Dallas Frasca


27 Avril 2015



Interview Dallas

Hello Dallas, our last interview was more than two years ago, when you released "Sound Painter". Tell us what happened since then for the band.

Five European tours / seven national tours around Australia, the recording of an album. The writing and recording of "Love Army", festivals and a whole lotta fun.

Ok, so you spend a lot of time on the road, is this what you dreamed of when you started this band?

As a kid I always wanted to travel when I was younger, so when I figured out I could travel with my music, I knew I was on the path I wanted and then when Jeff and I met, I had found the same person in me, it was a musical match in heaven.

And that's also a lot of time away from home and family, isn't this too difficult?

When you have supportive people surrounding you and wanting to see you shine, it’s much easier. We are a very demanding band when it comes to time but we love what we do, so as much as we miss our friends and loved ones, we don’t want to be sitting on our rocking chairs at 80 years old and talking about what we watched on TV, that will never happen.

You are coming back with this new album called "Love Army". Tell us a bit about what kind of an Army this is.

"Love Army" was written across the globe during the band’s five international tours over the past two years and is also the title track for our new album. The concept for the album was inspired by the Spanish artist Pilcur, whom the band met in London in 2012. She spent weeks making these little men out of hessian bags and recycled materials and placed hundreds of them around Brixton (in south London), they each held signs with messages that would trigger a positive thought for anyone who read the sign. I was so moved at her selfless act, and how people engaged with her art. I wanted to try and continue the theme of the Love Army message, because why is it so fucking hard for people to be good to one another? I hope our music evokes positive thoughts within people as well.

I reviewed and really liked this new album. I think it explores many different styles, from punk, hard rock to even folk song a-la Tracy Chapman. Was this a conscious decision?

Every song was like a phase through the band's life, we let the songs dictate us what to do and we were there solely to serve them. We write things we feel passionate about and see what comes of it. I admit the album project felt like it took us all hostage for over a year and we were to obey to its every command until it was satisfied with us all. It’s the band’s "most confident album" to date, and you have to follow your intuition, you just know when it’s right.

I really appreciated the quality of the composition, tell us how you operate when you create a new song.

There is never a formula to our songwriting technique, we drew upon outside guidance to assist us in being channeled by creativity before ever songwriting session we had and were never scared to go in a direction that would limit our style. Often we would come with ideas to sessions or just jammed out until we found something we were all moved by.

To come back on the different styles on the album, for example "Success Is The Best Revenge" is quite pop, I think there are even some keyboards in there?

Haha, no keys in this song!!! That’s Jeff’s special guitar tones. He was so creative on this album and our producer Andy Baldwin was endless with ideas, it was a project of love…

"I fell in love with Today", such a great song, tell us what it is about.

I was so happy to stumble upon this song again. ‘Today’ was written six years ago at around 6am in the morning in a motel room on the road. I had just gone through a break up and was awoken by the anxiety of losing someone and also hitting upon a melody strong enough to throw me out of bed. I snuck past my sleeping bandmates and road crew, climbed out the window, and settling into a recording session on the roof.  I returned to the song whilst in writing sessions for the new record. The song was too strong to let go. When we started to pull the song together, I felt like I was collaborating with my younger songwriting.

How is the guitar sound heard on the chorus done? Is Jeff doing this?

There are no effects involved, Jeff was totally playing around in one of the sessions and we all freaked out on this incredible one of a kind technique that lifted the chorus for the song into another dimension….You’ll have to come and see it live to see what he does. Jeff is one of the most creative guitarists I have ever had the privilege of working with.

The song "Here All Along" seems to be about time spent in flights and about drinking free Cognac and red wine. Is this why you like coming to France?

Haha.. You’re onto us! We actually love France for the people, for the beautiful passion for music, the arts and culture. I have been so inspired, every trip and most of the lyrics were written in Pigalle, Paris last year on a couple of tours.

"Love Army" is also a song that reminded me a lot the atmosphere of "No Quarter" from Led Zeppelin. Is this still a major influence to the band?

