Northern Transmissions chatted with Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean and Britta) whose new self-titled album is now out on Double Feature (USA) Sonic Cathedral (Europe).
Northern Transmissions: You’ve worked with some truly great producers over the years, including Tony Visconti, Fred Maher, Victor Van Vugt, and many more. For this album, you worked with Jim James from My Morning Jacket.
Dean Wareham: my band and I headed out to Jim’s home studio in Louisville where we ended up banging out some songs and later returned to record the rest of the album. Jim has all the equipment you could possibly need at his studio. He was really generous and he put the whole band up at his place. I’m really happy with the way the album turned out.
NT: You moved to New York City at quite an exciting time in rock, what was the experience like?
DW: When I was younger I enjoyed The Bay City Rollers and ABBA. I moved to New York during my high school years, and I think that’s the age when you really get into different music. Like Television, Blondie, Talking Heads, and other stuff. I was lucky enough to see all those bands. It was really easy to get into all the clubs. I remember going to CGBG’S, it was really fun.
NT: What was it like writing a solo album? You and Britta have worked together on so many projects together.
DW: I was just talking to a friend about this. Britta was very involved with the record, and she’s all over it even though it says Dean Wareham on the cover. Aside from Luna, we have made three albums together. We both decided to make a solo album. It seemed like the time was right to each do one. I will be all over her record as well, and it really was a collaborative effort.
NT: Is it possible that streaming will be the saviour the music industry
DW: I hope not. None of the services generate any money for the artists. There are many debates on how it all works. There is a great dialogue between David Lowry from Cracker and Dave Allen of Gang of Four on the subject. I think many of them will collapse if they don’t start generating money. With the internet it is definitely easier to get your music out there, but it’s a tougher task selling it. There’s also a sense of entitlement, but I don’t really think it’s peoples fault.
NT: Having worked in a number of mediums, including writing a book, acting in movies and television, and scoring films, is there something else that you would like to do?
DW: If it’s possible, I would love to keep on making music as it is my passion. It was great writing a book and I’d love to write another one, but I have nothing to write about at the moment. I do enjoy acting. Everything is written for you, you show up and do your lines. I do think it’s a bit more difficult of a life having to deal with all those auditions.
NT: Lou Reed has been a pretty big influence on your career. You had the chance to go on tour with him when you were in Luna. What was the experience like?
DW: We did ten shows with him for the North American leg of his ‘Set the Twilight Reeling’ tour. We did shows in New York, Boston, and other places on the east coast. He got up on stage a couple of nights and sang “Ride Into The Sun” with us which was pretty special. I have to say that he was always very nice to us.
NT: Which albums continue to inspire you?
The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms
Nina Simone – Here Comes The Sun
Television – Marquee Moon
The Clash – The Clash
Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings And Food