[Interview] Dead 27s Are Alive And On Fire
The Dead 27s, composed of Wallace Mullinax, Trey Francis, Will Evans, Oliver Goldstein, and Daniel Crider; found each other in Charleston, South Carolina in 2012 and have been steadily building a catalog of rock albums and loyal fans across the festival circuit and in cities throughout the US. With two sets at FloydFest, the guys were busy but they took the time to chat with Bullet Music before their performance on the Speakeasy stage Friday. Entering the artist lounge backstage to escape the rain, the guys were all smiles and full of energy. After they welcomed me in, we got started.
Can you speak about being part of the music scene in Charleston, which probably isn't a very normal scene due to the heavy tourist presence?
Will: It's an interesting thing when you have a heavy tourist presence because you'll have people come to your shows for something to do while they're in town, which is great, but they don't live there so it takes a concentrated effort to get involved with the people in the community. Which, I think this band has done a really good job of.
We live right next to the Pour House where we play shows all the time. Wallace is even on the wall of the Pour House. You have to find the places where the locals go and spend your time there and get gigs there. Oliver lives like half a mile from the Pour House, so after every gig and even big band gigs everyone comes over there and hangs out and plays music together. We may have just met that night but everyone is gonna end up there, the bands, the staff, it's like a halfway house for artists. Even when he's not trying to have people over we just show up.
You guys played FloydFest in 2016, the year Gregg Allman canceled. With respect to that and all the really amazing artists we have lost for one reason or another, tell me about any missed opportunities to share the stage you feel like you've had.
Oliver: You mean other than Gregg Allman? He and Duane were both artists we would have loved the opportunity to play with. It really depends on how far you want to turn back time because there are artists like Hendrix, David Bowie, Prince, and one for all of us was Col. Bruce. I think a few of us were able to play with him but we really would have all liked to and been able to hang out with him.
Bullet Music is based out of Atlanta so that one hit hard, but as artists can you imagine a better way to go?
Will: Absolutely not, surrounded by all of your best friends doing what you love, I can't think of a better way. Peeking at life and then I'm out.
He's somewhat artist #deathgoals. Is that inappropriate to say?
Will: I don't think it is, he and Bowie both really, they had the ultimate transitions. Bruce on stage, in the middle of an amazing night, and Bowie releasing a phenomenal record, leaving the world with one last gift, it's really a beautiful way to go out.
You guys had the opportunity to do a song for the Rory Scovel Netflix special. Tell me about that experience and do you have any other opportunities like it coming up?
Will: He wanted some throwback funk kinda stuff and we were like ok, we're on it.
How did it come about?
Will: Rory is from Greenville, as am I and Trey. I know Rory from back in the day and I got a text one day and he was like, "Hey man, I'm looking for a song."
I talked with the guys and asked, "Hey do we wanna do this?" and everyone was like "yep" so we talked with him and got a little direction on what he was looking for. I have a recording studio at my house so we got together and did a couple of takes and knocked it out. Got the song down, it took like an hour.
Trey: He sent us a clip of the special so we had an idea of what the song was going into and we just built around it from what we saw. It was a really cool experience and it's also cool to "Netflix and chill" and to hear your music.
Did you guys get free tickets to his show?
Will: Not yet, but we talked to him like "Hey, when you're in the area we wanna come out."
What does it take to consistently perform at the level your fans have come to expect in vastly different environments of a show or festival? Which do you prefer?
Trey: Festivals (the band nods and unanimously agrees).
Oliver: The difference of having a one hour slot at a normal show vs possibly three hours composed of multiple performances at festivals is one reason we prefer festivals. Another reason is the crowds at festivals are just really open to anything you want to do and try. You can get out there and throw something out that you've wanted to try on this eclectic audience of people and see how they react and have a good idea if it is something you should keep doing. Also, the excitement you're surrounded by at a festival is another level. You can feel a difference as soon as you pull on the property, there's just an energy that you can immediately feel that's awesome.
What's next for you and is there anything you haven't been able to say as a band or a story you haven't been able to share?
Wallace: We are doing a lot of writing right now and are really looking forward to laying down the next recording. We want to do most of the recording in-house this time in a scene where we are really comfortable. We love touring but are doing a lot of writing behind the scenes too, to make sure the next record is great. Right now, that's what we are most excited about.
Photos By Ragan Dickson for Bullet Music.