Dexeter are a country band from Leicestershire in the United Kingdom who have been going from strength to strength since their 2014 appearance at Country 2 Country Festival at O2 Arena in London. They have opened for acts such as The Shires, Ward Thomas and even the Pistol Annies’ very own Angeleena Presley! With a critically acclaimed album already under their belts, Dexeter return with their new EP ‘Waiting On A Lifetime’ and their first headline tour in 2016.
We sat down with the band and asked them about their hometown, their instruments and their love of country music. Enjoy…
- Could you tell me about the new EP ‘Waiting On A Lifetime’
Waiting for a Lifetime is a bit of a new direction for us and we’re really excited about it. It’s a mainly upbeat record, with lots of attitude! Two of the songs were written whilst we were in Nashville last year and we had the pleasure of working with Grammy nominated songwriter, Michael Logen. It’s been an incredible process and we’re really proud of how the EP has turned out. We hope everyone likes it as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.
- Is there anything that you do in particular to protect your voice?
We’ve recently found this great herbal tea called Throat Coat. It tastes awful but it really helps to soothe your throat if you’ve been singing a lot. It’s almost like a natural organic anaesthetic. They only sell it in America so we stocked up last time we were there.
- What was the first country song you heard and how old were you?
I was quite late to the game when it comes to Country music. I only started regularly listening to it around 4 years ago. I think probably one of the first Country song I heard would have been something by the Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton. Maybe ‘Jolene’, or nine to five.
- Do you have any favoured stage microphones?
I currently use a Shure SM58. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used anything else! They’re great Mics and not too expensive either.
Gareth (Vocals and Guitar)
- What is the live music scene like in Leicestershire?
The music scene in the city is vibrant. There are tons of acts of all kinds of genres dotted around the place, and we’ve noticed that amongst the metal bands and hip hop acts, there are a significant number of country bands starting to peek out in the county which is great too.
- Where are you planning to tour next?
After Country 2 Country, we kick off our first ever headline tour, starting in York before heading up the road to Glasgow – a town we adore playing in. We hit Manchester before heading back to Leicester. Then we head towards the south coast and play in Bournemouth before hopping back to London to play at The Garage. We cannot wait – it’s a great mix of places we love to play, and places we’ve never been. We are then going to the Little Rabbit Barn in Colchester – a small boutique venue we’ve wanted to play at for agggggges, so we are really excited about that one too!
- Do you have any favoured stage guitars?
Yes! I made a decision a while ago to stick with acoustic guitars and Spenny handles the electric stuff for us. My go-to guitar is a black Faith Venus Eclipse, and my back up on stage is either a Faith Neptune Naked, or my old Yamaha which sounds great. I always run a wireless kit too and process my signal through a special Fishman DI, which basically takes the brittle sound of the under saddle pickup and makes it sparkle as if it was in front of a microphone on stage – once I added that to my rig I didn’t look back in terms of creating a great tone that cuts through a live band.
- If the producers of the television show ‘Nashville’ asked to use one of your songs in the series what song would you like them to use and why? Who would you like to perform it?
We think about that a lot. Not only is it one of our favourite shows, but the soundtrack is impeccable written, produced and performed. I would say definitively that it’s one of our new songs, “Waiting For a Lifetime”. We can’t wait for everyone to hear that.
- Do you have any favoured stage basses?
Depends on the gig. I spent a lot of time and money on my viola bass. Its light, plays great, and I use flatwound strings, so it tends to have a tone more in keeping with a double bass. It’s also really light, so I can dance about a bit more as I play. I also love to play my Stagg electric upright bass. It plays like silk and with very few modifications, it’s a real joy to play.
- What can people expect from the new EP?
The key elements are there with great songs that we’re all incredibly proud of and Dee’s great voice that constantly sends shivers down my back. There’s an attention to detail that I love in the writing and recording that means it’ll be a bunch of songs that every time you listen you’ll hear something new. I think it’s got a great pop sensibility too. It’s us at our best.
- Jack Bruce or Jack Casady? (Feel free to say something about each)
Oh that’s not a fair question! Both great players in their own unique styles. Both innovators, and song writers. Can I pick John Entwistle and avoid choosing? He’s probably the reason I learnt to play the bass!
