author: ethan butterfield | a&c writer
Banding with Butterfield talks inspiration and the long road ahead with the Saskatchewan band.
With February upon us and the semester becoming more and more time consuming, why not relax a bit and read up on this amazing group from right here in Regina, The Dead South! For those who aren’t sure, the Dead South is a folk/bluegrass-based band that has been making noise ever since their first album, Good Company. For more information, you can find the interview with Nate Hilts just below:
So, for the first question, how did you guys come up with the name, The Dead South?
We used to have a drummer and when he was with us, we were thinking of a name and nothing good was coming to us at all, and he actually came up with the name. He said, “The Dead Souths,” like with an “s.” And we were kinda like, “Yeah, something’s good about it, something’s not quite so good about it,” and obviously it was the “s.” Because with the pluralization, it sounds like sauce with an accent. We had to get rid of that pretty quick, but that’s where it rooted from.
So, how did you guys know this is the style of music you wanted to play/go with?
Well when we first started, we were all just learning our instruments at the time. We were inspired by The Devil Makes Three and Old Crow Medicine Show and some old-timey stuff, so that was the goal. This itself just came from what happened when you put these instruments in our hands, and the theme just started falling into place after a couple of our first songs. So I guess it was just kinda the inspiration of the music that got us into this, this realm.
Awesome! So you guys have been hugely popular, especially recently. What is it like to have that fanbase?
Oh, it’s incredible, man. I mean, there’s no cooler feeling than the first time you see some people singing your songs. Then you see that grow and just become a community. Like Montmartre is a great example, because when we play at Montmartre, we just have the best time with the best people coming out and dancing, and supporting, and singing along, and it’s such a nice feeling. It really is, especially when it’s so close to home, too.
Speaking of reaching this point in popularity, what groups have you performed with that you didn’t see yourself performing with?
Yeah, so there’s one, she’s not huge, but she’s definitely big in my books: Lindi Ortega. She’s a singer, originally out of Toronto, but lives in Nashville, Tennessee. So we got to share the stage with her, the main stage at Big Valley Jamboree, which was pretty cool in Camrose. And then we did a songwriter thing with her and that led to hanging out and meeting up at different cities and hanging out and stuff, so that was really cool. We’ve shared the stage with some pretty incredible people actually, well…not even sharing the stage, but, The Devil Makes Three, I brought them up earlier. In Germany, we’re doing very well out there. I don’t know why, but we are and I’m really happy about it. But, like, promotions for The Devil Makes Three are coming out, and we’re on top of that promotion, like it’s us first and then them. And stuff like that is mind blowing. Like a band that really inspired me to want to play music, I’m sharing the same companies with them and stuff like that and that’s pretty cool.
Are there any songs that you personally enjoy performing when on stage?
When on stage? Yeah, I like playing “The Recap” on stage; that one’s a lot of fun for me. “Gunslinger’s Glory,” it’s a newer one that isn’t released yet, but we play it live. That one is a lot of fun vocally and just gives me a lot to do on the guitar, a lot more than normal. So, yeah, those ones are quite a bit of fun. You know, I have fun with most of them. I feel like the moment I stop having fun with them is the moment we kinda stop playing them.
The last question I wanted to ask is, what is going to be the future of The Dead South and where do you want to take it?
That’s a great question. Where do I want to take it? You know, I’ve already taken it further, like not me myself, but me and the other guys have taken it further than…we ever imagined. You know, like, the first time that we sat down to play together, we were like, “No one’s ever going to listen to this kinda stuff.” Like, we’re just a bunch of goofballs trying to play music and, you know, this will be fun and it’ll probably be short-lived. And, it’s grown way past that, so you know, I just want to keep it going so that it’s a livable, like a sustainable living, and I’m still enjoying it and everyone involved is still enjoying it. And, I think that’s kind of our focus right now is to continue, because we enjoy being on the road, we enjoy recording new music and everything, so we want to keep doing that and just see where that goes. Hopefully, it keeps going where we can keep playing awesome places and meeting new people and just being able to create new music and people are still enjoying it.
So, there it is. The Dead South are not to be missed as they continue on the rise. Hopefully, they can perform a little bit in Saskatchewan after their recent shows in Alberta are finished up. Don’t miss the chance to check these guys out! Until next time!