Dearly Departed are a band from Fargo, ND and surrounding areas in Minnesota. They have a sound of Metalcore, Hardcore, Screamo, and Hard Rock with nuances of Deathcore breakdowns and melodies. The band is made up of bassist Hunter Bring, guitarist Alex Nikolas, who also plays in the Fargo Death Metal band: Maul, drummer Jordan Rasmussen, guitarist Deven Jason, and vocalist & lyricist Jesse Pabody. The band released their debut album in 2018 titled Extinction. Now the band is currently releasing singles from their upcoming album releasing on October 15th titled Heartless.
Dearly Departed headlined a show recently at The Hall at Fargo Brewing Company, an amazing brewery here in Fargo that has a focus on local Art, a concert venue inside, and even a motorcycle themed, premium barber shop called Nice Barber Company. The other Artists that evening who performed were Archers, a band who is featured quite often on That Space Zebra Show, and Baltic To Boardwalk, another band from the Fargo area. The show was put on by local promotion company, Jade Presents, which was founded in 1990 by Jade Nielson.
Shortly after this interview was conducted, Dearly Departed signed a distribution deal with DI Records, based out of Pittsburgh, PA. You can watch our collaboration interview and read some of the transcript below. All photography was captured by Daeve Combs, who also filmed the interview and asked a few questions too!
By Jenna ‘The Scream Queen’ and Daeve Combs – DC Artworks
My first question is, you sent me a new song the other night, Quiet Echoes. How do you feel you’ve grown since the show I first saw you at, in Mandan, ND in 2018?
Deven: “It doesn’t feel like until now that we came into our style. We didn’t do it with a producer.
Jordan: It was 100% us. It was us across the board.
Deven: “It was like we got the ‘awesome’ of having a producer we’ve had in the past, but having the soul of working by ourselves, and that’s why I feel it’s one of the best songs we’ve ever done.”
Daeve asks: “Do you feel the pandemic really affected you guys too much?”
Deven: “It was like one member at a time. It was to the point where Jordan’s like, “I’m out after this show.”
Jordan: “We’re all just agreeing that, ‘Yes, this is trash, we can’t do anything. It makes no sense to even try and do anything.’ Just ’cause it…It didn’t work. Everything kept getting cancelled and pushed back or limited to specific capacity where like, you couldn’t even go forward to do the event. Couldn’t even afford to record.”
Deven: “No, because we couldn’t play to pay the bills and [the] morale was just gone. That’s why I was kind of trying to…That’s why this is kind of a comeback show. It’s our first headline event and we finally get to do it how we wanted with all of our best friends in the area.”
Jenna: Now a lot of bands are starting to do things more D-I-Y style, no record label, no producer, just them…How do you feel this sets you apart from the Artists who are signed to a record label?
Jordan: “It’s a great question. For starters, I would say like, keeping everything in-house, we have full control. We don’t have to outsource– I mean, we out-source when we need to, but it’s only when we need to. We’re not stuck waiting for other people to get things done. If we need it done, we’re able to get it done. We’re not limited on Music, or merch, or certain stipulations for things. If we’re not comfortable for doing an event, we can just say we’re not going to do it. We don’t have to do it. It’s one hundred percent on us. If it fails, it’s on us. And if it does great, it’s also on us.”
Hunter: “That’s a good question. I think the biggest thing, for me at least, is the sense of ownership that comes with it, because once you get a lot of cooks in the kitchen, everybody starts throwing down percentages, so when you just have all of us working on it, not only is it more fun, ’cause it’s more authentic. But like you [Jordan] said, there’s a certain level of control that like, when you see the final product, like, hearing new songs, it’s like, “Damn. We did that. That’s awesome!” [laughs]”
Daeve: “It’s less liability for other people. It’s more ownership.”
Hunter: “Yeah. For other people, it works really well. But everybody’s different. For us, I think the sense of ownership and working that way, works really well.”
Jesse: “Getting on a label turns into a job really quick. And you lose the passion, and so… And yeah, like with the pandemic happening, it made it like a job, and that was like another job getting cancelled, it killed the momentum really hard.”
Deven: “Not only I would say D-I-Y, but certain things Music related, but when you’re booking D-I-Y, and you don’t go for promoters, and do all that kind of stuff, you can pay all of the people that open for you a lot, and you can pay for your Music at the same time. You don’t have to do that whole thing where people go traveling and they get gas money for shows. It’s like, I would rather do all of the organization ourselves, and everybody gets paid handsomely, there’s no promotor to take a cut out of it. Jade [Presents] knows that we like to do that do and works with us on that…And Jade’s a promoter, they’re an exception.”
Jordan: “They worked with us pretty good for this event.”
Deven: “Otherwise, we try to do D-I-Y as much as we can, unless there’s a really good promoter that wants to keep the money for the bands and stuff like that.”
Jenna: “With your new album coming out soon. What would you say was the most Free part about creating it?”
Jordan: “I think having it 100% for ourselves was in itself Freeing because we were able to go through everything we wanted. There was no producer to say, “oh, you need to do it this way. Oh, the industry says you need to go this way.” It was just like, “hey, we like this transition because we like it, and if you don’t like it, ‘go fuck yourself! We’re doing what we want to do!’ It’s us…”
Deven: “It was kind of like, as soon as we got a little bit “Fargo-Popular”, everybody and their Mother told us what we needed to do. We literally couldn’t go to a bar without people being like, ‘oh you guys need to do this!’ It’s just like, “I’m a person! Ask me how I’m doing!” [laughs] It feels like we didn’t have that this time. It was just the five of us.”
