What was originally born as a solo side project for musician Chris Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional quickly grew to become one of alternative rocks defining standouts. The debut album, The Swiss Army Romance, became the soundtrack to a generation, with its heartfelt poetics resonating with fans who found solace in Carrabba’s sensitive yearnings and fearless honesty. Dashboard Confessional return down under for the first time in 5 years and Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Chris Carrabba ahead of this whirlwind tour.
The Australian tour is here now, how cool is that?
Yeah, we’re packing up right now as we speak.
There’s a lot of people looking forward to this tour do you feel the weight of expectation given it has been nearly five years since the last tour here?
I don’t know if that’s how I would describe it as the weight of expectation but we feel as if the wait is over. I’ve been waiting and coming to Australia has always been some of the best highlights of my year every time we have come here. I’m very eager to get back and knowing we’re coming back is enough for me. The fans have been so kind to us and really get what we are about, they seem to identify with us in a way that is unique and strong and I find that enriching to be there.
Being a whirlwind tour are there plans to come back sooner and play places such as Adelaide and Perth?
Absolutely, we certainly have left out some places that we would have liked to play but the proposition to my agent was that I would really like to get to Australia and I would like to go right away. My agent said I don’t think we could pull off a whole tour so I said put a few shows together, let’s go! If we wait much longer it could turn in to another year or two years, who knows! Even though we can’t make it through the whole country at least we have been there which will make it easier to get back to. We are already planning on coming back next year but we threw this in to stoke the fire for us.
What other things have been happening for Dashboard Confessional?
We just finished a tour, we just finished making a record but I don’t know when we will release it. I should know when we are going to release it but we want to be able to do it without a record label. Now we have finished the record, now choosing the label and working through all that other clerical stuff otherwise I would know when it is coming out.
Is the mechanics of the industry the most frustrating thing as a band these days particularly given the way music is consumed these days? Does that weigh much on your minds?
I don’t know, I feel like that our music has always been consumed in unorthodox ways but we have always been on the leading edge of music piracy and the modern consumption of music is leaning that way. We’re not too much worried about that, sure it does weigh and factor in to your decision about what label will do the best job. Of course you want to choose the label that is going to do the best job so it is a factor that you think about. I think our fans are ready for a new record and I think we have made the right record for them. I didn’t think about how to do that while making the record just hoping it would happen.
Was it an easy record to make? Did the ideas come quite quickly?
I would pretty much write a song and then record it in my basement. It was a great way to be able to do it so I was able to write quite a lot of songs and ask what I am trying to say here. There is a song called We Fight that we re-recorded because it sounds much better on guitars but there was something about the first time that I sang it that there’s a conviction, I think I sang it better on the later version.
How much as the Dashboard Confessional sound changed on this record?
I think it has changed appropriately and it is following our ability, all we can do is write songs and we try write lyrics that express the feeling of that song in the most evocative way possible. Has that changed? I think I am the wrong person to answer that as I am far too close to it.
What influences were important to you personally in creating this album?
I don’t know how to answer this well but I am trying! I have wanted to make a record that sounds like the bands I loved in the early 2000s and late 1990s but what those bands would sound like if they came out today I guess and what we would sound like if we came out today but had the same feelings and the need for expression when I was a kid with an acoustic guitar.
What does the rest of the year look like for Dashboard Confessional?
Tidying up the odds and ends of the album getting ready for release, decide a label then a release date and we have shows throughout the remainder of the year. Then there’s more shows and more shows then more shows!
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Dashboard Confessional on the following dates…