An Interview with Peter Richards of Dude York

Listening to the music of Dude York creates a similar sensation to catching up with an old friend – there’s a sense of effortless authenticity, vibrancy, and a pure sense of ease that both soothes and warms the soul. This, of course, is due to the band’s incredible ability to tap into the epicenter of human emotion. They take those bizarre and often indescribable feelings that are universally experienced and put them into song – not only articulating them, but doing so in a way that implies that they just get it. The music and the lyrics alike act as equalized agents of communication, with each entity strongly conveying the nucleus of the song in its own right. Therefore, when merged, their work exudes this incredible sense of realism and heart. 

This heart, combined with the fact that the band is composed of three individuals who are clearly talented in every aspect of their craft, makes the music of Dude York wholly special; they make the kind of music that wields the power to form a lifelong relationship with their listeners.

AMPLIFY. was fortunate enough to ask vocalist/guitarist Peter Richards about Dude York’s latest record, Sincerely, the band’s artistic evolution, as well as who he’d pick to headline the music festival of his dreams. Read on, friends.

 

AMPLIFY: Each track on “Sincerely” is so lyrically authentic and, from the listener’s standpoint, this makes it almost effortless to connect to. When bringing “Sincerely” to fruition, was incorporating this degree of lyrical realism a specific creative objective that was in mind?

Richards: Andrew once told me early on in Dude York that Steely Dan stopped making music when the lyrics they wrote stopped making them laugh, and I internalized this in a big way.  I would characterize our brand of realism as a balance between humor and sadness.  Lyrics are very important and often very difficult, we try our best to make them as top quality as we possibly can.  Andrew is a professional writer and I am reminded every time we work on lyrics together. His criticisms and edits take the songs to significantly more interesting places than they would get to otherwise.  Additionally, from the first song Claire brought in, I felt a very exciting challenge to rise up to the level of craftsmanship in her lyrics.  I love the seemingly effortless way she weaves character, perspective, and detail together never having too much of any one component and always leaving a ton to interpretation.  The way her voice comes through in her lyrics inspires me to scrutinize my own.  As far as realism goes, it is a goal and I primarily try to achieve this through obviously untrustworthy narrators. I try to have most of my songs come from perspectives that are clearly not telling the whole story, that expose what’s unspoken through what the narrators choose to share.

AMPLIFY: What’s something people would be surprised to know about Dude York? 

Richards: I didn’t have depth perception until I was eighteen. Other than that Dude York is an open book.  We don’t keep secrets (I’m pretty sure).

AMPLIFY: How would you articulate the band’s artistic growth? 

Richards: Growth is definitely something we are interested in and actively striving for.  I feel like we have grown a lot since we released Sincerely, but maybe that was also happening in the two and a half years we were making it.  I guess I would have to articulate the band’s growth as constant and incremental.  The more you grow the more it necessitates growth. You’ve got to grow if you want to get big, right?!

AMPLIFY: If you could curate the music festival of your dreams, which artist(s) would headline and why?

Richards: Probably Lil B, Kamaiyah, Kate Bush, and ABBA on the first day, then we got Fleetwood Mac (with Christine, of course), Travis Scott, Nile Rogers, and Carly Rae Jepsen the second day.  Probably get The Cure for special guest either of the days.  Also the biggest feature of this festival is that it’s virtually empty and nothing cost money, that’s my favorite kind of music festival.

AMPLIFY: Which aspect of Dude York’s work are you most proud of? 

Richards: I am most proud of our growth.  I feel giddy to say this, but it’s true.  I love when new listeners reach out to us, or when new acquaintances have heard of DY. I love thinking about how much better we are at playing when I hear our new music.  I love how much Andrew has improved at drums, and I’ve always been impressed by his playing.  I love that we have the opportunity to indulge ourselves with thoughtful interviews like this one. 😉

 

Dude York is Peter Richards, Claire England, and Andrew Hall. To learn more about the band and listen to their work, click here to visit their Bandcamp page

Image credit: Sam Gehrke 

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