Interview: Dirty Heads
Tue, 19 Nov 2013 11:22:03
"We love that we have the freedom in our music to do anything," says Dustin Bushnell of Dirty Heads.
That freedom is what has invigorated one of the most devoted fan bases in rock music. Dirty Heads consistently deliver an irresistible and intoxicating concoction of sun-soaked rock, shimmering reggae, and uplifting hip-hop with ever subsequent release. Their new acoustic outing, Home-Phatoms of Summer: The Acoustic Sessions upholds that tradition. In some ways, it's even more powerful as the group has stripped down its sound. Each note hits even harder, and you'll feel like you're experiencing the best California has to offer while listening.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Dustin Bushnell of Dirty Heads talks Home - Phantoms Of Summer: Acoustic Sessions and so much more.
Was stripping down the songs to acoustic form on Home - Phantoms Of Summer: Acoustic Sessions something you guys had always wanted to do?
Yeah, that's actually how we started as a band. There were just three of us. We'd sit on stools with an acoustic guitar. Our percussion player would just play a jimbe, and we'd sing and rap to it. We almost went back to our roots for this album. It was definitely very natural, and we had a really good time making it.
Does playing acoustic encourage you to get more creative?
It works both ways. Definitely not being able to add huge beats in restricts you in a certain way. Like you said, you have to find ways to make the songs entertaining and get more creative differently than you would if you were making a hip-hop album with all of these huge beats.
What's the story behind "Sloth's Revenge"?
I had written these raps. I was like, "These raps are so retarded" [Laughs]. I wanted to put a guitar over them or something. I had this guitar lick, and I showed the guys. They thought it was hilarious. Jared Watson and I were in the studio jamming one day, and he came up with that chorus. We always wanted to do something with The Goonies. We were going to start out an album with the "Truffle Shuffle" or something like that. We had always talked about how we were going to do something with The Goonies. Finally, we got that in there. It was fun to record.
In general, is it important for you guys to paint pictures and tell stories with the songs?
Yeah, we definitely take a lot of pride in our lyrics. We either write about situations we've been through or feelings we're having. We're very picky with our lyrics so we definitely make sure we're telling a story or properly explaining whatever it is we're trying to explain in our lyrics.
What song speaks to you the most right now?
I would say "Sloth's Revenge" is definitely the most fun to play on the album. However, "Coming Home" is probably my favorite. It's a different song than what we've done before. It's more of a singer-songwriter style song. It was about being on the road and missing my family at home. It's about being on the road when you have a family and how good it is to finally get home and see them.
Has this process already inspired more music?
We're always writing! When we get home from this tour, we're going to get back in the studio and start writing the next album.
What artists shaped you?
We listen to so many different things—a lot of classic rock, a lot of hip-hop, and a lot of reggae. The Beastie Boys were a huge influence on me as well as Sublime, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, and so many others.
What's your favorite Dirty Heads song?