Dear Landlord
Contributed by ben_conoley, Posted by No Idea Interviews

News of Dear Landlord sent pop-punk fans atwitter. Half Copyrights, half Rivethead, it sounded like the 'Org's answer to a design-your-own-super-group question. It was a shock when the record managed to live up to its hype. Drummer and songwriter Brad Lokkesmoe talks with Sarah Collins about the meaning of Dream Homes, his other super-group The Gateway District, and who he'd like to start a band with.

Dream Homes was named the number one record of July by Punknews readers. Were you expecting that when you started the band?

Uh, no. I guess, um, yeah, no. I didn’t even know what Punknews was when the band started, to be honest. But yeah, I don’t really know what I expected. Me and Zach had really got along well with Adam and Brent from the Copyrights and so, pretty much we wanted to move to Carbondale and at least try writing some songs and do a tour and try to do a band, but, I mean, starting the band, that was really the only expectation, hopefully recording stuff at some point but just kind of seeing how it worked out, you know?

"Heartbroken Handshakes," a b-side, was recorded with Nate Gangelhoff on bass and Chris Johnson on guitar. Was that just because Adam and Brett weren’t available, or because they weren’t in the band yet?

Yeah, that would be technically the most recent thing we recorded. It was actually when the idea of doing a 7" with the record came up. We didn’t have anything else that was not going on that that wasn’t on other stuff, basically. And so we wanted to do something exclusive to that. And me and Zack just wrote that song and it was when Brett and Adam were out of town with the Copyrights. And so we just got those guys to play on it. But that was actually recorded after Dream Homes, just in our practice space in Minneapolis. And so it was just those guys filling in playing instruments.

So that kind of goes into the next question. How do the logistics of being in separate states and having separate bands affect Dear Landlord?

I think it was really important to start the band in the same town. We all lived in Carbondale when we started the band. But actually, in a lot of ways I like how it works now, because it’s sort of like when we do get together we actually do stuff. There’s more motivation if people drive across states to all get together. You know you’re not just going to sit and get drunk in your practice space, you’re probably actually going to try to write songs and things like that. So, um, it worked out pretty good. It’s a bummer to not be able to be a local band, and play shows when your friends come through town and stuff like that. But outside of that it works pretty good. We just get together and practice and then do tours and stuff like that.

How do you guys plan to juggle multiple bands as Dear Landlord continues to grow?

I don’t know, it’s worked out pretty well so far. Zack plays in Off With Their Heads and the other two guys obviously play in The Copyrights. And a lot of times when either of those bands are going on tour is a good time for us to just go on tour with those bands. So that makes us able to do more things. If somebody’s already on tour with their other bands we don’t necessarily have to not do anything. We just have to do what those bands are doing sometimes. But that can work out really good, because we’re all buddies and stuff, so it’s cool.

So we could possibly expect a Dear Landlord/Copyrights/Gateway District tour? [Laughs] I don’t know, yeah, maybe. It’d only be like seven people.

What’s it like to share the songwriting duties with Brett? Do you collaborate on songs, or do you each write your own and then come together and record them?

Kind of a little bit of both. There’s a few songs that Brett just pretty much entirely wrote all by himself and I’ve gone down to Carbondale and wrote songs with just Brett and we’ve brought them into the band and then Zack usually adds other things as far as the music writing goes. We don’t really have one set way of doing anything I guess. It’s worked a few different ways. But, um, Brett writes a lot of music stuff, and Zack writes the majority of the music, as far as the song structure and everything like that, and then me and Brett both write lyrics for the band.

Is it a similar situation with Gateway District, sharing songwriting duties?

Sort of with Gateway District it’s more like Maren will have a song, or Carrie will have a song that’s pretty much done. And then we kind of learn it as a band and then obviously it gets changed a bit, or there will be different parts added to it. But it’s a lot more like somebody just brings an entire song in and we just all learn it as a band rather than writing as a band.

You said back in the Rivethead days that you wrote your songs in various places across the United States. Do you still write your songs on the move?