We are massive Led Zeppelin fans, so it could almost be our tribute to one of the greatest bands that ever lived. Led Zep are the untouchables in my mind.

The song has a feeling of a live performance, how was it recorded?

The bed of all of the tracks on the album were all laid down live. Danny Leo laid down every drum tracks on the record in under three takes. He was amazing. The song is such a delicate piece and at times ferocious so it was challenging to get right. The centre piece of 10 minute story includes a breakdown where Freya ‘The Love Goddess from Nordic Mythology’ has a scene where we painted with sound her arrival from the heavens when she gives men, on a battlefield during a war, orgasms and they all realize what’s important... I spent two days on the recording of the vocals and then we ended up using some of the first takes.

Speaking of this song there is a great bass line there, and also in a few other songs on the album. But you still have no bass player, so who plays the bass?

Either Jeff or myself picked up the bass when the song asked us for it but live we are still only two guitars and drums.

No bass but you have a new drummer, can you tell us a bit about him?

Josh Eales is from a small country town, Portland in Victoria, Australia. Never have we found a better ‘fit’ for live touring, Josh plays a massive Ludwig kit and he is a killer vocalist. Our first show we played with Josh as a trio, it was the badass we had been looking for.

While we're talking about musicians, I realized, by watching videos that Jeff is left-handed but plays a right-handed guitar, with the strings reversed. Very impressive. Did he really learn it all that way?

Yes, Jeffy is a left-hander but plays a right handed guitar (so upside down), he was just given a right-handed guitar when he was a kid and taught himself. Josh is also a left-hander, I’m the odd one out… haha.

Did you publish any guitar tabs? It must be a real nightmare for musicians out there!

Yes indeed, it’s really easy to learn from Jeff as it’s like the mirror reverse to watch him playing but in terms of chords structures, Jeff is a rarity. There are not many players in history that play upside down (Albert King, Dick Dale), he rakes in the opposite direction to most players, but there are no rules in music. If there were rules you would have no Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin or rock'n'roll.. The rules are here to be broken.

Let's come back to the album, I was quite impressed by the song "You Are Beautiful" and the video clip that goes with it. Tell us how this song came around, and also about how this incredible clip was filmed.

We all know that the majority of media prey upon people and their insecurities and you can be anybody, type or size, and still be healthy - you don't have to fall into this certain stereotype or this certain look. We are quite passionate people and so with this song we have focused on the whole body image thing as we have even noticed friends of ours were getting Botox and we were like 'what is going on?' At what point did human beings become like this, buying into the idea, when did our society become like this? There are even billboards on the Gold Coast promoting plastic surgery. When we put the call out on facebook for people to be involved in the film clip in their pure ‘natural state’, we were overwhelmed by the response, we have never received so many emails in one day. Everybody involved was there for their own body empowerment reasons. It was a special day (it’s has almost ¼ million views on youtube now) and I think you can see the honesty in people's faces. You can’t lie to an audience, I think that is why there is such a positive response with the film clip.

I found the song "Lizard Boy" very original, with the mouth noises you make. How did you come up with that idea?

That was something we used to do in the school yard, I’m sure a lot of Australians from our generation have heard that combination of noises before. We felt it represented the sound of the Lizard. The whole band have been fascinated by the popular ideas that shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gain political power to manipulate our societies. "Lizard Boy" is a politically charged beast and the collective consciousness of the entire band aligned. We don’t agree with the authorization of dumping 3 million cubic tons of dredge soil in the barrier reef, we think a much fairer go is needed for asylum seekers (we’re all immigrants too right?), we think same sex marriage rights should catch up with the majority of the world, our old growth forests should be protected and the list goes on.

This song is a voice for the people, I’m sure we’re not the only ones who feel like we are being misrepresented with many of the present issues we are facing in Australia.

The last song on the album has a Spanish title although you sing in English. Also I'm not quite sure about what you describe in the song, can you explain?

