I spent some time talking with the Los Angeles based band Dead Sara (Emily Armstrong, Siouxsie Medley, Sean Friday, Chris Null) after their performance at Orion Music and More on Belle Isle in Detroit, MI. Known to many for their energetic stage performance, another thing I learned was that this band definitely has a sense of humor. They were on a break from touring, playing only a couple one off shows, but we discussed the band, writing new music, how they spend time off the road and who their individual opponent would be if they were asked to fight in a charity event.
Today I’m joined by the band Dead Sara. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
Emily: Of course.
So you guys just played Orion and I was able to catch the whole set. Very, very energetic. Do you guys have any pre-show rituals to get ready vocally or physically?
Emily: I think just stretching and warm-ups. You know, the usual…and pound a bottle of Jack.
Sean: Each person…gets one bottle.
Emily and Siouxsie: Yeah.
Emily: Our rider gets pretty expensive.
(To Emily): You’re known for climbing on amps and speakers, as you did today. Have you ever gotten up there and thought, “Oh, this was a bad idea?”
Emily: Every time.
Every time. Have you ever injured yourself?
Emily: I’ve hit the bottom of my foot too hard and bruised it a little bit, but that’s it.
I wanted to say, watching the fan reaction, they just feed off of the energy of all of you guys. I think when you can connect like that, it’s awesome.
Emily: Absolutely. When we feel it back it’s the best. It’s hard to participate and get going.
(To Emily and Siouxsie): You two have known each other for about 10 years, right?
What is it about your relationship, do you feel, that just clicks?
Siouxsie: (pause) We just clicked and that was our relationship. (laughter)
But I mean is it your personalities, are you guys like yin and yang?
Siouxsie: I just remember when we first met we just found the same things to be hilarious that no one else really thought was funny.
Siouxsie: We’re the same sense of humor.
Emily: Yeah, that’s what it was.
Siouxsie: It was so bizarre.
Emily: That’s right, (laughter) that’s right. The stupidest things…
Siouxsie: So stupid.
Emily: Nobody else can see, we saw.
Emily: We saw the light.
Chris: See saw.
Emily: They were signs. They were signs. Humor with signs.
Siouxsie: Humor with signs.
Emily: The humor signs. That’s the title of the next record. Humor Signs.
Alright, so being a female fronted band, female lead guitar player, do you feel that you have girls that look up to you, do you feel like you’re a role model, do you find that the business was easier or harder for you?
Emily: Well definitely we get women and girls that are like, “This is fucking awesome. You guys are actually playing some Rock ‘n Roll,” you know, not with any boundary, you know, the essence of Rock ‘n Roll. But then again you go to our shows it’s mostly men. So you know, so it’s just everybody, I think, I don’t know…
Siouxsie: Appreciates it for what it is, yeah.
(To Emily): So to me you have a pretty distinct sounding voice. Did you, when you first started singing, did you have influences or did you kind of figure it out along the way, what you wanted to sound like?
Who are some of your influences?
Emily: Well in the beginning it was like mostly 60’s and 70’s that really drew me into wanting to sing. You know? I can’t name just a few. There’s just so many fucking great singers at that time.
Was it your parents that brought that influence or you discovered it on your own?
Emily: Not really. I totally discovered it on my own, you know. Once I found that era, I never looked back.
Well awesome. So a few months ago you guys released the video for Lemon Scent. Who came up with the concept for the idea?
Siouxsie: The director Reg Breakspear came up with it.
Emily: A friend of ours.
It looked like it was a pretty intense shoot. Did you guys have to go through training to learn how to not knock each other out?
Emily: For months…no.
Emily: Two days before hand. We did…
Siouxsie: A couple hours of…yeah.
Is there a trick or is it you just get as close as you can?
Emily: Yeah. Both.
Siouxsie: You have to learn the basics of boxing and then how to do the camera angles and all that stuff. It’s a little like stunt work and legitimate boxing.
I was going to say, the video went in a totally different direction than I thought it was going. I was like, which of those two were, [going to be knocked out] I thought it was a really cool video. So you guys have something called Face to Face Fridays that kind of give a behind the scenes. Who thought of that and was it fan driven?
Emily: I don’t remember.
Chris: I don’t remember who thought of it but it is definitely fan driven, all the questions are fan driven and Sean hosts it obviously.
Sean: I think Jarod came up with that one.
Emily: Because his last name is Friday
Siouxsie: Yeah, probably Jarod.
Sean: Friday. Yeah, I think Jarod came up with that one.
So on average, do you guys get 50 questions and you have to narrow it down?
Sean: I actually don’t know. Our manager usually forwards them to me.
Emily: A fan of ours gets them. He posts, the Deadicated. We have a fan base called the Deadicated and he goes and hits up all our fans and asks, “Okay, they’re going to be doing questions.”
What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?
Emily: Where did you get the band name from? (laughter)
Chris: Weirdest question… (laughter)
Emily: Is Sara dead?
Sean: Weirdest. I don’t know.
How many times do you get asked Who is Sara?
Emily: That’s why I said this.
Siouxsie: Every day.
Sean: Probably something sexual or some weird shit that we didn’t answer.
Chris: Sean doesn’t ask every question that comes in.
Emily: There’s too many.
Chris: If there was a really weird one it probably got ignored.
Emily: Or we probably answered it but didn’t put it on.
Gotcha. What inspires you when writing and creating music?
Anybody in particular?
Emily: No. It’s kind of like…
Emily: Yeah. What’s around is like your friends and where music is going and where it’s heading is so exciting. I think it’s more about future, you know, and what you can do. That’s inspiration to me, you know?
