Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Casey Crescenzo interview

Picture of The Dear Hunter — At Last.fm Studios


Casey, you seem to have a thing for creating series’, and in the midst of your Acts releases, you put out 36 songs with The Color Spectrum… Do you feel more freedom to create as much music as you can? Why the shift?

I think I look at my primary goal as being a songwriter and producer, and performing is the afterthought to that creativity to try and show people the music who may not have elected to listen to The Dear Hunter outside of a show. The act of making an album, a body of work, something that takes time and hard work, sleepless nights and a bit of dementia - that is the most rewarding aspect for me. Giving myself a goal that is beyond the normal scope of a standard record might be me subconsciously forcing myself to spend more time in the studio.

As far as the reasoning behind stepping to the side of the Acts, I never want to force something, and at the point I was at emotionally and creatively, I couldn't give the right amount of heart to Act IV that I had been able to give to the past 3 Acts. For a moment I kicked around a few other ideas, and then it hit me that I was at a perfect point in time to complete the Color Spectrum project - which I wasn't even sure I would ever finish. Once I dipped my toe in to the writing process, it all happened so naturally that I decided to complete the project, instead of releasing one EP at a time.

With the expansive nature of The Color Spectrum you had the opportunity to work with a variety of producers and fellow musicians, some of which were friends of yours. Was it gratifying to be able to work with so many of your contemporaries?

It definitely was amazing to share the studio with some of my closest friends, as well as artists and producers that I really respect and admire. Everyone on The Color Spectrum brought an incredible amount of personality that I would have been unable to achieve on my own - and with a project with a goal of being as expansive as possible, it was important to bring different perspectives and timbres into the mix.

After writing, producing, and engineering the Act records on my own, it was also amazing to share that work with others who could allow me, at times, to focus more on a performanc e- instead of having my head wrapped around everything at once.

The act of creating music and performing it live is obviously a big payoff for your hard work, but how satisfying is it to see this project receiving such a positive response?

It has been absolutely wonderful to see the response. I had absolutely no idea what the response would be - even though there are trace elements of a lot of previous TDH songs, there is a great deal of music that is new and different for me, and having never shown those styles to an audience I had no idea what the response would be. I think more than anything, the actual act of finishing the project, and doing it in what I genuinely feel is to the best of my abilities, was the most satisfying thing.

Quite a bit of travel was involved with the recording process of The Color Spectrum, how did that affect you when recording in the respective studios? Any crazy travel stories?

The best thing about traveling was that it presented a lack of control from the sound of the records. The recordings took on a very organic feeling, and the differences in tonality were natural.

As far as travel stories, I don't really have any. My wife and our dog drove across the country to start the recordings. On the way we made stops at various homes to do some acoustic performances… but beyond that, I was really just in work mode and I only came up for air when the project was finished. It’s a bit of a blur.

The Dear Hunter has built quite an impressive song catalog, one which is comparable to a band that has been around twice as long as TDH… How daunting is it to narrow it down for a set list?

It is extremely hard to make up a set list. I think at this point it is impossible to make everyone happy, and someone always asks why we didn't play song "X.” In the future, I think I am going to have people vote on the set list, and just use that as the roadmap for the show.

On the flip side of that, Boston will be getting the privilege of witnessing the entire Color Spectrum from start to finish, how much preparation are you guys putting in before diving into all 36 songs?

Right now we have about a month and a half of rehearsal time set aside. It is going to be overwhelming for a while - but I think I have been lucky enough to surround myself with amazing musicians, so I am confident in our abilities, and excited for the night…though I could see myself collapsing during the final song.

TDH is winding things down on the Beautiful Things Tour with Anthony Green, how was it touring with such a great friend?

Anthony is an incredible human being, and having the opportunity to spend some quality time with him has been really amazing. The shows have been wonderful, the days off have been amazing, and we all have a great time together. I wish it could happen again…right after the tour ends.

You also recently recorded a version of Green’s “Get Yours While You Can,” what was the motivation behind that?

Originally the plan was for us to cover each other's songs, but as time faded away and we got closer to the tour, Anthony's ability to track anything evaporated. For a second I figured I wouldn't do the cover, but then I thought it would just be fun to finish - and one night I tracked the guitars and vocals, and mixed it the next morning. I sent it off to my manager just to show him and see what he thought - at that point there was no plan to put it online…but after Anthony heard it and dug it, we decided to share it.

Congratulations on your guys first time playing Coachella! With such diverse, big names on the bill, do you guys feel any pressure to push the boundaries of a normal The Dear Hunter show?

I think we always feel the need to improve our set and grow as a band - this is definitely a great opportunity for us, but I think we always want to be the best version of ourselves, so we will continue that for Coachella and beyond.

Casey, you’re reuniting with your former band The Receiving End of Sirens after a few year break, tell us a bit about how that came to happen.

In reality it isn't that long of a story. We all keep in touch and talk about playing music together. Andrew is one of my managers, and Brendan runs the company that handles my digital marketing, so we are all close.

In a strange way, whatever state you consider the band TREOS to be in, I have somehow managed to become a member again - which is a really wonderful thing. For a while I would ask 'you guys want me to play?' and they would respond 'of course'…then I just stopped asking, and realized that whatever we do in the future, its the 6 of us taking any opportunity where we can all align our time together and play some great music.

With such a busy TDH tour schedule, and how heavily anticipated the TREOS’ reunion is, what kind of schedules could we expect for the upcoming year?

After the string of dates with Anthony in June, I am going to focus on a new album. I have been away from home a lot more than normal in the last year, and I have been away from the studio for what seems like a lifetime. I can't wait to get back to writing and recording.

When can The Dear Hunter fans start getting excited for Acts IV, V, VI to start being recorded? Released?

To be honest, I don't know. I don't think Act IV will be the next project, but in all honesty I can't say until I’m sitting at a piano.

A bit of info about his involvement with TREOS and what is next after the 2nd leg of the Anthony Green tour. It sounds like he may be doing something different from the Acts again. Although he has said about the Acts, how he wants to put Acts IV, V and VI out all at once, in a boxed set. And put them to bed.

Will I be attending The Color Spectrum show in Boston? I have a ticket, but my ability to travel there to see it is still up in the air.