Interview: Dead! (Slam Dunk Fest Preview)

Over the coming days, Already Heard will be previewing this years Slam Dunk Festival in detail through a range of interviews and features.

For longtime readers of Already Heard, Southampton quartet Dead! might be a name you recognise. If you don’t, then be prepared to see a lot of them in the coming months. Having relocated to London, Dead! are set for a busy summer with numerous festival spots lined up. One of them will be their Slam Dunk Festival debut.

Having joined Infectious BMG just last week, new single ‘You’re So Cheap’ is a good indication of what Dead! are all about; riff-laden punk rock contained in a ball of hook-y rawness.

Before they kick off a busy summer, we grabbed a word with guitarist Sam Matlock to talk about their Slam Dunk debut, festival survival tips and more.

AH: We’ve been following the growth of you guys for the past few years, and it now looks like you’re stepping things up. What motivated your recent flurry of activity?
Sam: One and a half actually, thanks a million for that! I dunno. It’s just growth I guess? We’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work and finding out what we really want Dead! to be. We’ve been figuring out what we want to transition into as a brand, a product, a vibe and a scene. I guess it’s just time to start sharing that with everyone. We’re flattered if it looks like we’re stepping it up!

AH: You’re set to have a very busy summer with festivals all over the place with Slam Dunk being one of the first. Are you looking forward to making your SD debut?
Sam: Well we haven’t seen how early we’re on yet. None of us have even been as punters before, so we’re fucking excited. When its your first time anywhere, you just have to come out swinging, and Dead! is a band that seems to work best when we’re swinging. All we can do is hope word of mouth gets us a crowd and we’ll show them why they should be there.

AH: Although there are some major names at Slam Dunk, there are also bands like yourselves appearing for the first time. How big of a opportunity is a festival like Slam Dunk to new bands?
Sam: Festivals of all shapes and sizes are these mad melting pots for demographics. No matter wether its a metal festival or a pop punk festival, you’re always left with an eclectic line-up to some degree and thats reflected in the audience. It’s great for new bands, if you do it right and have the hype on your side, its just mega exposure. Now we’re starting to meet a few people, I think you can sort of see which festivals are really taking a chance on the younger acts, making an investment in their future and helping to grow the opening bands of today into the main stage headliners of ten years later.

AH: The line-up is full of must-see bands. Who are you hoping to see over the course of the three days?
Sam: Oh we’ll probably split up and go for a wander as we’re into quite different things. Personally I’m getting ready for Cancer Bats, Louis been going on about Every Time I Die for ages so I’ll check them out straight after. Grumble Bee will be great, and of course you have to watch Yellowcard. That band were a right of passage.

AH: Looking beyond Slam Dunk, you’re also appearing at Download, Reading and Leeds, 2000 Trees and many other festivals. What are your essential festival survival tips?
Sam: In the lamest way the most important thing is to bring the right attitude you know? Just shut up and relax and go with it. But also snacks, walking around all day makes me so damn hungry, so just a spare tent full of snacks is so good, even if you’re not hungry snacks. Rum is good. Deodorant. Bananas. Flask. Always have a flask. We found out you can get almost anywhere in the Isle Of Wight Festival with sunglasses and a leather jacket…

AH: Besides the festivals and your tour with Hands Like Houses, what else can we expect from Dead! in the coming months?
Sam: Expect to see us EVERYWHERE! We’re already sitting on some more shows to announce. We’re buzzing to be hitting mainland Europe for the first time too. We’ve got some fresh music to release.

AH: Finally why should people take time out to check out Dead! this summer?
Mate this question is a nightmare! Theres no reason why people SHOULD do anything theres no obligation to check us out, we aren’t gonna say it’ll be the best half hour of your life. It’ll probably be the best half hour of ours though, and sharing that with people is fun. If it catches your eye and you like it you should come to the live show, if you don’t like it tough shit, you won’t be able to miss us this year.

Dead! will be playing on Fresh Blood stage:
Slam Dunk North (Leeds) – 4:00 – 4:30pm
Slam Dunk Midlands (Birmingham) – 3:10 – 3:40pm
Slam Dunk South (Hertfordshire) – 4:50 – 5:20pm

View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Slam Dunk Festival 2016 here.

Dead! links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|YouTube|Instagram

Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)


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