Hellhound Music recently caught up with Dead Sara at the Tampa stop of their current tour with Muse – the band discussed a number of interesting topics including their recent signing to Epic Records. The streets of downtown Tampa are lined with Muse fans, but as I’m driven to the tour bus of Dead Sara I notice plenty of Dead Sara shirts, and even some car windshields displaying the band’s name written in soap. When I arrive, I’m kindly greeted by the band’s drummer Sean Friday who welcomes me onto their bus where we meet singer Emily Armstrong and guitarist Siouxsie Medley to start this exclusive interview.
HHM: I normally would start off with something like “So, how is the muse tour going so far” we will get there eventually, but I want to kind of do a quick chronology first because a lot has happened for you guys and 2012 was a big year.
Friday: [laughs] Yeah.
HHM: So first off, your first real tour was with a band called Endless Hallway –
Medley: That’s true!
Armstrong: You’ve done your research [laughs].
HHM: They were a pretty up and coming buzz band at the time; how did that go for you guys? How was the experience?
Friday: I wasn’t on that tour but –
Medley: It was great! it was our first tour, it was with a group of our friends.
Armstrong: We were so young, we weren’t even 21 yet!
Medley: I remember I had to actually sit outside of some clubs and wait because I wasn’t 21.
HHM: Could you tell me [Sean] what were some of the reasons for you and Chris [Null] parting ways with Sonny Moore and how you ended up in Dead Sara?
Friday: Yeah sure, Chris and I were playing with Sonny; during the time of touring Sonny started working on his producing stuff – producing remixes. Then we got back from tour after a couple years in the band and then he started DJing and it was kind of over at that point – you know Sonny started taking DJing more seriously which was fucking awesome, it was fucking great and then the girls needed a drummer; I was like “I fucking wanna be your drummer” and then Chris came in.
Armstrong: Because they were best friends, they had just been in a band forever – so he [Chris] didn’t wanna miss out and he was like “Okay, I’ll play base.”
HMM: So The Airport Sessions EP was released on Viscount Records and I just wanted to clarify; that wasn’t an actual record deal? You guys were still independent?
Medley: Yeah it was just demos we had done professionally.
HHM: So Viscount was like a recording studio?
Armstrong: Not even, it was just kind of a name.
Medley: Yeah it was basically Pocket Kids before it was established as Pocket Kids Records.
HHM: The EP was met with much praise; even Courtney Love took a liking to you Emily as did Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane. How did that feel? Can you tell me a little about it?
Armstrong: It was awesome; these were people that I listened to growing up… It made me just wanna work harder you know?
HHM: Were you a fan of Courtney Love?
Armstrong: Well, yeah those early records were awesome and the 90’s in general… I just love the whole Grunge thing you know?
HHM: 2012 was a big year for you guys, to say the least: you released your debut album and you won a ton of honors – I won’t cite them all but specifically topping Loudwire’s Top Rock Songs of 2012. What I’m asking is how do you cope with so much success in one year as band?
Armstrong: Lots of drugs
Armstrong: [laughs] No I’m just kidding. It’s just busy but when you have the right people it doesn’t seem so people – the right support, the right energy and we’re all clean people so it just becomes easy; there’s not a lot of drama involved.
Medley: We definitely could take on a lot more than 2012.
Friday: Yeah, we’re gonna be way busier!
HHM: Your debut album charted Billboard, on the Heatseakers Chart – were you guys surprised? Excited? Did you expect it to chart?
Armstrong: No, I was like “What is that?” I didn’t know what it was and had to be explained from our managers. I don’t think it’s very hard to get on that – it to be honest.
HHM: It’s kind of just outside the top 200, kind of an up and coming chart.
Armstrong: That’s true, that’s true; it was really cool, I mean, as a debut? It was really rad especially for doing it ourselves at the time.
HHM: Weatherman got some pretty decent Rock radio play; when was the first time you heard your song on the radio? How did it feel?
Armstrong: Not Halloween, but the Halloween before that – I was waiting to go in the club dressed up and they were like yeah Dead Sara’s going to play – I’m just sitting there for like an hour with some friends all dressed, drinking in the car, just parked; waiting to go into the fucking club and they finally just played it and it just sounded massive! And I was like”holy shit does this even belong on the radio?” It was a little uncomfortable because at the end with just like 30 seconds of screaming, just fucking pounding away, and so much distortion – it just sounds way huge.
Medley: Way huge!
Armstrong: And then I walked into the club like this! [a baller] Hell yeah!
Medley: I’m on the radio!
HHM: Can you guys tell me about your experience playing Jimmy Kimmel Live?
Friday: Oh my god, I mean…
Medley: It was really cool, it was awesome; everyone there was so professional, so accommodating and nice.
Armstrong: It didn’t really hit us till after; we were watching it like “Oh my god we just did it! Please don’t fuck up! Please don’t fuck up!” even though you’ve already played… you’re telling yourself not to fuck up – but you’ve already played!
Medley: Jimmy Kimmel came up to us before and said “Hey have a great show, don’t fuck up” walked off and we we’re like great. [laughs]
HHM: Now that we’re here; how is the Muse tour going so far?
Medley: We’re one day in…
Friday: Yesterday was our first show.
Armstrong: I think the best part was walking on, slow motion, like “god they think we’re muse… fuck! Nobody knows us!” [Laughs]. It was just that moment like whoa we’re not in Kansas anymore, it jut got weirder and weirder.
Friday: That’s true, it just got weirder and weirder [laughs]
Armstrong: The way the stage is set up felt so awkward so we had to adjust from club tours where we could jump in the crowd and have more audience participation.
Friday: But all and all it was bad ass because it was a fucking arena and it was Muse.
HHM: How many people did you play to last night?
Armstrong: I would say 8-10,000 last night.
Friday: Yeah, towards the end of our set I think it had filled up to that much; definitely wasn’t the full 20,000.
Armstrong: I think tonight will be more because it’s sold out
HHM: Congratulations; you guys recently signed to Epic Records; Can you tell me a little bit about how that came to be?
Medley: They took us out, courted us, and we were like “cool.”
Armstrong: There’s been a lot of record labels interested, but there wasn’t a good or bad record deal at this point it was more of like: what’s the best? Having our own record label, having some success with it, and basically any label that would say “You’re doing everything right, and we don’t wanna get in the way” and that was Epic. We said we need the help right now, there’s more demand, more money that needs to be put into it and they were down – it just seems really natural, organic, and the right timing.
HHM: Were you guys shopped by other Labels?
Armstrong: Yeah, there were plenty of other labels interested.
HHM: I imagine Epic is pretty set on getting a Dead Sara album out under their banner; do you guys have any plans for a new record?
Medley: Yeah, after muse we’re gonna kind of lock down and do a lot more writing but we definitely have a lot of songs already written that we’re working on.
HHM: What is in the future for Dead Sara after the Muse tour?
Medley: writing, working on the next record, and there’s talk of a European tour.
Interview by Matt Crane – HHM
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: WWW.DEADSARA.COM
A special thanks to Epic Records