Dead Horse TraumaDead Horse Trauma – Learning More About “Life”
by Dave Schwartz

Dead Horse Trauma is a smaller band worthy of your attention.  They’ve been crawling the roads of America for about 10 years building a fan base and releasing new music when they can.  Their latest record, “Life,” came out last February and the band has been on the road since.

Eric Davidson (Vocals), Seth Peters (Guitar), Jayson Kempf (Guitar), Brian Carter (Bass) and Garrett Dewald (Drums) understand the hardships and rewards of being in a band.  But they’re doing it for the right reasons-- their fans.  I caught up with Davidson to learn more about “Life.”

DB:  Congratulations on your latest record, “Life.”  I would like to hear all about it.

ED:  Sure, we recorded at Crisis Lab Studios in Picayune, Mississippi with our new producer Rick Lander.  This was our first time working with him.  We were very happy with the knowledge he had and he really got us into a great direction for the album.

DB:  Did you approach this record with a concept in mind and ideas for songs or did you just let the music happen?

ED:  We did have a concept actually.  We had a lot of pre-production demos and then we went in there and we got into the studio and heard some of the ideas Lander had and we ended up doing a completely different album.  We kept 3 or 4 of the songs that we had worked on and wrote then wrote a completely new album.

DB:  That’s an interesting and a bold approach to go into the studio and just sort of wash the slate clean and start new.

ED:  Oh yeah!  But it was great.  The pre-production that we did with him took us out of our comfort zone.  We were getting really good at writing music.  We kept emailing back and forth and everyone putting their parts in.  So what he showed us is that we’ve become sort of a song factory rather than a band that writes music.  With this record we were able to take a new approach to it and really work on the concept of the song.  So there was like a week of pre-production before we went in and started working on the album.  This is something that we had never done before.  It was great to put as much time as possible into pre-production.

DB:  I’m sure that’s a comment that would leave must bands envious-- to have more time for pre-production.  That prep is invaluable because, as you know, once you get into the studio things become quite expensive. So this isn’t your first record, I believe it’s your sixth release, have you been self-producing everything? 

ED:  Yes.  We do everything ourselves.  We still haven’t found the perfect match as far as label so we’re releasing on our own label with distribution through The Orchard/Sony Music.

DB:  I was just about to ask about that.  I noticed that this record is distributed through The Orchard.  That’s a great opportunity for young bands to get their music heard.  Distribution is the key.  How did you come about The Orchard? 

ED:  We have a friend that does independent A/R work for Universal and Sony.  He kind of let us onto the connection for that.  So that’s how we got setup.

DB:  Your first release was in 2008, "The Unmerciful Infliction" EP.  I suspect that seems like forever ago.  How do you feel you’ve grown and evolved as a band since then? 

ED:  Oh man, not only through personnel changes but just growing as a band and gaining the understanding of what the industry wants.  We came along in all aspects including the business and us as a band writing music and traveling the country together.

DB:  Yeah, there is an amazing challenge that every band goes through regarding a band traveling the country, being on the road together and learning to be a family.  It’s a remarkable feat for a band to be able to do this and I surely tip my hat. So I would like to talk about your video, “Left Unsaid,” it’s a great video and you’re telling an important story. 

ED:  We had three video concepts together.  It’s a story that talks a little bit about addiction and how people deal with that.  It’s a song about the culpability of anyone in that situation.  Initially it talks about how it affects a girl. There’s another video from the album called “Fugue State,” which is another piece of this puzzle. It’s the same girl from the first video.  That one deals with family.  And there’s one more coming, a video for “The Massacre.”

DB:  I’ve seen “Fugue State.”  I’m looking forward to seeing the last video.  You’re telling the story of addiction.  Irrespective of what your addiction is, addiction has significantly adverse effects on the people around you.  So I think this is an import story that you’re telling. 

ED:  We really didn’t set out to tell a story but since releasing the album there have been a lot of people that have come forward to us and say that the song really helped them.  That’s really kind of a touching thing for us, to be able to help the people out there.

DB:  I can imagine that it’s nice to hear that feedback from you fans.  I understand that Dead Horse Trauma has a deep connection with your fans.  While researching this interview I came across many comments about how meaningful your fans are to the band. 

ED:  We would be nothing without our fans.  They have been our driving force since day one.  We have people that, at the drop of a hat, will take off work and drive 6 hours to come pick us up.  They help us get to the next gig should anything happen.  We got into a big car accident.  We wrecked our van and trailer.  Our fans came to our rescue and gave us money to be a new vehicle.  We owe everything to our fans and we never take them for granted.

DB:  I was going to ask about the accident.  It happened a little more than a year ago and seems to have been a defining moment for the band.  It appears that since the accident the band has recommitted to what you’re doing as a band. 

ED:  Absolutely.  When we were in that situation, honestly it could’ve gone either way.  It was eye opening.  We spend so much time on the road but it turned into a moment when we could look at each other and realize why we do this.

As I said in the opening, Dead Horse Trauma are doing music right and doing it for all the right reasons.  I want to thank Eric Davidson and the rest of the band for sharing a moment with DaBelly.  Pick up “Life” and go see this band live!

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