- Which of your songs are the best to a) dance to b) drive to?
a) Well, anyone that’s seen me play will know I can’t help but dance about when I play. And currently, TRY is the one that’s making me move the most. From the first time I heard the riff, when Gareth was writing it, it just had that infectious ‘listen to me’ sound. I have a lot to do on the bass on that one.
b) On the new EP I’d say Weight of The World. It really bounces along, and I love playing the bass for that one. Brilliant drumming on that one too. On our 4000 Miles album I’d say Getaway Car is still the one I want to play whilst breaking the land speed record!
- Three tips for a novice drummer please
Practice, gig and more practice!
- Willie Nelson or Willie Dixon? (Feel free to say something about each)
Well, bassology by Willie Dixon is an incredible piece of music – his has this incredible deft touch on the double bass that is just so musical, but Willie Nelson is a legend. Really tough call, I am guessing any Willie will do in this situation.
- Two tickets arrive for an artist you’ve always wanted to see live. Who is it and what song/s are you hoping to hear?
There are two bands I’ve been a massive fan of since I was a kid smashing the drums in my mum’s garage, but I would have to travel back in time to catch them at their peak on the tours I would want to see. I would have to travel back to 1994 to catch Pink Floyd at Earls Court on The Division Bell tour which is a massively influential album for me – particularly Learn To Fly – that beat is HUGE. They have two drummers on stage which makes their live sound sooooo big. I would also want to go and see Fleetwood Mac on The Dance tour performing Rhiannon for the same reasons as Learn To Fly – both songs have been a really integral part of my own performance style and helped make me the musician I am.
- Who are your biggest influences?
In no particular order, I would have to say John Bonham, Mick Fleetwood and Tony Royster Jr. Pioneers of their craft, each of those players have pushed the boundaries of percussion and drumming and have had great careers. Inspirational stuff.
- Do you have any favoured stage guitars?
I don’t have a favourite stage guitar as long as its one of my own guitars as you get used to the feel and set up of your own guitar/s no two guitars feel or play the same.
- Is there an album that’s grown on you and overtime has become essential listening?
The album by Kacey Musgraves – “Same Trailer Different Park”. When I first heard it was good, but every time you listen it pulls you into the lyrics more… Plus it has pedal steel on unlike a lot of commercial pop country!!
- What have you learned NOT to do on stage?
Having too many leads on stage everywhere – it is never good being tripped up by your own lead!
- Why do you think country music has had such a surge in popularity in the UK over the past few years?
I think it’s done well because it has been watered down to reach a wider musical audience that might not necessarily like steel guitars/banjos etc, or even the stigma of saying they like country music. In comparison to the country of early 90’s from Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, George Strait most of it is worlds apart nowadays.
Dexeter’s new EP ‘Waiting On A Lifetime’ is being released on Friday 8th April 2016. In addition, Dexeter will be embarking on their debut headline UK tour with special guests Holloway Road. The tour will stop at the following venues:
Saturday 26th March 2016 – The Basement, York, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1RWe2KV
Sunday 27th March 2016 – The Palomino, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1pTlCiU
Monday 28th March 2016 – The Castle, Manchester, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/22pKz6O
Saturday 2nd April 2016 – Duffy’s, Leicester, United Kingdom (Hometown Show) http://bit.ly/22pKCzA
Thursday 7th April 2016 – Chaplin’s, Bournemouth, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1UrloMt
Friday 8th April 2016 – The Garage, London, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1pTlUX1
Saturday 16th April 2016 – Little Rabbit Barn, Colchester, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1Rbf9qp
As well as their headline tour, Dexeter will also be appearing at the following UK festivals:
Sunday 29th May 2016 – Under The Apple Tree Roots Festival, Under The Apple Tree Sessions Stage, Silverstone Woodlands Campsite, Silverstone, NN12 8TN, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1SOzFC8
Friday 29th July 2016 – FSA Fest, Newark, United Kingdom
Saturday 27th August 2016 – Harpenden Folk, Roots and World Music Festival, Harpenden, United Kingdom
Sunday 28th August 2016 – Cottingham Folk Festival (Supporting The Shires), Cottingham, United Kingdom
For more information on the band visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/25bIudG
(Thanks to all of Dexeter for taking part in this piece and to Annette at Think Country for all of her help with this article and with Country Week)