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City and Colour Interview

Dallas Green aka City and Colour came through Terminal 5 in New York on his latest tour. This was the first City and Colour tour since the Alexisonfire breakup announcement, and also probably the biggest City and Colour US tour yet. Last time I spoke to Dallas Green was on Warped Tour 2009 when Alexisonfire was still going strong and they were touring in support of what would become their last record, Old Crows/Young Cardinals. Since then, City and Colour has blown up in America and they’ve played a variety of big shows including the big FYF Fest MWTX show at SXSW and Coachella. It was evident that night at Terminal 5 that City and Colour has come a long way since the acoustic tunes that Dallas Green used to put out and play on the side from his original post-hardcore band.

When I first saw you play as City and Colour, you were supporting Tegan and Sara at the Music Box sometime around 2008. What’s changed for City and Colour in America since then?

Something that would be completely different would be that we have a band. I’ve also put out another record. Quit another band, got older, got a little grey hair, haha but that’s ok.

Do you have any plans or desire to do something more with Tegan and Sara in the future? Maybe a record?

I desire to be with them every day of my life because they are two of the best people I’ve ever met. But, I can’t.

The set you played at Coachella this year was much different than what I originally saw at the Music Box. The new album is much more full sounding than Bring Me Your Love was. What brought on the change?

There were definitely songs that I heard as a full band. When I demoed them, I demoed them without instruments and I listened to it and thought, “Yeah, I like that.” I didn’t want to make a record folk because that’s what people thought it should be. That’s not what I do. I write songs that I want to hear and make me happy first and hopefully people can listen to them and enjoy them as well.

Tell me about the decision to end Alexisonfire and do City and Colour full time.

It was not my decision to end Alexisonfire. I quit Alexisonfire and subsequently, they decided to break up because another member had an opportunity to do something else and the other guys just decided not to continue. Well I spent 10 years doing that and 5 of those years I was doing this at the same time. It just got to be too much for me. My heart was leaning more towards writing and touring on these songs, rather than it was trying to find new ways to be in a genre of music that I didn’t want to be in. I was struggling to find ideas for new songs and I wasn’t enjoying the touring because I knew I had this and wanted to try to fully put everything I had into this. So many things were happening with City and Colour without me putting all of my efforts. I thought, if I don’t do this now, then ill resent everything that I’ve done looking back on it now. Now I can appreciate the 10 years of being in that band.

Are you going to miss playing loud and energetic shows?

Occasionally, yeah. There are some pretty loud moments in the City and Colour show. Right now, this is where I need to be. Especially, with my voice; I feel like this is how I should be singing. When I was screaming at the top of my lungs of for an hour and a half it just didn’t feel that’s what I should be doing. I was always worried and it was always a struggle. Whereas now when I go out, I can just enjoy it.

The breakup announcement on the Alexisonfire website mentioned the possibility of a round of 10th anniversary farewell shows. Any possibility of an epic Gallows/City and Colour/Alexisonfire tour bill?

I would 100% be a part of it, and no I don’t see it happening.

Do you prefer the frontman role or the supporting role you had previously?

Well, if you notice, I don’t stand in the middle I stand out to the side. I have no desire in the middle and be a frontman. I know the band is my thing, but I don’t ever see it in that way. Some musicians love being in the middle and having that limelight. We actually tried it on this tour in Detroit. I stood in the middle and we were going to change everything around. Next night, we were like “That was pretty good, right?” Then I was like, “I’m going to go back to the right,” and everyone was like, “Yeah, get back to the right, it’s way cooler. I think of guys like Ryan Adams or Ray LaMontagne where they always stand out to the side too. I know it’s mainly my songs, but I have this band of my friends and I have been standing on stage right for 10 years.

From what I’ve been told, Canadian artists can get money from the government to tour and make music videos. Do you think this plays a big role in helping out smaller bands? How has it helped you throughout your career?

It helped Alexisonfire because one of the main things is called VideoFact that apply to make a video. We made a video in 2002 and it got played on so MuchMusic,(Canada’s MTV) and it got on this fan-voted show and reached number one. This was back when that genre of music was not even remotely popular. The fact that we were able to do that on this mainstream television show where we got to make this video of these screaming kids running around, was amazing. That was a huge development for us and our fan base in Canada. It allowed for so many kids across Canada to see what we were doing. We made tons and tons of videos now and it was helped payed for by the government. They also helped us tour. Alexis was huge touring band and toured everywhere. That’s why on alot of Canadian records that come out, you will see a note that says “Funded by the Canadian Government.” It’s a lot easier for us to do that because our population is 33 million which is the size of California. It’s great to able to come from a society where they help the arts. It is probably most of the reason why I can sit here in this interview with you.

Why do you think America has never created some sort of program like this?

American has so many people to take care. In Canada, there’s only 30 million of us in a giant country. That’s why Canadians are so nice, because there’s not enough of us to get on each other’s nerves hah.

What’s in the future for City and Colour? New album? More touring?

I’m going to go tour Canada in the Winter. The cold weather and snow don’t bother me because I’ve grown up there. It can get tough because shows get canceled and things like that just happen.

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