Dead Meadow interview (Steve Kille)

"Being a musician preserves the childlike part of your personality, for better or for worse"

23/10/2013 @ 12:34
Dead Meadow are visiting Greece this weekend for two shows in Athens and Thessaloniki. We talked to their bass (and sitar) player, Steve Kille, to get us into the band's world. Dead Meadow are one of the most talented bands in the psychedelic rock revival scene. They've been in the game since 2000. This year they released "Warble Womb", a beautiful record with a great organic sound. Before they take us on a trip to the Midwest, here's what they got to say...

Dead MeadowSo, since this is our first interview and since you are going to perform in Greece for the first time, I would like you to introduce yourselves. Who are Dead Meadow?
Dead meadow is Jason Simon, Steve Kille, Mark Laughlin, the original lineup actually. For a long time we had Stephen McCarty and for a record Cory Shane. We were all friends, most of us actually living in same house when were kids partying and watching classic rock videos like Rainbow Bridge. That's how that band started. Sort of unexpected beginning in DC post punk scene we would tour all over the world tons of times. Recorded albums for Matador Records, been in movies and TV. It's been a great ride but I think our highest achievements are yet to come. Jason thought of Dead Meadow, it is a take on Neil Young-esqe vision of the midwest plains and chilled 70's vibes.

Dead Meadow - Warble WombWhen you started this thing, back in 1998, did you ever think that you would be asked to give shows in different parts of the continent, where people would have already listened to your music? Give us a picture of the young Dead Meadow, back then.
To be honest we haven't really changed much as people as we have grown and developed as musicians. There are definitely less drug issues and more confidence. But creatively and in our humor I feel we are the same humans as we have always been. Maybe being a musician preserves the childlike part of your personality for better or for worse. As for touring here, one of the earliest things we did was play a "youth" festival in Sicily. It's funny since this is the 17th time we have played in Europe in one form or another and we rerun into the kids we met then, as we have all gotten older and grown. Life is funny this way.

You released "Warble Womb" this year. In my humble opinion, it is one of the best psychedelic rock albums of the year. How can one achieve an organic sound, which almost seems like you are jamming?
I think because we record and write in that same place, our studio, we are able capture a lot of unforced moments that other bands cannot. I usually let the tape or computer roll and record 30 minutes and then we can find the best and take that as opposed to stopping and starting that kills the spirit. Thank you for the kind words about "Warble Womb", I am pretty proud of it!

Dead MeadowMy favorite song is "Yesterday's Blowing Back". I think it's pretty awesome. Can you comment on this specific track?
It was something Jason brought in as an acoustic demo that we fleshed out. At the time I wanted to experiment with some MBV sounds so there was initially lots of distortion tracks, both bass and guitar. When finally in the mixing process we pulled a bit of that back and went with a bit more Townes sound. I guess having your own gear allows for that experimentation.

Looking back to your discography, which is the album that you consider your best?
As a complete vision I'm definitely feeling the new one but I think every record was 100 percent effort compared to other bands I have been in. I think that is how Dead Meadow developed an audience.., by being perfectionists at least to what our limits would allow.

Dead MeadowDo you all listen to psychedelic rock and 70's rock or is there any deviation in your tastes?
We are all into that music. We wear it on our sleeves I guess. We are also into hip-hop and reggae. Mark is probably the most into dj culture.

Jason Simon, being the nephew of "The Wire" creator David Simon, gave you the opportunity to be heard all around the world. How did that affect your career?
Like anything with that exposure. You reach a wider audience. Definitely met way more traditional hip-hop fans that started coming to our shows especially in the states.

Dead MeadowOn which films and series would you like your music to be featured as the soundtrack and why?
I would love to have something in a David Lynch film. Probably something instrumental but his aesthetic was always an influence. I think we could do a mood instro piece for him that would be great.

What is the key to a successful, space-y concert?
Creating a good vibe with lights and sounds. I wish we have a Flaming Lips Budget.., then we would do something cool.

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you on the road? Share with us a weird story!
Everything. Probably something will happen in Greece. Every show we do has some drunken mishaps.  Actually I guess we left our drummer once at a rest stop in Kansas but that was more of a bummer than funny.

Since this year is your 15-year anniversary, what would be the ideal present for Dead Meadow?
A gold record!

Dead MeadowSome days ago, Spotify became available in our country. Many artists have been talking about Spotify and such streaming services. What are your feelings?
It exposes you to the mainstream but it rips off the artist. We make about $2 USA every 6 months off of it with all of our albums available. If it were more of a non permanent radio type of thing, it would be ok but free for all download service downgrades medium. I am sorry but it is not there yet in the protection of artists’ rights. I am surprised the international community has allowed it.

What have you been listening to lately?
Riot Going On. Anything by Talking Heads, Also, Happy Mondays has been my jam recently

Thanks a lot. The last words belong to you, to say anything you wish to your fans in Greece.
See you all soon!

Manos Paterakis