Big Country, Big Album, Big Plans – An Interview With Dexeter

After a very hectic few months for the band, I caught up with Gareth from Dexeter, and he told me all about what they’ve been up to and what exciting things have coming up.

The big news at the moment is your second album, but before we get to that, what have you been up to since Country 2 Country, which served as an introduction of Dexeter to the masses?

Well Steve, we have been so busy since Country 2 Country which feels like a million years ago now! We launched Brighter Skies the day we played at the O2 which has since been on New Country UK’s Top 15 albums of 2014 on Chris Country Radio – that was a massive boost of confidence as there were some BIG names on that list! We have played a lovely summer full of festivals, played with Jeannine Barry, Gary Quinn and Laura Oakes and opened a sold out show at Camden Barfly with Coco and the Butterfields. We’ve released the first single from our second album and we are playing at YeeHaw UK alongside Chase Allan, Raintown, Ward Thomas and The Shires among others, and of course have been busy writing the new album too! Busy busy!

You recently recorded a video for your latest single Slow It Down, what was that experience like and what has been the reception to the song?

LOVED making that video – and the final result has gone down a storm opening up a different kind of audience for us which is great. It was a long hot night when we made the video – but we were so happy with it, we can’t wait for our second video which will coincide with the album release in March – at the moment it looks like it could be for a really stompy anthem we are working on called ‘Meet Me There’. It’s an exciting time – feeling so creative at the moment!

So onto your Pledgemusic campaign for your new album – what made you decide to go down this route and what can we expect from it?

So, we used pledgemusic when we hit some funding issues with our first album. It worked so well that we thought we would do it again. It allows people to get involved and really tests the active and passive nature of music fandom. Thankfully our fans have got behind it well and it is working out okay so far! Basically it is a pre-ordering system, and we have a very modest target so we are hoping to hit 100% well before the 71 days are up! There should be a few extra little bits for pledgers along the way too, and it’s been a great way to test the reception of the new album.

As I write this, you are at 66%, after just 3 days and with 71 days of the campaign left. How does that make you feel and what happens if you go over the target amount?

We are always completely overwhelmed, and very grateful when people get involved. If we go over the target amount 10% of the difference goes straight to Amnesty International. Anything that we receive over the target will go towards our next video too to support the album launch. Basically we understand that any fans pre-ordering based on one single is amazing, and especially in a time of economic uncertainty. We don’t take anything for granted.

On the same night as you launched the Pledgemusic campaign you also announced that you will be supporting Big Country for their Corby leg of their 30th Anniversary Tour later this year. How did that come about?

A really lovely bloke at The Core Theatre follows us on twitter, and we got chatting one day online – he passed our details to the programmer at the the theatre and one lovely meeting later we had the opening slot for Big Country, celebrating the 30th anniversary of their Steel Town album, a record written about Corby itself – the original steel town. There are one or two other announcements coming in the near future as a result of the meeting, and supporting nationally touring bands is really where we want to be at the moment, we feel like its the next step for us, and can’t wait to get out there and play to new audiences.

You have some festival appearances coming up, including FSA Fest and Midwinterfest – how do these performances differ, if at all, from normal gigs?

I guess the main difference is the diversity of the acts involved, we love getting out and making new friends, but lately there have also been some familiar faces at the shows and that’s really lovely too. We’ve made some good mates along the way. We love how different the festivals are too, some are really intimate and audiences are really close, and some are much bigger – we played to 4500 at Rugby Music Festival and that was great. The smaller festivals make us more nervous to be honest! It is much more obvious if you make a mistake! haha! We can’t wait for FSA Fest which will be a reunion of sorts from Country 2 Country, and Midwinterfest is set to be something very different and should be very special indeed.

Boasting 6 members already, I hear your numbers may be growing soon – what will you be adding and how will that affect your sound?

Yes! We are always looking for ways to improve our sound, so we have gone out and found ourselves a few additions – pedal steel guitar for that authentic country sound, and we’ve been looking for a second backing singer too, as the harmonies have become integral to the Dexeter sound. We are becoming an Americana orchestra!

Dexeter at Leicester City Festival - August 24th 2014

Dexeter at Leicester City Festival – August 24th 2014

By contrast you also do some gigs just yourself and Dee, so Dexeter really is the band for all occasions?

Absolutely! We’ve done that on purpose as there is a really different feel to stripping back the songs for an acoustic duo and we would love to do a few more shows like that. Nothing beats having a big band behind you, but when there are only two of you the songs really have to stand up for themselves and that’s a great way of testing if they work.

If you had the opportunity to perform at Country 2 Country again next year, what would be different from the performance you put on on this past March?

Oh man, we would love to do that again – would be even better if we could get on to one of the shows somewhere like the Bowl – we went small last year, and it worked out well – if we could take our big sound down there in its full range we could really make a lot of noise! Our new album is timed to coincide with the festival too, so there would be a whole bunch of new songs to choose from. I think we would love to get around more and meet a lot more people too – that’s really important to us, we like making new friends and that helps get the band’s name out there too.

What’s the big plan for Dexeter?

I guess that depends on how people take the new album – would be great to get out to a wider audience, not just country, but mainstream audiences too. We are currently looking for management and label support as we have got this far on a wing and a prayer, but feel like we would benefit from mentoring and guidance in that way. We would like to carry on playing out to awesome audiences, making great music and enjoying being creative. We are looking for more support slots in 2015 and hope to put together a small tour working with some of the people we have got to know along the way. Who knows? Watch this space…. πŸ™‚

Dexeter Pledgemusic Album Campaign: link
Dexeter Live Shows: link

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