The Dears, caught in the spotlight

In the spring of 2003, The Dears traveled across Canada supporting Matthew Good on his national tour. Some fans questioned the motives behind The Dears’ choice to tour with Good because The Dears are not the type of band to take orders from anyone, especially not from the likes of pretentious über-asshole Matt Good. But a chat with Natalia Yanchak (keyboards and vocals) shed some light on the reasons behind the tour.

"When we toured with Matt Good we didn’t know what to expect but we got a really good response," she explains. "The strategy behind that tour was to expose people to our music that would never otherwise hear it. We were a little worried at first but everything on that tour went well and it was a really good experience for us."

Well, call it a success.

Soon after the tour with Good, The Dears set out on a tour of their own, playing many sold-out shows, seeing many fans whose first exposure to the band came on the Matt Good tour.

"Now when we play shows there are always a bunch of people in the crowd that would have never heard of us if it wasn’t for the Matt Good tour and that’s awesome," Yanchak says. "We’re now reaching people that need to be reached."

Why is it important for The Dears to reach people? Well, because…

"The world is fucked, basically," states Yanchak without a hint of pessimism. "People have forgotten about loving and respecting each other and so many people are so lost and don’t know who they are. There is so much confusion and such a lack of true identity right now."

Instead of artists who pick causes and hold on for dear life, trying to appear to make a difference in the world, The Dears just stick to making refined rock music that people can both rock out to and find a message in. The whole picking a cause fad is something The Dears intend on avoiding,

"Not to sound insensitive, but picking a cause these days is kind of like picking your favorite colour," Yanchak states boldly. "There are a lot of problems in the world but buying fucking fair trade coffee as a fucking band-aid is not a fucking solution. The problem is a spiritual one and not in any religious or doctrine way."

And just when are The Dears planning on fixing everything for us?

"Well, we try," offers Yanchak with a laugh. "As a band you have a voice and you have a certain responsibility to create something important that people can feel."

Creating important art is something The Dears have developed a knack for. From their debut, End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, to the timely Protest EP and most recently with the Apr. 2003 release of No Cities Left on MapleMusic, The Dears make music that acts like a warm blanket for the soul. Their music is engaging and challenging for the listener, and is often described as doom-and-gloom art rock. Yanchak understands the difficulty their music creates for listeners but she also feels that just because people don’t "get" the music on the first listen doesn’t mean they never will.

"I don’t think everyone is hopeless," she says charitably. "People can ‘get it,’ but the way the industry is right now they are not even given the opportunity to."

With the positive feedback from No Cities Left and a new North American tour nearly half finished, people are definitely starting to "get" The Dears. In my opinion, their comeuppance is well overdue.

With the Western leg of their tour starting Wed., Oct. 24 in Winnipeg, Yanchak is glad to be coming through Alberta again.

The Dears play Fri., Oct. 24 at The Gateway on the SAIT campus, with up-and-comers Pilate opening. Doors open at 8:00 p.m.

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