26th April 2010 will see the release of the highly anticipated new album ‘Eye on the Horizon’ from dub and dance legends Dreadzone. Not only that, the band are touring extensively across the UK as we speak! Definitely worth catching a live show if you can. Jo Whitby emailed some questions over to the band and Greg Dread kindly responded with some great answers…
Cat On The Wall: Eye on the Horizon is your 6th studio album, the tracks I’ve heard so far sound really fresh and signal a new direction for the band in terms of songwriting. Did you feel as a band that a new direction was needed? Do you ever look back over your previous albums before heading into the studio or do you try and start with a blank canvas?
Greg Dread: I feel that with our background and influences we are free to explore different areas and feel like we are moving on from previous albums. These songs express how we feel and what we have been through with losing people close to us. It is important to re invent yourself and stay fresh but also remember why people liked you in the first place. I like to think people appreciate our diversity and allow for that, from the live band to the DJ influenced stuff, from the dub to the pop credentials we proudly wear… We never try to recreate what has been before.
COTW: How do you work as a band when writing the songs? What’s your creative process in the studio?
GD: This album has been pretty much a similar approach on all the tracks where I would throw in a background of beats and samples to stimulate ideas for the guitar and bass and then we would feed off of that creative interplay with words and melodies… Then colour in around the key elements of the song with keyboards. For the first time we have a bunch of songs that can be conveyed with just guitar and voice without the sample propping it up. Songs also get played with live and re-written over time so we have had the space to do that.
COTW: Do you have a favourite track?
GD: It is hard to define one at the moment as each have their own place but as a personal meaning ‘Walk Tall’ strikes a chord with me and others who hear it as it tries to tell a story of how different people cope with situations that drive you to despair . It’s a sad song but with a positive uplifting message. It is the most diverse for a dreadzone tune so far I think. Other faves are ‘For A Reason’ and ‘American Dread’.
COTW: You’ve been touring considerably since the end of 2009 and I notice you were even on tour throughout 2008. There’s more live dates coming up why do you regularly return to life on the road?
GD: In a way Eye On The Horizon comes from that, being on the road and always looking towards the next place, leaving the past behind by doing what fulfills us most – playing live shows to people who are equally as into it as we are… It’s an addictive release that works both ways. It’s the lifeblood of the band and keeps a strong impetus that drives us on.
COTW: Is the live performance as important as the studio recording to you? How do you translate the recording into a successful live show?
GD: They feed off each other, we take the basic song and rework it more to get the full feeling from it. This album has worked well in that way as we have been trying the tracks out on people over the last two years and the album definitely has a more live feel than our previous albums. The songs then become much more animated on stage and take on a new life of their own.
COTW: What kind of relationship do you have with your audience and fans? Has the internet changed that relationship since you first started or would you say its been more of a natural progression?
GD: The internet gives you instant contact with people and I enjoy interacting with them, when I have the time. I am as enthusiastic as any friend would be, sometimes there is not enough time to do that. We get such a positive response with everyone that it feels natural to get involved a lot more than we did in the past.
COTW: What are you listening to or reading at the moment?
GD: Marcus Visionary and Warrior One are making waves with new beats, am listening a lot to some albums I blagged at Sony in New York recently, most noticeably ‘The Future Is Unwritten’ – the soundtrack to the Joe Strummer movie, it’s like a radio show from inside his head with all kinds of diverse stuff like Woody Guthrie, U Roy, world music and The Clash. Since I returned from the states I have read ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’, two great american novels.
COTW: Finally, what are your plans for the near future?
GD: To tell the world about this album and go on to making more music for our own new label. Pushing on all the time and attracting new dread recruits to the cause!