Sunday, October 25, 2009

An Interview with Dent May

[Note: I've been planning on starting including interviews on the blog for a while now, and since it's "take it serious, oh crap I'm graduating very soon" time with this stuff, I figured it's time to do it up right. So, I bring you the first of what will hopefully be quite a few interviews. Thanks for reading.]

Dent May [photo yanked from his myspace]

 Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele came through Nashville earlier this year and played one of my most anticipated shows in recent memory. Little did I know before I arrived at the show, the Mississippi native was not even going to headline that night, leaving that duty to another Nashville band that has since disbanded.  There were a handful of folks on hand, admittedly mainly girls, that were up front while the man & his uke played, singing along to the words, and the set seemed very short, more than likely due to the fact that his voice was starting to go out a bit.

Well, he's coming back to town and it's something that I hope more folks are interested in this time around. He'll become your favorite crooner with his charm and wit - check out what he had to say to some questions via email below, listen to some tunes, then try to deny it....

Conglomeration Fabrication: How did you get hooked up with the Paw Tracks folks to release your full length earlier this year?

 Dent May: I met the guys in Animal Collective, who run Paw Tracks, when they were recording their latest album in Mississippi.  We hit it off and kept in touch, and they ended up asking me to release music on their label.  It's kind of a boring story, really.  But I'm super honored to be on the label.  I've been a fan of Black Dice and Ariel Pink for a really long time, so being in their company is still crazy to me.  And touring with Animal Collective was so dreamy.
CF:You’ve been touring all over the place this year. What are some of your favorite places that you’ve gone so far?

DM: That's a really hard question.  We had a day off in Barcelona and were really blown away by what we experienced.  There's an energy to the people and the lifestyle there that is so exciting and inspiring.  We checked out all the Gaudi architecture and swam at the beach.  Other places we've fallen in love with include Berlin, San Francisco, the Czech Republic, and pretty much everywhere in France.

CF: You live in a small Mississippi town- is this where you grew up? How does this environment influence your songwriting?

DM: I grew up in Jackson, which is the biggest city in Mississippi, but now I live in Taylor.  Population there is about 300, so it's quite a bit smaller.  For one thing, I have a lot of space.  I live on 2 acres, and we have a big garage for music recording.  My roommates are also artists who played on my record but are too busy with their own stuff to tour with me.  Michael Bible is a writer and he started a literary magazine called Kitty Snacks.  Konrad Bevilaqua has a new project called Flight, which is amazing.  So it's kind of the best of both worlds, living in a super chill place where I have complete freedom, yet still being surrounded by lots of creative people.

CF: You wrote the song, “At the Academic Conference” about faking being an English major (and being not the greatest English major myself, I love it), do you have any suggested reading?

 DM: Oh, definitely.  I've also worked in bookstores on and off for a while now, so literature is super important to me.  As a Mississippian, I have to recommend Barry Hannah first.  Check out Ray and Airships.  He's kind of like a southern Beckett, and his language is beautiful but still a bit filthy.  Some of my other favorite writers are Donald Barthelme, James Tate, Amy Hempel, Charles Simic, Etgar Keret, and of course my hero Samuel Beckett.  Oh, and William Faulkner is pretty legit too.

CF: What’s the plan for the near future? More touring, writing and recording soon?
DM: I'm trying to take a break from touring, but it keeps piling up.  I'm going to Australia and New Zealand in January, and I can't wait.  I'm working on new stuff, which has a little more of an analog electronic feel.  A big influence is the ELO record Time, which a lot of people think sucks but doesn't.  It'll be similar songwriting, just with a more expanded musical palate.  There won't be much, if any, ukulele on the new stuff.  I wanted to come out with another record in 2010, but it's increasingly looking like it might be the following year.  I'm also about to record an EP with my country-western band Cowboy Maloney's Electric City.


To Get an even better idea of what Dent's all about, this video for the song "Howard" speaks volumes...

Dent & his crew are hitting the End in Nashville this Monday (Oct. 26th), with Bows & Arrows opening, for only $6 at the door.

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