Contributing Writer : Griffen Harris
Contributing Photographer : Elliott Beenk
Dawes, a band founded by Taylor Goldsmith and Wylie Gelber out of North Hills, California, is a folk-rock group heavily influenced by The Band. They recently played a show in Iowa City, Iowa at Gabe’s Oasis, formerly The Picador, during which they played songs from their debut album, “North Hills.” Dawes has an incredible ability to envelop any viewer wholly into their songs, one after the other, and this quality endears the music to the listener to the point where it is difficult to resist becoming a die-hard fan.
I had the pleasure of attending this show on August 8th, 2010, a pleasure deepened by the fact that I was able to spend time with Taylor Goldsmith – lead singer/songwriter and guitarist of Dawes – after the show at a friend’s house in Iowa City. The fact that Dawes is a band with a steadily growing fan base across the nation and yet still find’s time during three-month long tours to spend time with friends they made at previous shows is something that I hope they stay true to throughout the career. Taylor and I had a lengthy discussion addressing many issues ranging from the band’s chemistry on the road to the composition of songs and lyrics. This talk allowed me to delve into the mind of a songwriter that finds inspiration from the simple things in life; primarily family and friends and the past, present, and future.
Paraphrased below is the interview I held with Taylor Goldsmith, of Dawes.
Interview After The Photos
GH: What do you and your band-mates like to do after your shows?
Goldsmith: Well, we sometimes find ourselves so tired that we just have to head back to our hotel or van and go to sleep so that we can put on another show the following night… [chuckles]. But when we do have the energy, or the crowd was really excellent, we like to meet as many people as possible. We try to make as many personal connections as possible so that the fans know we care about them.
GH: This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Dawes play, and I’ve noticed that you all appreciate the familiar faces in the crowd…you even mention it at shows sometimes when you see someone who was at your last show.
Goldsmith: I definitely like to show my appreciation of the fans. It means a lot to me when someone makes a point to meet us and come to as many shows as possible. That’s how we’re going to get more successful.
GH: Speaking of success, you’ve already opened for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Lollapalooza this summer. How was that experience?
Goldsmith: That was great. The chance to play to as many people as possible is really what we want to be doing at this point – getting exposure.
GH: What about your Daytrotter experience?
Goldsmith: The Daytrotter tour was amazing because it allowed us to play a bunch of different venues to a bunch of new people in a short amount of time. It also introduced us to new bands that we can play future shows with.
GH: What would you say is the “most important” thing for a new band to focus on if they want to be able to become successful? And not just in the money sense of the word, but in the fan base, and personal connections sense – in the sense that they can get their music “out there” so that it’s heard by as many potential fans as possible?
Goldsmith: Well, when Dawes first started it was Simon Dawes, but then Wylie and I added my brother, Griffin, and Alex Casnoff to the mix and dropped the Simon name to just Dawes. We started out playing shows in and around the L.A. area in bars and clubs. We didn’t make much money, and we aren’t getting rich at this point either [laughs] but I think it’s most important to make those personal connections, to make sure they get in touch with their fans and listeners. If a band isn’t able to develop a fan base, then the venues on the road really aren’t going to jump to schedule them.
GH: Well Taylor, I’m glad I got the chance to chat with you about these things. I think one of the best things about Dawes is your genuineness. I’ve seen bands that don’t even talk to the audience during the show or afterwards. I hope to see you guys again on the road sometime soon.
Goldsmith: Well I’m glad you noticed that about us, because that’s really what we’re all about. Hope to see you out there again as well!