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The PV Q&A: Dispatch Jam Around The Sun

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Interview by Rick Florino

Good things come to those who wait. Over a decade after its inception, influential Vermont trio Dispatch found themselves headlining a string of reunion shows at legendary spots such as Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center, and Red Rocks Amphitheater. Even though they'd officially "broken up" in 2004, the group's influence always permeated the modern indie rock movement, regardless of whether or not they were together.

However, the moment fans have truly been waiting for is the release of new tunes. Really, what's a reunion without them? Last year's Dispatch EP merely wet the audience's appetite, but their first full-length since 2000, Circles Around The Sun, will truly satiate any fan's hunger, preserving hallmarks of the group's sound while brandishing a new folk fire.

In this PV exclusive interview, bassist and vocalist Pete Heimbold talks Circles Around the Sun, getting back on the road, being a new dad, and more. He even looks back on their seminal debut Silent Steeples.

PureVolume: What's your take on Circles Around the Sun? How did you approach your first album back?
Pete Heimbold: We really approached it with the EP we did first. That came out about a year ago. We were testing the waters, and everybody brought a song to the table. With this project, it was more of a collaboration between the three of us, about where a particular chorus should go or what types of guitar sounds we should have. It was more like a band than solo guys in a band making a record.
PV: Was this more of a "band" record than the earlier material?
PH: In a way, I think so. We're essentially collaborating and working with each other. It was a good process to go through. It was smooth.
PV: Were there any topical threads tying Circles Around the Sun together?
PH: I don't know if there's one collective theme per se. Sometimes I think it's about adventure, exploration, and the sheer drive of youth. Maybe it's inherent in the title. Circles Around the Sun implies a certain amount of time, like a year. Sometimes I wonder why a song is called something or an album gets a certain title. That's what I think. This title came from the song. Chad wrote that one.
PV: Does it reflect the cyclical nature of you reforming Dispatch in some ways?
PH: There might be a little of that cyclical nature. However, a "year" doesn't necessarily mean a passage of time.
PV: Where did "Feels So Good" come from?
PH: I have a 19-month-old little boy now, and I really wrote it about the celebration of his birth. It's one of those times where everything feels so good. It's great to say that.
PV: How does being a father change you as a songwriter?
PH: Well, you get to see it and hear it all through a whole new set of eyes and ears. Generally, my son is exploring my guitar and piano. He loves sound. It's a whole new set of ears to take in the world of music.
PV: Was the interplay between your three voices an important part of making the record? How crucial are those harmonies?
PH: It's something we strive to do. Brad takes the lead on a lot of harmony singing. He's really good at it. I've always felt the roots of our band are in our voices, the harmonies, and the extension of that. It feels so good [Laughs]. The harmonies feel good to sing, and they lend themselves to making the songs better.
PV: That convention goes back to the Beatles, but you don't hear it much nowadays.
PH: You're right. You don't hear people sharing that role very often. I like it because as I've gotten older, I'm learning more and I'm more open. When I was younger, I think I fought it more. I wanted to do it my way. On this round, there was more of a healthy collaboration.
PV: What was your first European tour like?
PH: It was totally awesome! Being in London, Scotland, Berlin, Cologne, Zurich, Amsterdam and Paris was so much fun. The people were very receptive. It was great.
PV: Did you have a favorite city?
PH: We were lucky we had a lot of good crowds. Cologne or Berlin might've been the best. It was my first time going with the band, but I've been there for other reasons.
PV: It seems like bands either love touring Europe or they hate it.
PH: I really loved it. People were wonderful. The food was great. It was an adventure. I don't know how you couldn't like it.


 

 
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