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Hunting season

The Dear Hunter set their sights on opera, Boston, and the Receiving End of Sirens
By SAM MACLAUGHLIN  |  December 28, 2006


After being kicked out of the Boston-based post-hardcore outfit the Receiving End of Sirens, Casey Crescenzo decided to recruit the bodies needed to make his laptop side-project a real live band. The resulting Dear Hunter — which plays tonight in Worcester and tomorrow night, December 29, at the ICC in Allston — are currently in the process of writing an opera, and we’re not talking Verdi or, for that matter, Tommy. It’s electronic-infused rock which follows the story of a boy from birth to death (with harps and French horns and trumpets and strings thrown in for good measure).

Their first EP, Act I: The Lake South, the River North, is out now with a full-length on its way, and each subsequent album will be a single act in their six-act opera. When asked for a word to describe their sound, “eclectic” and “honest” were both offered up by the band. Both hold true: for all the talk of opera and acts, the band plays rock that swerves from heavenly a capella to manic prog to dark, brooding and stomping — all united by that sense of honesty, a genuine faith and confidence in the music that they’re making.

The band — Crescenzo, Erick Serna, and brothers Sam and Luke Dent — met up with on a brisk mid-December day on a Comm Ave bench, not far from the Public Gardens. What follows is an edited transcript of that interview.

So you were in TREOS with the Dear Hunter as a side-project. Then suddenly you were kicked out — what was it like making that transition from side-project to full-time band?
CASEY CRESCENZO: At first, the first day, I didn’t know what to do when I found out I wasn’t going to be in the band anymore. Initially I didn’t even know if it was what I wanted to do because it wasn’t necessarily the main thing I was doing — it never really was — so I didn’t know how to approach it. I was actually with my parents, and they said “Just do it full on.” I talked to my girlfriend and she said the same thing. The label and the booking said the same thing. Knowing that there was support behind it made it a lot easier to make it my main focus. Even when I was in TREOS, the Dear Hunter was still the most honest — for me — music that I was making. Allowing myself just to open up even more was something that I wasn’t used to because for the last few years I hadn’t been. I’d say that being comfortable with being myself was the biggest change.

Wasn’t the Dear Hunter just you and a lap-top initially?
It started as some electronic music that didn’t have anything to do with the concept of the band. After we recorded Between the Heart and the Synapse I went home and started trying to make it sound like band music and less like dude-with-a-laptop music. Once I wasn’t in TREOS anymore, it was like well, it’s gotta be a real band, I don’t want it to be the Casey Crescenzo Show. I talked to Luke. No, first I talked to Erick [Serna], and it was weird because I know so many musicians and I didn’t have any idea who to talk to, but the first person I solidified was Erick playing guitar — and he was in California. And then Luke, he was right down the street. And then it all kind of fell into place.

talked to TREOS over the summer and asked them if they would ever consider a TREOS, Christians & Lions, and Dear Hunter triple bill. They said that they wished you the best but you leaving was a lot like breaking up with a girlfriend and that it would be hard to see you at this point. What do you think of that and what do you think of a triple bill?
I’d like to play a show with them. I’d like to talk to them, let alone play a show. If they wish me luck, I’d like to be wished luck by them. The whole situation with me and them and the whole situation with Ben [of Christians & Lions, formerly of TREOS] is different, because Ben’s songs aren’t played anymore. You know, when I was in the band we played a show with [Ben’s first post-TREOS band] the Lido Venice — it’s not like we were playing “Bell, Book and Candle” or any of the older TREOS songs [written by Ben]. I would have to sit and watch those songs be played, the songs that I wrote with them, which would be kind of strange. But, I wouldn’t mind it all, I think it would be fun. I’d like to just give them a call and hang out, but that’s not going to happen. They’re not going to answer that.

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  Topics: Music Features , Casey Crescenzo , Giuseppe Verdi , The Receiving End of Sirens ,  More more >
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