Australian indie rock stalwarts Dear Seattle are back in 2022 with a rousing new single Feel The Weight. They also have a new album coming our way called Someday on June 17. As Dear Seattle continues to find their voice, writing earnest and lively rock , I decided to check in with Dear Seattle’s frontman Brae Fisher on their latest release, what we can expect on the new album and what drives him as a musician. Here is some of what we talked about.
I’m always pleasantly reminded how much music sounds better when played live. Feel The Weight, especially your recent special performance, feels as in-the-moment as it could possibly be. Walk us through the process of the performance?
So much better!! I remember the first show out of Covid we played was a festival in Adelaide, and just hearing our soundcheck come through a big PA again made the whole trip worthwhile. Could’ve left then and there and still been stoked!
I think we really wanted to capture that feeling. The last few years has obviously felt lacking in live performances, and because we were in the middle of our tour and had all the bits and pieces needed, we figured why not bottle some of that energy up for people who couldn’t make it to a show?
So we basically just loaded our show setup into Philter brewery on a day off and got our good friend Chris Elder to film it. Luckily this tour we moved to in-ears so there was no need for a PA or wedges and we used helix’s to avoid the need for amps! We’re super happy with how to all turned out.
Talk us through the exploration of ideas in your new song?
There’s a few ideas at play in Feel The Weight, and like the rest of the record, I think it takes a few listens to really get the whole picture. On first listen it seems a bit like a poppy festival singalong, but the real story and the message is different entirely.
Overall the song tackles the concept of internalised pressures and unattainable expectations and standards I set for myself. It explores my unhealthy tendency to read every comment and review of our music searching for negative ones so I can improve. In a bit of a meta way, it looks at the feeling I had whilst writing this song, thinking to myself “I just need to give people another Daytime TV because that’s what they want”. In a bit of a tongue-in-cheek way, it’s actually poking fun at my tendency to try and lean on a gang vocal singalong to carry a chorus. So really it’s a song that’s about both the struggles of dealing with pressure and criticism, whilst simultaneously being utterly self-critical and adding to the pressure pile at the same time.
So yeah, I feel like on the surface it’s fun and anthemic, but in truth it’s scathingly self-aware and trying to make you think more about what goes on under the surface of songs like this.
It’s hard to imagine you not writing a song like this given what we have all gone through in recent years. What is your relationship like with music now say compared to your debut Don’t Let Go which came just before the pandemic?
To be completely honest with you, it hasn’t been great until this recent tour… the Don’t Let Go era was constantly about moving on to bigger and better things. We were never in one place for a long time and that always leads to inspiration and progression, as you’re always looking ahead. Covid, on the other hand, was basically like Christopher Walken smashed the big ‘pause’ button on the remote in Click and everything came to a halt, but our brains didn’t stop with our bodies.
So it introduced something into our band that we never really had before, and that was second-guessing. Because there was no new thing coming up to fixate on, it forced us to fixate solely on what we had, and that was the new album we had just recorded. I can’t count how many times we’d flip on ideas about this record, just because we had nothing else to do, and it made for a bit of an uncomfortable process as there was no way to get tangible feedback on things – like say playing a few new songs live to see what people connect with most on first listen to help choose singles.
This all lead to so much overthinking that I actually just couldn’t listen to music anymore. I didn’t even know what I liked anymore, and I was copping zero exposure to new bands without live shows and obviously everyone holding off on releasing. I also didn’t realise just how much I needed to play music live to keep me sane, as a way to purge emotions and release tensions. Without it I kind of fell apart a bit.
Things are getting much better now though, and I’m very quickly rebuilding my love for music again, but it seriously took a toll on me and I can imagine I’m not the only one.
What do you look for in a good indie rock song or any song really?
All I really care about personally is depth of thought in the lyricism and it feeling genuine, like it’s really captured an honest emotion.
Songs to me are just vehicles for a message and all the parts need to be working together to help make that message as emotionally impactful as possible.
What gripping new narratives can we expect on your forthcoming album Someday out in June?
