Dehd: “I think the only thing you can do is be genuine and direct and hope that it resonates”

Foto: Alexa Viscius / HANDOUT

Oft habe ich das Chicago Indie DIY Trio Dehd während des ersten Lockdowns gehört, da ihre Songs fröhlich, bestimmt und richtungsweisend sind. Passend also, dass Sängerin Emily Kempf die Thematik des 2020 enstandenen Albums “Flower of Devotion” wie folgt zusammenfasst: “Es ist ok, auch angesichts Verzweiflung und Hoffnungslosigkeit, unbeschwert zu sein (“It’s okay to be lighthearted in the face of despair”). In mitten des zweiten Lockdowns durften wir die Band kurz und knapp interviewen.

My personal favorite of your 2020 album “Flower of Devotion” is the track “Letter” because of its power and total focus on your own will, especially apparent in your lines “Oh I’m letting go / (You talk the talk)”. How could this song be related to the rest of the album?

JB: The record is really just a collection of songs that find us processing our relationships with the outside world. I think the sense of conversation with oneself and with these imagined figures is the common thread throughout.

I heard that you’re a big fan of Broadcoast. What elements of Broadcast did you find the most inspiring while working on Flower of Devotion?

JB: I love Broadcast! For me their production is really inspiring. They make music that has a very physical feeling. It has touch,it has texture. They create these immersive worlds in their songs that invite you in. This is something I strive to achieve in any good Dehd song. There’s a sense of repetition at work in their music that we also share. Seeing how they remove and add layers to these revolving pieces is what I found most inspiring.

‘No attachment’ was somewhat a key term for me while listening to Flower of Devotion. Recently, writers of our magazine talked about how so many singers “attach” themselves to current music trends that make music shorter and catchier. What’s your opinion on that and how does it affect your own sound, if it does at all?

JB: Over our career the song lengths have actually been getting longer oddly. We’ve always written short songs with the intention of being concise. Similar to the way our set up is so simple. We like to try and do a lot with a little. There’s a sort of grace in pulling it off. I definitely have noticed a real shortening of the collective attention span and my best guess would be because of social media and the ways we use entertainment. It’s all very disposable. It’s creates an interesting question of how to make a song engaging when people (myself included) don’t have the patience to sit through a 30 second instagram video. I think the only thing you can do is be genuine and direct and hope that it resonates with people enough for the duration not to matter.

“Lakeside, sunshine / Moonside, starlight / Missing, nighttime / Dreaming, alright / A cigarette between your lips / Like sharing a secret kiss / Lonely, baby” (“Nobody”)

Those lines could have also been written to refer to a beautifully isolated life during Covid-19. How has Dehd (and the music scene of Chicago) been surviving so far? Are you in heaven, or in hell?

JB: Purgatory maybe. On one hand this is a break from touring that we likely never would have taken on our own, but being home is something I’ve really rediscovered as essential in my life. I get to spend time with my girlfriend and our pets and cook and do the simple life stuff that I had taken for granted. That part is just pure heaven. On the other flip of the coin, I really miss seeing music, feeling the pressure of sound at high volumes, yelling into a friends ear. All in all Chicago music is still in one piece, I think everyone’s just sitting tight and baking sourdough until it’s safe to go outside again.

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