10 Questions with ... Ben Dumas
February 22, 2016
1. For those that are not familiar with THE WILD FEATHERS and your music, how did you get your start?
We got our start a few years ago when Ricky Young (guitar, vocals) and Joel Bass (vocals) were hanging out in Nashville, doing their own music projects, but had the idea of starting a band with multiple singers. Sort of like The Band or CSNY. They started writing songs and then ran in to Taylor Burns (guitar, vocals) out in Austin and he was really into the idea as well. Then I came along.
2. Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
There isn't necessarily a catalyst for any of us wanting to live the life of a musical gypsy. We have all wanted to play music since we were kids, that calling or that need has just always been there in all of us.
3. I understand that Jay Joyce produced your second album, Lonely Is A Lifetime. How was that experience working?
He's an insane talent. In the studio he has this rock n' roll attitude he imparts on you. It's like, if you're a real rock n' roll band, you are either awesome or you suck. So when the tape is rolling you better be awesome! He is not one of those producers who is going to go back and fix every little mistake and make things perfect. According to him, "perfect = boring."
4. The Wild Feathers have had the pleasure of being on the same bill as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Gary Clark Jr. to name a few. Who have been your inspirations growing up who also inspire you today?
That's a tough question because we all have a lot of inspirations. Neil Young is always one who comes to mind. He has never wavered on his artistic vision and has been able to do it his entire life. He's not the best singer or guitar player in the world, but that doesn't matter. It's the heart and emotion you can feel in his voice and guitar tone that really gets to you. It's the intangibles that make an artist like that magical and that's something we hope to channel whenever we make music together.
5. What did you learn between your self-titled debut album and playing live, that you felt you wanted to infuse into Lonely Is A Lifetime?
Most of the songs we have written for this new record came about in a live, full band setting. We played so many shows together since the debut record so we wanted to incorporate that big live sound on this record and I feel like we definitely made that happen.
6. What was the inspiration for your new single, "Overnight"? Did you help come up with the treatment for the video as well?
The inspiration for "Overnight" came from looking around and seeing other bands who were trying to make it to the top so fast without even putting in the real meaningful work. Then it kind of turned into a broader commentary on how we are living in a society now where things are so disposable and how that can be damaging.
We had a lot of fun making that video. It was directed by the incredible Michael Reich. He came up with the treatment but we had a lot of input. We did not want a video with a narrative, but rather a collection of found vintage footage containing images that loosely explain the sentiments of the song, and he nailed it!
7. Nowadays, everything is so instant ... you press a button and it's yours a la Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes etc. What was the first album you saved up your hard-earned money as a kid and bought for yourself?
Yes, indeed, today everything is so instant, just like the song "Overnight" says. It really seems like those records we saved our hard-earned to buy when we were kids meant so much more (mine was Weezer's first album). Back then it was like you saved your money, bought a record, and listened to it over and over until you could buy another one. You had no choice but to live with it and connect emotionally with it.
Now you just skip to whatever song on YouTube or Spotify. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just how the world is now. Yet it does worry me that I won't have the chance to see if I'll truly cherish the last record I streamed on Spotify as much as that first Weezer CD. I hope we are not sacrificing intimacy for convenience.
8. What was the first song you fell in love with (or made a lasting impact) on you and why?
When I was a kid, my dad bought an old muscle car. It was a 1964 Pontiac GTO. We would ride around on summer nights with the convertible top down and he would always play an Otis Redding tape. I cannot say a specific song, though I could list a lot we listened to. There was something so pure and simple and sincere in those songs and recordings that made me aware of the power that music has and the emotional impact it can have on a person.
9. Who is in your current playlist?
Stuff we've been listening to lately: The Replacements, Wilco, Jeff Lynne, Tame Impala, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground. That's all I can pull off the top of my head but I know there's more.
10. What's on tap next for The Wild Feathers?
Of course, we are excited to finally release the new record and for everyone to hear it in its entirety. And I know it sounds weird but something we keep repeating to ourselves is that we can't wait to "be a band again." We are most in our element when we are touring and playing live shows every night and we haven't gotten to do that in a while. We just want to get back out there and play and now it's time to prove ourselves on the road.
Interview by Nicole DeRosa