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The Dears

Random Quotes

Mar 01, 2003 Spring 2003 - Elliott Smith Photography by Aaron Selgman Bookmark and Share

Now that you’ve read our article on Montreal’s fabulous favorites The Dears, on page 18 of Issue 4 of Under the Radar, scroll below for more quotes from the band’s mastermind, (vocalist, songwriter, arranger, you name it), Murray Lightburn, and his main cohort, (and keyboardist/backing vocalist), Natalia Yanchak.

Before continuing to the bonus quotes below, please note that there was an unfortunate weird printing error in the second column of page 2 of The Dears article. The sentence in the magazine reads: “Lightburn explains that there’s a steady them to .”

It was supposed to set up that there’s a steady theme to The Dears album No Cities Left, (instead of them to a blank space) so the paragraph should read as follows:

Lightburn explains that there’s a steady theme to No Cities Left. “It’s all about hope,” he elaborates. “It’s about the light. It’s about love. Not in the fuckin’ boyfriend-girlfriend, girlfriend-girlfriend, boyfriend-boyfriend, love, but the big big love. The love that we can’t see or touch, the light that I’m talking about is the inherent light that’s always been there, it’s just been there. It’s so sad, when the Columbia Shuttle went down. It’s so sad that that has to go down, that we’re not closer to some grander style of space travel. We’re basically just fucking flying paper planes to the moon. Meanwhile, billions of dollars are spent on basically killing people. It’s really quite sad, and I think if we were able to think beyond ourselves and beyond this planet it’d be a humbling thing for the human race to deal with. I still think that they never even made it to the moon, that the whole thing’s a fuckin’ sham, just a TV show,” he laughs. He doesn’t really believe that does he? “I wonder man, I really wonder. I’m a big conspiracy theorist.”

Right, now that’s out of the way (these things happen when printing a magazine), read on for more quotes from Lightburn and Yanchak. These are quotes that we simply didn’t have space for in the print article, and they are divided up under subject headings.

Random Quotes From Our Interview With Murray Lightburn of The Dears

Texas fans?
“ Last year we were at the airport in Austin, Texas, and some kids who worked at the ice cream place were like giving us free ice cream because they actually had our album in the CD changer, which is pretty funny, of all places.”

Late bloomer?

“ I didn’t really take myself seriously as a writer until five years ago, maybe a little longer. I mean I’ve been writing for a long time and I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of songs. You can write and write and write, but what the hell are you really saying. I only really decided I had something to say maybe about five or six years ago.”

In my research I found that your dad was a jazz musician turned preacher, how’d that influence your music growing up?

“ In a weird way it didn’t and in a weird way it did. It’s funny that twenty or so years later I’m listening to music that my dad used to play around the house, like Isaac Hayes and stuff like that. I think probably just from the fact that my dad’s musically inclined, maybe genes wise it was passed on, unfortunately (laughs). My mother also plays piano, so my family has that kind of musical-ness down the line. It’s funny, because both my parents don’t play music. I haven’t really traced the whole ancestry, but there’s definitely some art there.”

What terrible day jobs have you had, and does the band pay the rent now?

“ I haven’t been into the office in a about four years, so that’s a good thing. I’m not exactly sitting on the lap of luxury but we get by. We’ve been able to make a small living. But some of us in the band have had to work some day jobs, especially when leading up to a tour and maybe a month after a tour, when you’re broke again. It’s usually part time stuff. Having a day job can still be taxing when you’re trying to make a point with a band.”

“ I was an office clerk for awhile in a telemarketing company, it was pretty hilarious. I started out being a telemarketer and then somehow I warmed my way into this clerk job that was so hilarious because I wound up creating a little office space for myself and doing my band stuff from there. Because it was telemarketing I could actually make long distance calls and use different accounts that we were using for certain campaigns. I’d say, ‘mmm, who am I going to charge this call to? I’ll use this code. So I’ll charge this call to AT&T or whatever. (laughs) I had access to fax machine, photocopiers, internet and crap. So I had an office and my bosses would be none the wiser because they were completely oblivious. There’d actually be times where I’d leave the office and go across the street for a pint for a couple of hours and nobody would even know I’d left. Because I’d always make sure that whatever I had to do I’d done and I’d buy myself just enough time to basically leave the office, because being a clerk you can be anyway within the office, you’re all over the place: in the photocopy room, in the storage room, or you’re getting coffee, or whatever. My last job was pretty, pretty hilarious because I made money not really doing much at all. I just had to wear a shirt and tie everyday.”

