Scene Point Blank: First and foremost, when I think of the song "I Live in Hell," I wonder about the truthfulness to it. Could you describe the living situations for the band; does anyone actually live in the basement or garage? I actually just moved into the basement and want to know if you have anything to say to all the cellar dwellers out there?
Dear Landlord: Brett wrote the lyrics to that song but we have all lived in the usual fucked up places stupid people in punk bands end up living. You know, basements, closets, garages, vans, abandoned factories, backyards, fucked up southern Illinois trailer parks and so on. Living in a basement can be pretty cool, the sun never comes up and there is no one down stairs to complain about noise.
Scene Point Blank: Pardon me if this is a loaded question. Feel free to skip it if you wish: my first question brings up a bigger idea, one that I might be stretching a bit, that I think the album touches on in almost every song: it's okay to fuck up sometimes, to piss away a few years, blow cash on bad habits. I think Dear Landlord is waving a flag that gives hope to a lot of punks well who are well into adulthood, asking the same questions that you ask yourself on Dream Homes. How does it feel to be that person that gives comfort to everyone who may spend every day trying to block out negative feelings about themselves?
Dear Landlord: There are certain punk records that can always make life seem less horrible to me. A lot of them I've been listening to for ten or more years, over and over again. If we could make a record that did that for someone else, that's as cool as shit gets.
Scene Point Blank: Dear Landlord and Off With Their Heads play a similar style of punk, where the tone of the music is poppy and upbeat whereas the lyrics are gloomy and depressing to both those who have and have not lived the kind of life presented in the songs? Is there a consciousness to the discord between sound and content?
Dear Landlord: Not really, we all like pop punk but our lives are fucked up. The idea of turning awful things that happen in life into songs that other people can relate to is really great though. I think Lance Hahn from J Church was maybe the best at that, turning misery into sing-alongs.
Scene Point Blank: How did Dear Landlord come to fruition with the bands members living a considerable distance away from each other?
Dear Landlord: We started the band in Carbondale, IL when we all lived there.
Scene Point Blank:
Dear Landlord: Playing at the Fest has been really fucking fun, I think it will be really fucking fun!
Scene Point Blank: With the members of Dear Landlord playing in other bands and being a fair distance away from each other geographically, is it hard to get together to write songs and rehearse?
Dear Landlord: It's cool because you really can't burn out on something that only happens once in awhile, so when we can play shows or record it's really great. It takes more effort than just living in the same place but it's something we all want to do so it's not a big deal really.
Scene Point Blank: Dream Homes is extremely well-received, likely to end up in the top slots of a lot of year-end lists, but Dear Landlord still comes off as a side-project. Are there any plans for heavier touring around the album?
Dear Landlord: Yeah, we all play in other bands but we still are doing as many shows as we can. We did a US tour in June and July and we are going to Europe for a few weeks in the Springtime. Hopefully there will be another Eastcoast tour coming up and some more shows around the Midwest not too far down the line.
Scene Point Blank: For the collector nerds, where can we find the song "Heartbroken Handshakes"?
Dear Landlord: You can get the song for free on the No Idea Pretend Record number 2. It's up on the No Idea web site and we should have the 7" of that at Fest this year.
Scene Point Blank: What bands are you looking forward to seeing this at this year's Fest?
Dear Landlord: Hidden Spots, Cheap Girls, Snuff, Worthwhile Way, Cheeky, Panthro UK.....and a shit ton more.
Scene Point Blank: As veteran Festers, what advice do you have for first-timers: places to eat, places to party, things NOT to do?
Dear Landlord: Don't get dead.