Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Have guitar will travel

Monday February 20, 2012

Dashboard Confessional main man Chris Carrabba is a firm believer that quiet is the new loud as he tours as a solo artiste.Dashboard Confessional’s music is no stranger to the dark melancholic depths of heartaches and heartbreaks.For over 12 years now, the American band from Boca Raton, Florida, has deftly navigated the fine line between indie non-conformity and mainstream allure since the debut of their first album The Swiss Army Romance back in 2000.

Five studio albums and a re-packaged edition of The Swiss Army Romance later, the rockers have emerged as the modern poster boys of emo rock with soul-baring hits such as Vindicated, Stolen and Don’t Wait.

Unplugged: Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba plays a solo set at KL Live in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 22.

But amidst all the grandiose declaration of love lost and love found in the band’s songs, frontman Chris Carrabba’s earnest and emotionally-charged vocals have always reflected the five-piece band’s best qualities, providing an intimate and intense quality to its live shows.

Dashboard Confessional was slated to perform at the previous Rockaway Festival in KL last year but had to cancel its gig. Now, the band will finally get to make its Malaysian debut. Carrabba is set to serenade local fans with a solo acoustic show at KL Live this Wednesday. The 36-year-old Connecticut native took some time off to answer a few questions via e-mail about his solo performance here.

What bands or life experiences have influenced your songs the most?

There’s really so many! Bob Dylan was a big influence, Neil Young, Tommy Emmanuel and all kinds of guitar playing singer-songwriters are pretty much a big deal for me. I’ve had a strange rollercoaster of a life. I never stayed in a place more than three years, so that situation of never settling in shaped who I am as a person, and also made me well suited to travelling the world as a singer. I feel more comfortable moving around than sitting on my couch watching a football game. I was also influenced by bands like Face To Face, Fugazi and a lot of other heavier bands, so I have quite a wide musical taste. And I also picked up a lot of strange music by moving to so many different places. These experiences helped give me a unique perspective as a songwriter.

What made you move around a lot?

I don’t really know, I’ve always lived like this. When I was a kid, my mother had kind of a strange career, so we had to move all the time. We moved like every year or every two years because her job would take her to some new place. We would move from Mexico and then back to the United States and from there, we moved to the south and everywhere else in between. To most people, that might seem abnormal, but to me, it’s a norm. I’ve lived in the same place for the last two years and I do not like it; I just don’t know what to do with myself.

Your gig in Kuala Lumpur is a solo show. How does it feel touring without your band mates?

I love my band mates. I love playing with them so much and if there’s anything I love more, it is travelling around with them. These are my good friends; more like my family. However, there’s something about stripping away all the pieces so that you’re left on your own to risk it. Succeed or fail, you’re left there on your own. It’s incredible, it’s kind of like a drug or something, and it’s powerful (the solo shows).

Dashboard Confessional’s music is no stranger to acoustic versions. What do you like most about unplugged performances?

I like the fact that I can hear the audience more and the fact that it’s up to me to create the presence of a band, even if there isn’t anyone on stage with me. I think if you don’t imply the presence of a band, to suit the way you arrange the songs, then the songs will sound very thin. There are a lot of tricks you can learn and I’ve learnt a lot after years and years of doing this. You can learn to imbue a solo performance with a percussive presence. You can use your right hand as a drummer, so yeah, that’s the kind of things I like to do.

What can you tell me about your instruments? Do you loyally stick to a particular brand or are you a pick-whatever-up-and-just-play kind of guy?

I do have some brand loyalty, actually. I grew up wanting to play Gibson, so now that I’m able to buy guitars, that’s my main brand. I have an old Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar and that’s my favourite. For drums I have a Sonar kit and an old 1960s Rogers kit, and I have an old Baldwin piano. I’m pretty particular about the equipment I play. But it’s always fun to pick up someone else’s guitar that you’re not used to and finding out how different you can sound when you play it.

Dashboard Confessional’s music is generally dubbed by critics as emo rock. What does ‘emo rock’ mean to you?

The word emo rock doesn’t mean a lot to me. I was one of the first people in the mass media that was referred to as emo rock and at that time, there really wasn’t a definition for it other than the lyrics that seemed to be emotional, which I think everything from The Beatles to 50 Cent is emotional. I don’t think anybody can say anything without it having an emotional impact, so I never really understood that term. The word is the same but the scene just keeps changing and there are a lot of other genres that are tagged that way but it all sounds different. I don’t think about the word emo rock too much. I’m not even sure what it really means. People haven’t called me that for a long time, though.

Are there any special traditions that you have when preparing for a show or before writing a new song?

There are a few things I do before I play. A lot of them are really simple, like having a drink, but there are more rituals when my band’s around. But when I’m by myself, I’m usually so caught up with what I’m doing and then the next thing I know, I have to go on stage already. The one thing I like doing before a show is spend some time playing the most difficult music on my guitar that I’m learning. It won’t be Dashboard songs or Chris Carrabba ones but old classics and stuff like that. That always puts me in a good place because I get to feel like I accomplished something before going on stage. My whole day is actually geared to the show; I go to the gym, I think about the songs, the meaning behind the songs, sometimes I write new songs. The whole day is about music. In fact, every day of my life is based on music.

What’s the band’s future? Can your fans expect a new album any time soon?

It’s too soon to tell you, but the answer to that question is probably “yes”.

Which songs do you perform most frequently?

Well, the obvious ones would be the songs that were kind of hits, you can’t skip those, like Vindicated, Stolen, Screaming Infidelities and Hands Down. But beyond those, the one I like to play all the time is The Best Deceptions.

The song Vindicated gained the band a sizeable amount of fans. But when all’s said and done, what would you like the band to be remembered as?

I don’t know, that’s not up to me. If I was to be remembered, I would hope that it would be that we are a touring band; that I’ve constantly toured for the last 12 years and I enjoyed my audience so much. That connection I have, you know, the longing I feel to be there with them, I love it! I’d like to remembered as that I suppose.

Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba plays a solo set at KL Live, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur this Wednesday. Doors open 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at RM121 and RM141 (at the door). Tickets are available at Rock Corner and Victoria Music outlets in the Klang Valley. Alternatively, you can get your tickets online at airasiaredtix.com. For enquiries, call AirAsiaRedtix ticketing hotline (03-8775 4666) from 9am to 6pm on weekdays.


Qouted From: The Star Online

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