Dead! have become regulars to the pages of Bring The Noise over the years, so we jumped at the chance to have a chat with Louis and Sam Matlock following their set on The Avalanche Stage at Download 2017. We talked debut album, were taught a fancy new word and their dream festival line up…

Hey guys you’ve just played the Avalanche stage at Download, how was it for you?

Louis: Really good, I think Sam was saying before you do the festival days, especially on bigger stages, it’s like an amalgamation of all the touring and stuff.

Sam: It consolidates all the hard work.

L: It’s nice to see a visual representation of what you’ve been working towards, with our fanbase and all that and seeing people care. It’s great it’s really good.

What makes you guys something more original than other bands?

S: You will know the answer to this one. We’re not an original band at all. Like I know people always say to young bands ‘find your sound, find what makes you stand out’ which is great but that’s almost impossible to do in 2017. So we like to just pride ourselves on what we think is good songwriting, strong songwriting and we just like performing in a live environment. People call us energetic but I don’t think we are if I’m honest when we look at the likes of Frank Carter.

L: Every Time I Die yesterday throwing the guitars about.

S: We don’t do anything like that.

Now you say that but we saw you having your moment mid-stage on the ground during the set.

S: Yeah I’ve done my first powerslide.

That was definitely a bit energetic.

S: But it’s not on purpose, you don’t think ‘I’m going to put on an energetic show’.

L: I always say what we do is very visceral.

S: I honestly don’t know what that means.

L: It means when something just happens and is very natural. You know what visceral means rights?

We can’t say we do.

S: Put a little definition next to it. Or like a link to the Oxford definition.

L: But yeah what we do is very visceral, that’s a good way to put it.

When can we expect a longer EP or an album?

S: We’ve been doing the European festival dates, we’ve just shot a video for a new single. We can all agree Dead! has been a band that has taken its time to do things on purpose.

L: We’ve always wanted people to want an album. One is this way the other is where you release something to push it. Both are fine.

S: That’s completely true. For people to want that body of work and to know they’re going to listen from start to finish to that body of work. It’s a nice feeling opposed to just checking out a little bit on Spotify.

L: We’ve taken our time on purpose.

S: As soon as Dead! start teasing stuff that’s the start of the ride, get invested quickly. It’s all going to go quite fucking mad!

You’re touring relentlessly over the next few months but what’s your favourite and least favourite part about travelling around so much?

S: I don’t really like sitting in the van, to be honest, my biggest issue is just sitting there for ages and making your back hurt. As soon as we’re somewhere hanging out or walking around checking out a town even looking at a new venue or going to a Spoons that’s fine, that’s fun.

L: My least favourite thing is just the streaming. We played Download France the day before yesterday and you notice as soon as you’re back to the UK you can play any music you want in the van but before that when you’re driving through France and Germany you sit there and be like “what’s everyone got saved on their Spotify?”

S: That’s the thing now as everybody streams you don’t bother saving that much.

L: You think of something whilst you’re sitting there and you haven’t got that saved.

S: When you’ve got a seven-hour drive it doesn’t matter what anyone wants to put on you just put a whole album of something on. As soon as there’s music on the drive goes so much quicker.

L: The amount of times we’ve had that Justin Timberlake album, Justified. Good album but Jesus Christ.

S: Maybe not in the van anymore. I’m really getting into Macklemore and Ryan Lewis which Dee [tour manager] keeps playing. It’s like you were saying those Bruno Mars tracks the mixing and production is stupid.

L: We listen to some weird stuff in the van but it’s good. Because we listen to stuff we don’t usually listen to. Our TM is really good at finding music.

S: We had Radiohead playing the other day!

Where would you love to tour and what would be your dream line-up?

