Interviews: Gavin Hayes of dredg

Jeff Pearson, March 24, 2011
Originally published by Life’s Sweet Breath

dredg frontman Gavin Hayes answers some questions regarding the group’s upcoming record, Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy. We find out about Dan The Automator’s influence on the record, and what to expect from dredg down the line.

Tactile Tracks: Between The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion and Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy, you guys signed with a new label, Superball Music. How has the transition to the new label been? Are there any special plans for the new record? A pretty, colored vinyl, perhaps?

Gavin Hayes: So far, Superball has been extremely hands on, supportive, and really helped to make the transition to a new label painless. We have a lot of ‘special plans’ for the upcoming release but a lot of it is still being hashed out and approved.

Tactile Tracks: How are things going with the record?

GH: The record is recorded, mixed, mastered, and the artwork is complete. Basically, it’s finished and will be ready for its release on May 3rd.

Tactile Tracks: The artwork for Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy was recently revealed. Can you tell us a little about how the art came to be?

GH: Drew, our bassist, and his brother, Beau Roulette, took an idea we had as a band and rolled with it. Drew designed and made the masks and then Beau, an accomplished photographer, created the final product.

Tactile Tracks: Along the same vein, how did Drew’s characters of Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy earn the spot as your new record’s namesake? Is there a meaning behind it?

GH: Dan (the Automator), Tim Carter (engineer), Mark, and I were all driving to dinner from the studio. Tim was joking about how he used to be a rodeo clown and that him and his partner’s ‘stage’ name was “Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy”. I said that would be a great album title and we all kind of laughed it off. A few months later, after throwing around many ideas, we felt it actually was a very fitting title in the respect that it was a collaborative effort (Dan/dredg – Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy).

Tactile Tracks: What have you been listening to lately?

GH: James Blake, Eskmo, Skrillex, and a lot of AM Radio.

Tactile Tracks: Do you hear any of those artists’ influences bleeding into the record?

GH: Mainly, AM radio.

Tactile Tracks: Word is out that a couple of older tunes, “The Ornament” and “Where I’ll End Up”, have made their way onto Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy. The former has been around since Catch Without Arms days, and the latter was left off of The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion. Can you tell us about the evolution of these songs, and how they came to be included on the new record?

GH: Yes, both songs were written prior to the writing of this album and had been lying around waiting to become something presentable. Dan helped bring the right elements, rhythmically and stylistically, to help us complete these tracks and make them album worthy.

“(Dan The Automator) is about feeling over perfection, and spontaneity over meticulousness, which was exactly what we wanted and needed for this record.”

Tactile Tracks: What has it been like getting to work with Dan The Automator?

GH: Dan knows what he wants and works extremely fast. He is about feeling over perfection, and spontaneity over meticulousness, which was exactly what we wanted and needed for this record.

Tactile Tracks: You’ve stated that Automator helped write some tracks on the record. What sort of input did he have when it came to writing the record?

GH: Well, he completely wrote and arranged 3 of the tracks on the record (“The Tent”, “Before it Began”, and “Sun Goes Down”). The only thing they needed were vocals which I gladly provided. The remaining tracks were written by us and tweaked by Dan. I think most of his influence can be heard in the rhythm section.

Tactile Tracks: With Automator being a predominately hip-hop producer, is there a noticeable hip-hop influence on the record?

GH: Definitely. As stated before, I think it’s very apparent in the rhythm section but the overall tonality and feeling of the record is very Dan as well…warm, dark, and bass heavy.

Tactile Tracks: Will Automator be touring with the band?

GH: Probably not but he might join us in California for some of the shows. We’ll see.

Tactile Tracks: Are there any concrete plans as far as touring goes? There have been talks of a World Tour. Do you plan on getting to visit some new places this time around?

GH: Yes, we begin a US tour on May 3rd and then head straight to Europe after that…mainly for festivals and some headlining dates. Other than that, we don’t really have any concrete plans. I know we would love to get to some new territories this time around….obviously, expenses and demand permitting.

Tactile Tracks: One thing dredg has always been great at is choosing supporting acts. Have you decided what artists you’ll be touring with this time around?

GH: The Dear Hunter, Balance and Composure, and The Trophy Fire.

Tactile Tracks: A while back, there were talks of playing more full-album shows. Are these shows still in the works?

GH: We probably will be on the upcoming run in May.

Tactile Tracks: What is your favorite thing about touring? Least favorite?

GH: Favorite: testing the limits of self control and expanding conscience through travel and experience.

Least: The Canadian border.

Tactile Tracks: The lyrical content of dredg’s music has shifted from being shrouded in mystery, almost brushstrokes of how society was viewed at the time, to more personal themes. Does this change reflect any real-life situations you’ve gone through over the years?

GH: Yes, mainly due to the fact that I’ve become a self-absorbed prick over the years. Ha.

Tactile Tracks: Has becoming a father changed how you or the band operates?

GH: Not really. The band operates the same way…chaotically.

“In my opinion, a successful artist is measured by how heavily they can influence the masses and how they are perceived and appreciated after their death.”

Tactile Tracks: dredg has gained such a rabid following while staying relatively out of the eye of mainstream media. How do you measure success as an artist?

GH: In my opinion, a successful artist is measured by how heavily they can influence the masses and how they are perceived and appreciated after their death.

Tactile Tracks: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from working in the music business?

GH: That it’s about as reliable as a crack head.


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