This is my love song for the wonderful man in my life and I turned our story into fictional fantasy with words representing my feelings. ‘Corazon En La Seda’ means ‘heart wrapped in silk’ which reflects the Spanish guitar at the start. I bought that nylon string guitar when I was in my teens and I'm so glad it finally made it to one of our records.

I have seen that you appear on a TV show for Canal+, I'm happy to see such a big media talk about you two years after we did :-), but for you this is a sign that things are progressing quite well right?

We have had such an incredible response from the new album since its release and happy that it is resonating in a positive way. The band performed a 5 song set with the episode due to be televised to more than half a million people across France on Saturday, April 4th. The other artists appearing include international heavyweight rock bands The Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys. Not bad company for an indie-rock band from Melbourne!

Commercially, was "Sound Painter" a success?

The lead single "All My Love", blasted out across Australian radio waves and in 2012 came third (over 16,000 entries) in the AAA category of the International Songwriting Competition (ISC), judged by Ozzy Osbourne, Tori Amos, Janelle Monae, Tom Waits, Basement Jaxx... Which opened doors for the band in Europe. The song also reached the top ten charts in the Czech Rep in October 2013 when covered by Universal signed, 19 years old, Lenny. In 2013, we signed to the French label Verycords and then in July we played to a a more than 40000 strong crowd in Le Mans in France as a part of the 24 hours circuit race. We completed three European tours that year and support slots have included Patti Smith, Earth, Wind & Fire, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, Van Halen, and festivals all throughout Europe during the album cycle. We also won ‘Artist of the Year’ at the Australian Independent Music Awards and many of the tunes songs have been included in countless surf films and animal rights campaigns. "Sound Painter" was a big year for the band, we flew to New York to record with our favourite producer, Andy Baldwin, it was such a loved up adventure. Along the journey of the release, we had the honour of collaborating with Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) and Sonny Mayo (Sevendust) and even had the incredible opportunity to front the legendary Aussie rock band Midnight Oil (with Violent Femmes’ Brian Ritchie on bass) in support of Amnesty International. The band opened Bob Irwin’s Wildlife Sanctuary in 2012 alongside Guns n' Roses and the great Slash. We feel blessed that our songs can take us to places we can never have imagined.

Success or not, you had to turn to crowd-funding for this new album, and from what I read the campaign worked very well...

In February 2014, the band raised $22,000 via a successful crowd-funding initiative to help record the album we’ve always dreamed of, "Love Army". Unfortunately, just prior to completing the record, we lost a band member due to family commitments. Undeterred, we returned from touring and recruited King Of The North’s drummer, Danny Leo for the job. We spent weeks reworking the songs in our Melbourne HQ, before hitting Woodstock Studios to finish recording.

More and more artists use this approach, is this a good sign, you reckon, or a signal that the music industry failed completely, and individuals are taking over?

I think it’s a sign that artists have taken the power back and the internet has provided the perfect platform to do this!

Ok so I saw that you did a few dates in France in March and then flew back to tour Australia, what's the plan after that?

We just returned from our tour with Triggerfinger to release the new album, it was so awesome to be on the road with these guys, they are incredible live and great songwriters. We are currently back in Australia releasing "Love Army" about to hit the road again and just received news that the new album has hit the TOP TEN on the Australian Album Charts, so it’s fair to say I am doing this interview with a glass of wine in my hand [LOL]. Celebrations on the cards!

My last question might be too personal so feel free to ignore but you and Jeff seem to be the creative heart of this band, and you seem very close. Are you married by any chance? And if so, is this one of the key of the success of the band and the quality of the composition?

Jeff and I have been playing music together for 9 years now, we are the best of friends (not married, haha) but married to the music. We always say, ‘The hardest thing about being in a band is keeping the band together’, so I suppose that is our secret, we just stay together and always focus on achieving our goals.

Well, I'll leave you the last words for our readers, thanks a lot for taking the time and for your great music...

Sending love right back to you xxxx