S: We’d love to go to Japan to tour but I think that’s because we’re all interested in the country and the culture and checking it out. Anywhere. We’d love to tour anywhere we can get our hands on. But line up wise…

L: I want Strange Bones, there’s a small band called Strange Bones. I want them to do every show we ever do. We played with them in Manchester, that’s the one time they’ve supported us. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band solely warm up a crowd as much as they did before, it’s great.

S: The thing about support bands is sometimes they’re called warm up bands and they really properly went for it. Crowd surfers before you go on means that it’s dangerous as you’re onstage hoping nobody hurts themselves instead of worrying about your guitar part and it usually brings a better gig. Fizzy Blood if we’re doing bands like that, they’ve just released a song called Pawn which you should check out.

L: I’m more excited by the new bands if I’m honest.

S: We’ll definitely take Fizzy Blood out. I’d like to tour with SWMRS again personally.

L: The tours which we do are usually tours that we like really want to do, we’re quite selective about our tours. When you look back on tours we’ve done they’re all bands we kind of listen to or like.

Like Blondie for instance…

S: Don’t get me started.

L: That was insane.

S: Why was that even a thing. It’s like bucket list but it’s so bizarre you’d never really write it on your bucket list.

L: Main support for Blondie at Roundhouse. To be honest I’d just do most the tours we’ve done already again. I’d love to tour with Frank Carter again.

S: I think we’d be pretty good at putting on a festival if we had infinite cash and we could just do a really cheap festival with people on the line up for it.

L: I said this the other day Smashing Pumpkins because they don’t tour enough.

S: Radiohead.

L: I want them to do Siamese Dream because that’s my favourite album ever full stop. Or Melancholy.

S: Melancholy I’d prefer that.

L: I want them to do the hits tour as I understand they’ve played the hits a lot and they’re probably over that but –

S: A hits tour but afterwards they play another set in like a place only we can go to.

That honestly sounds like something you guys would do for fans

S: Last time we were here we did three shows, man that’s fun. We like playing gigs. I’d like Radiohead on our festival as I can’t afford to see them.

L: Yeah nobody can afford a Glastonbury ticket. I wanna see them live!

Which of your own lyrics sums up being in Dead! for you?

S: In the cheesiest way and I like this because when we recorded it, it’s better because Alex does his harmonies in his really unique voice, but because he can’t sing two notes live. What a loser he can’t sing two notes live.

L: Some people can…

S: I get to do a lot of the backing vocals and the harmonies and one of my favourite bits is at the start of the set in the first song we get to shout “We’ve got places to be and we’ve got bodies to move,” and although it’s not deep it sums up being in Dead! at the moment. We do have to go places and move people, that’s our job. It’s a fucking good job. So that’s the one for me at the moment.

L: I agree.

What would be your ultimate festival anthem?

S: Tonight I’m going to watch Aerosmith play Cryin’. There’s that bit like after the last chorus (Matlock does his best Steve Tyler impression and sings “I was crying when I met you, now I’m tryin’ to forget you”)

L: Then the chorus goes on and it’s just another chorus.

S: It’s like a Steven moment, that’s my festival anthem.

L: What would I have? What do I like? Maybe just Tonight Tonight. That’s quite a good song.

S: But does that sum up a whole festival though? Aerosmith is cheesy and energetic.

L: Maybe just Aerosmith as well then, we’re seeing them tonight so this is quite a difficult one to think about. It has to be a song that someone dressed up as a literal penis can sing along to and like a kid with their parent. Quite a hard task to achieve.

S: Like a Queen song?

L: Nah I’m over it especially without their actual singer.

S: Song 2 by Blur would be nice.

L: Yeah big fans of Blur.

S: I’m still sticking with Aerosmith for me

L: Fuck it I’ll go with Aerosmith Cryin’ as well. Fuck it, Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing!

Finally, what’s next on the cards in 2017?

S: Like we said watch the socials closely and this is it finally. We’ve taken our time but Dead! are finally ready to actually start engaging and we’re ready to take a step and become a real band I guess.

Interview By: Nicola Craig

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar