"The voice is unmistakable – immediately identifiable by those that know it and intensely intriguing to those that don’t". The success story that is City and Colour AKA Dallas green, has come as a blessing to many and a surprise to some, not the least of which being Dallas Green himself. With his haunting but moving melodies, soulful tone and honest lyrics, He is one of the most original and down to earth solo artists to take the stage in recent years. With the release of his 3rd studio album ‘Little Hell’ coming up, I caught up with Dallas Green to talk about life on stage, making the record and being a little more sexy.
Hey Dallas, Lockie from Kill Your Stereo here, how’s it going?
Not too bad.
Now to start things off, you have said that the new album ‘Little Hell’ has some "sexy moments" on it, what has swayed you from a humble man with a guitar to a more upbeat sound?
I think it was more an outsiders view, that I was just a humble man with a guitar, you know, That’s sort of the risk you take when putting music out for a living, people start to sort of generalize and want to paint you into a corner, You know what I mean?
With me though I think it’s funny, it’s like people forget the band I come from (laughs). I was never just a guy with a guitar you know. I mean I do play guitar and I do sing and I do write songs, but I also like lots of different styles of music, which makes me want to write different types of songs, so I end up writing a bunch of songs that where kind of sexy and a little raw (laughs). I wasn’t going to not put the songs on the record just because everyone has their own idea of what City and Colour should sound like, you know.
How does the writing process differ from City and Colour to Alexisonfire?
Well with City and Colour, it’s just me, I write the songs and I sort of have a clearer view of what I want it to sound like, whereas Alexisonfire is five guys sitting in a room and hashing stuff out until we come up with something that makes us all happy.
You chose to go back to Catherine North Studios with the new album, what influenced that decision?
Well personally, I think it’s a wonderful place to make music. Secondly, my good friend Dan Achen who owned the studio, passed away last year and I felt like I needed to go back there just to pay homage to him and to the studio that he made into such a fantastic place.
So ‘Little Hell’ is the first of your albums to be recorded and mixed to tape, how did that idea come around?
Well I guess I have just always wanted to try and make a record on tape but I have never got to the point where I was able to do that and this opportunity came up and I just felt like, with these songs, it just would have made a difference and I think it did, I think it just sounds better.
Was there anything in particular you wanted to achieve with ‘Little Hell’ that you feel you didn’t with the other albums?
Well not necessarily, their just completely different records, you know. The first record is just sort of a collection of songs that I had written up until that point in my life, since I was fifteen or so, and that’s all it really was, it was just me and a guitar and I went in and recorded it in two days and that was all she wrote. With bring me your love though, I had more songs and I definitely wanted to take that approach where I wanted to sound a little more natural and a little more real and I think that we achieved that. Then with this record, the songs were different and it wasn’t necessarily about trying to accomplish something I hadn’t done, it was more about doing something different.
City and Colour has given you a voice outside of heavy music, what is it like playing with heavy alternative bands then playing with artists like Pink?
Well it’s definitely fun to go on tour with bands that are loud and heavy, but then its really cool to play in a packed out soccer stadium with pink, so I guess I get the best of both worlds really (laughs).
I’ve seen a video on YouTube of you covering Adele’s Hometown Glory, is she someone you would like to work with in the future?
Well yeah, I think it would be cool. I don’t necessarily think about collaborations but if the opportunity presents itself where she said "hey, come and work with me" then that would be great, but I don’t think it’s really at the point where I can ask if she wants to do anything with me because she is pretty much the biggest thing in music right now (laughs). But yeah I think it would have to be up to her asking if I would like to do something. I do really like that song though and sometimes I just like to cover completely different songs.
Do you prefer the intimacy of a City and Colour show or the intensity of Alexisonfire’s live shows?
Well they are just completely different things, you know. There is something to be said about standing up on a stage and have everyone be completely quiet and be listening to every word, and then there is nothing like…playing really loud music in a small room with a bunch of people sweating, screaming and jumping (laughs). You can’t really pick between the two, they are just two completely different, wonderful things.
When you first started your solo career, did you ever imagine that you would be making a 3rd album?
I think so, I mean, I write songs. I sit and I play guitar all the time and I am always writing songs and I always knew that there would be songs, you know? I guess I always thought that Alexisonfire would go to certain points and then at some point I would just sit down and start writing something different. I never really thought that it would get to the point where I can do them both at the same time. I am always going to write music, whether people are going to listen or not.
Now after two hugely successful albums, many awards and what is looking to be an equally promising third album, where do you see city and colour taking you in the future?
Well it’s tough to answer a question like that. I think, for me, all I hope is that I can continue making records and playing and that people will still be listening, that’s all there is to it I guess. To say "this is what I hope for and this is what is going to happen", you’re kind of setting yourself up for disaster. So I think the only thing I really look forward to is being able to keep writing and singing and playing and hope that’s enough
Well that’s all we have time for, you have been a gentleman, anything else you want to add?
(laughs) No man, that’s a good way to end it I think
Thank you very much for your time Dallas and have a good one!
Hey no worries, I appreciate it!
Dallas Green of City and Colour will release his much-anticipated third album ‘Little Hell’ in Australia on June 10 through Shock. Click here to keep up to date with all the latest City and Colour news.