Artist of the Month – DIRTY HEADS
In anticipation of Dirty Heads’ 6th album, Swim Team, singer/guitarist Duddy B chatted with Jeff Nolan about the state of the group.
You guys have been at this for over a decade. That’s pretty impressive. How have you pulled this off for so long?
Well… first off, we really enjoy it. We’ve got a solid team behind us and are all on the same page for the most part. If not, we work it out and leave our egos at the door.
We’re a team and we’ve always worked that way. I think it keeps us grounded. As long as we’re still enjoying it and growing, we’ll do this as long as we can.
Trying to do a rock band in the 21st century is notoriously tough. What are some of the challenges to keeping it moving forward?
It’s totally different now. We kinda started getting a little steam when “Lay Me Down” hit, and that’s like right when the industry took a dump and everything started changing with social media and all that. So we were figuring it out when everyone else was also trying to figure it out. It’s just one of those things where you change and adapt or you get left behind.
There’s so much music out there now and it’s so easy to put out a record, we’ve just got to constantly be out there and constantly doing things that will be fresh. We take a lot of pride in our live show so that when people come out, they leave going, “WOW – that was amazing.”
That’s kind of how you’ve gotta do it these days – constantly be out there and putting out good products. We’re always trying to get to that next step.
You guys have sort of become the torchbearers for a very passionate scene that traces its origins back to Brad Nowell and Sublime. Why do you think that sound has resonated so well for so long?
It’s funny – it’s right about that time that Bradley passed when that style became popular. Before that, it was pretty much, “You know reggae? Oh yeah! I’ve got the Bob Marley “Legend’ album.” [[laughs]] That’s pretty much what people knew of reggae and I think Sublime opened up a door. We’ve seen this scene grow from really nothing. It’s a cool, exciting time for this music.
Tell me a little bit about ‘Swim Team’
What happened with ‘Swim Team’ is we had a little time off and were like, “let’s just get in and do a couple songs so we’re not just sitting around.” So we did a couple songs and really liked them, so we decided just to finish a whole album and put it out. Like a said before, you’ve gotta stay fresh and you’ve gotta constantly be putting out new content.
We had a lot of fun with this album. The last album was the first one we did where me and Jared went and did the circuit of writing sessions with different studios, different writers and everything. That was rough because sometimes you knew right away it wasn’t going to vibe. It was like speed dating.
By doing that, we found a few guys we really like working with, so we just used them on this album. It was easy and fun and we enjoyed ourselves. We didn’t really have a plan – we just started writing and we had a lot of fun.
Who produced it with you?
There were a few different ones. Rome, who we always do at least one song with on every album, is just family. He lives close and we work really well together. We also worked with two guys called The Heavy. It was our first time working with them and we did three songs. We’ll definitely be working with them in the future.
Do you ever feel that the album as a format is dying in the streaming era?
Unfortunately, yes I do. It’s not completely dead and there’s still a cult following of people who enjoy the full piece of art.
Sequencing an album is always fun for us, but no one gives a fuck because they’re just gonna buy the songs they like and put them in their own order! We still put out full albums, but if we make a really cool song, we’ll put it out by itself.
What are some of your favorite towns to play on the road?
Red Rocks is for sure one of the best shows every year. St. Augustine, Florida is always an amazing show for us. It’s nice that here are so many cool little pockets.
It’s hard to pick favorite spots because we’ve been touring for fifteen, sixteen years now. It’s hard to put a finger on a favorite.
Without thinking – what is your favorite song of all time?
Holy crap! Without thinking? One song I’ve been spinning in my headphones every night is Willie Nelson’s “Time of the Preacher”.
Okay – final question. Which member of Dirty Heads is the most high-maintenance on the road? Who’s the biggest diva?
Aww man… Matty O! [[laughs]]
Dirty Heads are Hard Rock’s Artist of the Month for October 2017. We’ll be bumping their new single in cafes worldwide every 90 minutes. Their new album, ‘Swim Team’, drops on Friday, October 13th