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The Dears - Relaunching A Band

Author: Andrew Weaver
Monday, 30 March 2009

The making of The Dears’ most recent album, Missiles, was relatively stress-free and straightforward. It’s what came after that’s proved quite different, explains frontman Murray Lightburn to 3D’s Andrew Weaver, with the band that went into making Missiles completely different to the one that came out.

“Everything is different,” he comments. “We’re going through a major transitional period, and are determined to come out on the other side refreshed.”

The only remaining members of the band that made the previous album, Gang of Losers, are Murray himself and his wife Natalia Yanchak. “Nothing lasts forever,” Murray opines, “except the Dears itself.”

Unleashing a cackle of laughter, he explains that when guitarist George Donoso announced that he was leaving in order to do something different, it was something that Murray completely respected. “He’d been doing the same thing for eight years, and he felt like doing something different. More power to him.”

The exiting axeman still plays on Missiles, but obviously the touring aspect is now completely different, and Murray says it has allowed him to re-evaluate the band itself, and effectively “...press the ‘reset’ button.

“Just the other day we were talking as a new band about the future,” he continues, “and making an album and everyone seems to be pretty excited about that. It’s definitely a chance for a bit of rebirthing. I feel that the spirit of the Dears runs pretty deep, and the music is there and needs to be played, and I think that people who have been in the Dears have made really great contributions, but ultimately the music is where it’s at. It’s interesting to go out and play Lost in the Plot again with new people, and hear them singing along like nothing ever happened.”

He indicates that, ultimately, it doesn’t matter who’s playing the song – at the end of the day the punter simply wants to hear the song be played and Murray sing it, and it doesn’t actually matter who is performing the guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, and associated parts.

Refreshing the band has, of course, also allowed the songs to be similarly revitalised, with different band members bringing their own take to the songs. The Dears are able to look at themselves from a fresh perspective, Murray agrees.

“We’ve definitely been doing things a little differently,” he says. “It’s definitely the pitstop that the Dears needed to really recharge and refresh the whole scene. It’s exciting, because in order for the Dears to continue maybe that’s exactly what was needed.”

And what would have happened had the band not been rejuvenated during the course and in the wake of making Missiles- Would the Dears still exist, or was it reaching its natural conclusion-

“I really believe that things are on a course,” Murray comments. “You can do things to try and control a situation, but ultimately it’s going to happen, and you can’t do anything about it. I just think that what was supposed to happen, happened. And as much as it was very painful for everyone involved...it is just a rock band. Get over it.”

The Dears do, like Montreal colleagues the Arcade Fire, come across as a serious rock band – there’s certainly lightness to brighten the shade, but when all is said and done the music that the Dears create isn’t simply ‘just a rock band’. It’s a band who are striving to say something that makes people genuinely feel something, and respond to it emotionally.

“I definitely take the Dears pretty seriously. Yeah, it is ‘just a rock band’, but that’s just a vehicle for something else that’s in the music. I used to joke and say that we were like an existential art-rock band...but we’re not your standard ‘rock band’. The stuff that is in the music and in the songs is usually pretty heavy stuff. There’s nothing I can do about that; it’s just the way it is.”

WHO: The Dears
WHAT: Missiles through DangerBird / Sony Music
WHEN: Out now
MORE: thedears.org

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