Up for AIR

September 22, 2016
by
4 mins read

Humans, essentially, are communal beings. We thrive on interaction. Collaboration can feel like the highest form of synergy. And the cup of creativity floweth over when talented people come together with a like-minded artistic goal. Such is the case with fresh Oldest City band Deadaires. Comprised of St. Augustine Amphitheatre stalwarts Ryan Murphy (General Manager), Andrew Seward (Production Coordinator), and Jeremy Rogers (Merchandise), the band hasn’t played a single show yet. But based on Seward’s decade-long run playing bass for agit-punk icons Against Me!, Rogers’ and Murphy’s respective talents, and the sonic knowledge that this trio brings to the table, it’s no surprise that their upcoming self-titled debut album is an intoxicating blend of buzzy power-pop, aggressive post-punk, and dark indie rock. 

 

Folio Weekly caught up with Seward while he was puzzling out a Widespread Panic advance form to find out more about Deadaires’ incubation.

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So how did you, Ryan, and Jeremy come together on this project?
It was a happy accident. I never wanted to stop playing music — it depresses me not to play music. I moved over here two years ago from Gainesville for this job and wanted to rebuild my studio. But I was living in a shitty condo for the first year, so I didn’t do it until my wife and I bought a house. That said, I still don’t have a proper studio — I have a kitchen and an office, where the drums are next to my daughter’s Lego table. So over the course of eight months,  Jeremy would come over and lay down some drumbeats. A week later, I’d put on a bass line and an organ line. A month later, Ryan would put in a guitar line. Another month later, we’d add vocals. I don’t know if “painting” is the right term, but I’ve always spent a week crammed into a sweaty room hammering out songs. This time, we built things out of necessity, mostly because we all work so much. It was very unromantic. 

Well it sounds damn good. Do you feel it’s of a piece with the music you’ve been making your whole life?
Oh no — I think it’s an absolute departure for me. I purposefully wanted to work on my engineering and recording skills. Which sounds a little vain — I can’t believe I just said that. But I’ve had enough of this perfect ProTools editing style. Music’s supposed to sound like a real human played it, not like a computer chopped it up. Also, I wanted a band that was completely equal. Everyone wrote lyrics for the new album. I did one song, while Jeremy and Ryan split the rest of them. I wouldn’t want it to be anything but complete, absolute democracy. That way everyone can be a leader.

It’s impressive that you recorded it yourself but then relinquished mixing control to punk legend J Robbins and mastering control to Brad Boatright of Audiosiege, who most recently did the celebrated soundtrack to Stranger Things.
I’m all about embracing my contacts. I was the bass player in Against Me! Why would I not say that? I put in my time, and I know a lot of people. J Robbins is not only great in the studio, but he’s a fucking great human being. So it was easy to follow a formula for letting go and not try to micro-manage everything. I know people who are way better than me at things like mixing and mastering, so why not hit them up? What’s funny about all the connections, though, is that Ryan and Jeremy know way more guys in North Florida that I do. I moved to Gainesville from Tennessee in 2003, but I came down to be in a band. So I was only in town for two to three months a year. Ryan and Jeremy have been here their whole lives.

You guys haven’t played live yet, which means you’re probably pretty pumped for the Saturday-Sunday double bill at Jack Rabbits and Planet Sarbez, along with later dates at The Fest. 
Absolutely. There’s no thrill like playing live. Ask any band. And Ryan, man… He’s an outstanding human, but he also has a great voice! I didn’t realize that until he started singing. My good buddy Alan Mills, who plays in Burl, will be playing guitar with us, too — there’s no way in hell we could recreate all the sounds from the album without him. We practiced the other night, and man — Alan is like Steve Vai on the guitar. I would love to just go on tour with this band. Our crew would just be us! It would ridiculous to use anybody. If we couldn’t roll into a club and make any show happen, then we should probably be fired.

You’re releasing the new album digitally, on vinyl via Anxious & Angry Records, and on cassette through Rose Quarter Records. Do you have release dates for all of that yet?
Soon. We’re just waiting on the test press. Everything is lined up, so we don’t want to jinx it by setting a date we can’t meet. Trust me, we’re the most impatient people in the world. It’s hard to wait.

But everything about Deadaires also sounds pretty chill. All three of you guys have families and careers — maybe that removes some of the pressure?
It does. Which I have to figure out how to deal with. I’ve never been in a band as an adult. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. And listening to the record, I can’t believe we made this. It doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard. I’ve sent it to some people who say it sounds like early Modest Mouse, like classic emo, like J Church, like The AKs… And I have no fucking clue what some of those bands even sound like. To me, I hear The Afghan Whigs. Which is fine by me. Nobody can pull off singing off-key like Greg Dulli.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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