Last month, Dead To Me played Double Door and we caught up with the band at a nearby coffee shop before the show. We spoke with singer/bassist Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico, guitarist/singer Jack Dalyrmple and drummer Ian Anderson. Guitarist Ken Yamazaki was also present, but did not take part in the interview. We talked about the band’s latest 7” for Fat Wreck Chords, I Wanna Die in Los Angeles, including how it was written and the motivation behind its title. We also discussed Annicharico’s newfound sobriety, Dalyrmple’s return to the band, where they’re at with recording their next full-length and more.
Bill – When did you begin writing songs for this EP and how would you describe the writing process?
Chicken – Actually, all three of those I wrote after moving to L.A., after treatment. As far as the writing process goes, I kind of had to figure out how to write songs a little differently. Before I went to treatment, I didn’t know how to email songs to these guys and I didn’t know how to record stuff on the computer and send it to them for demo ideas. I had to teach myself all that stuff, so I did, and I think it kind of made a difference in how the songs ended up. Like for instance the intro drums on “Tune It Oobdy ut,” that sound was from the demos I did at home when I was messing around with different drum sounds. Now I can demo all the stuff myself and it’s not necessarily just in the practice space like it used to be.
Bill – What inspired the title track’s creation?
Chicken – Lyrically, that was just more a reminder or me saying that if I do relapse then that’s just what I should be saying to myself. There’s no difference between relapsing and just saying those exact words.
Bill – After you had that song written, did you know it would also be the title of the 7”?
Chicken – I actually did want a different title for the 7”. Like none of our other albums are named after songs or anything like that. The Wait for It… EP was named after the song and Little Brother, that’s an EP and there’s a song called “Little Brother.” So you’re allowed to do it if it’s a 7” or an EP, but not a full-length. And you’re also allowed to break the title thing that we have for the records, like African Elephants, Cuban Ballerina and Moscow Penny Ante. Once I found the cover image too, I was looking for these iconic Los Angeles images and I found that picture of the Los Angeles riots from the ‘90s. When I saw that I definitely knew I wanted to call the 7” I Wanna Die in Los Angeles. The other contender was “Comforting the Disturbed and Disturbing the Comfortable,” but that’s just really hard to fit on the cover of a 7”.
Bill – Speaking of that song, it has a really unique structure and I don’t think that any of its parts repeat. How exactly did it come to be?
Jack – That’s really observant of you, because it just goes and goes. It repeats finally at the end, but the lyric repeats, I don’t think the music does. It’s pretty interesting, man. Upon hearing it for the first time, I was like “This is nuts.” But the melody, the way it goes through there, it really ties it all together, man. It’s really, really cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a song like that.
Bill – And it’s a long song too. It’s around four minutes, but it doesn’t feel like that…
Jack – Yeah. I agree.
Bill – What do you like best about how this 7” turned out?
Ian – I know personally, I feel like there’s just a new life and a new energy in the band. I don’t if that’s from taking time off or from people getting healthy and stuff, but it just felt very new and fresh. Even though it was kind of patched together, it seemed pretty effortless and kind of seamless. It all just came together really well. I’m just happy with the finished product and it wasn’t stressful. It’s like the band has a new life to it now.
Bill – One of my favorite EPs in recent years is the Little Brother EP and I’m not just saying that because you guys are sitting here. I just feel like it’s a complete work, all the songs are strong and it kind of found the band doing new and different things. I feel like this 7” does the same. I just wanted to ask, what do you like about the EP or the 7” format, the shorter releases?
Jack – I know me personally, I’m a fan of shorter records in general. I don’t like listening to long records. I don’t think that we like to play for a long time anyways. I’m a fan of the 10-inch, like six-song record, I think that’s awesome. I like full-lengths too though, I just can’t listen to long records, but that’s just me. Maybe some people like listening to long-ass records. I don’t know.
Bill – You left the band after Little Brother came out, but returned in 2014. What’s it been like since being back?
Jack – It’s been awesome. It’s like there’s this really comfortable vibe. Sometimes when you go away that goes away with it, but it’s been really natural since I’ve come back. It hasn’t been weird or forced, and I can hear that on the record. To me, the 7” that we just did, it just has this Dead To Me feel. I think it’s comfortable too, man. I love all these guys and it’s not weird. Because it could be, it’s a lot of time.
Bill – Have you guys finished recording your next full-length?
Jack – There are songs written…
Chicken – We are demoing the full-length the first week of January and then we hope to be in the studio at the end of January, beginning of February.
Bill – Do you know where you’re recording it and with who?
Chicken – I’m producing it and we’re using the same engineer from the 7”, Ian McGregor. We’ll be recording it in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, at a couple different studios.
Bill – Do you guys have any concrete plans after the album is released or is that too far out?
Chicken – We have offers out from bands for tours and stuff, but we’re kind of just waiting to see when the actual release date is for the record, and then we’ll be out on tour. We want to do the festivals and do some runs next year for sure.
Bill – Given that you all have other responsibilities, whether it’s family, a job or other bands that you play in, how do you envision the future of Dead To Me in regards to these other things?
Chicken – We’re at the point now where we have so much fun spending time with each other, so anything we can do to preserve that, we’re all about. We obviously want to play to as many people as often as possible. The future is bright for Dead To Me. I feel like, in a weird way, we’re just getting started.