Dead Fish Handshake – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
DFH: It’s the age-old question when trying to tell folks “what you sound like”, I’d say if you’re classifying us in a genre, we’re most associated with being an active modern rock band but as an “artist”, we strive to be a supportive voice for those who can’t find the right words. There are so many layers to what defines us, both musically and from an inspirational standpoint.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
DFH: Started 10 years ago, DFH was originally intended to be an acoustic side project between myself and Rob while they stayed the course with their former bands, but after some measure of success, DFH became a full-time band, with the edition of Mark Birkelbach and Darren Furman. Once a full-fledged unit, we caught the attention of Clint Lowery (Sevendust) and subsequently, he produced our sophomore EP which led to more opportunities.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
DFH: Collectively, we are influenced by Soundgarden, U2, NIN, Stone Temple Pilots, A Perfect Circle, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Type O Negative.
Our non-musical influences are still derived from other works of art and literature. Whether it be poems of Longfellow, Frost, Hemingway, Neruda and Donne to theatrical pieces from David Lynch and authored pieces by Kurt Vonnegut. Other than that, it’s hard not to be influenced by your own experiences and emotional growth.
PD. What are your dreams and goals?
DFH: Our only dream is to see a peaceful and understanding world in our lifetime. We are already living our musical dream. It’s a blessing every day to get up and play music and be validated by fans who connect and resonate with your work.
As for goals, we are always trying to top ourselves without losing our artistic integrity. And as a band, we all strive to be solid people who can use our good qualities to make a difference, inspire, and unite.
PD. Who writes your songs, what are they about?
DFH: All music is written by our guitar player, Rob Ferreira, and all lyrics are written by me, but it isn’t uncommon for Mark and Darren to add pieces musically to enhance a skeleton idea. We all push and/or defer to whatever makes the song the best it can be.
Our songs over the years have been a reflection of where we have all been in our lives. What once was written out of angst can turn into melancholy which in turn can morph into wisdom and maturity. All of our songs serve as a blueprint for how to survive all of life’s unfortunate circumstances and exit them better than how you started.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
DFH: Social media has given us the opportunity engage with more people than we ever thought we could get to. But as nice as that is, you can’t beat the connection from eye contact and conversation. Whether its digital or whether it’s in person, we strive to create experiences. Not just your run of the mill band begging for attention. It’s about “us”. Fans and our band teaming up to create a moment in time.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
DFH: We believe in listening to it whatever way it suits you best but we also believe in the value of music. You can’t put a price on someone’s emotions and you can’t devalue the artists who have a skill in delivering that message to them. Music is support. Artists provide emotional support while the fan provides financial support. Everything should be fairly priced so that support always feels organic. To those who don’t grasp that concept, I’d rather you not listen at all because neither of us will be getting anything from it anyway.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
DFH: I have 3.
God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
This is the song that taught me everything about songwriting, vocals and harmonies. It’s the perfect combination of dynamics. To have something so happy sounding musically, combined with these really beautiful words that speak of longing, sadness, gratitude and acceptance with these angelic melodies and harmonies that really convey the darkness and light that Brian Wilson struggled with is just so incredibly moving and inspirational. To me, it’s a perfect song.
Billy Joel – Just the Way You Are
Nothing conveys emotion better than an artist at the piano. To be so minimalistic with your elements but still deliver something so profound and powerful is really a special thing and he mastered that on this song.
U2 – With or Without You
After Bob Dylan, I truly believe the best lyricist ever is Bono. This is the only song that ever truly described love so perfectly. You don’t really choose love. It chooses you. And so does heartbreak.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
DFH: The fact that everything seems to get politicized in today’s climate has become one of our biggest challenges, collectively. There are so many problematic areas in the world that would truly benefit from having all hands on deck to overcome, but instead everything becomes a talking point.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
DFH: When someone tells us our music understood them and ultimately saved them. There’s no award or accolade that could top that. And we’ve been lucky to have our mantle filled with what really matters.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
DFH: Our new LP “Lies…And All That Jazz” hits musical outlets everywhere 9/18. We hope to have livestream performances this fall.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
DFH: We have 2 EP’s: Across State Lines & The Sixes, as well as 4 additional digital singles, “Nothing Stays Gold”, “All Time Low”, “Devolution”, and “Love/Remains”. And of course, our new LP “Lies…And All That Jazz”. All music is available on every major streaming platforms and all of our physical merchandise is available at http://www.deadfishhandshake.com
Dead Fish Handshake links:
Band/Artist location – Harrison New Jersey
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