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.
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 comes from his parents
The feeling of euphoria after completing a piece of work is worth any amount time or work
We chat about the graphic novel for Act I
How Kevin Pereira making the orchestra for Act IV happen
How Act IV is like the culmination of every element The Dear Hunter have incorporated into their sound
And a whole bunch more stuff!
Casey is a very open and honest guy, and his passion shines through in this interview. I hope you enjoy it. Featured Music Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here).
The Dear Hunter - The Old Haunt The Dear Hunter - Wait The Dear Hunter - Ouroboros
I make no claim to the copyright of any of the music in this episode. Links 'Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise' is available now through Equal Vison Records.
You can get it, and the rest of their discography, over here.