Are you working on any new material?
Emily: We are. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now.
You are? Awesome.
Emily: This is just a few shows. So we’re a little out of the grind here. We just got to throw ourselves back into it.
So are you in a studio or in the writing phase right now?
Emily: Both. We’re just recording a lot of demos.
Do you have a release in mind? Like a release date?
Emily: No. I think once we record all the songs we’ll figure out what the single is and we’ll just start with that.
(To Siouxsie): Last year, like I had mentioned, you had broken your rib and hand to cancel a bunch of shows. Are you fully healed now?
Siouxsie: All healed.
Does it feel like you’re a new person or do you still have to watch yourself and not get as crazy?
Siouxsie: I don’t have to watch myself, I got a lighter guitar, which helps and I have stretches and things that I need to do and keep up and kind of build up the area.
Now did something happen to you?
Siouxsie: I got a stress fracture from playing heavy Les Paul’s and just years of it knocking into me, a repetitive thing.
That’s kind of crazy if you think about it.
Your tour just ended with Muse. Other than the album, do you have any other dates coming up that you’ll be playing or just working on the new material?
Emily: There’s just today and then Columbus with Silversun Pickups and then just more new material. Back in that daily grind.
Do you guys find that you like the down time or you like to be on tour?
Emily: I like the down time. Tour is tour. You’ve got to like prep for it. And then you’re in it, you’re in it. But when you’re at home and you’re writing and you’re writing and you get into the groove of things. Everything is fresh and new and so when you’re doing that and you go out to do a festival, once you’re totally in that mindset it can be a little rough. So that’s why I say, back home. But when we’re on tour, we’re on tour and that’s when it feels good.
Do you guys have any hobbies that you do when you’re not touring?
Emily: I love to edit photos.
Yeah? So you do a side of photography?
Emily: No. iPhone editing photos.
Stand up comedian? (laughs)
Emily: (laughs) I’m being such a dork right now.
Emily: No, we do board games and stuff.
Siouxsie: Paint, draw.
Chris: Make music.
Emily: We’re musicians, you know.
Now do you guys hang out when you’re off the road?
Emily: No! Hell no! (laughter)
Chris: NO! I haven’t seen these guys in months. (laughter)
Well, you know, some bands, when they take a break…
Sean: Thanks to Brian we do.
Chris: I’d say we see, well, we’ve been writing, but we see each other almost every day.
Chris: It’s weird to me when I hear of bands, that like, certain members of the bands don’t even talk until they get together for tours.
Emily: They live in different cities…
Chris: That sounds horrible. It almost sounds like they’re not even friends. I’m not going to name names or anything, but that wouldn’t be fun.
Emily: Sounds like how it would be if you had kids or a family.
Chris: But even then I feel like I would talk to you guys at least.
Emily: Skype you.
Chris: I’m having a kid by the way, just to let you guys know.
Sean: Awesome. That was fast.
Chris: Yeah, it was fast.
Sean: One day.
Emily: With who?
Sean: It’s being recorded…AWESOME! (laughter)
Emily: Now we’re just talking.
Chris: I’m not actually having a kid…
Emily: No, I know.
Chris: But we started dating.
Are there any bands here that you’re looking forward to seeing?
Emily: The Bronx.
Oh, you did see them?
Siouxsie: They were so good.
Chris: They were awesome. The drummer is SO good.
Emily: Who are the other ones playing, Death Grip.
Chris: Death Grips are playing in a little bit and I’d like to see Silversun Pickups and…who else?
Sean: Come on, let’s not forget…
Sean: BASSNECTAR! (laughter)
You’re into that kind of music?
Sean: Sure yeah, totally. I mean I watched The Bronx earlier and they were fucking awesome. I love them.
Cool. Awesome. So I want to end with a random question. If any of you were asked to get in the ring for a charity event, would you and who would you want your opponent to be?
Chris: Like actually fight? Like a real fight?
You know, similar to in the video.
Emily: OMG. I’m about to say something, but I can’t do it.
Chris: Wow. Umm, probably, umm, what’s his name, Andy Dick.
Sean: 30 Seconds to Mars lead singer.
Chris: Jared Leto.
It’s for charity.
Sean: I want to fight Jared Leto for charity. (laughter)
Emily: That would be so amazing. (laughter) I was going to say something but I can’t because I already had a fight with this girl. I can’t do it. You know who I’m talking about?
Emily: I was like next time I fucking see her I want to punch her in the face.
Sean: I was going to say, does her name start with a L?
Siouxsie: I don’t know who I would.
Chris: The first thing that came to my mind was Andy Dick. Not that I hate him or anything. Do I have the name right? That’s Andy Dick, that little comedian guy?
Emily: Ronda Rousey?
Siouxsie: Who’s little?
Who’s little. (laughter)
Emily: Get their fucking ass kicked. Just one punch. (makes punching sound effect) Ronda Rousey. That would be cool.
Alright. (To Siouxsie): Anybody?
Siouxsie: Uhh, I can think of…
Sean: Ryan Gossling.
Siouxsie: Yeah, Ryan Gossling. Definitely. Done. Thank you Sean.
Alright awesome. Well thank you again for taking the time to speak with me.
Emily: Of course, man. I feel like I could just sit here and talk for another hour.
I know, right? Well thanks and best of luck with everything.
Siouxsie: Awesome. Thank you.
Preview or purchase the self-titled Dead Sara album:
Check out the video for The Weatherman below:
Check out the video for Lemon Scent below: