2014 Artist Survey: The Dears

Murray Lightburn on the Teacher Who Impacted Him, Not Talking About Kim Kardashian's Ass, and a World Without Cell Phones and Internet

Jan 30, 2015 Issue #52 - January/February 2015 - St. Vincent Bookmark and Share


For Under the Radar's 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Ought, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman's Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Murray Lightburn of The Dears.

[A shorter version of this interview ran in Issue 52, the Best of 2014 and January/February 2015 Issue, which is still on newsstands. This is the full version of the interview.]

Top 10 Albums of 2014

To be honest (and as usual), I haven't the faintest idea of what records were released in 2014. I've been buried in studios and have only come up for air now.

U2's new album was downloaded for free into millions of users' iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

The idea of giving away something for free, especially art, is always wonderful. In this case, it's a romantic idea that unfortunately unfolded in the most unromantic way possible and quite possibly spoiled the delivery of the work itself. Moreover, the right to choose outweighs getting free shit by far. When one lives in a bubble made of celebrity and millions of dollars, it might be difficult for one to imagine what the average person really wants, nor will one understand how actions can effect the value of anything, never mind rock 'n' roll music.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them "hillbillies" for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

Without much knowledge of the work of the parties involved, it appears that the conflict stems from an all-time classic scenario; clumped venues and shows not fully thought out so someone can rake in more coin. It's frustrating for everyone. Despite that challenge, the spell over the audience is paramount and should never ever be broken. People pay money for rock 'n' roll concerts and to be transported-to experience something. In this case, at least the publicist is earning their pay for the week.

Which common criticism of your music do you most agree with?

When it comes to The Dears' music, there is no common criticism. There's a line drawn in the sand; love or hate. The better our records and music gets, the louder one side gets, scaring the shit out the other side, forcing them to almost hide their love of the music. It's a laughably sad truth.

Who from your youth (such as a former bully, an unrequited love) do you most hope pays attention to the fact that you're now a successful musician?

My last couple of years in high school were spent mostly in the art room. Our teacher was incredibly supportive and even gave us (my band) our own key to the room. We were allowed to store our instruments there and rehearse after school. One day, she handed me a photocopied article about "what it means to be an artist." I carried it around in my wallet for almost 15 years. Without her encouragement, I might have never had the guts to even consider what I do now as a possible career choice. A few years after high school, I ran into her at an art show opening. She didn't remember me for some reason. My heart was shattered. Eventually, that tattered old photocopied article gave up on me too. It didn't matter though, because I was living it by that point. Recently I was invited to guest on a national (Canadian) television show. The night it aired, I got an email forwarded from The Dears' general email. It was from my high school art teacher. My eyes got all teary as I read that she had indeed remembered me after all and that she was proud to see me on TV on a show she watched every night. I couldn't believe it.

What's the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you've ever had?

The fact that we have any fans at all is heartwarming enough.

What's the topic no one asks you about in interviews that you wish they would? Conversely, if you could get journalists to stop asking you one question, which would it be?

I can break down for you every step in the making of an album all day long. But no one gives a shit about that. If I talk about Kim Kardashian's ass, however, that will be your pulled quote.

Which musician or celebrity did you most have a crush on as a child or teenager?

Sylvia Kristel from the Emanuelle movies.

What was your first concert experience like (who did you see and who did you go with)?

I don't know if I imagined it, but it might be when I was very young I have a vision in my mind of seeing the Jackson Five with my entire family in a stadium.

Do you ever long for the days before the Internet and cell phones? If so, what do you think has been the worst side effect of those technologies?

Every night before I go to sleep, I pray that when I awake, nothing works. No lights, computer, phone, etc. Then I'll pick up my Nikon F and go out and shoot pictures of the chaos.

www.thedears.org

 

 



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Selena Gomez Wonderland Cover
September 16th 2015
5:19am

Very nice and entertaining post bro.