It’s Tuesday afternoon in sunny Los Angeles. I just hung up the phone with Emily Armstrong, the uber talented, equally cool and polite lead singer of the band Dead Sara. Who was kind enough to speak to me while having a busy day off from making music.
You guys play the Sunset Strip Music Festival this Friday, Are you excited?
[EA] We’re playing the party… technically. The warm up..
Well better to play the party in the beginning then at the end when everyone’s so fucked up they won’t remember, right?
[EA] Sure! I mean.. yeah we didn’t expect to play at all until they invited us and it’s already sold out.
Will you catch any of the other shows?
[EA] maybe.. we’ll see bush, since we’re going on tour with them.
How long are you going out on tour with Bush?
10 days. (Dates Here)
Was Bush big for you growing up?
[EA] Oh yeah. The 90s. They were everywhere.
Yeah they were. I feel like we’re similar age, how old are you?
..I reveal my old age to Emily, and no I won’t tell you.. we share a laugh of love for 90’s music..
So how much touring has Dead Sara done?
[EA] Not that much touring.. We did SXSW a couple times.. in 2007 we went up the coast. We’ve just been playing LA for years now but with the new lineup, new band, and new album coming out it all makes sense. We are looking forward to it.
Are you prepared? Ready for next step.. or are you shitting your pants?
[EA] We’ve been preparing for it. It’s something we’ve looked forward to. most of all we’re fucking scared.
Can I write that?
[EA] Yeah. (laughs) We are totally excited.
What is the goal for you and the band for the next level?
[EA] The debut record is the next level, then tour with a bigger band… I mean this is already a bigger level for us. We look forward to things like this happening again next year, and our next record.
Are there any songs on the album that you wrote instantly?
[EA] Weatherman – It was the first song we wrote together. We wrote it instantly. It was magic. (Bands first single available here.)
Which song was the biggest bitch to write, lyrically?
[EA] “Lemon scent” we wrote in the studio, and we thought it was rad, lets keep this for record, but we didnt have much lyrically. When it was my time to do vocals, I was like “what?!” The pressure builds and it’s harder than it usually is (writing on the spot in the studio in the heat of the moment) But I enjoy the process very much. In that situation it was just a bit different.
Lemon Scent is actually my favorite track on the album. When can the fans expect the album in their paws?
[EA] October 11th.
So do all of your families and parents support you and your musical decisions?
[EA] Yes and no. You can’t expect parents to support an 11 year old little girl saying “I’m gonna do this” It’s like “Really, oh c’mon.” Eventually it was like “Emily you stuck with it.. you show no signs of letting go fucking do it..” Me being dedicated showed everyone.
Do you feel being successful now you can be like “Look, WHAT! I told you so?”
[EA] yeah (laughs) I’m no hater. I couldn’t be cocky and do that. That’s not me..
Any advice for kids or musicians trying to make it in today’s music scene?
[EA] Staying true to yourself. In the industry people have a vision FOR you, you have to go in with YOUR vision and from that you will have no problem personally.
(That was profound.)
When you felt crushed by the industry and people telling you who you should be or how to do things – did you ever create a back up career?
[EA] Anybody would do that, create a plan a or plan b but I just knew it had to work. It just had to..
We talk about the current state of affairs in the music industry..
You have a strong fan base, and I think streaming the album online helped that. People have mixed views today about giving music away for free to promote the better of the band – or busting your ass in the studio, paying for the studio, then you make .99 cents a track…How do you feel about all that?
[EA] I can go both ways on it. You put out your blood sweat and tears and it = debt. But at the end of the day fans and people are coming to shows and tours are happening more importantly..
Some bands say that they tour, do the albums, and get home and break even..
…We debate if breaking even is shitty, or cool. In the end we agree that as long as people know Dead Sara’s music even if they “download and snatch it” the word is spreading about the life-full new band and none of that is bad.
We go on to talk about Los Angeles, where we both are currently living..
I just moved here (LA) from NYC about 9 months ago..I feel like in NYC people steal your ideas, so you can’t share too much. In LA people want to help you make you make it, but only to make a percentage off of you.. Do you have any experience with the East Coast side of business?
[EA] A few years ago we went out there for a label meeting, but that’s all. I feel like when a band comes up people say “this is good for LA.”
..You may have to live here to understand this but.. Los Angelenos, Miss Armstrong just spoke the truth. We talked for a while about when a band plays LA. Emily mentions that there is so much going on here besides music, and I can’t agree more. Moving here from the east coast I am mesmerized by nature alone. Things you call hills, I call mountains. I make childish sequels when a dolphin swims by, you’d think I just saw a unicorn, every other day I think I’ve found a pot of gold when a street is shut down for an ethnic festival and beach BBQs are part of our weekly itinerary. It is a lot of competition if you’re playing a friday night show..
[EA] When a show happens, People say, This is good for LA, This might make people get out..
Your band is so unique and energetic, “Lemon Scent” and “Timed Blues” are unlike anything I’ve heard in music and you can hear all of the various musical influences laced all throughout them..I would think that it would get people off their ass, and off the beach to a show?
[EA] You would think…
What are you listening to these days?
[EA] I’ve been singling out songs – I do the iPhone download. Joy formidable. Cheap trick. Eric Clapton. etc.
What aggravates you the most about music today?
[EA] The complete formula of how to make a star thing. Lets get this girl, lets go over some songs, dress this way. OK we get it! I want to see bands and singers who have paid their dues and written and felt songs for themselves – the formulated pop stars or formulated rock bands. (they aggravate me.)
Who is your dream band to tour with?
[EA] We as a band keep saying the foo fighters. Personally, Stevie Nicks. cockatoo twins, Elizabeth (Fraser), to write with her, I mean fuck.
What is your dream place or festival to play?
[EA] Coachella, that would be a magical place for us to play. As far as stadiums Madison Square Garden, Wembley, I’m thinking outside the box here
“Nah man, you’re in the box, It’s gonna happen..
I wasn’t just being nice, because I’m not a nice person, I’m just honest – I believe in this band and it’s always icing on the cake when the musicians are as nice as they sound. Thanks Emily!! Rock On. ….(& If you’re out of the loop, catch up on Dead Sara Here!) If you’re in the loop, and in LA, see them at the Sunset Strip Music Festival playing with BuckCherry at the Roxy this Friday! See u There!