By Mike Shomaker and Brian Ossip, DC Music Live For a Wednesday night, The Fillmore in Silver Spring is jam packed. A perspiratory mist emanates from the untamed crowd as Los Angeles-based Dead Sara closes a killer set. Out on tour supporting The Used (RELATED STORIES: The Used Move Forward While Embracing Their Independence) with a full Warped Tour schedule on the horizon, Dead Sara have made an enormous splash in the rock world with the release of their debut album eponymously titled, Dead Sara. Their first single Weatherman has scored highly with major radio stations across the country. The band—comprising guitarist Siouxsie Medley, bassist Chris Null, drummer Sean Friday and vocalist Emily Armstrong – have found a way to meld and refine a host of musical genres from classic rock to blues to metal, creating a supercharged sound that translates into a thundering, adrenaline-overdosed live performance. Medley’s thick guitar riffs complement Armstrong, whose impressive vocal range isn’t diminished in the slightest by her wild, Jim Morrison-esque gallivanting about the stage. Null and Friday maintain the heart-thumping pulse of the “semi-controlled chaos,” a term the band uses to describe their live show. DC Music Live had a chance to sit down with the effervescent group before the show. You’re touring with The Used. How has it been so far? Medley: Awesome! Just as people, they’re great. The crowds have been awesome. Null: They’ve been very supportive of us as well. Medley: And we’re all fans as well. You have a diverse sound. It’s aggressive, but there are some bluesy references as well as others. How did you hone your sound? Armstrong: Well we have lots of influences across the board. But when we play music, we just play, we’re not necessarily trying to write a certain thing. From all the influences we have, whatever happens, happens—we like it, you know? What are some of your influences? Armstrong: In genres—it’s easier to explain that way. We all like the 90s for sure. Seventies, 80s punk rock. Null: Yeah, 60s, 70s, classic [rock]—Zeppelin and Hendrix. Armstrong: I’ve been getting into disco. I’m not even kidding. Climax Blues Band—[freaking] awesome. Friday: I just want to say that I’ve never gotten into disco. What is your songwriting process? Friday: Well I usually come in with the lyrics and we go from there. [laughter.] Armstrong: It usually starts with the riff and everybody kind of goes off. Sometimes it’s even a drum beat, something that just gets everybody going. If we like it, we add on and then we start vibing. We have a recorder in a practice space—we hit record and just jam. That’s pretty much how the whole record came about. What was it like recording this album? Armstrong: It was miserable. [Laughs.] No, kidding. It was our first record, so every detail. It’s not very good for your mind, especially for vocals. We went in with Noah Shain (Skrillex, As Tall as Lions) at Sonic Ranch and that process was fast. We laid it down in less than two weeks. And then when we got home, we sort of took our time. You know, as the singer/lyricist, I’m thinking, “I can’t make this too fast, I need to think about this,” and then you’re thinking about the way you sound. And then you need to hear this guitar part again. And that process can start getting a little…you just start getting a little too technical.” Friday: Yeah, at the [Sonic] Ranch, we were going super fast. It was 11 days exactly. Null: That was pretty much all the drums and bass. I think I only overdubbed one bass line [back in LA]. For someone who hasn’t seen your live show, how would you describe it?
Null: “Semi-controlled chaos.” Is that good? [Laughs.] Armstrong: You know, just have fun. Raw, what goes is what goes. Not perfect but… Armstrong: Not perfect like the record — it’s more like, tonight is a new night. It’s not polished, just rock. And the name, “Dead Sara,” it’s different. Where did that come from? Medley: It’s from a Fleetwood Mac song. There’s a lyric in there we thought was dead Sara. It’s different, especially for a band that’s not death metal. For a young band, you’ve received a lot of press, radio play and are doing some big tours. Has this surpassed your expectations? Medley: It’s been great. You know each time it happens, it’s like, “oh my God.” But then you’re working your ass off. It’s different now being on tour [compared] to when I was 16. But you’re here doing it and it’s awesome. Null: And it’s been like that for three years. Armstrong: It continues to happen and those are statistics and that’s good. We’re happy. Have you played in DC before? Armstrong: No, never have. Medley: They have. [Points to Null and Friday.] Null: It was with a different band, over at the 9:30 Club. How was it playing there? Null: I remember liking it, the venue. And I remember [our friend] Joe got a tattoo. Friday: Oh I remember that! Null: And then we spent a couple days off around DC again on a different tour. We spent two full days off just site seeing. We didn’t play there but it was probably the best part of the tour. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or shoot us an e-mail at DCMusicLive.firstname.lastname@example.org.