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What Canadian Rockers Are All Aboot

By Ravi Kapoor

The Tech had the opportunity to interview Dallas Smith, vocalist, from the band Default. The band is headlining their own tour for the first time, and they recently played at Avalon with Injected and Trik Turner to support their debut album, The Fallout.

The Tech: Your debut album, The Fallout, has achieved Gold status in the U.S. and Platinum in Canada, yet you guys have only been together for a few years. A lot of bands that achieve status this quickly end up being “one-disc wonders” and every subsequent album is downhill. Do you think that this quick rise will hurt you at all?

Dallas Smith: I don’t know. I hope not. Just going to keep plugging away at what we’re doing. Songs came really, really easy to us over those few years that we were together and I don’t see why they wouldn’t come again. A lot of things could happen negatively, but they could easily just happen positively too. They came really easy to us, not like we took a lot of time polishing songs off. We weren’t really changing too much.

TT: September is when you guys pretty much end your tour. What are your plans for your next album? Have any new songs been written while on tour?

DS: We’re writing still. We’ve got a computer in the back for our recording studio. Our tour doesn’t actually end in September. We go to Europe at the end of August, then come back and go to some Canadian college states. Then in October we’re going to Australia and Japan and in November and December I’d imagine we’ll be doing the same thing we’re doing right now. The new album, we’re working on it, will probably come out early next year. We don’t want to rush everything with this album, and something I think other bands make a big mistake with is forcing the second album. If you rush it, then you’re not going to get a representation of what a year’s been, you’re going to get what a month’s been. You only have so many emotions going through your head in that month, so your album is going to sound all the same. So we’re just going to take our time, and when we’re happy with it, it’ll come out.

TT: It was mentioned in an interview that you guys didn’t experiment too much with different sounds. A lot of bands decide to play around more with the second album, some finding their real sound, Fuel, in my opinion, and others losing the heart of the first album. What do you plan to do as far as sound goes for your sophomore title?

DS: The sound on the album as far as guitar effects go are very simple. There’s a lot of pop sounds on the album, a lot of heavy rock, a lot of blues sounds. That’s the kind of the thing we’re going to do, not so much what guitar tones we’re going to use. Whether it’s delay here or delay there, or that effect here. We’re going to keep it pretty much simple, very straight-ahead rock. We’re not going to go into the direction of like computer samples or something in the background. I don’t think we’d ever do something like that.

TT: You’ve been compared to a number of bands, specifically Creed, Nickelback, Pearl Jam, etc. I personally think the vocals have a Seven Mary Three feel and the instrumental a Fuel style. Who would you compare yourself to?

DS: We’d don’t like to. [laughs] Well, whatever. That doesn’t concern us. We try to let the music speak for itself. I mean every band goes through that. Since we worked with Chad from Nickelback, we always get compared to Nickelback. A lot of bands, once they hit their second or third disc, like you said, they start developing their own sound. Like Creed was compared to Pearl Jam, and now we get compared to Creed. I just don’t think that makes much sense. Once a band puts their second or third CD out, I think they get past that. STP was compared to Pearl Jam, and now look at them. No one would even imagine that they were compared to them.

TT: Is “breaking new musical ground” important or do you guys like to just play whatever comes to mind, since critics tend to give better reviews to bands that sound unique?

DS: Like Radiohead. Yeah, we’re not one of those bands, I don’t think. I mean, we’re not here to change the world. We’re just here to write songs people can sing along too, and enjoy singing along to and make them feel good. That’s all that matters. Critics don’t like us, but it’s really just one person’s opinion.

TT: I’ve read that everyone in the band contributes to the song-writing process. Is it a member of the band comes up with a song and everyone tweaks it? How does it work?

DS: It’s different every time, really. I guess the majority of the time, we basically get a guitar riff and chorus and then hum a melody to it. Just kind of structure it that way. But there’s been occasions where Danny will come up with a guitar riff or I’ll come up with a guitar riff and then we just kind of fuck around with it. I think a good idea is a good idea. It doesn’t really matter where it comes from. If someone comes up with a good vocal riff, I won’t not use it because I didn’t come up with it.

TT: Do you guys prefer to play, practice, and create music acoustically or full-out electric, like garage-rock?

DS: We like to do it electrically, like, when we wrote the album, it was all done in just a garage. Everything blasting, we could barely hear what we were doing, but it turned out all right. That’s a little bit different now. We can’t really bring an amp on the bus and let it blare and have a full drum set in there. We’ll have to see. I think we’re going to have to take some time off here and there. We have a week off in September. Hopefully go back in the garage and come up with a few ideas, and try to go back to the way we wrote the first album. This is all new ground for us, we don’t really know what exactly what we’re going to do. I guess we’ll figure it out. [laughs]

TT: What’s your favorite song off of The Fallout?

DS: It changes. I have different ones I like playing live as opposed to ones on the album. Two of my favorite ones to play live are “Sick and Tired,” the first track, and “Deny.” They’re a lot harder and just a lot more in your face. It’s better for live. On the album, I think “Live a Lie” is ... I’m just happy with the way it turned out.

TT: Last question. What do you think about Injected’s music?

DS: Stoner rock man. Straight ahead.