Alter The Press!


Interview: Dallas Green - 09/10/2009

Alter The Press! were fortunate enough to sit down with guitarist/singer behind Alexisonfire and City and Colour, Dallas Green, whilst in the UK, currently touring with Alexisonfire's latest release, 'Old Crows/Young Cardinals'.

Dallas spoke to ATP! about how he got into music, meeting fellow members of Alexisonfire, his acoustic side-project City and Colour, the new Alexisonfire EP due next year, the future and more.

Alter The Press!: What made you want to get into music?
Dallas Green: My parents got me guitar lessons when I was eight years old and that was it. They started me. I really didn't want to do it, but I did it and said I didn't like it very much and then, a couple of years later, I really started liking it and that was it. I started then finding out bands that I loved and here I am.

ATP: Which bands?
DG: When I was young and started playing guitar, it was right around when grunge had started coming out, so bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam were instrumental in me wanting me to be in a band. But in high school, it was bands like Mogwai, Quicksand and Sunny Day Real Estate that made me interested in writing my own songs and getting really passionate about it.

ATP: How did you meet the other members in Alexisonfire?
DG: My old band and Wade's (MacNeil - guitarist of Alexisonfire) band, which Chris (Steele - bassist of Alexisonfire) played in a couple of times. I saw George's (Pettit - singer of Alexisonfire) other band play and met him then. All the other bands broke up then we all started a super band.

ATP: Would you say it was a mutual love of music that brought you together?
DG: Definitely. I called Wade immediately and said, "Do you want to book some shows where our bands can play together?" because my band was falling apart and he was like, "I'm thinking of starting a new band, do you want to join?" and that was really it.

ATP: When did you know you wanted to start City and Colour? (Dallas' acoustic side-project)
DG: I was playing City and Colour before anything I had ever done, it's just a guitar and me, but I just didn't call it City and Colour. A bunch of the songs from my first record, I wrote before I started any band. I started because I never really had anyone else to play with.

ATP: Do you feel your life has made a transition from Alexisonfire to City and Colour at all?
DG: No. If you look at just how much Alexisonfire tours compared to City and Colour tours, I tour maybe all the shows I play in a year, to maybe a month with City and Colour where, Alexis tours to maybe 8-9 months around the world. The other day, the riff I came up with has to be the heaviest thing I've ever written in my life and I fell asleep listening to the new Converge record. I like lots of different kinds of music and sometimes it makes sense, when I write something that doesn't sound heavy, to not leave it inside my head and put it on a record. Sometimes I write really heavy songs, I'll show it to my friends and then I'll make a really rocking song out of it.

ATP: You just played two recent shows with City and Colour in Canada and played some new songs, is there still a lot of new material to be heard?
DG: I'm always writing songs, always. There is never a period where I'm not writing a new song whether it’s coming up with a riff for Alexis, the three other bands I have going on in my mind, or a City and Colour song. Whether I'm at home, on tour, I'm always playing guitar. I’ve got tons of new songs.

ATP: Are there plans for a new City and Colour record?
DG: Not yet, maybe 2011. My first record came out in 2005, my second came out in 2008, which was three years later so I figure three years from 2008 will be 2011. Whenever I feel confident, that I have enough songs I like, I'll put out a new record. I don't have a record deal for City and Colour right now. Every time I do a new record, I sign a new deal. I usually put it out on the labels I do with Alexis but I don't think I'll let Roadrunner (Alexisonfire UK label) put out a City and Colour record but I don't think that far ahead.

ATP: Are you currently working on new Alexisonfire material?
DG: We’ve got a new song that we've been writing which we're pretty excited about and a song that we recorded for 'Old Crows/Young Cardinals' that didn't get on it. There are ideas for more that we're going to record in the winter for an EP next year.

ATP: What can we expect from the new EP?
DG: It's going to be called 'Dogs Blood’; it's going to be really heavy and really soft at the same time. It'll be four tracks long and we're hoping to do a 10" vinyl release and then release it online. Everything is kind of up in the air at the moment.

ATP: 'Old Crows/Young Cardinals' vinyl release, when speaking to Wade earlier in the year, he mentioned it was going to come out on a 10"?
DG: Not anymore, it's too long; it's going to be a double 180-gram LP. There isn't a release date at the moment as a lot of things are going wrong with it, so hopefully soon.

ATP: Any plans to repress any of the older Alexisonfire on vinyl?
DG: Maybe at some point, but before that, I’d like to go back and remix and remaster the first record then re-release it on vinyl.

ATP: Will any of City and Colour's albums be released on vinyl also?
DG: 'Bring Me Your Love' we are doing on vinyl soon. It's being pressed right now.

ATP: Will City and Colour make it back to the UK?
DG: Sure, I know I’ll make it back here at some point.

ATP: How did it feel to win two Juno awards? (Canada Music Awards)
DG: Juno's are just based on sales. If you check Soundscan (tracks album sales), you know who's going to win. You know for a fact if Nickelback put out a record, they sweep every category as they sell the most records. It's cool to win but at the same time I'd rather win awards that are voted for by fans or given out by fans because you know people really dig your music and take time out, really voting for you. Awards for me are neither really here or there, I rather play the show and kids come out. That's better then any award on your shelf. Getting an award doesn't gain you more fans or more attention; it's just something for your resume and for parents to be proud of. I think doing a tour that kids are coming to is better.

ATP: Which bands are you currently listening to?
DG: Converge, Baroness, Trap Them and M83. I'm a fan of old shoegazing stuff and as much as they are an electronic band, I like how they incorporate that shoegazing type guitar into that.

ATP: What is the plan after the Alexisonfire current UK tour?
DG: We are going to go home for a couple months, have Christmas with our families, February we are going to go to Australia and then after that we’re going to tour Canada with Billy Talent and Against Me! who we are friends with. After that, a US headline tour and then we'll probably come back to the UK for Download Festival as we played Reading/Leeds Festival last time. I don't think we'll do another UK headline tour for a while but I'm sure we'll do a bunch of festivals. We want to try and go to a bunch of places we've never played before like South Africa and South America hopefully. If we can't squeeze it in, then 2011 when we are winding down on the cycle because if you've never been somewhere to play before, you can really go whenever and it's still exciting even if the record hasn't just come out.

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!