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The Dears tell a Bedtime Story
By Aaron St. John
"Any money that we make is poured back into the band. Nobody walks away with a paycheque."
Ah, the rewards of being in a rock band, according to Murray Lightburn, singer and composer of Montreal's critically acclaimed band, The Dears.
Though the band hasn't hit it rich yet, The Dears have been the recipients of copious praise throughout their nearly seven years of existence. The majority of this praise is thanks in large part to their first album, 2000's brilliant End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story.
Since then, the group has gone from virtual obscurity to being one of the country's top buzz bands.
While working on their second album, tentatively titled Deuxime Partie (no release date as of yet), Lightburn says the increase in attention has not affected the band.
"I don't think we feel pressured because the first focus of the band is to make music. On the one hand, it has a lot to do with the audience and on the other, it has absolutely nothing to do with them," he explains.
"With this next album, we want to keep that dialogue happening. It's on a bit of a heady level. In a way, we're the thinking man's band."
When pressed for details about the new album, Lightburn is a little cagey, but does reveal a few details. "It goes into some areas the first album didn't really go to. The mood of the record was this sort of unconscious thing," he says. "With this record, the songs are definitely more aware of themselves."
The band is taking its time with the project, he adds. "We're not in a mad rush to get it done. We don't have deadlines; we don't have a contract. That's a luxury that we probably won't have for much longer, but we're going to enjoy it while we can," he laughs. "Any deadline we have is self-imposed and it works better that way."
Fans of the band won't have to wait forever for new music, as The Dears have just released a stunning four-track EP, entitled Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique.
While explaining the genesis of the project, Lightburn reveals the band hopes to make this a regular occurrence releasing a new EP every year to give fans something to collect.
Although he writes most of the band's music himself, he's quick to point out that each of the members has their say. "I do write the bulk of the material, but it usually takes another turn after I present it to the band. Nothing I ever write is written in stone, it's open to debate."
In addition to the wide recognition for their recorded output, The Dears have gained fame for their high intensity performances. As Lightburn says, playing live presents new, important challenges for the band. "When we are performing we aren't really communicating with the audience," he asserts. "It's more about the interaction between the six of us and people latching on to that relationship we're having with each other.
"The chemistry is highly intense."
The Dears are playing a free show tomorrow night at The Spoke.