Interview: Dawes (@ The LC Wednesday night)

Riding high on a wave of Southern California sunshine and smooth harmonies, Dawes is no stranger to Columbus having graced the Rumba and Basement stages a handful of time during the last 12-18 months. With a sophomore album set to hit stores and the internet the day before the band opens for Bright Eyes at The LC (indoor stage … BOO … this type of music is made to be heard under a starry sky), Dawes already has a summer full of touring plans including opening for the likes of My Morning Jacket, Brett Dennen, and Alison Krauss and Union Station.

Nothing is Wrong is a mature sounding album for a group that’s only been together for about five years. Already, comparisons to artists ranging from Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jackson Browne, and The Band have littered reviews in magazines and on the web and all are justifiable. Without a doubt, there’s been a lot of care put into crafting these folk-rock-inspired tracks and just as you could spot a grunge band from Seattle in the early ’90s after hearing a few guitar chords, you can tell that Dawes hails from the Laurel Canyon area of Southern California within moments of hearing the sweet and warm harmonies on Nothing is Wrong’s opening track, “Time Spent in Los Angeles”.


It’ll be interesting to see how this band that, at least in Columbus, has been confined to a small stage area fills out a bigger stage like the one at the LC (not to say they haven’t performed on big stages, just not in Columbus … yet) though there’s little doubt Dawes has a rich enough sound to fill all the nooks and crannies of venues much larger than the LC as they’ll be doing sometime in the near future if they continue along the path they’ve already started venturing down.

Doing email interviews with bands is always hit or miss, especially when they are already in the midst of a tour and have better things to do than answer silly questions from a writer for some website in Columbus, Ohio. That being said, I did fire off some questions to Dawes’ youngest member, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, last week. The results may not be fabulous, but if the band continues making music that people love, I’m not worried.

Touring: a necessary evil or a great adventure? Be honest :)

Every day is a new adventure to be had.

You pull into a highway gas station to fill up. What is your snack of choice and your beverage of choice from the mini-mart?

Raw almonds and some lemonade and green tea if it’s around.

The city that reminds me most of Columbus is ______ because _________.

Madison because they share a college town vibe

I’ve got my own answer for this question. Let’s see if it matches yours. “If I stepped into a time machine and set the dial for 2031, I’d discover that Dawes has become the (**INSERT BAND NAME**) of Generation Facebook.”

Little Feat. We’re you perhaps thinking the Grateful Dead? They would be my second choice, but it’s farfetched. (Chip: No, I was thinking of – and, this is not an insult but, rather, a compliment – The Eagles)

Probably impossible to answer, but do you think Dawes would have the same sound had you grown up and formed in Boston?

Possibly if our father had led the same life and ended up there instead of LA. Maybe similar, but definitely not the same. The community of musicians that we have grown up with, and around, has definitely had a lot to do with shaping our tastes and choices as players. Without them I don’t think that any of us would play exactly as we do.

Compare the feeling of looking out into a crowd and seeing lots of people singing your lyrics back to you with something else that gives you goosebumps (and choosing something sexual is probably too easy; also, saying it doesn’t compare to anything is a bit of a cop-out).

Having my scalp massaged. It is not as gratifying, but the physical stimulation compares.

Of all the people who have come up to you – or passed word on to you through a publicist, a manager, a family member, etc. – and said they love your music, who has been the one to make your jaw drop and have you ask the nearest person, “Am I dreaming? Can you pinch me? Did he/she really just say that Dawes is one of his/her favorite bands?”

The fact that Jackson Browne likes our band is pretty surreal. Joey Waronker is one of my favorite contemporary drummers, and means a lot to me that he likes our band.

What song, band or album brings back very vivid memories from high school? When you hear that song, band or album, what event in your life can you tie it directly back to?

Think by James Brown is one of those records for me. I started getting heavily into James Brown right around the time that I started to play drums.

What will you do on your next true day off from touring? (Not a day where you catch up on laundry, answer emails that have been piling up, etc. I’m talking about the next off day that you can truly enjoy for yourself.)

Probably seeing a movie because I will most likely be in the middle of nowhere. I am looking forward to that day‚Ķ. Hopefully we will be at a college. If we’re lucky the college will be in Columbus.

Dawes will open for Bright Eyes at the LC (indoor stage) on Wednesday night. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $30 in advance / $32 day of show.

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