The Dear Hunter
This article may require copy editing for Excessive quotes from primary sources should be summarize of kept at all. (December 2015)
|The Dear Hunter|
|Origin||Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.|
|Genres||Progressive rock, indie rock, experimental rock, post-hardcore|
|Labels||Triple Crown, Cave & Canary Goods|
|Associated acts||The Receiving End of Sirens|
|Past members||Luke Dent
The Dear Hunter is a progressive rock band originating in Providence, Rhode Island. It began as a side project of Casey Crescenzo, formerly of The Receiving End of Sirens. The band's sound features a wide variety of instruments and styles.
The band began as a side project of Casey Crescenzo when he was a full-time member of The Receiving End of Sirens. The Dear Hunter was originally intended as a vehicle for music Crescenzo had written that didn't fit with the sound of The Receiving End of Sirens. Crescenzo affirmed that
The idea was to take the creative overflow from The Receiving End of Sirens and bottle it up into something that I could keep with me. There was never a plan to take it on the road, or to release it. It was only when things with them went awry that I was given the opportunity to really make it into a traditional sort of thing.
In the winter of 2005 Casey recorded the Dear Ms. Leading demos. He created 10 copies on burned CDs that were circulated amongst his friends and posted online for download. While elements and characters featured on the demos would reappear on the subsequent Acts, Crescenzo has confirmed that there was a transformation in how he represented these themes and persons; while the story had its origins in his personal life, the Acts removed most autobiographical elements in favor of fiction:
The reason I originally wrote it is obviously because I was bitter. The demos were almost all thematically interchangeable with one another. They are all kind of bitter and about a guy falling in love with a prostitute and stuff. When people call those demos an album, I just think it is a little ridiculous, because if I was to release that, I would be ashamed of myself. There is nothing to it – it's just one subject. I went through something with a girl, and like most immature artist people, you write about it and complain a lot...And that is why I didn't want anyone to hear those (songs from the demo)...I think I did what any writer does – they include themselves in their work to an extent as much as they can, since that is your only real link to humanity – what you experience. So if I am going to try to make anything realistic, all I have to go on is what I learned on my own...It is more that every character is a collection of experiences and feelings I have had about people in the past.
In May 2006, Casey was "asked to leave" The Receiving End of Sirens and began working on The Dear Hunter's first studio album. He expanded the scope of the project to a six-album story set at the dawn of the 20th century. The story revolved around the birth, life, and abrupt death of a boy known only as "The Dear Hunter." Crescenzo later remarked that the protagonist is "not a hero at all. I do not think he does a single good thing or smart thing in any of the stories." As Crescenzo summarized,
The story begins with the birth of the main character. The first act is really about the relationship of the mother and son, and what she has to go through to keep him alive and thriving. She decides to raise him removed from harsh realities, and tries to abandon her life as well- but her selflessness soon turns her back to old habits, and she ruins herself for him.
For Crescenzo, the decision to begin the story at the beginning of the 20th century was consciously chosen due to the events that would unfold in future acts:
I think the reason I wanted it to be set in that time because as the story goes on, things will coincide with world events where starting at that point is really important. The architecture of the time, the colors – all of that influences the songs, but at the same time, it is not supposed to be anything beyond fiction. It is supposed to be surreal – it is not like I am writing a concept album about some prostitute that I read a book about.
In a 2007 interview, Casey stated at that time that he had the overall story of The Dear Hunter mapped out. Casey produced and recorded the EP by himself with the assistance of his brother on drums and mother on backing vocals. Act I: The Lake South, The River North was released in September 2006 on Triple Crown Records.
Shortly after the release of Act I, Casey recruited Luke Dent of the recently split band Faraway for vocals and keyboards and Erick Serna as a second guitarist. Luke brought in his brother Sam on drums and Erick brought long-time friend Josh Rheault in to play bass. The band entered the studio in late 2006 to record the follow-up to Act I. Recording finished in early 2007, during which time, the band was featured in Alternative Press' "100 Bands You Need to Know in 2007."
Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading was released May 22, 2007. Originally, the band had written almost 2 hours of music for the album, but managed to trim the run time down to 80 minutes so as to fit on a single compact disc. Act II reached No. 39 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band supported the album by touring with As Tall As Lions, Saves the Day, Say Anything, Thrice, Chris Conley, The Format, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Boys Night Out, Circa Survive, Ours, and Fear Before the March of Flames.
The band filmed a music video for the song "The Church and the Dime". A book based on the story of Act II was released as part of the deluxe edition of Act III: Life and Death. Artist Kent St. John was selected to do the illustrations.
Prior to a string of dates with Circa Survive, Josh Rheault and brothers Sam and Luke Dent left the band. Temporary replacements for the tour dates included Cliff Sarcona and Julio Tavarez of As Tall As Lions (drums and bass, respectively), Christopher Tagliaferro of Tiger Riot (bass), and Andy Wildrick of The Junior Varsity (guitar/keys). Wildrick would later join the band as a permanent member, along with Sagan Jacobson of Crown Atlantic on bass and Casey's brother Nick on drums.
The Dear Hunter embarked on their first headlining tour in mid-2008 with Lydia, Eye Alaska, and You, Me, and Everyone We Know. On December 9, 2008, it was announced that Nate Patterson, Casey's former band mate in The Receiving End of Sirens, would begin playing bass for the band, as Sagan Jacobson had left.
