The Dear Hunter have had quite busy year touring the country in support of their latest release, Act III: Life And Death. The new disc is a super strong offering and has a more mature feel to it. Don’t get the wrong idea though, it is not a complete break from their previous releases, everything we have come to expect from these guys is in here; powerful, emotion-filled vocals layered over guitar driven tunes with contemplative lyrics, centered around current events, that resonate long after the songs are over. The band is currently on a break before they head out on the road again. Vocalist Casey Crescenzo took advantage of some down time to answer a few questions about the band and their new CD.
You guys are out on the road as we speak. How is that going so far?
Casey: It is going really well. We are out with Mewithoutyou and when we are playing with a band like this every night it makes it a much easier tour. We run into a lot of bands that we cannot necessarily identify with and cannot be comfortable around. We get along well with these guys and it makes the experience a lot more calming.
Are their fans pretty receptive of you guys and your music?
Casey: Yeah they are definitely very good to us.
How much longer do you have on this tour?
Casey: We have till July 11th. Right now we are in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
You guys travel in a van?
Casey: Yes, we are in a van and Mewithoutyou is in a bus that they converted to run off of vegetable oil.
Your brand new CD Act III: Life and Death is set for release in the next week or so. Now that it is complete how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Casey: We are definitely satisfied with the outcome. I think we are all very proud of this album. As far as a Dear Hunter record, it is the best record that we have ever done. This is the best thing that we have accomplished personally and as a group. I am excited for people to hear it. I am excited that it is a little bit different from what we have done before. It goes in a few different directions, as we always like to do, and we stretch ourselves amongst different genres. All in all I am just excited for it to come out.
What was the writing process like for this CD? Did you guys all write together?
Casey: We started writing in November and we finished it in late January in the studio that I own in Providence. Basically, it was just me and a piano kind of throwing out ideas and then later, flushing them out as a band. It was definitely the group working together. It took about three months and then we started recording.
Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a theme or themes behind the writing of this record?
Casey: Yeah the inspiration for the lyrics is basically just the experiences that I have had and as far as the theme for this record it is definitely centered on war and what can happen when somebody is involved in it and how things shift in their life when they are. These are ideas of war, not in a political way but in a human way.
What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of Act III?
Casey: Hopefully a complete listening experience. Just sitting down and listening to a complete body of work instead of just a collection of random songs put together.
Do guys think much about distinguishing your sounds and performances from release to release?
Casey: No, I mean I think it is just a natural progression. It is not like when we record a record we are worried about making a huge leap in one direction or another. It is just about doing what comes naturally to us. I think naturally we progress and that is illustrated on this record and it will continue to be that way on the records that we do after this one.
How do you maintain that level of energy and exuberance night after night?
Casey: Well actually it is very tough. I have lost my voice from not taking care of myself. It is tough to keep up the level of energy on the road. I think that getting to a show and feeling horrible and then getting up on stage and seeing people really excited to watch you perform is enough to get your energy back to where it needs to be.
All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
Casey: Everybody in the band tries to be as healthy as we can especially on the road. We try and eat the best that we can. Definitely we are aware of what is going on with our bodies. Before tour and during the recording of the record as funny as it sounds, we were going to the gym a lot and changing our diets.
How has MySpace and the internet affected your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?
Casey: I don’t really know if it helps or hinders our band. I mean it helps us keep in contact with our fans. I think downloading helps bands when it is a promotional tool to get songs out there. It also gets people to come to your shows. A lot of people that download records legitimize it by going to a show. They figure that going to a show puts more money in the artists pocket but in reality, it is not really about the money for us, it is more about the support and knowing that we have a group of people behind us believing in us. When downloading material is used in a promotional way I think it is really effective. Of course I am going to be a little biased because I would love to see people buying our record.
What is next for the band?
Casey: We have a month and a half off and then we are going to go back out again. I know we are working on a headlining tour. There is nothing definite with that yet. But the plan is to get out there and promote the record.