The prolific and pithy output of Vancouver band Dumb has proven to be a balm against the unusual times we’re currently experiencing. Cutting through personal and political subject matters with an arsenal of edgy guitars, energized hooks, and an unrelentingly forward motion, their most recent album Seeing Green landed like a master stroke.
With a new home of Mint Records, and working with producer Jordan Koop, the vision of the band has leveled up. With focus sharper than ever, and a string of tour dates stretching out across the United States and Canada, it seemed like a good time to catch up with Dumb to discuss their incredible output, their energy, and the motivation to keep moving forwards.
Finn: With the release of “Seeing Green” Dumb have now produced three albums in two years. Can you speak a little on the urgency that compels the creative impulse?
We just get bored. We write songs really fast. Also none of the songs are precious. We like to grow and progress.
Finn: It requires an incredible level of discipline to convert emotional content into something that we can call ‘art’. How do you maintain the momentum of addressing the emotional truths while balancing the requirement of structure – and then commercial release?
Never thought of this before. We’re surrounded by our creative community which helps, and Mint [Records] helps with the commercial stuff in a way we’ve never been exposed to before. Otherwise, it is definitely difficult to balance the structure and commercial release “thing” while maintaining sincerity. Mind you we’ve made a lot of bad art.
Finn: You’re new to Mint Records – can you speak a little on what it means to be on this label, and why it’s a good home for you?
Mint are very sweet and we love them, it’s awesome that they are taking a chance on small local acts. It’s nice to be on a label with other bands in our community.
Finn: Staying on the theme of rapidity in releasing work. Can you speak a little on how you decide ‘this album is done’, and how you decompress before starting the next sequence of material?
We continuously change the songs even after the album is recorded and are always writing new material and thinking ahead. We do not decompress.
Finn: The tracks on “Seeing Green” feel more tightly focused than earlier releases. Do you feel that the band’s collective mind has sharpened as a result of this incredible work ethic?
Sure, but we still feel that there is a lot of room to grow. Our style is always changing and maybe that’s what is going on.
Finn: During the “Seeing Green” recording sessions can you speak of one moment or day when you realized that you had the tone, and direction of the album nailed?
We had a vague idea of what we wanted it to sound like before we started recording, but were unsure of how we would actualize those ideas considering it was our first time recording in a professional studio. Thankfully Jordan Koop understood our “vision” fully.
Finn: Progress through the album’s track listing offers a deepening exploration of the subject matter. Please speak a little on the sequencing of the songs – did you lay out the sequence and record in chronological order, or was the album assembled with a more reflective approach?
More reflective, the subject matter cohesiveness was realized after half the songs were written and then further extended for the remaining after this realization.
Finn: “Seeing Green” has an unusual intimacy, but these themes are not all inward-looking. Can you speak to the balance between the political and the personal issues – and how mindful you are of addressing subjects whilst avoiding the ‘preachy’ elements?
We don’t want commodity issues that are not our own.
Finn: What do you see as being the primary role of the artist working today?
Jesus Christ these questions are super difficult and we don’t know how to answer this one without a friggin’ essay. The whole mythos of “artist” is kind of suss and probably out of date, to be honest. That being said, music rocks and is important to a lot of people on a lot of levels.
Finn: It’s hard to imagine that you’re not eyeing up the next album. What’s coming next?
We’re thinking next we’re gonna make another album.
HURRY – LISTEN – DUMB
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PHOTOGRAPH BY IVANNA BESENOVSKY