INTERVIEW: Dampé

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’ve been living the dream! So happy to have finally released our EP Hour of the Wolf, which both of our mothers absolutely loved. We’re also stoked to be interviewed by VENTS, very much appreciate the opportunity!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Pick Your Poison”?

Pick Your Poison was the first fully collaborative song between the two members of Dampé (Matt Everett and Tyler Simmons). So collaborative that we were just handing the guitar back and forth while tracking different parts for the song. The sessions for Pick Your Poison really set the tone for the recording process of the rest of the EP, as well as the level of angst we wanted to strive for. Here we also discovered our love for blending different genres into our music.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

We were in Atlanta about to go to a Foo Fighters show, noodling around on 2 acoustic guitars, when we stumbled upon the bluesy chord progression and lead guitar of the chorus. Lyrics were contributed by both of us so we derived them from separate experiences. One experience being living across the hall from an ex-girlfriend and having an extremely uncomfortable on and off relationship for 6 months. The other being focused on the indecision of finding a new direction and shaking the feeling that you can’t do anything right.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Not sure about the single for now but currently the song most likely to get a music video is track 4 off the EP – “Words (That Don’t Mean a Thing).” Spoiler alert: there will be a really cute dog.

The single comes off your new album Hour of the Wolf – what’s the story behind the title?

Yeah, so the term “Hour of the Wolf” primarily originates from the 1968 Ingmar Bergman film of the same name, and is often used interchangeably with “The Witching Hour” – to describe the hour of darkness between night and dawn where ghosts and nightmares are most real.  We wanted the structure of the song “Hour of the Wolf” to describe and reflect on an experience with a mood disorder and prevalent insomnia. While we tackled multiples themes over the course of the EP, the “Hour of the Wolf” was the ever-present raincloud in each story, so it only made sense to title the EP after that song.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was very much a learning process. We don’t have assigned instrument roles in the band, so we just took turns recording different parts. The EP was tracked and mixed entirely in a home studio with very annoyed roommates. The writing process varied from song to song – “Pick Your Poison” and “Helping Hand” had all of the instrumentals recorded before any lyrics were written and “Words (That Don’t Mean a Thing)” was written entirely in one night as an acoustic song. “Hour of the Wolf” also started on acoustic guitar, and “Jailbreak” took three freaking years to finish. It was also very difficult for us to balance full time jobs with recording and writing the EP at night.

What role does Nashville play in your music?

Nashville has definitely exposed us to a multitude of genres and encouraged us to blend different aspects of each genre to create the Dampé sound. We also consider ourselves songwriters above all else and on the side we write country, pop, and rock songs. There is no better place for us to be to nurture our songwriting aspirations.

What is it about the 80s that you find so fascinating?

Hey, it’s Matt. I’m the 80s nerd, I’ll take this one. For me, there was something about aspects of 80s culture – whether it be music, movies or TV shows – that I found to be so adept at crafting the right atmosphere or vibe to make you experience a certain emotion as deeply as the artist intended. I’m not sure you could find too many obvious 80s nods in any Dampé arrangements, but we definitely tried to make sure every instrument and every track was important to the soul of the song and the theme that we were hoping to portray.

How do you get to blend your classic with your much modern roots?

It wasn’t necessarily intentional but rather a collision of our very different musical interests. We really just subconsciously pick and choose what we like most about our classic and modern influences to create our sound. This probably shows most in some of our more rhythmic vocal melodies derived from R&B influences on top of tasty guitar riffs from post-hardcore / pop punk influences. Also a nice subtle 80s synth just makes any song sound better.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

The root of our songwriting comes from trying to create an honest depiction of raw emotion. Oftentimes the songs on the EP mean different things to each of us, but they allowed us both to express uncomfortable emotions and anxieties that many aspects of society tell us we shouldn’t display publicly. The public release of these emotions is one of the most fulfilling and therapeutic things about rock music.

Any plans to hit the road?

Not currently, as a writing/production duo we are still trying to figure out how to best portray our music in a live setting. But hopefully soon!

What else is happening next in Dampé’s world?

We are currently focusing our work on our songwriting craft in multiple genres and would love to explore some pitch or sync opportunities. As far as Dampé goes, we’ve got a rough plan for a “Words (That Don’t Mean a Thing)” music video and are also working on a couple new songs that will take our sound a little bit heavier for the future.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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