If Dr. Emmett Brown, whacked out of his gourd on his own potent brand of ecstasy, were to describe things he saw while zipping through time in his Delorean, he’d likely mention seeing an image similar to that which graces the cover of Jared’s Lot – the new album by Massachusetts sound pirate Gary War (otherwise known as Greg Dalton). The futuristic, helmet- headed (electric warrior?) figure stares at us from the cover, behind him the world peels, bleeds, and vibrates in explosive oranges and reds. What’s happening in the world Mr. War inhabits? Where has he gone and will he bring back songs telling tales of his ecstatic mad journeys?
In between trips on the road performing Gary War kindly took the time to answer a few of my questions via email. War’s new album is a mindbender and I still feel my eardrums bouncing ‘round my head from my listening sessions. I can’t profess complete understanding, but this new album is a melding of machine and man. Human emotions pushed and tortured through samples, beats, melodies, auto-tuned vocals, vocoder, synths, guitars strung upside down and backwards, can openers, chainsaws, malfunctioning transmorgrifiers…OK, not that last stuff, but this is a layered piece of music and well worth a listeners time.
Why has it been two years since the last new music?
Touring, moving, collaborating, saving for new gear, and experimenting with new sounds, song structures and instruments in efforts to make a more varied and diverse album. I never work with contracts so I never have deadlines and I can wait until my cycle of inspiration fully comes back around again and I build my stamina back up enough to take the dreaded psychic plunge into the headspace of the G.W. project. I'm also training to be an auto racer and that has taken up quite a bit of my time in the last year-and-a-half.
Who or what is Jared's Lot?
Jared's Lot is a place up in Gloucester, MA where I'm from. It's adjacent to Susan's Cove, where many films are shot actually. I've been going up there for years with my ukulele and cooler to decompress. The album was recorded up there and has a Massachusetts feel to it, so it seemed natural to use that title.
What gear did you use to record the album? Where and what time frame was it done in?
The album was recorded in my living room in Gloucester, MA in October '11 – March '12 on a 1/2″ 8-track tape machine/DAW software combo sync rig with an arsenal of electronic and acoustic instruments that I was lucky enough to have at my disposal at the time.
Tell me about the goals you had with this album.
Only to make the best album of songs that I possibly could at the time, one that I felt was an evolution and overall improvement of the project and one that I'd be proud of years down the road. I consciously spent more time trying to improve the songwriting, arrangements and fidelity on this record than I did on all previous records combined and I also spent quite a bit more time mixing on many different speaker combinations and in various states of mind in order to ensure that certain subtle textural layered bits would reveal themselves properly upon repeated listens. I never really think about how other people will interpret my music, obviously I want everyone to love it ha, but my main goal is always to make what I feel is forward-thinking modern rock and roll that surpasses my personal standards within my own perception of reality.
What were you reading or listening to or watching when you were making Jared's Lot?
I'm normally like a trash compactor with all that stuff and have too many favorites to list but when I'm recording I'll consciously sit in silence and not listen to, read, watch or do much of anything. There is a 'Combat Shock' sample buried in the album, so I definitely watched that at some point just prior to or during the recording of the album.
Do you embrace or shun your influences?
I don't consciously think about influences with this project too much because I really don't want it to sound like anything else, but if I did think about my influences, I assume that I'd embrace them. The only time I'll shun any supposed influences is when the project is inaccurately compared to something that it sounds absolutely nothing like and this happens frequently, almost to a comedic degree recently. I'm pretty hard to phase and I hardly ever take anything seriously, so I think it's darkly funny how my records are sometimes amateurishly and apathetically critiqued considering that it has been well known for years that the more advertising space a record label buys, the better the reviews of their records will be and thus taste and what is widely visible and considered to be the “best music” is determined by how much cash trades hands. It's disgusting but has been going on since pop's inception and it's completely out of control in the “underground” now as well, which is hilarious, but pretty gross if one thinks about the effects this will have on music in the future. The kiddies deserve better! But who the fuck am I to complain? I'm just grateful to know that there are a handful of fellow slime-bags out there who are truthfully feeling what I'm doing.
You’re labeled with a lot of tags, everything from acid-punk to progressive to dance to psychedelia. What is your preferred term for the kind of music you create?
No preference, really. I like all those.
How's the tour going? Any highlights? lowlights?
Great. All highs, no lows. The Voice of the Valley Festival in West Virginia was a real good time. We saw so many good projects: Trogpite, Dranolith, Forma, Telecult Powers, Container and a shitload of others whose name's we didn't know because no one identifies themselves when they play anymore ha. Also, playing with Buck Gooter at Death By Audio on 8/25 was cool, they destroyed. And the Happy Dog in Cleveland with Outer Space and Watchword was great as well.
Who would you like to share a stage with that you haven't already yet performed with?
What's next for you?
An October west coast U.S. tour with Purple Pilgrims and then plans to record my next LP this winter, in either Cleveland or Gloucester.
Gary War has two September shows before a West Coast tour:
08 Wesleyan University MIDDLETOWN
21-23 Boomslang Festival LEXINGTON
West Coast Tour
24 Yucca Tap Room, TEMPE
25 Soda Bar, SAN DIEGO
26 The Smell, LOS ANGELES
27 Knockout, SAN FRANCISCO
29 Comet Bar, SEATTLE
30 Mississippi Studios, PORTLAND