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Dawes - The IndieLondon interview


Interview by Rob Carnevale

AS DAWES prepare to tour the UK with Mumford & Sons and play a handful of headline dates co-founding member Taylor Goldsmith talks about some of their experiences on the road and their journey to this point.

He also recalls being part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, guesting as themselves on Parenthood and the inspiration behind some of their songs.

Q. Hi there, how does it feel to be touring the UK with Mumford & Sons?
Taylor Goldsmith: Incredible. We got to spend a month touring with them in the States, so to get to go do it again is real exciting.

Q. You’ve played with them before, most notably on the YouTube video of When My Time Comes. How did that come about [at WXPN Philly show]?
Taylor Goldsmith: We had crossed paths at festivals a few years back and both bands expressed a respect for the other and then once we found out we were gonna play WXPN’s anniversary show together, we wanted to find a way to get involved in each other’s performances.

Q. How do you like the UK and what can we expect from your own headline dates that have just been confirmed?
Taylor Goldsmith: We love playing in the UK and feel very motivated to play in markets that have been growing for us like this. That process is one of the most fun parts. We just finished recording our third album so these shows might find us trying out new material for the first time.

Q. We really like the song When My Time Comes, which is rapidly becoming an anthem for you. So, what inspired it?
Taylor Goldsmith: When you’re in a band of young guys that haven’t made any sort of career for themselves, people often talk to you about what you have to learn and achieve. Sometimes it’s inspiring, sometimes frustrating. It’s about that time and experience.

Q.How was being a part of the Occupy Wall Street movement and playing alongside Jackson Browne in Liberty Park last December? How important is it for musicians to get involved socially and politically?
Taylor Goldsmith: I think it can be great, as long is someone is objective and informed. A lot of more public lives – like actors or musicians – get political because they can rather than should, and that can be scary thinking of the people who would shape their ideals and opinions on some misinformed celebrity. When we were asked to play for the Occupy Wall Street movement, the first thing we did was research the movement as much as we could to make sure it was something we wanted to affiliate ourselves with. We ended up really believing in what the movement represents.

Q. What is the mood like in America right now in the run-up to the election? What are your hopes for the election?
Taylor Goldsmith: People seem really engaged and excited. Our hopes are that Barack Obama serves as President for four more years.

Q. And how has America come together as a whole in light of Hurricane Sandy? Did you have friends who were affected? Will you be playing in any benefit gigs?
Taylor Goldsmith: It’s strange having a hurricane in and around the country’s greatest city and we definitely are hoping for the best for the families dealing with it. Luckily, none of our friends were too badly affected. And we’d love to help in whatever way we can but there haven’t been talks about that quite yet.

Q. Coming back to your good selves, can you tell us a little about what inspired the Nothing is Wrong LP?
Taylor Goldsmith: Just observations and considerations I was having during the time the songs were written I guess. It’s hard to get more specific than that only because each song is about its own thing. Sometimes a girl, sometimes a city or a friend or just myself as a young man.

Q. What are some of your own favourite songs from it?
Taylor Goldsmith: Probably Coming Back To A Man and A Little Bit of Everything… only because they were the last songs written for the record and therefore closest to the writer i wanna be now.

Q. What do you enjoy the most about playing with each other?
Taylor Goldsmith: We all respect each other and our respective roles very much in this band. I think we all enjoy exploring our relationships and how we communicate through a song or performance.

Q. What’s one of your favourite live memories?
Taylor Goldsmith: Recently, it’s felt like each favourite live memory continues to be outdone by the next one. It’s been a big year for that sort of thing.

Q. How was appearing as yourselves in the episode of Parenthood? And how important is it to get songs placed on US TVshows or films?
Taylor Goldsmith: Playing ourselves was fun and funny, but probably the only time we’ll do something like that. We’re not actors and figured we’d enjoy the experience. Which we did, but that’s probably it. Getting our songs placed is a much bigger part of our career and something all bands depend on nowadays in order to pay for making their records. Especially if they don’t tour very much.

Q. Who are your influences?
Taylor Goldsmith: Bill Callahan, Willie Nelson, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Paul Simon, Blake Mills, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Aimee Mann, Cass McCombs, Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Warren Zevon…it goes on and on

Q. What do you think of the state of modern music in general? Is the mainstream in a healthy state or is it often better to look elsewhere?
Taylor Goldsmith: That is a tough thing for us to think about because it can only weigh us down and take away our hopes for our own band. So, we just try to focus on getting as many people into our own band as we can.


Q. If you could cover any track, what would it be and why?
Taylor Goldsmith: An ideal cover changes everyday. I’d love to try playing any song on Tattoo You but that’s just because I’ve been listening to it so much recently. Or maybe Dear Landlord.

Q. Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourselves that we may not already know?
Taylor Goldsmith: That’s a tough one. Can’t think of anything.

Q. Finally, what are the 10 tracks that are never far from your iPod players at the moment?
Taylor Goldsmith: So far Away – Dire Straits
The French Inhaler – Warren Zevon
County Line – Cass McCombs
Refuge of the Roads – Joni Mitchell
Far From Me – John Prine
Idiot Wind – Bob Dylan
Jim Cain – Bill Callahan
I Got Mine – Ry Cooder
Midnight Rambler – The Rolling Stones
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon

Nothing Is Wrong and North Hills are both available now.