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Dirty Heads: Exclusive Interview From the Making of Their Sophomore Album

Chris Epting

In a nondescript corporate park just a few miles down Pacific Coast Highway from Huntington Beach, Calif., one of the most exciting rock acts in the US is working hard. From the parking lot, a heavy-throbbing reggae beat pours of the open door like sweet heavy syrup from a just-punctured can. Inside the dark, smallish studio, the Dirty Heads are building their next beast – and their next beats – in pre-production for a new album that should see the light of day next spring. For years, this studio has been home base for the Dirty Heads, and so the comfort level is high. There’s lots of laughing and joking around as Dustin Bushnell lays down some final scratch vocals before the band heads south the next week to Texas, where the album will come together in its final form.

The mood is light, loose and a little crazy. After all, these guys are old friends now with a lot of history between them, especially after recently wrapping up their first-ever headlining tour across the US. As they work on their new album, they seem confident, relaxed and fired up for the future. Jared Watson and Dustin Bushnell took some time from pre-production to talk things over with Noisecreep.

This studio where we are is where you did your first record.

Jared Watson: This is home. The first song we recorded, ‘Ring the Alarm,’ we did right here in this room when we were like 18-years-old. And it’s just 10 minutes from home so we don’t have to go up to LA. It’s a perfect situation. Our home away from home.

How has pre-production gone so far?

Dustin Bushnell: We’ve got a lot done. We’ve been in here a few days but we’ve been getting ideas together actually for a few years. So we’re just touching things up now and getting things organized so that next week in Texas we can be sort of efficient.

How many songs are you working on?

Watson: We have 17 that we’re going to knock down to 12. There are about nine that are not going anywhere, so those last three we’ll have to figure out. That’s when we’ll start talking to friends and other musicians. Talking to kids s in surf shops – you need to talk to people sometimes to get a feel for what’s really working. And of course anything that does not get used can always end up as b-sides and free downloads.

Watch ‘Lay Me Down’ from Dirty Heads

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It seems like a very good time for the band right now.

Watson: It is. This is the most enjoyable for me since the beginning. Being on the road 200 days the last year, we’ve been able to come up with some very cool stuff. Plus, we spent most of this summer at home so we could really relax and have some fun. It is a great time for the band.

Bushnell: I agree. It’s a very positive time and this summer we cold relax a bit, too. I went camping up to the Kern River. But mostly hung out with family and friends.

The recent tour really proved you’ve made it to the next level.

Watson: It felt good to be the headliner and being able to hook bands up that played with us. We always liked the bands that looked out for us so we pay it back and try to make it special for the bands out n the road with the Dirty Heads. But as for our first headlining tour, it took a while for me to process, how big some of the shows were, how intense the fans were – it was just amazing.

Can you describe the sound of the new songs?

Bushnell: A little more cohesive than the last album,. A little more focused. But still pure Dirty Heads.

Noisecreep will be reporting with more Dirty Head in-studio exclusives after they arrive in Texas.

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