Pacific Northwest based rock outfit Dead Lakes has released their new EP New Language, via SharpTone Records. The five-song EP, produced by Erik Ron (Godsmack, Dance Gavin Dance, Set It Off) carries a bold sound with huge appeal to any fan of The Neighbourhood, PVRIS, or Bring Me The Horizon.
A blend of classic alt-rock radio arena worthy anthems, electronic infused R&B flourishes, and passionate post-hardcore, DEAD LAKES songs explore empowerment and purpose in equal measure. A young band emphasising audience connection, the Pacific Northwest outfit is genre-fluid, following a creative muse wherever it may lead. Sumner Peterson talks to Hi Fi Way about the EP and how they’re navigating through the crisis that’s happening.
How is the band surviving the crisis that’s going on?
My day job is working in a grocery store. Honestly, there’s quite a few people who are very thankful that we’re there as grocery store workers. Then there’s definitely some people who, I think this whole thing, this whole COVID-19 thing has had taken a bit more of a mental toll on them and they lash out. We’ve definitely had a lot more loud yellers, a lot more unnecessary irritation from people. I think people just react to these situations in different ways. Unfortunately, it brings out some different things in different people, whether it’s good or bad. I’ve seen just about all of this working at a grocery store.
Has the band been keeping busy working on new material?
Yeah, luckily we live in the internet age, so we’re able to bounce ideas fairly easily. We’re still trying to streamline our process for that because we’re all separated right now. We’re trying to find some more live ways to interact with each other during the writing processes and stuff like that. Our main songwriter and guitarist Max is making the most of the quarantine in the studio. I have been writing a whole bunch and prepping some new ideas to work off of. It’s been great and the ideas that we have right now are really cool.
It’s cool to see different members of the band grow during this time and see what they’re able to bring to the table now where they weren’t able to before. The new ideas that we have going right now are awesome. We’ve used it as a really great time to push ourselves creatively and to find ourselves in our creative process as well.
Do you think a lot of this comes down to just experience and getting better at what you do?
Absolutely. I know that there’s that whole ten thousand hour rule. If you put ten thousand hours into something, that’s how you master it. I feel like when we got the opportunity to be put out a record through SharpTone, we knew we wanted to take this seriously. So, we definitely have been putting in way more hours on it too. We are passionate about it and you do worry whether you’ll get to some point where it’s not going to work out.
We’ve definitely been using this time to really master our instruments and try to develop our songwriting as well. We’re definitely at our one thousand out of ten thousand, but we’ll get there eventually. It’s really cool to know that there’s always going to be more progress being made and to keep growing. So yeah, it’s been awesome.
On the flip side is it a little bit frustrating losing that momentum with what’s going on?
It’s really weird. It’s funny how life works out in those ways I suppose. I know that everybody probably feels this way about their own particular lives, but I feel like a lot of anything that’s ever gone right in my life has gone right in very unexpected way. There’s a pandemic going on, which is obviously a much larger issue. So I try not to be too personal about how COVID-19 affects me.
Have you been happy with the fan reaction to the EP so far?
Oh my goodness! Yes! Six out of our top twenty cities on our streaming platforms are from Australia. That is absolutely insane. We’re very thankful. We’ve come from five years of DIY touring in different bands and stuff and we never thought it would gain that level of traction or really hit that aha moment or connecting with the right person. We’re really grateful for the fact that our label was able to put out a record during this time. The fan reaction has been amazing and we’re like kids in a candy store. So, these are all definitely childhood dreams coming true every day. It’s been amazing!
Did it seem like the right idea to go with an EP rather than a full length album?
There’s no reason why millions of people wouldn’t check out every song. So I think putting out an EP was probably the best decision considering that most people will actually check out five songs. We were able to release three as singles. I think we’ve got a lot of material ready for a full album once everything’s over with and we’re able to go in the studio again. The plan is to do that next year.
We’ve also been working on some alternative versions of the new tracks. It sounds like it’s going to be lasting for quite a while before things get back to normal. Hopefully we’ll have some fresh content, maybe some re-imagined versions of language tracks that come out at some point during this. I want people to have things that keep them entertained while they’re stuck at home.
That sounds really, really cool. How do you think the band sound has changed sonically?
That’s such a cool question. Sonically, we were more like a traditional, modern day, mid-2000 post hardcore band. There’s some influences from today including bands such as Saosin, PVRIS, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Emory and Anberlin and bands like that. We started thinking about what are the songs do we really want to be writing? What do we really want to do? I feel like sonically, we made decisions to move in just in a more authentic way as now listen to so many different things compared to what we grew up on.
A lot of us love The 1975 song and Bring Me The Horizon are huge influences still. So I feel like that was represented on the record, that we just wanted to take a step in that direction. We knew what the general demographic for the record would be and we have roots in the scene, so we definitely wanted to put out something that felt true to ourselves but a step in the direction where we’re trying to go. I think there’s a lot more synth, a lot more programmed things on the tracks, a lot more groovier influences rather than structured rock.
Were there many say challenges in making the EP? Did it all go to plan as you anticipated?
I think it did go as anticipated, but the ride until the very end never really felt like it was going to, if that makes sense! It was a huge learning curve for myself and Max in particular, being the main writers for the band. We write most of the songs and we knew what we wanted to accomplish so we took our own path there. It worked out!
Are you looking forward to being able to tour?
We are lucky enough to have a booking agent right before all this happened, which I guess is lucky or unlucky depending how you look at it. I see it as lucky. It’s good to have a full behind us. We’ve never had that before. It’s our first booking agent we’ve had, so we’re excited to when we’re actually able to hit the road. It’s been almost two years since we toured and we used to tour every three months. We are definitely hungry to tour, but we taking the time to work on a full length record. We got confirmation from the label that we should be doing that and having that out next year, depending obviously on how everything goes. The band is writing like crazy, we’ll keep exploring and finding new sounds.
Interview By Rob Lyon