n all the years that we've known DALI VAN GOGH, we could always rely on the Nova Scotia-based band to deliver a rocking good time with every successive release, but with their latest album UNDER HER SPELL, they really mean it. As a publication, we can't help but get all warm and sentimental when it comes to these guys. They were one of the first bands to be featured on ROCKWIRED MAGAZINE in 2012 and all those years ago, despite their relative youth, they were a band who had been through some drastic line up changes, but for guitarist and founder ISAAC KENT, it was all par for the course. The music was the mission and it seemed this grunge metal juggernaut was going to go the distance until the band broke up in 2014 and KENT shifted his attention to the entreprenuerial task of turning the DALI VAN GOGH brand into an independent record label. With a few signings, one would have thought that KENT's future as music mogul was secure until a fire destroyed his recording studio and home. The devastating set back forced KENT to re-examine his life and his brand and from the ashes emerged a new and improved DALI VAN GOGH with a 2016 album aptly titled FROM THE ASHES, which showcased the band and KENT's unshakable spirit. Now with their new release UNDER HER SPELL, DALI VAN GOGH issues the very blistering hard rock that they have made their unmistakable trademark, but this time around, the band is more interested in serving up a good time with such tracks as the single, GET AWAY, SUPERMAN AND MacGYVER and EAST COAST WITCHES. ROCKWIRED had a chance to catch up with guitarist and founder ISAAC KENT and keyboardist RACHELLE MOREAU of DALI VAN GOGH six days before the release of their new album. Here is how the interview went.
DALI VAN GOGH is a band that has gone through numerous changes in the seven years that I have know you guys and now you have a fantastic new album UNDER HER SPELL. How do you guys feel about the pending release?
ISAAC: I'm pretty proud of the album overall. People haven't really seen it becasue we've been trying to keep things under wraps until the release. You've been following us long enough to know the history of the band. We're on line up number four now. Despite all of the changes it just keeps going. People come on board and people leave. People have lives and things like that. You've got people who are getting married and people who just plain move on. For this record, it took a lot to actually make it happen. We changed where we were jamming and we moved around and had the album recorded at two different locations. At one point, SCOTTO got a chest infection for about six weeks. That put us way behind. And then, really late into the process, we brought in RACHELLE who added all of the finishing touches and all of the little things that were mising from the album. She really brought a whole new dimension to the album and the music. We're very proud of the album.
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR EAST COAST WiTCHES!!!
And it's great to be meeting a newcomer to the band. RACHELLE, how did you come into the fold of this band?
RACHELLE: I had known ISAAC since we were teenagers. We used to jam together all of the time. In fact, the first band we were ever in was with each other. So I've known him forever. I had heard that DALI VAN GOGH was looking for a keyboard player so I figured that I would check it out and see what it was like. I had never met the other guys yet.
ISAAC: I had put out a post saying that we were looking for a keyboard play and a friend of ROCHELLE's just tagged her in the post and I was like "Wow! How the hell did I forget about ROCHELLE!"
RACHELLE: We had lost touch for quite a few years.
ISAAC: Yeah, we hadn't really talked in about ten years almost. RACHELLE was in the precursor band that had evolved into DALI VAN GOGH many years ago. This was right out of high school. Before joining DALI VAN GOGH, RACHELLE was heavily involved in musical theater and it was actually one of her co-instructors who tagged her in the posting and from there, everything came together pretty fast. As we're talking to you right now, we are six days away from the album release. All of the wheels are in motion right now.
And now that you are a full fledged member of this band with an album behind you, how does it feel being a part of the band?
RACHELLE: I'm just so excited to be getting back into music. I studied music in college and graduated and then I aad to deal with real life which entailed moving out of home and getting a job. I've just been in the grind of working and paying bills and because of that, I just kind of lost touch with music which is my biggest love in life. So with this band, I'm very excited to be getting back into it. This has definitely reawakened that drive inside of me becasue for a while nothing was going on.
In all of the years Ive followed the band, I've only known the band to record out of ISAAC's own recording studio. This time you say that you recorded out of a couple of different locations. Why was that?
ISAAC: Both the studios we recorded at are mine. My primary studio is under renovation. We knew that the renovation was coming so we were scrambling to get things done. We got the drums done and then I realized that I didn't want to record the guitars anywhere else so I managed to get the guitar tracks done and then hauled all of our equipment 45 minutes away to a different part of town, set up a new jam location and then tracked the rest of the album using various strange techniques at my own apartment which as great but totally weird for me. I've been working out of a studio forever. Despite all of this, we made it happen and I'm very proud of everyone in the band for putting up with my ridiculousness and forcing people to sing certain ways. It was a very different process getting this album done from the previous ones but we made it happen.
