(Rebroadcast) 21 - Casey Crescenzo from The Dear Hunter

A rebroadcast of one of my favourite ever interviews with Casey from The Dear Hunter.

This podcast is primarily about creativity, and over the course of the past twenty episodes I’ve spoken to some pretty productive people. Casey Crescenzo is probably amongst the most productive. Over the course of ten years The Dear Hunter’s oeuvre is as impressive in its scope as it is in its musical diversity, with their album/EP collection ‘The Color Spectrum’ comprising 36 songs all on its own. Which is wonderful, because the genre hopping nature of their music is about is staggering as the sheer volume.

As you’ll find out when you listen to the podcast, Casey is the kind of guy who treats songwriting like a job and it’s this approach which many productive artists seem to share in common, whether they’re aware of it or not. Except, Casey is a super passionate and insightful guy, and is just so thankful that he gets to do what he does.

There’s no lengthy story in this week’s show notes about how I first got into The Dear Hunter. Instead, all I can offer is rumination on their music – it’s deep, it’s cinematic, it somehow feels weighty. How people classify progressive rock music is anyone’s guess, but to me this just feels like epic rock music, and that’s why I’m drawn to it. It’s bursting with ideas, it’s driven by a strong sense of narrative yet still somehow feels hugely personal.

They are, in just about every single way, the exact opposite of the punk rock that I grew up listening to. Except, their sound is more immediate than most prog bands. There’s a peppiness to the melodies which means that hooks come thick and fast, and never leave your head. Highlights include:

  • The connotations of the very term “prog rock” and the diversity of that genre
  • He tries not to pigeonhole the sound because it can limit the creative scope
  • The music he grew up on sounds nothing like his band
  • Casey thinks that perhaps one of the reasons they aren’t a huge band is because they aren’t in a specific genre
  • Coming from a creative household and when Casey remembers wanting to be a guitar player/songwriter
  • When people who consider themselves high art conduct interviews like they’re special, I never look at myself like that. I just think, this is a way for me to speak.
  • Parents being receptive to being a musician, but also being wary because they’d seen the pitfalls of being a career musician
  • His parents worry more about Casey when he does something different as opposed to worrying about the pressure of the work
  • “Do the thing that you believe you should do – don’t worry about what they’re going to think until it’s too late”
  • “The moment when I worry about people think is when an album is finished, mastered and ready to go out”
  • On the fear of having your art accepted - “As a creative person it should only be self-expression, but that’s the scariest thing: if you’re doing it only out of self-expression, at some point it goes through a filter and becomes a product…and it’s up to whoever buys it to think whatever they want about it.”
  • Wanting people to take away something from a record that you put into it, and hoping that the opposite doesn’t happen
  • Wanting to give people what they want after letting him do The Dear Hunter for ten years, but it doesn’t have any bearing on what he’s doing when he’s doing it – only after the creation is complete does the hope and fear set in
  • It’s taken a lot of hard work to find an audience for The Dear Hunter
  • It’s good that there are musicians out there that still makes music that makes people think and isn’t all about creating hits
  • Music as a product is okay, but it’s a different world from the kind of world bands like The Dear Hunter operate in where people want music that provides them a little bit more
  • The discipline of creating music and treating it like work...

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