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Artist Spotlight: The Dear Hunter

24 Aug, 2009 Musicians
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FROMAN: For the few people who don’t know, how would you best describe the band?

THE DEAR HUNTER (ANDY WILDRICK): We’re a little indie rock. We’re a little progressive rock. We’re a little ambient mellow rock…and we’re quite a bit classic rock. We like harmonies a lot and we don’t believe you have to play a million notes to get a good point across.

FROMAN: How did you come up with the name?

DH: Casey came up with it about 8 years ago when he was still in high school. The play on words is pretty cool I think.

FROMAN: How has it been touring with the new album? Any new elements you added to this tour?

DH: : Touring with a new album makes things more exciting that’s for sure. It’s always more fun to play new songs and to try and win the audience over with them. The long time fans that have been coming out to shows are so excited to get ACT III in their hands…and they try to guess what new songs we’re going to choose to play.

The newest thing to the band is our reunion with original bass player Josh Rheault. He makes 6 people on stage and plays the acoustic guitar, keyboards, glockenspiel and has a great voice for background vocals. We have every person in the band singing throughout the set now. We even do a near a capella version of a song. It takes a lot more rehearsal to get everyone singing strongly, but it’s so rewarding when it’s tight.

FROMAN: What are your thoughts on the band deer hunter? Do you think this confuses people?

DH: I do think it confuses people. It’s really hard to tell who had the name first. And neither band probably thought it would matter at the time. It looks like both were conceived in the same year. If both bands can be successful, I think more people will be able to separate the two. It could even become an interesting conversation topic. And I can see how both bands could appeal to fans of the other. I feel like all the music falls under the indie rock realm. I think it would be fun to do a tour with them honestly. A lot of people definitely asked me if we were touring with Nine Inch Nails last year…because Deerhunter was. haha.

FROMAN: What’s the inspiration behind the concept albums?

DH: The inspiration is a fictional story taking place during WW1 that involves the coming of age of a boy whose mother is a prostitute and whose father is unknown. The boy grows up and struggles with emotional battles within himself that are deeply rooted in the past. Some songs are used to try and convey the character’s emotional struggles. Other songs are more literal, and take the standpoint of different characters involved in specific events…such as a thief scheming to steal from the main character. Sometimes there’s even dialogue and sometimes songs are written from an observant narrator’s standpoint. But everything follows a story that’s already written.

FROMAN: What are your thoughts on the music industry today?

DH: The music industry is secure in knowing that people still love music and will continue to seek out what appeals to them. What is unknown is a standard for how to make money as a musician today. It must be equally hard for companies to turn a profit with so many expenses, as well. There isn’t enough money to go around to all the bands trying to be popular. I feel like whoever can make it through the next five years while still putting out quality music will be on top when the time comes. Longevity has quite a bit to do with overall success in some cases. Music goers seem very excited about vinyl again which is awesome. People like having a nice product in hand to represent a band that they love…and records look the most artistic. We are asked daily if we have any plans to release something on vinyl. And we do.

FROMAN: Are you pro music/file sharing?

DH: It’s kind of a pain that it exists honestly. If someone told me I could never download something again I wouldn’t be too hurt. I’ve been playing in bands and have been trying to sell records for a long time. Since the beginning, people have come up to me and said, “You know people are just going to download it and not pay for it.” After you hear that a thousand times, it starts to become an annoying frustration that nobody can really do anything about.  I would actually prefer if someone had to put 10 dollars in an envelope and mail it to my band to get the CD. At least then I would know where the money was going. It seems like money has to be transferred through too many mediums between the consumer and the artists…and everyone enjoys taking a piece.

FROMAN: Which band member is most likely to roofie a chick?

DH: I’ve done it a dozen or so times already….so I guess I am. Righttttt. We’re good moral guys actually that just like to write songs about prostitutes and guns and poison and other cool shit.


The Dear Hunter - The Church and The Dime


THE BREAKDOWN:

The Dear Hunter started as a solo side project by singer and keyboardist Casey Crescenzo, formerly a key member of Boston emo act the Receiving End of Sirens. An outlet for Crescenzo’s songs that didn’t fit the Receiving End of Sirens’ heavy post-hardcore vibe, the Dear Hunter was initially envisioned as a concurrent project. Indeed, Crescenzo’s first gig as the Dear Hunter was an opening slot for the Receiving End of Sirens, at which he was backed by the other members of the band. Shortly afterward, however, Crescenzo decided to leave the Receiving End of Sirens and focus full-time on the Dear Hunter.

Following a self-released EP taster called Dear Ms. Leading, Crescenzo wrote and recorded the full-length concept album Act I: The Lake South, the River North. The story of a young boy’s birth, adolescence, and death, the album matches the exceedingly sensitive lyrics with prog-influenced chamber pop arrangements played almost entirely by Crescenzo, with a few family members and friends helping out on drums, keyboards, trumpet, and harmony vocals. For touring purposes, Crescenzo — now calling himself Casey Blue in the band’s official bio — put together a full-band version of the Dear Hunter with guitarist Erick Serna, additional keyboardist Luke Dent, and drummer Sam Dent. The lineup was used to record an even more dynamic and symphonic second album in 2007, titled Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading.

~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

The band’s latest full length, Act III: Life and Death was released on June 23rd.

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