It has been two years since The Dirty Heads came out with their debut album Any Port in a Storm. Now Cabin by the Sea arrives just in the nick of time to herald in the summer. We got on the phone with lead singer Jared Watson to chat about their most recent album and everything in between. From their beginnings in vocalist/guitarist Dustin Bushnell‘s garage in Huntington Beach, the Dirty Heads have incorporated many influences from reggae to hip hop, including the sounds of Mexico they encountered on tour. The eclectic vibes come together to make the kind of summer album that inspires you to kick the worries. Catch them while they’re in your city, or at least watch their cooking show: Get Baked with the Dirty Heads on Funny or Die. It’s funny.
JLM: Why the name Dirty Heads?
JW: It was a nickname given to us by our older brothers. Just weird, little brothers that just hung around and tagged along.
JLM: The influence and style sounds very eclectic – where did all the influences come from?
JW: Just growing up and listening to music. We used to listen a lot of old reggae and Yellow Man, Peter Tosh and Horace Andy. We really loved The Beastie Boys and a Tribe Called Quest.
JLM: On your new track Disguise there is a Spanish influence we haven’t heard before – where did you guys pick that up?
JW: It was inspired by a sample Dustin and Lewis Richards found and we recreated it with some players we met from a college when recording in El Paso. But on the border some of the players from the college in Mexico crossed it to play for us.
JLM: You refer to Sublime as being a big influence – did you ever have an Oh my gosh! I’m making music with Sublime! moment?
JW: Yeah a few years ago when I met Eric, that was really cool. They got back together and we got to listen to them, hear them and meet Bud and actually become friends. In those times it was really cool, he was somebody that we pretty much idolized.
JLM: What is it like to work with a Marley?
JW: It’s amazing. I’ve got to work with Eric and Bud from Sublime and even got to make a song with a Marley brother who is really talented and who we respect.
JLM: Was any process of creating Cabin a challenge?
JW: There are a lot of challenges but I think in any album there are challenges. If there’s no challenges, you’re not doing it right or you’re not working hard enough. This album was really fun to make because there was a lot of time in between this and the last album, so we were ready to go in the studio. We had a lot of material. I wasn’t pulling my hair out, but we would look back on things, make cuts, check things and say to each other that we need to be the best that we can be.
JLM: What is the process of creating a song in the studio like?
JW: Somebody brings a little idea and they go in the studio, see it through and build on that. We started with about 30 ideas and took the best 20 out of that. Then they started to grow and we saw which ones we liked more, we picked 18 from there and whittled that down to 16.
JLM: How has the new album evolved since Any Port in a Storm?
JW: We played so many shows, just in the last year a little over 200 shows. So times that by 5, 6, 7 years. The more you play, the more you write, the more you do, the more experience and the more comfortable you get. So [Cabin by the Sea] was a lot different because we really knew what we were doing.
JLM: Do you guys have any interests outside of music?
JW: I skateboard. Before I met Dustin my goal was to be a pro skater. I was shooting videos and skating every day with my friends. That’s all I cared about. I still go skating when I’m on tour.
JLM: Currently listening to…
JW: ASAP Rockie and the new Fiona Apple album.
JLM: Where do you see the band in 5 years?
JW: Hopefully we’ll be doing the same thing but on an international level. Traveling, writing music and playing to the world.
JLM: Advice for aspiring musicians?
JW: Keep playing, play as many shows as you can and stay positive. Just keep working at it.
Photo Courtesy of Dove Shore Photography