Alternative rock powerhouse Dead Sara are keeping up their momentum this year with a recent release of their sophomore album Pleasure to Meet You at the end of March, and an impending west coast tour this summer. The female-fronted group has been renowned for its vigorous live performances and generally “rock and roll” attitude. Their raw perspective combined with lead singer Emily Armstrong’s insanely amazing raspy vocal stylings have won them the favorable notion from Dave Grohl that they “should be the next biggest rock band in the world.” They truly are fighting their way to the top. We luckily caught up with them for a quick talk about how their new album came together and how they want to be like The Clash.
mxdwn: Your music has a really magnetic quality. There are a lot of rock lovers out there that relate to it. Did you guys have a clear direction in mind when you came together?
Sean: Honestly, no. Zero.
Emily: We were just like, “Cool! This is awesome.” We just started writing and got ourselves and we were on tour.
mxdwn: How did you guys develop a chemistry like that?
Emily: We’ve known each other for years.
Siouxsie: Yeah, we basically grew up together and they’ve been in 5+ bands together. So, mutual friends who have known each other, so…
mxdwn: Emily, your voice definitely takes the sound in a clear direction. You’ve been compared to the likes of Stevie Nicks and Grace Slick. How does it feel to be compared to some of the greatest female rock and roll legends of all time?
Emily: This is an easy thing to do, you know. Comparisons are what people do in the industry all the time. So, you can take it with what people actually… I mean, it’s very humbling. You know what I mean? But it’s very easy to just cast somebody – anybody, even if they’re not that great at singing songs – so, you know what I mean? It’s cool, I guess.
mxdwn: I think that’s what drew people to your music. It was kind of this blend of something familiar but new which gave it a cool modern relevance. That’s part of why you got so much radio play right off the bat. How do you feel that’s helped you grow?
Chris: I think you learn a lot, actually, more than anything.
Emily: We’re just kind of going with the flow. Where things might end, the radio picked it up and started playing it. It kind of just took off from there.
Siouxsie: We learned so much from going into the second record, like how it works, how it goes. We literally has no idea. We just recorded the first album and were like, “Oh, hey we’re doing this.”
mxdwn: Even more exciting is the album’s release this Spring. Tell me about the album. What can we expect?
Chris: Great drum beats.
Sean: Just perfect drumming.
Chris: It’s definitely a really good record. It’s good. I like it. I’m really proud of everybody. I’m really proud of everyone for doing it. We recently got it mastered. It took a while to get it mastered. Once that happened, it was definitely adding that beautiful touch to a completed product.
mxdwn: Let’s put it this way. You guys have a strong chemistry. How does that work with the music writing process for you?
Chris: Me? I get in the room. I write the chords. I write the lyrics. I write the melody. That’s what I do.
mxdwn: How do you do it together?
Emily: We jam.
Sean: Yeah, we just jam.
mxdwn: What’s your favorite part about the music writing process?
Emily: The spontaneity, I think, because something from that sparks and it’s just like what could it be? It’s so exciting to see it forming into such a way and we all just kind of put our things in there and push it and bend it and pull it and make it. At the end, it’s just like a song. You started off with something so small and so magical. It’s at that moment.
mxdwn: The magic of the single “Something Good” is that it sounds ripe for an outdoor venue like a stadium or festival. Is there anything else with that type of character on the album?
Chris: No, not really.
Siouxsie: It’s pretty similar to the first.
Chris: It’s got some heavy moments. It’s got some rock and roll.
mxdwn: What can we expect to see on tour? Any surprises?
Chris: Mick Jagger’s coming out for a few songs.
Emily: Yeah, I almost forgot to say that.
mxdwn: Well, you guys did get to play with some members of The Doors a few years ago. Who would your dream performer to play with be (dead/alive/fictional)?
Chris: John Paul Jones. It means I’m out.
Emily: The Clash, though, and to just feel what it is to be on stage with them. Just any video of them as a fucking unit and watch them and they’re so the same, the same across the fucking board. And it’s so… I don’t really listen to them. I just watch them and they’re a fucking band. They’re a fucking tight ass band and they know what everybody else is thinking. There was one show in particular that I felt like we were that when we played SXSW two years ago…
Sean: One show.
Chris: One fucking show?!
Emily: We were fucking touring so much. We were playing stadiums and arenas. We went into this small place and we were just like one! It was so good.
mxdwn: Well, you pack a punch in the live setting. I remember a show at Club Nokia a few years ago, and even then you brought the stadium energy into a smaller venue. You were loud, jumping off amps, interacting a lot with the crowd…
Emily: Exactly, that’s the thing. When we play more and more and more, you think of us on stage and that’s where you see just more of like a one. It’s just a fucking energy that’s just you and the crowd and it’s amazing. It’s just fucking amazing.
mxdwn: What else do you have going on this year?
Emily: Writing the new record, third record, touring, video… I mean, just getting ready.
Chris: Travel a lot, read a lot, learn how to cook…
mxdwn: Eat, pray love?
Emily: That’s basically what it is.
Check out Dead Sara during their North American Tour:
07/10 – In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
07/11 – The Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
07/14 – Barboza – Seattle, WA
07/15 – Star Theater – Portland, OR
07/17 – DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
07/18 – Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA
07/21 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
07/22 – Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
07/24 – The Glass House – Pomona, CA