Music lovers devote themselves tirelessly to the procuring and discovery of new music. It’s the search, journey and ultimate discovery of a song or album or band that encapsulates a moment in life, better than we ourselves can. Imagine then, how exciting it is to discover new music from an up and coming band from your own neighborhood. We at VIVE are incredibly excited to introduce the St. Louis indie rock band Dear Genre to our readers and even more excited to listen to their new EP Rip Raw Shapes out this Saturday February 25th.
These guys are as fun as their “thumbs up dudeness” suggests but have some serious musical chops to back it up.
Dear Genre frontman, Andre Cataldo, was kind enough to answer our questions about the band and upcoming EP.
Tyler – Okay, so how did you guys form?
Andre- We formed in 20 minutes over a Facebook status that I posted looking to recruit people to help flush out the full band sound that was created on the record. After only a handful of practices we quickly realized that the initial line up that had come together, including; Charlie Unger, Marcello Farrell and Jack Mudd would soon be the perminate line up that would come together to form the full sounding Dear Genre.
Tyler- What is the release date of the new EP?
Andre- Yes, actually as of this week we’ve set a date for the EP to drop. We hope to release our EP “rip raw shapes” on Saturday, February 25th, which we are thoroughly stoked out of our minds for. We’ve waited long enough to get this new material out into the bloodstream of the local scene as well as the world in general.
Tyler- Where did you record it?
Andre- This EP we recorded with Kevin Gates in Springfield MO. Kevin has also recorded artists such as; Never Shout Never, The Ready Set, Cady Groves, Plug in Stereo, Romance on a Rocketship, Breathe Electric, Eatmewhileimhot and many other bands that have shaped us as individuals and musicians. We sort of grew up listening to these bands and through them decided we wanted to pursue music ourselves, so it was an honor and a dream come true to have the opportunity to work with the producer behind all of our favorite work.
Tyler- Andre, did you bring material to the group or did you all write songs together?
Andre- For “rip raw shapes” I wrote the material and created full band demos of how I envisioned the songs in my head. After I was fully content with them artistically and structurally, I then brought them to the band. Through a period of a few weeks we began to work on learning them as a group and translating them so that they would best be suitable for a four-piece group. Also during this process, each member adds his spin to the original parts, which creates something of a “collision of sound” due to varying backgrounds and musical influences. It is this very collision that we feel comes together to encase the current sound of Dear Genre.
Tyler- Have people/fans compared you to any other artists or groups?
Andre- With the old material, we haven’t received the same comparison more than once or twice so it’s tough to pinpoint very many. As far as comparisons to the new material, only a handful of people have heard it so we haven’t gotten enough feedback to know who or what people think we sound like yet. Guess that’s still to be determined.
Tyler- What artists and groups do you listen to either individually or as a band?
Andre- This one is tough to answer with specifics as well because each of us come from completely different backgrounds so every man sort of speaks for himself BUT to give a brief summary, I will say that everyone in the band comes from a more pop-punk influenced background. Marcello is sort of the hard-core heavier pop-punk kid, Jack and Charlie are more strictly pop-punk without as much of the hard-core edge and I’ve sort of shifted from my roots which was more melodic poppier punky stuff to more indie alternative interests these days… I am very intrigued by psychedelia and mysticism and attempted to create melodies that would make one think of the beach and I really wanted those themes to obviously translate into this new EP. Although that’s where we have all come to rest in our musical diaries for the time being, we all enjoy listening to every type of music…except country, we won’t do it.
Tyler- If you could open for anyone who would it be? If you could have any act open for you who would it be?
Andre- If we had the opportunity to open for anyone we would most likely open for a band like Grouplove or Wavves because we like the upbeat party like atmosphere and energy that they bring to their live shows and we feel that they’re a perfect examples of bands that don’t take themselves too seriously, yet continue to expand and grow with a positive work ethic. We hope to achieve the same sort of thing in the future. If we could have any act open for us we would pick an adolescent punk group from Brooklyn called “Tiny masters of today”. We like them because they’re young and independent and don’t give a flying fret what anyone says about them.
Tyler- Have you spent any time on the road touring?
Andre- Currently, the only time we’ve spent on the road is driving to the various local venues in St. Louis. We have yet to play a show out of state but we are planning to do some touring this summer and are hoping to make it out to the west coast for a change of pace, scenery and crowd.
Tyler- Do you feel that being in high school is a blessing or a curse (should be noted that I wrongly assumed all members were in HS…not the case)?
Andre- Currently the only member of the band that is still in high school is our drummer Jack. Though from my time in high school, combined with catching glimpses of Jack’s senior year, we have observed both blessings and curses. The blessings being networking advantages such as being able to address a massive amount of people with very little effort and spreading the music through domino effect. On the contrary we have observed that in high school everyone always wants free stuff, and people will near refuse to pay for things. As artists who are depending on people’s support both from both their minds, bodies and souls as well as from them financially to continue on, the issue of wanting free stuff is obvious. What people don’t understand is, as much as you may like the music that a band writes and perform, it is near impossible for those bands to continue on and keep doing what they’re doing without the support from them.
Tyler- There are some musical pivots, some quick shifts in style in your “Rip Raw Shapes” preview from quick and vibrant to a more subdued, almost haunting melody. Which style will we see more of on the upcoming EP?
Andre- First of all I would just like to say that I appreciate you taking the time to realize the diversity of styles. That is something that myself and us as a whole have always been interested in doing. When bands function with a singular writer, it’s difficult to please both yourself and the rest of the members, simultaneously. To make things easier on myself I have found that it’s best and safest to maintain a diverse range of styles ranging from more upbeat stuff you can dance to or have playing in the background during a summer pool party followed by a more subdued melancholy dreamy style that may encase multiple meanings and emotions. Ideally there is a fair balance between the styles.
Tyler- Tell me more about the artwork for Rip Raw Shapes. Who did it? Why is it significant?
Andre- I worked hand in hand with an artist and media designer named Sam Wade, who also did the artwork for “You put the fear in atmosphere.” We’ve been friends for quite a while now and being an artist himself, he understands and encourages my attempts to diversify my writing style. He always tries to create album art that goes hand in hand with the music that the artist has created while accentuating themes within the music. A theme that Sam and I both share and explore is the idea that a single song, or line within that song may encase multiple meanings. On this particular cover, the point was to stay away from using actual text to get a point across (as most visual art does) and instead use already existing and varying elements to try and reinforce the multi dimensionalism in the music. I highly encourage you to pick up a tangible copy of this EP because once you have the opportunity to look at it close up, and observe the elements and shapes, you may gain a better understanding of the intended themes within the lyrics. It may even aid you in understanding what the songs as a whole are about.
Tyler- Musically, what do you hope to accomplish with Rip Raw Shapes?
Andre- Musically, through “rip raw shapes” we hope to please you with all five songs on the EP but minimally, I hope to have provided a song for everyone to be able to relate to regardless of the place you are in your journey. It is meant to promote those good times and good feelings and help encourage and relate to those that may be anything but.
Tyler- Plug time. Any upcoming shows?
Andre- Our next upcoming show is our EP release Party/show at Cicero’s on February 25th! Come out for surprises in merch, sound and experience!
Thanks again to Andre for answering our questions. I encourage you all to check out Dear Genre’s single “Do Me” available on iTunes and their upcoming show on Feb 25th at Cicero’s in The Loop. Don’t forget you can check out Dear Genre on Facebook.