It’s festival season and Dead! are currently touring the Festival circuit around Europe, with Download Festival closing in fast. We sent some questions over to guitarist Louis Matlock ahead of their return to Donnington to find out what’s been going on in the Dead! camp, and talk all things Download Festival…
Hi Dead! How has 2017 treated you so far?
Well, we’re currently answering this in a [very sweaty] van on the way to Germany to play Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park which is a bit mad. Both festivals are on the bucket list so that’s very good. Generally speaking, our track record for releasing music is pretty poor; until now we’ve taken a long time between songs and I think we put out two singles over the whole of last year? We’ve already released two this year [and we’re only half way through] and we’re tantalisingly close to announcing a larger body of work …
You closed out 2016 supporting Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes which was a mad one! How was that for you guys?
We don’t share many musical tastes amongst us but Gallows and Frank have always been a crossover for all of us. Getting picked for that tour felt pretty validating haha. I was in Edinburgh while we were on tour with SWMRS walking down the high street next to a Wetherspoons when I got a text saying we got the offer and did a fist pump and probably looked fucking weird. The gigs were great, obviously; I guess we’ll find out how much people actually liked us when our album comes out haha.
You recently released a chaotic video for your new single ‘Enough Enough Enough’. It looked a lot of fun to make! What were your thoughts behind it?
We actually relinquished control a bit for that one which was a bit less comfortable to some extent, because usually we do everything ourselves with directing, filming, editing etc. This time we brought in a producer. The song is an energetic straight up British rock track, guitar solo and all, so the idea was to try and capture some of that energy in a video. We basically just did what we do live but in front of a camera. The colours are loud to match and the animations idea we stole from All American Rejects! Having a producer was interesting but we’re currently planning our next video, directing / producing / editing ourselves again.
Download Festival is approaching very quickly; what’s it like being part of such an iconic UK festival?
Last year when we played was the first year I’d been, so my experience with it doesn’t have a massive amount of depth, but I guess just in terms of the bands that have and continue to pass through it’s pretty fucking special. Aerosmith!!!
You guys have quite a few explosive pop punk bangers! Your live sets must be extremely fun to play?
Live is where we have the most fun. We grew up worshipping bands like The Who and Bowie, so we’re firm believers that there’s nothing wrong with some theatrics in rock music. Every thing we do on stage is very visceral and I don’t think any two shows will ever be the same. We like playing shows a lot and nothing’s ever as comfortable as being in the van and on tour.
You’ve got some pretty tough competition on the Avalanche stage this year; how are you going to stand out above the rest?
I don’t think anyone should ever make a conscious decision to ‘stand out’ at a festival slot, that’s how you end up looking like you’re trying too hard and desperate for attention haha. We’ve got good at playing for ourselves on stage, not in a selfish “we don’t care” way [because we do] but I think if we don’t enjoy our time up there then the crowd won’t either, and vice versa. If we’re having a great time it reflects to the audience.
You also played Download Festival last year, what were your favourite memories from the weekend?
We played three sets over the weekend which I think was a Download first for any band. They also give out free tattoos backstage so we abused that!
Who are you all most looking forward to catching over the weekend at Download?
We’re doing Download Paris on the Friday but if we were there all weekend I’d like to see Holding Absence, Coheed, Trash Boat, Every Time I Die and Aerosmith.
You’ve got a great run of shows following your appearance at Download Festival; which dates stand out to the most, and where are you most looking to playing?
Yeah we’re playing a lot of shows over summer. The show in Derby on the headline run is actually Alex’s birthday. Honestly it’s just nice to get back on the road and play some rock shows to our fans up and down the country. We’ve been pretty busy supporting other bands and recording, so it’s been a long time coming. We’re also playing a bunch of places that bands don’t pass through too often so the prospect of seeing fans we’ve never seen before among familiar faces is incredibly exciting.
Finally, if you could pick three main stage headliners for the ultimate Download line up [excluding yourselves] who would they be and why?
Smashing Pumpkins, because they’re my favourite band of all time and I’d love to see them play an in-depth festival set with mad production, or maybe a Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie anniversary set where they play either album in full. That’d be fucking amazing. Radiohead, because I can’t afford a ticket to Glastonbury, and then Nirvana. Because it’s Nirvana!