Dempsey explores his soul
PAUL Dempsey doesn’t care if people find his band Something For Kate a miserable mob. The singer is happy writing lyrics he finds funny, such as This Economy, a song from the band’s sixth album Leave Your Soul To Science, about the global financial crisis.
‘‘We’ve never taken ourselves too seriously but if the perception is out there, we won’t stomp our feet and say people are wrong,’’ he says.
‘‘I find that song ( This Economy) pretty funny as it’s written about a guy who can’t get the girl because he’s worried he’s not rich enough. It’s indicative of the peacock mentality you find in America.’’
Since moving to New York with his wife and band mate Stephanie Ashworth, Dempsey has taken a more relaxed approach to making music.
It could explain why Leave Your Soul To Science finds the band in a jovial mood compared to its charttopping efforts of old.
Six years on from the last album, Desert Lights, Something For Kate have taken on the demanding jobs of parenting first children.
Drummer Clint Hyndman has also opened two restaurants in Melbourne, while Dempsey wrote and recorded his 2009 solo album, Everything is True.
Dempsey says the space and time has indirectly brought forth a happier sound.
‘‘Coming back to Something For Kate is now just this other thing that we do rather than the centre of our existence,’’ he says.
‘‘We certainly don’t feel like we have to convince anybody about our merits as a band or anything.’’
As for Dempsey’s marriage to Ashworth, who replaced original bassist Julian Carroll after the first Something For Kate album, work and play are kept strictly separate.
‘‘We always make this immediate transition to band mates whenever the two of us are holding guitars,’’ Something For Kate – (from left) bass player Stephanie Ashworth and her husband, singer/ guitarist Paul Dempsey and drummer Clint Hyndman – have released their sixth album. Dempsey says. ‘‘We argue intensely about songs or set lists but when the guitars come off, we snap back into being a married couple.’’
Drenched in American notes, Leave Your Soul To Science was recorded in Dallas, Texas, with producer John Congleton (The Walkmen, Okkervil River).
From an urgency reminiscent of The Killers on Miracle Cure to a Springsteen stomp on Private Rain, the album includes a love letter to Dempsey’s Brooklyn neighbourhood called Deep Sea Divers.
‘‘Brooklyn is a really stimulating and inspiring place. You become friendly with these people just because you see them every day and you can’t help but feel connected,’’ he says.
In contrast to the celebration of community, there are also darker themes running through the record.
Dempsey was abhorred by the corporate greed he witnessed as the economy faltered.
He watched people struggling, from fellow musicians to neighbours, and opted to broach the tough issues – even if it backed up his surly reputation.
‘‘I watched a lot of close friends lose jobs and struggle to find new ones,’’ Dempsey says seriously.
‘‘You get used to a certain type of person asking for handouts but when it’s people with suits and university degrees holding up a sign then that’s a real shock.’’
is out now. Something For Kate and Ben Salter play The Zoo, in Brisbane, on October 13.