The Dead Exs Start a Relovolution
Can you talk a bit about Relovolution ?
This record is a little different. We recorded half the tracks here (flow ny) and half the tracks at Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn. Converse has this studio in Brooklyn and if they (Converse) like what you’re doing, they’ll give it to you for free for the day. We’re really lucky to have gotten that for the day. We cut six songs and kept four of them for this record.
How are the studios different?
Converse was a full compliment of mics on the drums and bigger amps. The Converse stuff is bigger and wider. I wanted to try bigger amps and more power. You can hear it on “White Collar Crime,” “Paper Doll,” “Relovolution,” and “Get Over.” Those four songs are with the bigger rig and you can tell because the guitar has a wide sound.
The songs recorded at flow sound more like the sound from our first record Resurrection. There’s better ambience less inputs – more old school like how they made records in the 1950s and 60s. We had four mics on the drums, a guitar mic and a vocal. It gains something but also loses something. I like both.
How has your experience as the sound engineer for Live from the Artists Den working helped you produce your own records?
I think the good thing about working with great artists is that you really get to see why the songs are great. I think the other thing that you take away is that you see how fastidious great artists are about what they do and how driven they are and their sense of purpose and getting it right and having a real vision. You do see what makes these people great. And that translates to me to make sure what I do is really focused. When you spend focused time with great songwriters and great artists, it helps me hone my tools and stay on point for the important things.
I think as an artist today the most important thing is to narrowcast what you do because there are a million different rock ‘n’ roll bands today and what kind of rock ‘n’ roll do you play? Focus what you do as much as you can and get a sound together. I think that’s why The Dead Exs have had some success because it’s a thing and people are like “I get it.” We’ve had a pretty good run for two dudes playing old rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not like it’s the flavor of the month.
In the two years the band has been together the majority of your shows have been in NYC. In September, you played nine show in Texas including two dates with Ray Wylie Hubbard.
The opportunity for us to go to Texas and open up for Ray Wylie Hubbard was huge. He heard our music. We got hooked up on Couch by Couchwest which was a video reaction to South by Southwest. It was all the bands who were like the heck with SXSW, we’re just going to sit on our couch and have our own party. So they all submitted videos to Youtube and tagged them with CXCW.
Ray saw our video and said we had to come to Texas. He liked the way we grooved and dug the lyrics and direction and wanted to bring us to Texas to bring something new to that scene. I think the most important thing is that when you’re in a smaller band is get someone from a bigger band to take notice of you.
How did Ray contact you?
The first thing I got from him was a really long email talking about rock ‘n’ roll and poetry. It was a nice letter and we started writing back and forth. I met him for the first time backstage at his sold-out show at Joe’s Pub (May 17, 2012). He’s kind of become like a mentor to me and anytime you get to meet an accomplished guy like Ray Wylie Hubbard, you tend to shut up and listen.