What other additions to the band have there been?
ISAAC: We've also got JOHNNY MOORE on drums. He's a phenom basically. He's only 21. He is about seven or eight years younger than RACHELLE and I. Funny enough, we've got to give a shout out to his girlfriend beause when we were looking for a new drummer, he wasn't even going to apply and I had never heard of him at that point. She literally pushed him into it and gelled with us immediatley. After the first jam, he already knew most of our material. It went unbelievably smoothly.
RACHELLE: He's a real go-getter.
ISAAC: Big time! He's super motivated and he's so excited. That is the great thing about both he and RACHELLE. With anything you do, it can get grindy, repetitive and montonous. We spent two years playing almost the exact same set every night. It's not like we were bored or that we wanted to stop or anything like that but it's been nice to have new people come in and go "this is amazing! let's do this!" It's been really fun. JOHNNY is the only other new member. Otherwise, it's still me, JOHN SCOTTO and CYRUS ROBERTSON-ORKISH. The sound of the band has evolved a little bit but it's still DALI VAN GOGH. We've gone through changes and different lineups and different people influencing the writing. This time around, we're not coming out immediately following a housefire so the music isn't so dark. It's a little bit more fun and it's a little bit more tongue in cheek with songs like EAST COAST WITCHES which is a song that kind of rips on club culture. The album is a party rock album where the last one was more brooding.
RACHELLE: Some of the songs on this album are songs you can actually dance to.
Is the title of the album a nod to RACHELLE by any chance?
ISAAC: Yeah! I'll go with that. It's a nod to RACHELLE. It's actually a line from the song EAST COAST WITCHES which was one of the first songs that we wrote. We wrote it two years ago not long after we released FROM ASHES. Being in a band, one is writing all of the time anyways. It was one the first songs that we wrote for this record. For a long time we wanted to call the album EAST COAST WITCHES but we later decided that it was too on the nose. It just wasn't something that we were going for. The album is not really "witchy". I know that we rolled with that theme a litle bit with the album art. So the title of the album is simply a line from a song. There is nothing super complicated about it.
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From the album, what songs stand out for each of you the most and why?
RACHELLE: A couple of them stand out for me. EAST COAST WITCHES was the first one that I heard and I fell in love with it immediately. The other one that I love a lot is SHIPS IN THE NIGHT just because the song is so epic. I could listen to it all the time.
ISAAC: The song SHIPS IN THE NIGHT went through a period where all of us were like "is this actually going to be on the record?" It's a musically complex song and you can't necessarily hear all of that in the recording but it's an incredibly dense and layered piece. There are like 185 tracks on it with over a hundred vocal tracks on it. It's insane. I pretty much blew up my computer trying to make that one work.
RACHELLE: I think that is why I love it so much. I'm a sucker for all of the harmonies and stuff like that.
ISAAC: The funny thing about EAST COAST WITCHES is that I was ready to cut that song from the album but everyone was like "No! We can't cut this!" Once we heard the finished product, I realized that it needed to be on the album. This album, unlike the last album, was written from a more positive place. At least a lot more fun place. The song WHEN I GO came together amazingly well. It reminds me so much of PEARL JAM and some of the more melodic side of the grunge movement in the early nineties. I really love CROOKED LITTLE WHORE. It's fun to play and everytime people see the title they go like "What?!" That's the name of the song. People need to get over it. I'm really proud of the whole album because there was really this point where it was a struggle tot get it done. We ground this thing out and it turned out much better than I thought it was going to turn out. At the halfway point I was like "We really screwed thsi one up!" and Ithought it was going to eb a terrible record but I'm glad that we soldiered through becasue the album turned out incredibly well.
And with UNDER HER SPELL, what is the big idea? What would you like for people to come away with after they hear it?
ISAAC: You always want people to enjoy the music.
RACHELLE: I want this album to be something that people share with other people. I know that I really like an artist when I'm excited to show the artist off to someone.
ISAAC: The last record had more of concise message and with this album, the songs came from all over the place. It's a fun, exciting, high energy rock album. I agree with RACHELLE. I hope that people enjoy it and want to share it with their friends and in addition to that, I hope they hear the music and then want to come out and see it live and experience the music with a crowd of people. And if they do come out and see us, they should come and meet us. We're not monsters. We don't bite unless you ask us really nice.
RACHELLE: That would be really awkward.
ISAAC: I hope people enjoy it and want to see us live.
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