Um, yeah. I haven’t been in Minneapolis a whole lot. I’m here more than I’m other places, but I’ve been still traveling a lot for the last bunch of years. But I wrote a lot of the Dream Home songs in Carbondale and various other places tramping around.

Do you think the idea of having a dream home, or even a dream city, any kind of a home, does that change when you’re living all over the place?

I don’t know if it changes, but I guess the idea of one place to stay just isn’t all that important to me, at least not right now. So, I don’t know, if you’re traveling constantly than your actual home doesn’t matter all that much. So you can stand to live in hell?

Yeah, I don’t know, some of my favorite places to live were like, a closet at the Alamo House and stuff like that, just because it was with good friends and it was a cool house, and it was fun. You can make a really shitty place cool if it’s with the right people and stuff. Yeah, I guess it just kind of depends what you care about.

Do you plan to continue to live in Minneapolis or would you consider moving to Carbondale full time? Or anywhere else?

I pretty much lived in Carbondale for a year and a half and then when Adam moved back to Chicago, like, not being a full-time band there or doing lots locally, it kind of didn’t make sense as a home base for me. Pretty much once he moved I was just mowing lawns with really fucked-up hicks, like, full time, and not doing much else. It’s not as fun as it sounds. Or it’s exactly as fun as it sounds. So, I’d probably, I go back there from time-to-time, like, um, I go back there and hang out with Brett if he’s in town because he’s the only one who still lives there, and I’ll hang out with him there and write songs and stay for a couple weeks. I mean, I do like Carbondale, there’s a lot of really cool people there, but I probably would never live there again for more than a month or so at a time. And as far as Minneapolis goes, it’s just an easy place for me to come back to. As far as playing music and making money between things, it’s easy for me to get work here. But I sort of don’t really live here right now either. Actually, after this tour I’m going to stay out in San Pedro for awhile and live there for a little bit, and then I don’t really know what I’m going to do after that.

The future is unwritten?

Kind of, yeah. The Gateway District tour in December — we’re going to record a record in November and then do a tour in December and January in Europe, and that’s all I know.

Can you tell us at all about the Gateway District record?

We have almost all of it written. Basically we’ll just get together in November and finish up the last two songs, we have just about all of it done, and then practice all of that month and then record it late November/early December, before we go to Europe. I don’t know, I’m really excited about it, I think, like, now that we did the first record with the addition of Carrie, that one was kind of a long span of time that the songs were written in and it was kind of all over the place, and I think that this one will be just fun to be able to put together, as we’ve been an actually band with the lineup how it is now for awhile, so that’ll be cool.

When Dear Landlord played Fest last year and the line was down the block. And people seemed to know all of the words to the songs that weren’t out yet? Were you expecting that at all?

No, but I guess we recorded some demos in Carbondale that were out on the internet or whatever, so I guess people knew songs from that. But no, I definitely wasn’t expecting that. It was fucking weird.

What do you think is going to be like at this year’s Fest?

Um, there will probably be a lot of people with beards. I don’t know as far as the show goes, hopefully it’ll be really fun.

So Dear Landlord’s going to be at the Fest. Banner Pilot’s going to be at the Fest. Why not Gateway District?

Well, Gateway District is doing a West Coast tour coming up really soon, and a few other things in the winter, like, we’re going to try to record another record and stuff, and it’s pretty much, the other two people, Carrie and Maren, would have to fly down, and it’s just kind of like, can we afford to do so much? So basically it was just picking between other tours and recording and going down to that, so it just wasn’t in the cards.

What’s the worst thing a landlord has ever done to you?

That’s a really, really good question. Um, kicked me out of my house [laughs], I guess. But, um, woken me up to kick me out of my house with no warning?

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to your landlord?

Let’s see, started the Alamo House?

And he didn’t respond to that too well?

No, actually he ended up kind of liking it. It was super-weird. He came to a show one time. But it wasn’t a nice thing to do [laughs].

If you could start a band with half of any band, besides The Copyrights or The Soviettes, who would it be?

Can it be half of two different bands?

I’ll accept that.

Okay, John from the Mountain Goats and the singer from the Vomit Punks. That’d be awesome. I just want to hang out with both those dudes.

What would the band name be?

The Vomit Goats.