Interview: Dan Whitesides of The Used
Fresh off a recent trip to Japan and Hawaii, THE USED are preparing to embark on a US headliner with ATREYU beginning on January 28th at the House of Blues in Anaheim. We caught up with drummer Dan Whitesides recently to discuss the upcoming tour with ATREYU, the new record Artwork and the “grosspop” genre.
SoCalMusicToday.com: How are things going today with THE USED?
Dan: Really good man. We just got back from a little Hawaiian slash Japanese trip a couple of days ago. I’m just taking it easy here in Utah before flying out in the next few days to get ready for the next tour.
SCMT: How was Japan? Did you play any festivals or just do shows there around the country?
Dan: It was our own shows in Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo in Japan. Then in Hawaii we played in Honolulu. It was a pretty bad ass time man and it’s always fun to play over there.
SCMT: Your upcoming tour with ATREYU starts here next week at HOB in Anaheim.
Dan: I’m absolutely excited about that tour since it’s what I live for. We’re going to play a lot of new tracks that we haven’t played live from the “Artwork” record. We’re also going to play a lot of old stuff that we haven’t played ever, if not within the past few years going back to the self-titled record, “In Love and Death” and “Lies For Liars.” On the last US tour we were playing a lot of different songs as well.
SCMT: Are you looking forward to coming back to California for a few shows as well since Bamboozle and the headliner at The Wiltern last year?
Dan: Let’s see here. No, we played Los Angeles a couple of months ago but we’re playing in Anaheim and San Diego this time around. This tour I don’t think we’re hitting anywhere that we played on the last tour or even the past few tours we’ve done. Just in case those who did come out and see us last time, they are going to be in for something different this time.
SCMT: “Artwork” has been out in stores for several months now. How has it been received by the fans so far?
Dan: I think that for our core fan base, the feedback has been very good so far along with the response. More importantly we love the record as well.
SCMT: It even sounds like a revitalized band along with the switch in producers this time around.
Dan: I agree dude. With this album compared to before, from just talking with the guys and the records they did before I joined the band near about halfway through “Artwork.” Once we started writing this record for me it was a step back lyrically, vocally and musically. I think that the way we went about writing the record compared to the last two was writing the majority of it before we hit the studio compared to “In Love” and “Death and Lies For Liars” that were wrote in the studio. When I listen to “Artwork” both lyrically and musically, it takes me back to the beginning which is pretty cool.
SCMT: Yeah it has more of an edgier and harder tone to it compared to the pop theme to the two previous records.
Dan: Yeah I totally agree because it’s what we wanted to do. Before we went in we knew exactly what we wanted to do and fortunately we met up with a guy named Matt Squire who decided he was going to let us do exactly what we wanted. That’s what happened and we were super proud of it.
SCMT: Did the switch of management during that process along with not having John Feldmann as producer this time have any influence on the sound of “Artwork”?
Dan: It’s always tough switching management and producers I think. We started talking about that maybe a year before it went down so it wasn’t really out of nowhere. It’s a good thing and I think that the band needed it. I’m not saying that we will never work with Feldmann again whether it’s the next album or the one after but he’s a great friend and producer. Just this time around we definitely needed a change and fortunately it worked out you know?
SCMT: Okay so talk to me about the grosspop genre. What exactly is it?
Dan: I think the whole point behind it is from how people tend to label THE USED as a screamo or emo band which is fine but we’re a rock and roll band. They have been long before I was in the band. I think they sort of made the genre popular and I think to us grosspop is what we wanted to do in the studio. We wanted to do something gross sounding but poppy at the same time, grosspop was just the best way of putting it. Really it’s not necessarily a new genre of music but a way for us to describe what we sound like and I think there are tons of records that sound like that including In Utero, Pinkerton or Songs For The Deaf that has this gross wide sound but pop sensibility to it.
SCMT: How has your life changed since you joined THE USED?
Dan: How has my life changed? Well, music is my job now compared to before it was just weird because playing drums was what I did but I also had a job at the same time. Now this is all that I do and I’m pretty fortunate to be a part of this and be in the band with Bert, Jeph and Quinn who are three of the most talented dudes I’ve ever played with. Just being able to go out on tour and around the world to many countries several times has been amazing. My life is pretty much different compared to before as far as my career and what I was doing prior to this. I feel very fortunate.