So many! Every song has its own little world that it lives in and explores, but overall the record is focussed on the dichotomy of ‘someday’ as a frame of mind, because there’s so much at play when were looking into the future. There’s everything from pure aspiration and excited anticipation, to fear, expectation and crippling anxiety. It’s so easy to live our lives in service of where we want to be, not where we are, because it’s an easy way to escape dealing with our current problems. But in doing so, it’s actually creating more issues than it’s resolving, and that’s something I’ve always really struggled with. This album is me navigating my way towards becoming more present and learning to live my life for what it is and not for what it could be.
Will the sonic arrangements continue to revolve around angsty guitars on the new album? I can only imagine that there will be a handful of new anthems to singalong to?
Not as much actually! Obviously there will be a healthy amount, because that’s what we love, but there’s actually a lot more variety in this record. There’s loads of acoustic guitar and bits of pianos and synths to break up the angst. When we were writing this album we were going away to Airbnb’s and writing with acoustic guitars and an electric kit, which I think made us really consider the songwriting more and led to us wanting to branch out from the overdriven power chords quite often. But who says a ballad can’t be an anthem hey?
Circling back to Feel The Weight, I can’t help but feel it somewhat more considered or mature in approach. Is that something that you have internalised going forward especially with the new album?
Definitely, I think one positive of this whole period of self-assessment is that we decided we wanted to dial back the buzzlines and larrakinism and build songs that were more nuanced. We wanna serve up a hearty meal instead of confectionery if you get what I mean? So it’s all about creating songs that centre around emotionally rich experiences or ways of thinking that give people more to chew on than what is dealt on first listen.
What drives you as a musician and what obstacles frustrate you?
What drives me is that I need to write music to keep myself in check. It’s what keeps me conscious of how I am doing, and it’s my way of self-reflecting. I’ve said in the past that there’s no point in writing music if you’re writing for anyone but yourself and I do stand by that. These songs are for us, be it as a way to vent, or an exploration, or just for pure hedonism, they have to fulfil us first and foremost… and if anyone else gets on board with it too, that’s an amazing bonus. If that’s not the case it’s pointless. Imagine you write something for other people and it flops, what is the point of any of it? None.
I think the biggest obstacle is the rigidity of the industry. There’s “tried and true” methods of doing things and people rarely want to explore beyond these formulas, which is understandable, but also these plans often take long periods of time. I struggle with that. I always feel like there is a bit of a lag between what we’re releasing and what we’re writing, so it’s confusing trying to promote things you wrote 2-3 years ago when you’re a totally different person now and on to new territories.
For almost ten years Dear Seattle has weathered music enthusiasts falling in and out of love with rock in this country. As indie stalwarts how healthy do you believe our alternative rock scene nowadays?
I think it’s incredibly healthy, but I know what you mean. To me our alt-rock scene is and always has been amazing, it’s always just been a matter of how much attention Australians have been giving it. That’s the thing with our genre, kids are always gonna be playing it and there’s always gonna be new cool bands popping up all over the place, but if attention is elsewhere they’re going to struggle to make careers out of it. Having said that though, it only takes one band to look at the genre in a new way and release a song that suddenly cuts through and brings everyone back to alt-rock. Suddenly there’s a massive resurgence and it’s like things never faded away. So moral of the story is, if we all stopped trying to repeat the formula of the last breakout alt-rock song, and instead focused on writing something unique that becomes the next one, peoples attention would never dwindle.
Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Dear Seattle?
Obviously the album release and all that comes with it, touring and promo and videos. We really wanna try do a barbecue tour, where instead of playing live, we just go around to different cities and host barbecues for all our fans to come hang out and become friends with each other to build more of a community. So hopefully that! Maybe a little studio doco or something too if possible, it’s all in the works!
Dear Seattle’s latest single Feel The Weight is out now. Click HERE to pre-order their highly anticipated second album Someday. Follow Dear Seattle on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram. Listen on Spotify. Watch on You Tube.