Dent May has found himself comfortable in any part of the world, at any time of the year. Having just won “Best International Band” at the Huading Awards in Shanghai, May takes some time on the flight home to talk about the changing seasons, sharing Mississippi and inspiration from the great beyond.
“I think it’s healthy, both physically and emotionally, to experience the cold of winter and the heat of summer… The transitional periods are my favorite,” claims May.
Do Things, May’s previous album, gave us endless summer vibes with a positive look on life. On his new album Warm Blanket, released via Paw Tracks, we can tell that summer is over, as far May is concerned, and is replaced by the chill of a cool breeze. May is using the seasons to his advantage as he combines their natural power with his signature croons to bring us into the dark cold of winter of his new tracks.
Vancouver summers gift us the beauty of naked equality at wreck beach and our winters bring a desperate appreciation for shorts & T-shirt weather and vitamin D. We have to accept the seasons as a time shared between bitter defeat and absolute bliss. Warm Blanket gets this contrast all too well.
“Most of my music is about reconciling the intense pain of being alive with the ecstatic joy of being alive,” says May on the overarching themes that drive his music. “I did feel that there were some sort of unexplainable metaphysical forces driving me and shaping the recordings.”
Travelling to St. Augustine, Florida, May challenged his reality by living and working alone to knit up this oh so “Warm Blanket.” While alone, May felt support of a spiritual nature. The result is creative expression of Samhain. (For those not up on their pagan autumn festivals, “Samhain” is the Gaelic festival that celebrates the “darker-half” of the year.) While this record may be the flipside of May’s previous album, it isn’t a desire to become “darker,” but rather it comes from May’s need to constantly challenge his own work. From fictitious romance to opening up about love and loss, and most recently, being able to describe the power of loneliness, May is never happy sticking to one sound or theme.
“I think the best artists are the ones who are willing to hurl themselves deeper into the abyss and return to tell about it.”
The video for the song “Home Groan” was made with a collection of iPhone footage from old band member James Alex Warren and May himself. His latest video, “Born Too Late,” has a similar vibe and was shot by Carson Culver in Mississippi. It drops the viewer into The Neshoba County Fair, which Dent explains is “like a little town that you can literally only go to during this one week of the year, There’s nothing like it.” It then cuts to May Water-skiing on Pickwick Lake, his family retreat for over 50 years.
“My philosophy on making videos is be spontaneous and to have an adventure,” explains May. “The locations are also personally very special to me, so it’s also about sharing my world and my life in Mississippi with others.”
Take advantage of Vancouver’s early sunsets and grey skies to set the mood. Turn up the speakers, dim down the lights real low and have a listen to what is on Dent May’s mind.
Catch Dent May January 28th at the Biltmore Cabaret.
By James Muscles