]. You signed with them and then you formed your own imprint [Cave & Canary Goods]. How did that all come about?
Well. When the contract was fulfilled with Triple Crown Records and then they found out that we were going to do The Color Spectrum…
POZ: Yeah that’s tough to get a label to sign off on, doing that many EP’s.
Yeah. Definitely. So after that, we had in mind the perfect scenario and we set out to look for it. We talked to a few different labels.
POZ: So you approached the labels with, “We want an imprint.” ?
Yeah. So we spoke with EVR, and they liked the idea and liked the idea of branding it that way. So after meeting with them, talking with them, explaining what the music was going to be like, it was a perfect match.
So are the plans with the imprint bigger than just The Dear Hunter? Are you going to be signing other bands to it?
I hope to. But I don’t want to, just because it’s there now, go overboard. I would like to take time and let it happen naturally. But that is the goal.
POZ: Do you have an idea of what you want the imprint to be?
POZ: Yeah. Obviously if you were going out looking for it, you must have some concept…
I think I want it geared more towards people… It’s hard to explain… I really love vinyl and packaging and that whole world of things and I know that the fan base for that type of product is smaller. So I would like to approach it as more of a boutique label which also brings with it a slightly more focused musical spectrum. It wouldn’t be sensible to do Metal because that doesn’t really fall into place with the aesthetic of it. But, there’s band I’m on tour with right now. We brought out Naïve Thieves. They will probably be the first actual release. And they’re like a 60s throwback, vibe-y, somewhere in between The Clash and… I can’t remember the name but 60s garage rock. But they’re a great band. And I think they’ll be the first non-Dear Hunter release.
In terms of The Dear Hunter, you guys just did The Color Spectrum DVD. You’ve done a lot of The Color Spectrum. How did the DVD idea come out of it? Was it always a part of the plan?
No. Early on in the touring cycle, I had mentioned that I had wanted to do a start-to-finish The Color Spectrum show. The initial reaction from the people that run the business was that it doesn’t make sense, it would be too much, and that’s asking a lot for people to sit through, and I agree. But then as it picked up steam and people liked the record and they liked different parts of it all, not just one thing or the other, the idea seemed a little bit better and we re-approached it. It was like, “If we’re going to do this, we can’t not film it. If we’re going to do just one show of this, ever…” So it kind of just fell into place and then eventually it was like, well I guess we should just release this. So now it’s this three-hour-long DVD.
The Dear Hunter Fans, they’re obviously a specific breed. They’re the kind of people that would be into a three-hour full DVD. Do you think you see yourself doing anything that ambitious again anytime soon?
Not soon. Just because I think what made that project really special for me was that when I initially thought of doing it and to the time I was actually able to do it, was a span of about five years of waiting to jump in and actually make that happen. So I think that in maybe another five years from now, I might do something that extensive, but I’m enjoying doing things like the record we just finished.