Hunter: “I’d say it’s been really cool, a little bit return to form, in a sense. Like with Jeremy– Jeremy Schaeffer from Earth Groans…Wonderful guy! Super fun, great to work with…And a great mustache! [laughs] And just being able to work with him again was fun.”
Jordan: “Jeremy runs All Poetic Audio in Scotland, South Dakota. Beautiful little studio! It’s fantastic down there!”
Hunter: “The reason I say, return to form is that we did our first album with him. And then the next three tracks were with somebody else. And then we started to come back into it, it made sense to go back down with him.”
Jesse: “Doing the producer stuff was good though because it was down like a bootcamp, we learned so much.”
Jordan: “Oh we learned so much. It was a really good learning experience. We all grew a lot with our song writing and creating Music, creating Art.”
Deven: “I’d say Music wise, it changed my Life. I don’t ever write the same anymore. Now I feel like I can try to get the ideas out of my head, these guys can get the ideas out of their heads, not only just recording it, but making it fit together so it’s not just a big riff salad, you know?
That’s something that’s kind of bothered me with our old songs — some of them have certain parts where I’m like, this part didn’t go with that part and they didn’t go the way I would do them now. We’re always trying to better ourselves with everything and get better and better and better. That’s the thing too, with the pandemic, it was like, we had this mindset that we needed to do better than we were doing and then it was like there wasn’t literally anything we could do to make us better. It was kind of….I don’t know.”
Jesse: “We had to reassess values, hard.”
Jordan: “[laughs] Yeah. Hard.”
Jesse: “Reassess mindsets, that was the hardest thing. I mean, personally for me, I dropped out of the band because I couldn’t handle it mentally. The momentum and then all of a sudden that [crash]… I just had to quit, it was ruining my brain. And then they got a new vocalist and were going to do a show, then he dropped out, so they asked, ‘can you fill in?’ I was like, ‘I’ll see’, then they asked if I wanted to keep doing it again, and I was like ‘heck yeah.’ It just felt normal again for once.”
Deven: “I was so happy to see how wholesome fans were towards you.”
Jesse: “I don’t think anybody was expected it. I mean, how could you, it was three days before. [laughs] I had three days practice for a show and learn a whole new set!”
Jenna: “Being from Fargo and areas of Minnesota, there really hasn’t been a lot of light shed on the Metal scene here… And you know how areas of the world have certain sounds to their Music, like Norwegian Black Metal has a certain vibe, Swedish Melodic Death Metal, et cetera… How would you describe this sound North Dakota has?”
Hunter: “Powerful, man. There’s a lot, a lot of really good Artists here in Fargo. And just the area…You go to some of those shows and there’s just so much energy. MAUL! Perfect example, I was just sittin there just banging my head and vibing along. Like, there are so many bands in this area that put on killer shows.”
Deven: “Hmm… I like that question.” And there’s so many really heavy bands that just pack venues. It is alive!”
Alex: “There’s a lot of Death Metal bands that are big right now in Fargo, and Hardcore. So I think that’s where the scene is thriving, at least.”
Daeve: “Here’s a question to follow up with that. What makes Dearly Departed different from the other bands around here?”
Jesse: “I think it really comes down to all our own styles we listen to…”
Jordan: “We have a really strong mix of Hardcore and Metal elements mixed in with Hard Rock and Active Rock. So you have like, heavier Metal with breakdowns followed by a big Rock-Pop chorus, followed by a big fun hook.”
Deven: “I don’t think our sound is reinventing the wheel by any means. I remember the whole time, I always joke with Jordan… I’d send him ideas back and fourth and I’m like, “we’re going to play Architects, or we’re going to quit.” [laughs] Just another Architects rip off! But no, that was just a joke… I think it’s probably our standards, right out of the get go, everything we do is the best we can do.”
Jordan: “Every event we put on, we try and bring the best, the most production that we can, whether it’s bigger and better light shows, bigger and fuller backing tracks, to just give the biggest, full event we can offer. “
Deven: “I think we were more willing to go broke.” [laughs]
Jordan: “Yeah. [laughs] We’re way more willing to go broke! Yeah, we’re in debt!”
Jesse: “Yeah, we were in debt, we still are.”
Jordan: “You know, D-I-Y til DIE!” [laughs]
Deven: “But at least we’re in debt to ourselves and not a label.”
Jenna: “Now a lot of your songs are about Mental Health. And with some of your new songs coming out, which ones do you feel convey the most powerful messages?”
Jesse: “The new one, Quiet Echoes. And that one is about self-deprecation. You know, we have this voice in our head that tells us we’re not good enough. The chorus is, “Do you hear it in your head, Is the voice as loud as everything else instead, it seems like I might not be alone, Quiet Echoes, breaking silence will end the violence, I’m not okay with this hell.”
You can catch Dearly Departed live in concert at the following events coming up!
September 23 – St. Cloud, MN – Red Carpet Nightclub
September 24 – St. Paul, MN – Amsterdam Bar & Hall
October 1st – Mankato, MN – What’s Up Lounge
October 15th – Dilworth, MN [Fargo] – TAK Music Venue
October 15th will hold their record release show with support by Ashfall from Fargo, Stovepipes from Grand Forks, and Minneapolis Natives, Cold Kingdom!
Heartless by Dearly Departed is set to drop October 15th on all streaming platforms and physical copies!