[pullquote quote="When there are a hundred people in the room and two are from L.A., I believe they can kind of pick each other out." credit="Taylor Goldsmith"]
[lastfm]Dawes[/lastfm] cut an authentically warm, heartfelt folk-rock sound too rarely heard in the modern industry. It might be due to their penchant for reel-to-reel recording, their Laurel Canyon sound (inspired by [lastfm]Crosby, Stills, and Nash[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Neil Young[/lastfm]), or their gigs as [lastfm]Robbie Robertson[/lastfm]‘s backing band. Maybe it’s because they’re so open to feedback from their fans, those who never settle for an artist’s second best. But these considerations pale in comparison to the Californians’ song craft and adept musicianship, two traits immediately warranted with the opening guitar chugs of their newest record, Nothing Is Wrong. Read on as bandleader Taylor Goldsmith tells us how each of the above factors has made [lastfm]Dawes[/lastfm] a stronger band, and this new set of songs his favorite yet.
Street Date: What’s your mood like as you get set to release Nothing Is Wrong?
Taylor Goldsmith: It’s exciting. Being our second record it’s my only experience ever with having people aware of the band before it comes out. We put out an album a long time ago that nobody had ever heard, and then with Dawes it was also a debut album and then with Middle Brother it was also a debut album so for Nothing Is Wrong, this is the first follow-up record I have ever been a part of. I’m really excited to see how people respond to it.
[pullquote quote="This is the first follow-up record I have ever been a part of." credit=""]SD: What sort of places do you draw inspiration from when writing a new song?
Goldsmith: Well a lot of personal experiences, I read a lot, but also just certain things that strike me as interesting in terms of something that we are confronted with regularly but not something we necessarily consider. Like on the new record there is a song called “So Well” and its about 3 different guys being in love with the same girl from 3 different walks of life. To me it is very personal because there was a girl that I lost at one point. She left me, who was like a crazy, on the road all the time, busy young musician and then the guy she ended up being with after me was this older, much more established and secure and wonderful guy. So it was just like “wow”: what she represents to him and what she represents to me is two completely different things. So its stuff like that that we are all aware of but don’t really talk about it.
SD: Do you get feedback from fans on how they feel about specific songs?
Goldsmith: Totally and I love that. I think that’s what its all about. It doesn’t matter that I wrote that song and they did it, or if they wrote the song and I did it. Two people are connecting over particularly personal emotions and they’re feeling like ‘I’m not alone in this anymore because someone else has had the same experience.’ I have that same sensation when somebody comes up to me and says ‘I know exactly what you’re talking about and I’ve been through it too.’ I feel as lucky as they do to feel there is someone else out there that is going through it.
SD: Is there intentionally a California vibe to this album?
Goldsmith: It’s not an intentional thing, I just write about what I feel like I have a good concept of and everybody feels like they have a close relationship with the world that they come from… It’s not like I’m trying to represent California, I’m more just trying to represent me and I happen to be in California when I’m not on the road. “Times Spent in Los Angeles” (and this goes for anyone from anywhere, I just happened to use the town LA), but when there are a hundred people in the room and two of them are from LA, I believe that they can kind of pick each other out. I think that the environment that we all come from dictates who we are and I feel like there is a complicated quality to someone from LA. It is half cynical and half just devastatingly realistic and I have a complicated relationship with it. I think that exists anywhere and I love that.
SD: Have some of the songs on Nothing Is Wrong been played live already?
Goldsmith: Certain songs, “How Far We’ve Come” and “Our Way Back Home” were written right when North Hills was released. They were already done so they have been in the live shows for a while. Then “Times in Los Angeles” have been in the shows for about 6 months or so, maybe longer like a year.
[pullquote quote="If someone told me two years ago that I'd get to hang out with Jackson Browne, I would probably break down and cry. He is one of my heroes." credit="Goldsmith"]
SD: So a lot of people know these songs already…
Goldsmith: We were worried about that. We thought is it going to be weird that people are going to get a record that the majority of the songs they can find on youtube or they might have already seen at a show? I feel like, the kind of musician that I am, when I find like a certain [lastfm]Grateful Dead[/lastfm] recording and I didn’t know which record it was on and then I find it on certain weird [lastfm]Bob Weir[/lastfm] solo record. For me that’s exciting and I’m like “oh cool now I have the studio version of the song I like and have been familiar with and been looking for”. I’m hoping that it will be the same experience with this where people will be like “oh wow it’s that Dawes song I heard at a show and now I have that recording”.