North East band Dean James and The Black Dogs have just brought out their new single ‘Another Way’, so Lee Allcock caught up with Dean to speak about the new release, the state of the world, and what he has in store for 2018.
For those of our readers who haven’t come across Dean James and the Black Dogs before, can you describe your music in a few sentences?
Originally I was an acoustic solo act but for the last couple of years, I’ve gone all electric with a full band sound. In a nutshell, Dean James and the Black Dogs are Blunge (blues grunge).
You’ve just released your new single, ‘Another Way’, so what is it all about?
‘Another Way’ is me trying to make sense of the way the world is – especially with terrorism. All I’m seeing is killing from all sides and we need to find another way to sort our differences out. The video that comes with the single looks at what war, in general, does to mankind. It’s an anti-war song in essence.
It’s obvious that you’re not happy with the state of the world we’re living in at the moment…
The world is a really important place, full of great things, but what we get fed via the media and through government sources is that we’re on the edge of the 3rd world war; the poor have crippled our benefits system; the world is poisoned with chemicals and smog etc. I’ve been working in mental health for a long time and all I see is trauma and a broken society and it’s time to try to change that. I don’t have any answers to this complex situation, but I’m passionate to try to make a difference just by putting my head above the parapet and speaking about it.
What advice would you give to other songwriters that are just starting out?
I’ve seen so many great bands split because of creative differences, having to chase the dollar and be in cover bands, or they just end up sick because they don’t feel they are getting anywhere. To even scrape the courage just to play your songs outside of your bedroom is the biggest step, but being tenacious is definitely the best quality you can have. Be confident in your own ability and believe that someday it’s going to be your turn to get an opportunity to get that big gig.
And finally, what can your fans expect from you in 2018?
2018 is a bit of a crossroads for me musically as the older I get the less motivation I have to keep playing as other things, like kids and work, consume any last vestige of energy I have left. The thing is, I’m so passionate about playing that I’ve started to hate my day job as it’s keeping me from being a musician. This year the band (the Black Dogs) and I parted ways as they had their own musical projects going with a release of an album and subsequent tour. Through the falling apart of the Dogs, I met a young man called John Timney who has been playing the circuit for many years. I’ve played a few duo gigs with John this year and he agreed to join the band – and we are currently forming a new team of Black Dogs to do a small set of promotional gigs for the release of my new album, ‘TRUTH’, in March 2018. John has also recorded, played all the instruments and co-produced the new album for me and it’s sounding massive!
The new video for ‘Another Way’, by Dean James and The Black Dogs, can be viewed now on YouTube (or above).