February 12, 2010 | 9:00am
Orange County's the Dear & Departed are about to depart on a national tour in support of their new EP, Chapters, released Jan. 5. They will be opening for mopey pop-punk heroes Alkaline Trio and Cursive. The Dear & Departed will unleash material from the freshly minted EP at the Glass House in Pomona on Tuesday (Feb. 16) in the first show of the tour. OCW spoke to vocalist Dan Smith (aka Dan Under) and guitarist Darren Parkinson about the upcoming tour, starring on LA Ink and the new release.
Lucas Vocos (OC Weekly): So, it's been about a month since Chapters
has been out, how do you feel the reception has been for the EP?
Dan Smith: It's been really awesome. It's always kind of a scary thing to put anything out, especially these days with the state of music and people's CD and record buying habits, so it's kind of bizarre. A lot of bands are pretty popular for pretty strange reasons, I think, so it's always kind of scary. But the reception has been great. With me being so tied up with the show [LA Ink] last year, we weren't really able to tour. But we were able to record this EP and write songs, so it's definitely a product of all that hard work. We are really excited to get out on the road and play all our songs for everybody, especially those who have kind of missed us over the last year or so.
Has it been difficult to manage your time between LA Ink and the band?
Smith: It has been difficult, to be honest. I think if I wasn't as passionate about both things as I am, I think one of them might have fallen short. I owe my whole life to tattooing and to music, so I can't help but be excited about both of them. In the band situation there are four other people who are relying on you as well so having that pressure is obviously another thing to think about. But when everything goes well in a band situation and all the relationships are great and everything is flowing and moving along really well in a good way, it's a really good feeling, and I think that's what we have right now.
You guys worked with Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory during the recording of the EP. How was that process? Was he involved with writing as well?
Smith: Working with Chad was really a great experience. We've known him for a few years and he's kind of always expressed interest in our band and seemed to be into what we were doing. Although we don't really sound anything like New Found Glory, I think Chad is a really strong songwriter. He has a lot of ideas and he's a pro. The actual recording process was probably one, if not the most enjoyable, recording experiences that I've personally had. There was a lot of good energy in the studio and I think it came out on the recording.
Has the recording and writing process changed from your earlier EP's to your latest release?
Smith: We had a couple member changes about a year and a half ago, so that always affects the dynamic of a band, but the relationships we have internally now I think are better than they have ever been, so writing songs isn't something that needs to be pushed or forced anymore. It's something that we all really enjoy doing and I think the mix of people keep it really fresh and interesting. We just write it, instead of beating a dead horse, you know? It's cool.
So your tour starts soon with Alkaline Trio and Cursive. How did that come about?
Smith: We got asked by our friend Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio to jump on the tour. I definitely wasn't expecting that, and it's such a long tour, as well. Alkaline Trio are obviously a great band and have a very devoted fanbase, so we are really lucky to tour with big bands that have devoted fans that are almost like cult followings. It feels really good when someone in a band that big and that has accomplished what they have ask your band to come out and support them on tour. So, of course, we jumped at the chance. We are just really happy to get on the road and play some songs for people.
Parkinson: This tour's gonna be awesome. It's about six weeks long, and goes all over the country. It's definitely been a little while now since we've toured, so I'm excited to just get out there and play. We're going to some awesome cities that we've really enjoyed playing in the past, so it will be great to go to all these places again and play our new songs.
After your national tour with Alkaline Trio, you guys are heading out to tour Europe with AFI. That's huge. How did that happen?
Parkinson: Yeah, I can't wait for that tour. We've been friends with those guys for a while. We actually did a tour with AFI and Sick Of It All in the U.S. a few years ago, so it's exciting that we're going out with the same bands again. AFI are a great band and even better guys, and it's always fun playing with them, and being in the U.K. will be an added bonus. We went there a few years ago with Avenged Sevenfold, and it was great.