Say Psych: Interview – Dead Meadow

Los Angeles based Dead Meadow have recently confirmed they will be releasing a new album, The Nothing They Need on Xemu Records on 30th March. BSM recently caught up with the bands own Jason Simon to find out more about what makes the band tick and what to expect from the new LP.

 Q – Hey Jason, thanks for taking the time to talk to BSM, we really appreciate it! We’ll start simply, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

A – Dead Meadow has always consisted of myself on guitar and vocals and Steve Kille on bass guitar. There have been three different drummers over the years and actually all three of them play on this record. Mark Laughlin, Stephen McCarty, and Juan Londono each play on various tunes. This new record marks 20 years of Dead Meadow and we decided to mark that by bringing back everyone that has been musically involved over the years. Songs often start with a simple song structure that I’ll bring in or sometimes a riff Steve has been messing with. It’s always a very organic process of us jamming and exploring and seeing where the ideas lead to. I think we really enjoy the creative process and the journey of how an initial idea develops and changes to become a completed song.


Q – It’s not your average band name, is there meaning behind it?

A – Well when we started in the late 1990’s we really wanted to break out from the post punk at the time and hearken back to the classic heavier bands of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Dead Meadow has a nice ring to it while incorporating a bit of the bizarre…. seemed perfect. It always brought to my mind the gold and brown colors of late Autumn.


Q – Nice imagery, can see why you chose it! So what about your inspirations, musically or otherwise?

A – Ali Akbar Khan, Pharaoh Sanders, John Coltrane, JJ Cale, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Fugazi, Dead Moon, Led Zeppelin, Terence Mckenna, W. G. Sebald, Iron Maiden, Eric Dolphy, Burning Spear, Keith Hudson, Yabby You


Q – How would you sum up your sound in one sentence for the uninitiated?

A – Gently crushing, amplified peace


Q – You’ve fallen into the psychedelic scene. Did you aspire to be involved with a specific genre, or is this how its fallen as the sound developed?

A – We never aspired to be in any genre. We just made and make music that seems interesting and cool to us at the time. When we started there certainly wasn’t any genre that we fit into it and for the most part I think the same is true today. Back in the day it was either a metal show or a punk show and neither were a really good fit. Nowadays we’re often on the heavier side of psych type festivals or the lighter side of Stoner type festivals. I think we have a very eclectic fan base that reflects this as well.


Q – Seems like a nice position to be in in lots of ways. Moving on to the upcoming release, can you tell us about the record such as its inception and where it was recorded?

A – The new record The Nothing They Need was entirely written, recorded, and produced by Steve and I. It was recorded at Steve’s studio space, The Wiggle Room. Like I said before, we decided to celebrate the band’s 20 year history by involving everyone that has played with us over the years. That being said I feel it’s also a very cohesive record. I think we were able to achieve something that feels like classic Dead Meadow yet has a great deal of growth and development as well. I’m pretty proud of it really.


Q – And rightly so, it’s a fantastic record! How have you come to be working Xemu Records for its release?

A – Steve Kille runs Xemu Records and at this point in our career, self releasing our records really makes the most sense. We can retain complete control of all aspects of the process and release.


Q – Looking towards the future, have you any plans to tour?

A – A US Tour starts March 2nd and continues through most of April, culminating with the festival, Levitation, in Austin Texas.


Q – Levitation is a festival that inspires awe over in Europe, we hope to be able to cover iit on BSM at some point. So, what’s next?

A – Continue living and playing music. We’re always working on something. There’s a new project entitled Old Mexico that I’m hoping to wrap up before the tour and a new solo record in the works. Steve is recording and producing bands at The Wiggle Room and running Xemu records.


Q – Sounds like a plan we could all enjoy! And finally, what’s the overall goal, or indeed is there one?

A – The goal is to create, to enjoy the creative process and the magic of it all, whether it be live or in the studio.

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