Dead Rider

Q&A: Dead Rider

Dead Rider: The Raw DentsDead Rider: The Raw Dents (Tizona, 5/23/11)

Dead Rider: “Mother’s Meat”

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In 2009, Chicago-based rock group D. Rider released its debut album, Mother of Curses, on Tizona Records. Since then, the former three-piece (Todd Rittman, Andrea Faught, and Noah Tabakin) evolved into a four-piece, with Matt Espy on drums (who replaced the originally recruited drummer, Theo Katasaounis), and changed its truncated name to Dead Rider. The newly christened band’s rapport fostered more elaborate multi-instrumentation and collaborative composing, allowing Rittman, Dead Rider’s founder and former member of US Maple and Singer, to produce his rhythmic grooves on a more complex scale.

Dead Rider’s sophomore album, The Raw Dents, signifies the band’s newfound dynamics, with layered guitar/bass/drum, trumpet and saxophone blows, and the occasional interlude of supplementary sound. Rittman’s voice, which could be considered an instrument in itself, is distinct, versatile, and unavoidably haunting at times, adding to the album’s texture, as it adjusts with the intended mood of each track. The Raw Dents maximizes the fundamental elements of rock and balances psychedelia, noise, and synths with Dead Rider’s hard-driving sound.

We spoke with Rittman about the progression of Dead Rider’s lineup, its influence on the band’s music, and its latest record.

What did you hope to accomplish with D. Rider that you didn’t/couldn’t with US Maple?

Mostly to keep making music. The music for both bands functions on its own natural evolution and doesn’t prescribe to some set agenda. I would say, though, looking at Dead Rider’s evolution, we seem to be concerned with groove and space a little more. This band has a few more options for the creation of both groove and space, considering the multi-instrumental skills of the band. Also, everyone in the group has learned the all-important skill of restraint—something we exploit a great deal.

How did you originally choose D. Rider’s partners in crime, and how have their inclusions affected your songwriting dynamics?

Andrea and I met while playing with Cheer-Accident together. Then we started jamming a little on the side in a goofy cover band of sorts. We actually met Noah when he was rehearsing at a club where we were waiting to do a soundcheck.  He was really going for it at the rehearsal, and it made quite an impression on me. We met Matt at a D. Rider gig. His band, Avagami, was opening, and his drumming blew me away.