Q&A with Earnie Ashwood of The Complex Dialect: "We Made the Exact Album We Wanted"
There's no better way to start 2018 than listening to the politically fueled new album from Seattle 8-piece progressive outfit, The Complex Dialect. Bound together by a need for growth and true expression, The Complex Dialect touch on serious topics on their debut album, Change. From police brutality and capitalism to our own issues with instant gratification, no subjects are off limits on Change, which offers up both the problem and solution for listeners.
The Complex Dialect released Change in December and are currently looking toward the future with hope and determination. You can stream the album now on Spotify and read more about the band below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about The Complex Dialect for anyone who might not be familiar?
The Complex Dialect is a group of 8 extremely diversely inspired individuals. We use that diversity to express different perspectives on a variety of topics. We strive really hard to have authentic musical conversations about things that really matter to us, and hopefully to the listener as well.
When you get eight musicians together, you’re bound to combine a lot of different musical backgrounds and influences. How do you feel your different experiences and musical tastes affect the music that you write together?
Its honestly one of the core things that makes our band what it is. We love to build and play off those differences. Its all a conversation to us. Diversity of influence makes for really interesting, beautiful conversations.
As a relatively young band, what were some of your goals when first forming and beginning to write music? How do you feel those have evolved as you’ve been working on your debut album?
I know from the beginning we wanted to make something honest. Something that we could walk away knowing we didn't compromise. On a personal level I was using the writing process to really process my own feelings on everything that was happening with our country, specifically being a person of color, and seeing countless acts of police brutality all through the year of 2016. It was my goal to make something that embraced multiple perspectives of struggle, and how we as a band processed it. I really do feel like we made the exact album we wanted.
You released your new album, Change on December 1st. Can you tell us about what inspired this release? What was the catalyst behind these songs?
2016 sucked. So bad. 2017 Feels like a horrible sequel that you never wanted. For us, change was our blueprint of getting through it through acknowledgement and connection. We felt it was really important to share this.
You’ve talked about how you aim to encourage anyone who is struggling - what would you like them to take away from the songs on Change?
That they aren't crazy. That this isn't normal. That we can't do the same things and expect different results. And we sure as hell can't do it alone.
One of the first songs you released from the album was “Capitalism”. What is the story behind this song?
We place so much power with our words, and can often say the right things, but we still spend our dollar on a system designed to enslave us. For me Capitalism is about that cycle of chasing after security through the almighty dollar, while running from the monster that is survival in the form of rent destabilization, job security (at a place you hate), and the constant fear of dread.
Considering today’s social and political climate, were there any topics in particular that you knew you needed to discuss on Change?
Police brutality against black people of color, our addiction towards instant gratification to cover up our trauma and pain, and acknowledgement of the role we play in the execution of our own slavery in capitalism. These were themes we new right off the bat that we needed to talk about.
What were some of the most rewarding moments of working on the album? What on Change are you the most proud of?
Knowing that we kept the spirit of the album in tact through the whole process was a big deal for us. I'm so glad that we captured exactly what we were trying to say.
With the album out now, do you have any other big plans for the new year?
Yes! Here in Seattle we're playing at The Showbox right near the market! There's so much history that runs through the wall of that building, and it will be an honor to headline our vinyl release there. The date is January 27th, 2018.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for having us. It's an honor to share time with you.