We are very excited to share the video for ‘Guilt and Relief,’ the second single taken off Dan Vapid and the Cheats’ excellent upcoming album, ‘Escape Velocity’. 'Guilt And Relief' is a trademark Dan Vapid power pop/pop punk gem that grabs your attention right away with just the guitar and Dan's vocals before the rest of the band even jumps in. Add a strong chorus and solid pop hooks that always end up somewhere just slightly different from where you'd expect and you have another winner. Lyrically, the song deals with the fallout of a breakup, a theme that runs throughout the band's fourth album, out Nov 5 on Eccentric Pop Records with vinyl to follow at a later date (pre-order).
Check out the video for the song below and read the interview we did with Dan and drummer Gabe Usery, who also mixed, mastered, engineered and co-produced the album with Dan.
(photo credit: Katie Hovland)
PRT: First of all… congrats on the new album! From what I gather the original plan was to release this album back in March 2020. But then obviously Covid happened. Has the time in between recording sessions had any effect on what the end result sounds like? Or did you not tinker with any of the songs in between?
Dan - Very little tinkering. I had a vision of what I wanted to accomplish and stuck to that plan. I had 17 songs and trimmed them down to 13. Once I heard the end result with all the bells and whistles, I made the determination of the song order. I think it turned out well and I’m excited for the release.
Gabe - It did give us extra time to listen to rough mixes and soak up some of the sonic elements like guitar tones, which we later changed for the better. For me that’s one of the few positives of the gap in sessions.
PRT: The new album is called ‘Escape Velocity’. Is that a reference to what we have all basically been doing since Covid?
Dan - Escape velocity is a term used in physics that refers to the speed in which an object, like a rocket, can successfully exit earth's atmosphere and into space. It is around 25,000 MPH. In the context for this record, It is used as a metaphor for a woman leaving her husband.
PRT: What has the past year and a half been like for you? Was it a very creative period where you got a lot of writing done or did you spend your time focusing on other aspects of your life?
Dan - I did some writing in 2020 but spent most of the year consuming news and books. Where do you begin with 2020? So much happened in a year unlike anything I've seen in my lifetime. Trying to understand the cause of many of these troublesome events was often challenging. I try to be as informed as possible.
PRT: We are premiering the song “Guilt And Relief”. Can you tell us a bit more about where that one stems from?
Dan - On this record, a woman leaves her husband because she feels restricted, held back, and that they have drifted apart. Trying to resolve these feelings through communication had been troublesome. So she abruptly leaves without giving a warning. She feels guilty for how she has handled the break, but relief for having done so.
PRT: One thing I really like about your songwriting is how you write these really poppy hooks, but more often than not they are a bit different from your ‘standard’ pop hooks. Is that something you strive to achieve or just simply the way melodies come out when you’re writing?
Dan - It's just what comes out naturally. I suppose I have a knack for it. I have been a big fan of melody since I was a child. As much as I like a great lyricist, the melody or hook of a song can make me feel in ways that sometimes words can not.
PRT: Three was the first album you recorded with a new rhythm section and your drummer Gabe was also the one who produced the album. How did recording the new album compare to the last time now that this line-up has been around a bit longer?
Dan - The process was similar but went a little quicker. I think that happens with any group dynamic. You figure out what works and what doesn’t. Aside from group dynamics, Gabe invested more in his studio and I believe it shows in the recording.
Gabe - On Three we were definitely still figuring out our ideal workflow. Now that we’ve been playing together for a while, I think it made the Escape Velocity sessions a bit more streamlined. As Dan said, I did also make some studio upgrades that made a sonic difference.
PRT: The new album will once again be out on Eccentric Pop Records. What is one thing about label owner Travis Woods you feel people should know but probably don’t?
Dan - That I’ve called him Randy Travis by accident.
Gabe - I’ve heard this more than once and it’s hilarious every time! Haha
Travis is awesome, but I feel like everyone already knows that. If they didn’t, they do now!
PRT: Over the years you have been a part of a lot of albums. Is it still as exciting to release new music as it was the first couple of times?
Dan - Yes, I still enjoy putting out new music as much as ever. I’m like a kid at a carnival or candy store when I go to the studio. I’m always eager to hear what has been playing in my head.
PRT: What kind of place does being in a band hold in your life now compared to when you first started playing in a band?
Dan - You get older and circumstances change. I have a full time job at the post office, marriage, and three children. I have a lot on my plate. But if I didn’t have music in my life I would go crazy. Music helps with my sanity so I squeeze it in as much as possible.
PRT: Are you already working on any tours following the release of the album or will you wait a bit more to see how things evolve?
Dan - I’m going to see how things evolve since I have children under twelve who are not vaccinated. My fear is bringing Covid home and exposing them to it. Chances are they would be alright but you never know. Sucks. That said, I’m very eager to play again.