San Diego Music Award winners Dead Feather Moon gave me a few minutes of their time at their Vista, California practice space to answer questions about the new material they're working on and their upcoming "end of the world" concert at the Belly Up Tavern on December 21.
Published on the Belly Up Tavern's venue website for the December 21, 2012 event listing.
Not everyone is buying into the “end of the world” predictions for December 21; but just in case the world does come to an end soon, local rockers Dead Feather Moon have the Belly Up covered. After winning the Best Alternative Album award for their 2011 release Dark Sun at the San Diego Music Awards last August and scoring consistent airplay for their popular song “1907,” DFM has had a good year. Read on for an exclusive interview where the band reflects on their history together and hints to what they have planned for their Belly Up show this Friday.
Can you tell me a little about how you came together to form Dead Feather Moon?
Jesse Kling (lead guitarist): Justen and I were working on music with the intent of starting a band around 2006. We kind of worked on it on and off, and then in 2008 we finally started.
Greg Peters (multi-instrumentalist): I started in June of 2010. Our second show together was at the Belly Up; that was Dead Feather Moon’s first Belly Up show. The place was packed – it was almost sold out. I don’t think any of us had played for that many people. I certainly hadn’t.
Justen Berge (vocalist/guitarist): We were sitting backstage – it was probably our first time ever backstage, because we had never played a venue with a backstage before. And they were giving us the attendance counts, like, “All right, 400; all right, 450; all right, 500.”
Peters: I think to this day none of us know why that was. The band was really underground at that point, just doing little tiny shows with no more than 100 people.
Kling: It was rad because the Belly Up was a place where we enjoyed seeing shows. And now we’re treated so well there, and we always have a blast, it’s the greatest thing.
What about the name Dead Feather Moon? Where does that come from?
Kling: There are multiple theories on that, I think the running one is that I was drunk and I had a notebook, a little notepad that I would write down song ideas and titles in. When Justen and I finally got back together and were finally focusing on building a band, that was one of the titles we threw around, and it became the band name. But if there was a meaning, I don’t know what it was. It just sounded cool to us at the time. And all three of those words kind of evoke the kind of imagery that fits our band pretty well.
I definitely notice a lot of imagery and metaphors in your lyrics. Can you explain your songwriting process?
Berge: The songwriting process is just something that happens pretty organically among all five of us. With any song, it starts with a little idea, whether it’s a melody or a couple of chords or whatever, and then it builds from there. Our songwriting process can be a bit tenuous, but I think we have better songs for it. We’re very democratic as a band, so it’s kind of like we all have to approve, or the majority has to approve of something before it’s part of a song.
Do you have a favorite Dead Feather Moon song?
Peters: I’m pretty sure everyone has favorites, but to elaborate what Justen was saying earlier, if one person in the band isn’t happy with a certain part of a song or a song in general, it either gets changed or scrapped. We have songs that we’ve worked on for weeks and then played live, and have just thrown in the trash because one person is like, “I don’t like this song.” So that being said, yeah there are favorites, but I think all of us are really happy with everything we’ve written. At least I know I am. I love all of our songs. I think they’re all good.
Chris Bowling: I think our next song that we write is usually our, or at least for me, my favorite song. When we finish a song, it’s fresh. And after that, it’s the next song we write.
What do you like best about performing?
Kling: It’s really fun to show your craft off to people that are there to lend an ear and want to listen to it. Especially with friends and family who’ve known you your whole life; it’s a pretty cool thing to have.
Tyler Soule: It feels good to see all the support.
Berge: I think audience connection, because you create art to share it with people; we don’t write songs with the intent of keeping them to ourselves, we write them so we can share them with people and hopefully have some sort of impact on their day. Something that kind of helps them get through a moment or makes them feel something, makes them happy, makes them rock out, I don’t know. It’s fun to see people who do know the words and people who sing; or people who maybe haven’t seen us before and be able to talk with them after the show to hear what they think about the music.
What do you guys have planned for the new year?
Kling: We’re definitely working on lots of new material, gearing towards making another album.
Berge: That’s our main focus. We’ll probably end up doing some other stuff. I think we’ve gotten to a certain level where sometimes people approach us, and stuff kind of falls into our laps, and we just get to do unique and exciting things.
Bowling: Like scoring the movie.
Berge: Oh yeah, we’re scoring a film in the first month or two of the new year. It’s a short film called Therapy by our friend Ryan Tillotson. It’s our first time doing anything like that.
Can you give any hints for what you have planned for your upcoming “End of the World” show on Dec. 21?
Peters: We’re definitely going to do a few things instrumentally and sonically that we’ve never done before. We’ve been working on the set for the last month, trying some new stuff and experimenting and working on implementing all of those things. We’ve got a cover; we don’t do a lot of covers. I’ve been in the band for two and a half years and this is the second cover we’ve done. So yeah, we’ve got a cover song, and we’ve got some guest musicians, and we’ve got some cool merch packages as well that we’re going to be giving away. And we’re going to dabble in some props. The Belly Up just got a new lighting package, so we’ve been working with the lighting engineers there as well. It’s going to be a cool show; we’re definitely going all out for this one.