London-based Dead! aren’t just a band. Rather, the four-piece – vocalist/guitarist Alex Mountford, guitarists Sam and Louis Matlock and bassist Sam Chappell – have set themselves up to also be an attitude, a way of life. Musically, the band straddle a number of genres, including grunge, punk and indie, which makes them difficult to pigeonhole, but they’re equally happy wearing influences on their sleeves as they are doing their own thing.
“We don’t really try to do anything,” says Sam matter-of-factly, “which sounds really lazy, but we just want to write cool songs. That’s literally it. Whatever comes out comes out – if it’s a little bit indie rock and we like it, we’re going to play it, if it’s a little bit heavy and we like it, we’re going to play it. We just put out a single called Something More Original, but the title’s ironic because the song’s not original at all – it’s pretty clichéd – but we thought it had a good chorus and a good riff and we’re proud of it.”
Beyond the music – which really isn’t as generic as Matlock makes out – Dead! also put out zines, make their own line of clothes and put on gigs in the most unlikely of places, all things that are part of a movement they term the Damned Restless Future.
“The name comes from a lyric of one of our earliest demos, which we made when we were still at uni,” explains Matlock. “From day one, there was always kind of a gang mentality, so when we realised we had a bit of a street team going on, it seemed like the perfect name. That kind of tongue-in-cheek gang movement really excites us – it’s why we always keep a hand in the merch and why we always make sure to flier. The Damned Restless Future are cool and they’ll always flier for us, but we feel it’s important to be there with them and keep it as a gang.”
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So far, that approach has done them plenty of favours – as well as building up a large and devoted fan base, the band have signed to Infectious Records, a major label subsidiary whose roster also includes DZ Deathrays and Drenge, as well as indie success stories White Lies, Alt-J and Bloc Party. And while, for Dead!, it’s the music that matters first and foremost, they certainly have ambitions, though not quite for the usual reasons.
“We’re going for world domination,” Matlock says, and it’s hard to tell if his tongue is in his cheek a little or not. “We’ve got quite a high vision. If we ever get to play a big venue like Brixton Academy or The Forum, then we’re going to waste the whole fee on production. And that’s why we want that domination – we need access to the money and the big stages to do all these cool little things that we want to do.
“We think to ourselves, ‘Wouldn’t this be cool on the main stage at Reading in a few years if we ever get there?’” he adds. “Some music is just made to be played to masses of people, and that’s what we’re aiming for when we write.”
The band’s new single Something More Original is out now through Infectious Music (opens in new tab). The band are currently on tour with SWMRS.