Interview: Dead Sara’s Emily Armstrong on Success, Working With Courtney Love and More

September 24th, 2012
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Earlier this year, Dead Sara came out of the wood work and took radio by storm with their single “Weatherman.” A gritty, catchy Blind Mellon meets Janis Joplin tune that exhibits the band’s energy and song writing skills beautifully. Just after Sunset Strip Music Festival I caught up with Dead Sara’s Emily Armstrong to talk about their “overnight” success a bit.

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mxdwn: So let’s start with a basic question, how are you doing?

Dead Sara’s Emily Armstrong: Good, except I just slipped on a skateboard. We just started the tour today and it’s probably not the way I’d like to start the tour, but oh well.

Was that for pleasure or performance purposes?

I used to skateboard a lot when I was younger and someone had one so I was messing around with it.

So you guys seemed to come out of nowhere with “Weatherman” becoming this big hit. I read that a guy really dug it and played it on a college radio station and it took off after that?

Yeah he started playing it at a radio station in Hartford and the audience really responded well to it, so he kind of chose the single for us. Then we hired a radio company after that and he’s been pushing it for awhile.

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So you previously worked with Courtney Love?

Yeah I did some backup [vocals] on her record.

There so much stigma surrounding her so I have to ask, what was she like?

She’s out of her mind but she’s sweet. But I used so much energy talking to her on the first day. There’s so much energy to it you really feel like you have to listen to every word she’s saying and try to make sense of it all. Because she says it with so much conviction that, “If I don’t understand this, where will I be then?” Then you realize she’s that eccentric and has that much energy to make you feel that way; it’s manipulative. And she talks about everything and it’s like, “OK I can’t handle everything.” Once I realized that it was easier because it’s like, “OK that’s the way she is,” you know? Then it was easier to cut around it and get to the point.

That’s kind of how I imagined her. How was it playing on Jimmy Kimmel?

It was super cool. We played those two songs many, many times so we had a lot of practice. But as far as TV goes, being on camera, we had a few times to rehearse during the day so it was a little more comfortable for us. You know, dress rehearsal, and sound rehearsal. It wasn’t ’till after we did we went to the bar to watch it later and it was like, “Holy Fuck.” It really occurred to me. You look at it, you watch it all the time and it’s like, “Oh OK.” You don’t think, “Yeah, we’ll be on there soon.” You know? It’s like, “Wow that actually happens.”

Did it feel kind of like it happened over night?

Yes and no. We’ve been at it for awhile. It was like, “Oh good. Something’s working.” It’s great though. It’s really humbling.

So what’s next for you guys?

Right now we’re doing a string of radio shows then we start a tour with The Offspring. After that I think we’re going out to the UK with some unconfirmed other bands that we’ll be on with. Sooner or later we’ll do some more Warped Tour festival type shows. That’s about it for now.

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All photos by Owen Ela

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