On Racism
“ I think the only reason why people think in terms of color is because our parents make us do it. I think if this generation as parents refuses to acknowledge that sort of thing and refuse to make their kids acknowledge that sort of thing, then sooner or later we can just kind of blend together. You know, like U2 said, let all the color’s bleed into one,”

Opening for Janes Addiction
“ When we opened for Janes Addiction in Toronto. I’m sure the Jane’s Addiction guys, maybe deep down they’re nice guys, I don’t know, but dealing with their crew and just everybody being an asshole and treating you like a piece of shit because you’re quote/unquote nobody. It’s so lame and disrespectful and I just think that if The Dears are ever in that position we just want to remember those days and make sure that anybody who opens for The Dears, no matter how rock star we become, never gets treated that way. I shouldn’t be saying this to an American magazine, but I’m kind of a Commie in that way. (laughs)”

“ I think no matter what happens to The Dears I never want to be a dick.”

Art and the Canadian Government

“ This time this record cost us a lot more money than the first record. And it’s all money that we ponied up on our own. We’re still paying for it, but luckily the Canadian government is helping us out. I think in Sweden they do the same thing, but the Canadian government actually gives grants to independent artists to make their stuff.”
“ It’s a great thing because art is really really important to our society, whether people want to believe it or not. It’s an expression and it’s tapping into something that is really beyond most of us. I think that it needs to be respected as such. It also functions as a reflection for what the hell we’re doing to ourselves in this ball of confusion. You need to place importance on other things as well. I mean, rock stardom is one thing, expression is another, and I’m not really into the rock stardom side of things, it’s kind of retarded, but whatever. (laughs)”

More on the Theme of the New Record
“ The whole record is about getting to the heart of the matter. It would’ve been great to call the album The Heart of the Matter after the Graham Green novel.”

I wanted to ask you about one of the songs on the new record. Was “The Second Part” inspired by something that actually happened to you?
“ Believe it or not it’s actually kinda a true story. You know what, it’s totally word for word exactly something that went down. Which isn’t a big deal, but it had a certain heaviness for myself. For me sometimes, almost everything’s a life and death situation. In the end I feel like it’s just a really grand metaphor for something else. The thing about this higher consciousness, this evolved thinking, is that it’s so fragmented. It would be nice for all the point of light in the world to come together and make a big light. And the bigger that light becomes the more people will gravitate towards it and make more light, to take out this darkness that’s just covering the earth. So, in a way, that’s what the song’s about. (laughs)”

The Sad State of the World
“ Basically it’s like, if life were a school then basically society has failed many grades. It’s in a remedial class. (laughs) The only that can be done, I think, to change things, is to keep a consciousness and try to spread that love and spread the light. It’s the only thing you can do, until somebody assassinates you. (laughs)”

On the Future of The Dears
“ I definitely don’t see us going in a U2 status or anything like that. It would be nice to have a Smiths style career, who made five albums and I think they still sell a lot of records, which is fuckin’ crazy. That kind of career would be cool.”

Random Quotes From Our Interview With Natalia Yanchak of The Dears

The State of Indie Music In Canada
“ I think that indie music in general all over North America is hungry and it’s searching and I think Canada’s just in the phase and coming out of it. There’s a lot of indie bands that are finding, there’s like a new voice. I don’t know if there’s a scene, there’s kind of a soft revolution.”

What with the war in Iraq and all the protests against that, do you think the Protest EP (a three song EP that actually flowed like one song) is even more timely now than when it was released?
“ What it was responding to was the falseness that’s happening. People want to change stuff, but they don’t really do anything to make that change, there’s no real revolution that’s gonna happen among the people. It was constructed in this hypothetical distant world where an actual revolution did happen and it’s like the message being sent back saying, ‘this is what you’ve got to do if you want things to change.’ And I think it’s still appropriate now. It’s kind of strange the state of affairs in the world right now.”

The Mood of Canada
“ There’s a socialist state of mind in Canada. We don’t hate each other, we actually try and love each other. And it’s not in a flag waving kind of way, it’s just in a people way. That’s kind of me personally. You’ve got to love everyone, everywhere, and I think that’s what the world is really missing now-a-days.”


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