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Love Letter To Their Youth: Dude York Talk New Album 'Falling'

Wednesday, 24 July 2019 Written by Laura Johnson

Exposure to early 2000s emo, nu-metal and pop-punk usually results in one of two reactions: a disgusted sneer, often accompanied by an exasperated sigh, or a knowing smile followed by overly enthusiastic headbanging. Dude York’s members would choose the latter.

Bassist and vocalist Claire England, donning a Korn t-shirt for this interview, was a self-confessed “emo pop-punk” in high school, and drummer Andrew Hall admits to following pretty much the same path. 

Their affection for the pop culture of that period has never waned, manifesting itself in the sound of the band’s third album, ‘Falling’, which is also filled with songs that bring to mind the Cure, early Weezer and their fellow Seattle natives in the now defunct post-punk band Pretty Girls Make Graves.

It’s a love letter to the music of their youth, and a chance for England to right some of its wrongs. “I grew up listening to all this pop-punk and alt-rock that was mostly male-fronted,” she recently said in a press release. “But I want to fill that hole I saw by recreating it now for myself.”

“I’m always writing like that,” she told us. “That’s just been a songwriting mechanism that I’ve been working towards. Wanting to recreate the sound that I’m not hearing as much as I want to in pop music. For myself as a songwriter I’m like, ‘I could get closer. I could get better.’”

The band also include regular lyrical nods to their formative years. Tracks such as Box, where they declare “I’ll never love again”, recall the dramatic absolutes of youth, while Making Sense perfectly captures the weary, anxious feelings of many in their late 20s and early 30s: “How can I feel so overtired and still be so unprepared?” Unexpected, though, has a foot on either side of the nostalgia debate. “Oh they always had to drag it out of me, but now it’s just falling out, I can’t keep it in my mouth,” England sings.

Dude York is completed by guitarist and vocalist Peter Richards, who was not a member of the emo and pop-punk fanclub until relatively recently — we can thank England for bombarding him with it while on long tour drives for that. According to Hall, he’s mostly into “weird indie music with abrasive synthesisers and southern rap records,” and counts the Unicorns and Blood Brothers among his favourite bands. Richards is MIA for this interview, but England warns he may “come bursting in at some point,” to which Hall adds, “very dramatically.” He doesn’t.

Despite its roots in their past the upcoming new record also marks a shift for Dude York, with Richards and England sharing songwriting and lead vocal duties equally for the first time. ‘Sincerely’, released in 2017, found the bassist taking the lead on only two songs. This change has gone a long way in allowing them to recreate their symbiotic live relationship, resulting in a pop-punk powerhouse.

Their desire to convey this in the studio, meanwhile, was one of the reasons for choosing to work with producer Patrick Brown. “We’d been friends for a long time,” Hall explains. “I guess it was mostly a combination of friendship and I think we trusted him to serve the songs well and to also be able to make a rock record that didn’t just sound like a straight up rock record.

“I feel like everybody who plays rock music probably says this, but they don’t want their rock records to sound like rock records. I think it was wanting to work with somebody who had a little bit more of a background in doing pop records and other things that aren’t just the sounds of rock bands playing. Because I feel like it’s really easy to make a record that sounds like everybody else's record when you do that.”

Dude York took 10 days to record the album at Different Fur Studios in San Francisco. “We did the bang it out pretty quick method,” England admits. “Mostly because it’s cost effective.” The writing process was also more efficient than it was on its predecessor.

‘Sincerely’ was written and recorded two years before it was released, so the songs were old hat by the time it came to touring them. This meant downtime on the road was used for working on its follow-up. When it came time to record, the three piece had twice as many tracks as they needed, though some were substituted for those written just before they headed into the studio.

“It’s always hurry up and wait for us,” England says. “I think because it took so long for ‘Sincerely’ to be done and come out we had a lot of time to be writing and thinking about new songs way before it was time to really think about putting out a new album.”

The trio used their time wisely. “I feel like we came into this record with a really strong sense of what we wanted the songs to be, which I don’t think was necessarily true, especially with the first record,” Hall adds. “We had no idea what we were doing, at all.” England agrees that previous albums were made with a “more scattered process”, across different locations and with months between sessions. 

As a result, ‘Falling’ is a huge leap from the garage-punk beginnings of their 2014 debut LP ‘Dehumanize’ — the playing is tighter and the hooks are sharper. The reasons for this are two-fold: it’s happened naturally as a result of touring together, and they made a conscious effort in the studio to smooth out those rough edges.

England also had emotional motivations for her choices on the LP. “I always hope that someone hears something in a song that is so relatable that it gets them through something,” she says. “That they are like, ‘that’s me too. I’m not the only one.’ That also means that I can say, ‘good I’m not the only one.’” Hall’s take is a little less wholesome, and a little more tongue in cheek. “I hope they hear it and they say, ‘this was so good I’m going to buy a thousand copies for everybody I know’,” he jokes.

Once the record is out, Dude York will take the inevitable next step of touring it. They’ve lined up headline dates across North America during September and have support slots with Bleached in the diary for October. And they really are looking forward to it, even if Hall’s deadpan outlook on playing shows says otherwise: “Live music performance is basically public embarrassment for the amusement of others.”

'Falling' comes out on July 26 through Hardly Art Records

Dude York Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Sat September 07 2019 - MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota - 7th St Entry (USA)
Sun September 08 2019 - CHICAGO Illinois - Beat Kitchen (USA)
Wed September 11 2019 - COLUMBUS Ohio - Big Bar Room (USA)
Thu September 12 2019 - DETROIT Michigan - Deluxx Fluxx (USA)
Fri September 13 2019 - CLEVELAND Ohio - Symposium (USA)
Sat September 14 2019 - PITTSBURGH Pennsylvania - Mr Roboto Project (USA)
Sun September 15 2019 - TORONTO Ontario - Baby G (Canada)
Tue September 17 2019 - BOSTON Massachusetts - ONCE Ballroom (USA)
Wed September 18 2019 - BURLINGTON Vermont - Club Metronome (USA)
Fri September 20 2019 - NEW YORK New York - Mercury Lounge (USA)
Sat September 21 2019 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Everybody Hits (USA)
Sun September 22 2019 - WASHINGTON District Of Columbia - Comet Ping Pong (USA)
Tue September 24 2019 - CHAPEL HILL North Carolina - Local 506 (USA)
Thu September 26 2019 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Basement (USA)

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