Chicago is rarely thought of as a celestial otherwordly plain, but with the roots of soul and gospel buried in its very foundations, perhaps a band like Dead Feathers were inevitable. Tony Wold and the psychedelically named Shaggy Shadric (guitars), Rob Rodak (bass), Jose Bernal (drums) and the bluesy lungs of Marissa Allen came together to create a sound that harks back to the ’60s explorative rock of bands like Procol Harum, Pink Floyd and 13th Floor Elevators while sitting easy on the ears of fans of Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony and Royal Thunder.
Conjuring perfect wintery moods in the Iron Fist office while we dive headlong into another stressful deadline, we caught up the band to ask them how they weaved such magic and thanked them for honouring us with a stream of their stunning new EP…
Your new self-titled EP (out this month on HeviSike Records) is crushingly beautiful, where the hell did you come from?
Tony Wold: “Thank you. The band was started by myself and the bassist, Rob Rodak. We started it in high school and were looking around for a drummer who then got us in touch with our second guitarist, who ended up knowing Marissa, our lead singer. From there we started messing around in our basement and made a lot of songs, threw many away, and really honed in on our sound and what we wanted to be. The band has gone through many subtle transitions but we were only 16 or 17 years old when we began. we are all 21 now and have gotten a lot of practice and advice from many bands we have played with in Chicago and friends from across the country.
“From there, we found a new drummer, Jose Bernal. We moved into the city of Chicago, found a good practice space and wrote the songs that you can hear on the EP. From there, we recorded at Frogg Mountain Studios in Chicago and made a demo. Hevisike Records from Birmingham messaged us and wanted to press our demo to cassette tapes which turned into a 10” vinyl instead. We got the demo remastered by Welshmans Pride and that is now our EP that will be coming out through Hevisike Records this spring.”
Like artists like Chelsea Wolfe and Hexvessel, you could straddle so many worlds, where do you think you sit, or don’t sit, in the music world? Who are your influences?
Tony: “Many of our influences are classic rock, such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. But, we have a very wide array of bands and influences. We have a great love for the obscure early heavy psychedelic rock and heavy blues rock from the late ’60s and early ’70s that many people have been really getting into. These are bands that have influenced us a lot and bands that we listen to on a regular basis, such as Leafhound, Josefus, Joseph, Bubble Puppy, May Blitz, Frijid Pink, Dust, and Bang. We also have influences in bands that are making music right now in the psychedelic rock community like The Black Angels, Dead Meadow, Black Mountain, Radio Moscow, Blues Pills, Witchcraft, and Graveyard. Many bands we have played with are our influences as well like Joy, Mondo Drag, Golden Void, and Electric Citizen.”
Marissa: “My main influences are Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, and Jefferson Airplane. I also draw a lot from late ’60s folk, Crosby, Stills And Nash, Simon And Garfunkel, Neil Young and Terry Reid. I love the aura of their music, it’s like entering into a dream world. It’s almost as if you can hear what they want to say to this world. When you hear it, you just know.”
Tony: “I wouldn’t describe Dead Feathers as a doom/metal band but many of our fans are doom/metal fans. I think if I had to pinpoint our genre it would be heavy psychedelic rock. We do listen to many early ’70s proto metal bands which I think is a great medium to bring together the heavy psych and doom/metal genres and communities. There is usually something for everyone to agree on in those early metal albums.”
You could easily straddle the worlds of indie rock and underground doom simultaneously, what would your ideal fan be?
Tony: “Someone who tries to see what we were trying to say or achieve in the lyrics or the riffs. I think the best fans are the ones who can find that deep connection to our songs and what we are all about. and it makes talking with them very interesting because many times they tell us or ask us what certain songs or lyrics are about and I think what we are trying to get from the fan is a level of appreciation and understanding. It’s always good when a fan is very knowledgeable, someone who is really engraved into the music world. A fan who can relate to us is a friend in my eyes.”
Marissa: “I would say an ideal fan would be anyone who is open and willing to hear what we have to say. When we write it’s a personal experience, and anyone who hears that is entering into that mindset. As long as they are open to it, and can hopefully relate to it, they are much appreciated.”
What are your plans following the EP release?
Tony: “Prior to the release of the EP, we are planning on continuing to write and record our first full-length record and continue to play shows around Chicago and the Midwest US. Come summer, we are planning on touring the West coast for the first time and play a good amount of shows out there to promote the EP and hopefully soon we will be able to make our way over to Europe.”
Photo by Chris Meza of D0312
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