Interview: Dead Romantic (Frontman Dan Taylor)
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I’ve been into music since I was a kid - I think Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker was a big influence as I remember watching it when I was really young and it amazed me. David Bowie was a big influence too, I just couldn’t get over how he gave zero shits and just did his thing, what a legend. After that I think it was being the kind of ‘misunderstood’, angsty, skateboarder kid. Heavy music came about through that part of my life and I was hooked. Think I heard Linkin’ Park’s Hybrid Theory and Infest by Papa Roach around about the same time and never looked back! If I wasn’t making music, I’d probably be trying to make music haha. Or maybe I’d still be teaching. I used to teach maths so, sadly, maybe that.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love TV and films and I like to read sometimes. I find that it can really influence me creatively, whether it’s a lyric or a concept or something that comes from the stories that other people tell. Listening to music is kind of a staple in my life too. Life would be shit without music! Haha. Mike Krompass (guitarist and producer) and I have a recording studio called BASE Culture that we’ve recently opened so it’s great to hear all the music that comes in and out. Variety is the spice of life and all that!
How long has your band been around?
We’ve not been around long, it’s been almost a year since our first single, so I suppose we’re pretty fresh in the grand scheme of things. Mike and I started the project like a year and a half ago, and since then we’ve been writing and releasing songs and it seems to have been pretty well received. So hopefully we’ll be around for a long time to come!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based in Barnsley because that’s where the studio is, but I'm from Rotherham, Mike lives in Stocksbridge but lived in LA for a long time, Sam (keys) is from Crewe and Alice (bass) is from Matlock, so I guess we’re kind of spread out a little. But for me personally, the place I grew up shaped me as a human being, it’s had its ups and downs but I’ve lived through it and the experiences I’ve had are what I have to draw on when it comes to writing songs. I also try to keep hold of the Yorkshire accent as much as I can, although some of these tunes are fucking difficult to sing at the best of times.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I think it’s a pretty striking combination of words when you hear it, and it kind of embodies some of the heartbreak, personal struggles and also love and intense feeling that we write about in our songs both positively and negatively. It’s a contronym, sort of a literally dead, romantic person in one sense but also dead romantic, as in very romantic when you’re from up north! Haha. Either that or it just sounds cool. Haha.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Unfortunately we haven’t been able to play all that many so far because of the global shitshow that kicked off just as we formed, but we had a great show at The Black Heart in London where the crowd was bouncing like crazy, mosh pits and sweat and all that! That one was awesome because it was a nice little intimate venue too. You can really feed off the crowd at those kinds of shows.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I liked Whittles in Oldham, there was a steel rafter that I could climb, so that’s always fun!
The Waterloo in Blackpool is a cool venue too, such a vibe in there. We’re playing the Drill Hall in Lincoln for Rockmantic Weekender this August and that looks pretty sick, I'm looking forward to that! But personally, I’d play anywhere! I love playing so point me to the stage and I'm in!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Off the top of my head, I think for me… David Bowie, Taking Back Sunday, Bring Me the Horizon, Underoath and us. I’m sure everyone in the band would have their own opinions, but those are some of the artists that I’ve loved since day one and ones who have inspired me over the years, so it would be an honour to share a stage with them.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
To someone starting a band, 1. Work hard, it's not always easy. 2. Master your craft, you will never be too good, so keep practicing and don’t get an ego, it just makes you a knob. 3. Your band is like a family, you will disagree at times, but you need to get on and love each other. So make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people you can spend months in a van with.
To my younger self, get off your ass and try harder. Manifest destiny!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Stay open minded, but be careful who you trust, not everyone means what they say.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I think ‘Yesterday’ is a pretty meaningful one to us, it was the first single and it got a lot of really positive feedback, over a million and a half views on YouTube and over half a million streams on Spotify. Can’t really overlook that one. But for me, there’s a song called ‘My Parade’ on the album which is just a huge fuck you to anyone who’s ever had a problem with me being or doing what I want. So that’s pretty close to my heart.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
Usually we get asked if we’re going to play the singles, which we do. It would be a little disappointing for people to come to see a band who have only released 4 singles and not hear them haha. In terms of favourites, I like ‘All Talk’ which is the new single, it’s really up tempo and good for jumping around to, and probably a song off the album called Alibi, just because it’s epic!
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Generally Mike and I will get together, maybe with other songwriters sometimes, and throw a few ideas around. It could be a lyric I’ve been sitting on or a title or a riff Mike’s come up with, sometimes even a sample we heard during a studio session. So we’ll sit down and throw things around and see what comes together. We have a decent little chemistry going on so it works well, then we’ll flesh out the ideas with everybody and it kind of builds from there. Everything is inspiring, every experience both positive and negative can stir up thoughts and feelings which create lyrics and concepts.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I think we write about things that people experience, real feelings and situations that people have lived through. The majority of stuff comes from our own experiences so I guess it’s nothing otherworldly haha. I’m a huge fan of depressing and dark lyrics so some of that comes out, but it’s always relevant to us and our memories and experiences. I think a theme that comes out a lot in one form or another is like, “I am me, and I will continue to be me, so fuck you and your opinions about how or why I should change”.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We do, but we just talk through them. We’re all friends and we understand one another. That doesn’t mean we always agree, but it means we can compromise and get through whatever issue we have.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We have our 5th single ‘All Talk’ coming out this Friday (25th March) which is sounding great, it’s a real bopper! Our album will be out in the summer this year, we’ve had to push back a few times for various reasons but were determined to get it out this year. We have some festival shows coming up, Purgatory festival in Chesterfield on 3rd June, Lichfield Fuse on 9th July and Lincoln Rockmantic Weekender on 19th August which should all be great. We also have a fortnightly podcast which comes out on our YouTube channel, episode 4 will be out on 30th March, that’s a lot of fun, just the lot of us messing around, competing against each other in a challenge and shooting the shit!