Dirty Heads are out touring right now promoting their new album ‘Sound of Change,’ and their first night was at The Cabooze right here in Minnesota! We sat down with John & Jared while they were visiting to ask some questions and what they’ve got in the works.
Tell me about Summer Meals Rock For Kids!
Jared: When we figured out the name for this album ‘Sound of Change,’ we realized that we also had a lot of reach. We were getting emails from fans saying how we had helped them and we’ve also tried to have a positive message the whole time. So we finally decided to be active about it, rather than just writing about it. That’s how we got together with WhyHunger, which we were all super stoked and honored to be a part of. We’ll be auctioning off tickets, meet & greets, all kinds of stuff to help feed kids all over the world.
Another thing that was really cool about this was that they are not just giving kids food. They are also educating and enabling these individuals to be able to grow sustainable foods. So not only are we able to help out but we are empowering people as well.
How does it feel being able to tour with a new album, and how many of the new songs are in your set list?
Jared: It feels amazing playing new music! Being a musician and being creative, after a couple of years of playing the same songs you just start to get that itch you know? That creative itch where you want to play new songs and write new songs, so it’s really uplifting and invigorating and inspiring actually to be on stage playing those new songs because you’ve played the old stuff so much.
We still love those old songs and we’re still connected to them, it’s not like we go up and just float through them. We give it are all and every night we play we’re here to fuck up peoples night in the best kind of way! We’re all insanely stoked on this new album too because we don’t feel like there is any filler in it you know? Tonight is actually our first show, so we’re going to test the waters see how it goes. Right now we have 8 new songs planned for the set, and 12 of the old ones. When it comes to live shows we try not to play more than half of the set with new stuff.
Well and I suppose you can’t do the 4 with the collabs right? Who was that gal at the end of the album by the way on the track?
Jared: That’s actually a friend of ours Scott Russo’s daughter from Unwritten Law, Caillin Russo. She’s an awesome model, been in the fashion scene for a long time. We were actually looking for female vocals on that last track (Running For Your Life) and we had heard she was singing too. So we went over to Jim Perkins house who helped us produce some of the acoustic stuff and she has this really rad throwback kind of Amy Winehouse vibe. We also love being able to keep it in the family and with friends, always great when we can include people like that and we were super stoked on her sound.
Are there any artists that you guys were fans of before you formed a band, that are now fans of your band?
John: That’s tough to say because I don’t want to assume that these certain people are fans of ours.
Jared: Let’s just say we’ve made some friends haha.
John: Yeah that’s better! There are people that we’ve been able to tour with and become friends with that we loved like 311, the Sublime crew obviously. That was great and we built a great relationship because we toured together for like 3 straight years!
Jared: Yeah man, and I think it’s good not to assume that these guys are fans of ours because they could be like “Those guys suck, but they’re nice guys!” Haha, but it’s cool to become homies with people that you’ve looked up to for sure.
Speaking of Sublime, Rome got to work with you guys on this album too right?
Jared: Yeah we love workin with Rome! We write really good together, we got absolute magic with ‘Lay Me Down,’ we’re on the same page when it comes to music and he really keeps in touch with whats new and dope and relevant, and even the direction he thinks music is going in. We actually didn’t even go into it thinking he would be producing anything, we just wanted to write with him. We told him the direction we wanted to go and the vibe we wanted for this album, laid down some acoustic tracks and some vocals, came in the next day and what he had done from the production side? It was EXACTLY what we were thinking in our heads and it blew us away! So after that we said you know what, let’s give Rome a shot.
We’re really happy with what he did and I think he is an amazing producer. It’s so hard to have this idea in your head and to have someone be on the same page as you able to produce it.
Personally I was really stoked on ‘One Hand.’ Can you tell me how that song came about?
Jared: ‘One Hand,’ is about struggle. It’s about trying to climb to the top and one hand comes after the other. So for us we’re talking about climbing that metaphorical ladder. A long time ago I met Kid Rock and it BLEW, MY, MIND! My manager took me there and it was like my 2nd concert I had ever been to. There were like 10,000 people there and he was this huge super star. I got to meet him and we drank some Coors Lights together haha. I asked him for advice though and one of the things he said was “Keep climbing, keep fighting. No matter what anyone says or does, you stay true to yourself and listen to your heart and keep climbing.” I saw him through out the night and he would like do this mime thing where he would climb a ladder. So in the end, the story is about climbing no matter who is doubting you.
You have such a wide range of styles of songs that you can sing. Some with these huge powerful notes and others that everyone can sing along to, so are there songs that come really easy to you and then ones that are really hard?
Jared: Oh 100%. I think it’s really important to keep consistency, not consistency in that you are singing your best every night, but you should be keeping up with your workout. Like if you’re going to the gym and trying to lose weight or you’re trying to get buff or whatever you’re doing, the key that any trainer will tell you is consistency. There were songs in the album that I was like “Oh man, I cut’m in the BOOTH!” And then there were other songs that I was like “Well that only took 10 tries and there were still little breaks in the track…” So I knew I was going to have to work towards having these certain types of vocals on lock to make sure it sounded the same at our live shows. So it all came down to constantly practicing. Singing in my car, singing in my shower and practicing with the guys.
I know for some singers that all comes really natural to them but for me, it was something I really had to work on and work for. So at the end of the day that’s all really gratifying too you know?
There are so many different types of songs that you all do too. hip hop, punk, ska, how do those days transpire? How does a hip hop day happen vs a ska day?
Jared: I think it all comes down to inspiration, you know? Like when you look at ‘Medusa,’ Supa Dups had a hand full of beats already done. Some were Reggae tracks, some were hip hop, but they were all pretty much done and we went through 5 or 10 of those and every time we got to the one we used for Medusa, it was very clear that it was going to be the one we used. People would even walk in while we were working on it and say “What is this! That is dope!” That whole song was done in probably an hour, like Duddy and I did 20 bars REAL fast but we had trouble with the hook, then Duddy was like “Let’s use your Medusa line man.” So we used that to keep it fun and simple for people so when you’re drunk or high, you don’t have to work for it haha.
But like I said man, it’s all from inspiration. What inspires us that particular point in time. We also though wanted to make sure the whole album didn’t sound the same. So we did work on making sure we had a straight up hip hop song or something straight up Reggae.
Since we’re talking about Medusa, did you guys get to work with Ward 21 or did you have to send that track off?
Jared: Man I wish I could tell our fans that we got to sit in the room with these people and vibe, but everyone we wanted to work with was busy either touring or just being stuck in other places in the states or else where. So we had to send every track that we wanted other people on which is actually nerve wrecking cause you’re like “That’s my baby man!”
I mean we did get to talk to tech and give some input before sending them off but when you do something like that and you’re waiting for it to come back, it’s nerve wrecking because you don’t want them to fuck it up! Luckily we got them all back though and they were amazing, we we’re blown away with how well it went. Actually even a little better than expected.
So the album is out. People can get it. Where can they get it, and what’s next?
Jared: Ha yes the album is out, you can get it on Itunes you can get it at Best Buy, Amazon, mom and pop shop, you can even go to our website for the vinyl copies coming out soon! We’re on this Summer tour right now and we’ll be doing this for about a month and then we’ll be doing a fall run in Canada, then the UK and a couple of other spots in Europe.
Mexico too right?
Jared: And we’re going to fucking Mexico! With Slightly Stoopid AND we’re going to Jamaica on the 311 cruise! Obviously we’re all stoked for that too!
Perfect man well thank you guys for sittin down with us and we’ll catch you soon!
Jared: Much appreciated friends, can’t wait to see the rest of you on tour!
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