After the headlining tour, The Dear Hunter entered the studio to record Act III: Life and Death. During this time, former bassist Josh Rheault announced on tour that he had rejoined The Dear Hunter on acoustic guitar, backing vocals, and keyboards. Act III was released on June 23, 2009 on Triple Crown Records.
The Color Spectrum
Between the release of Act II and Act III, Crescenzo was also conceiving a multi-album arc related to the colour spectrum. On April 23, 2010, Crescenzo announced that The Dear Hunter would take a break from the Acts project to focus on this concept. He also stated that Act IV would most likely not be seen for quite some time. He later announced that the project, titled The Color Spectrum, would consist of nine EPs, each corresponding to a certain colour (specifically, Black, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet and White).
On February 24, 2011, Alternative Press announced the EPs would be released in multiple formats, including a physical CD containing select tracks from each of the EPs. At some point prior to the completion of The Color Spectrum, Josh Rheault and Erick Serna both left the band to pursue their respective musical projects. Subsequent to the release of The Color Spectrum, The Dear Hunter performed the entire three-hour set of EPs in a single show and released it as a DVD, entitled The Color Spectrum DVD.
The Dear Hunter entered the studio in 2012 with producer Mike Watts to record Migrant, the first album under Crescenzo's new imprint label, Cave & Canary Goods, which is a unit of Equal Vision Records. Prior to recording the album, Crescenzo expressed his excitement over working with Watts and further noted that
I don't know what the listening public will think, and the last thing I want to do is make any declarations in an attempt to influence the listener. What I can say, is that I haven't been more happy, or felt more creative in years, and I am truly anxious to push myself, and my music, to places I still haven't ventured, and to create the best possible album I can.
Migrant represents another deferral of the next Act record, a consideration that Crescenzo weighed before moving forward:
After spending a good amount of time debating on whether to continue the Act records at this point, or take another step to the side – the most natural path seemed to be to leave all preconceptions to the side, and to write a record straight from the heart, without any filter of concept or plot.
Migrant, which is the first album released by The Dear Hunter that does not have a concept, was released on April 2, 2013. Crescenzo remarked that the non-conceptual nature of Migrant presented a new challenge: "I've been in the rhythm of writing conceptually. It’s a challenge for me to be more transparent and more honest and more directly from the heart and not filtering it through something. So I think that was really exciting; it was really refreshing." Remarking on the less rock-oriented and relatively streamlined nature of Migrant, Crescenzo noted that:
Ninety-nine percent of it (Migrant) was written on piano, so I think it felt right to keep that a focal point. But also, I think, it was a conscious decision to make it a slightly more stripped-down record, as far as the scope and the grandeur goes. The idea was to keep the tone in general a little bit smaller with not so many doubles and big rock guitar and heavy spots on the record...with the lyrics of this new record being transparently about myself, I think it was important to not dehumanize the performances by over-layering them or over-doubling them. As you double vocals, they lose their intimate inflection, and whatever transparent emotion that's trying to be conveyed in them is washed out, which can be a good thing. For this record, I think it was important not to do that.
On March 3, 2015 Casey Crescenzo announced that Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise was well under way and should be released by the end of 2015. This was announced in conjunction with The Dear Hunter's live album that was released the same day. The live album, The Dear Hunter - Live, features songs from the string quartet tour from mid-2013. On The Dear Hunter's website Crescenzo states that:
I wanted to surprise our fans with this release, as it is my gift to you all, for supporting me over the years, and never giving up on me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your continued faith in The Dear Hunter. I want to humbly ask you all to share this letter. Word of mouth has always been the lifeblood of this music, and the suggestions of good friends always outweigh a well placed banner ad. I leave you all now, scurrying back into my cave with my nose to the grindstone, preparing the next record for The Dear Hunter… It is coming along swimmingly, and I can't wait to share it with you all. Please keep your eyes peeled for Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, coming later this year.
On June 16, the single "A Night on the Town" became available for streaming on the band's official website, and the album became available for preorder. On the preorder form, the release date of the album was said to be September 4, 2015. The album debuted at No. 39 on the Billboard 200 selling approximately 7,000 copies, both career highs for the band. The Dear Hunter then embarked on a Fall US Tour with bands CHON and Gates.
- Casey Crescenzo – vocals, piano, guitar, bass, arrangements, direction (2005–present)
- Nick Crescenzo – drums, percussion, vocals (2006, 2007–present)
- Robert Parr – guitar, vocals, keyboards (2011–present)
- Nick Sollecito – bass (2011–present)
- Maxwell Tousseau – guitar, keyboards, aux percussion, vocals (2010–present)
- Andrew Brown – keyboards, vocals (2015–present)
- Nate Patterson – bass, vocals (2008–2010)
- Andy Wildrick – guitar, keyboard, vocals (2007–2010)
- Sagan Jacobson – bass, vocals (2007–2008)
- Sam Dent – drums (2006–2007)
- Luke Dent – keyboard, vocals, guitar, auxiliary percussion (2006–2007)
- Josh Rheault – guitar, keyboard, vocals (2007, 2009–2011)
- Erick Serna – guitar, vocals (2006–2011)
- Connor Doyle – guitar (2010–2013)
- Dear Ms. Leading (2004)
- Act I: The Lake South, The River North (2006)
- Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading (2007)
- Act III: Life and Death (2009)
- The Color Spectrum (2011)
- Migrant (2013)
- Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise (2015)
- The Color Spectrum Live (2013)
- The Dear Hunter - Live (2015)
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