In today’s every-growing world of musicians, it can be hard to find a group that breaks the mold and isn’t afraid to be themselves. When I sat down with the four-piece pop punk band from Southeast Texas, Dear You, at Dallas’ South By So What?! festival they were doing exactly that, all while performing alongside huge headliners such as Taking Back Sunday, The Used, and Asking Alexandria – an opportunity most kids only dream about.
For Dear You, a love of music came at an early age and never went away. Guitarist Thomas Marsella, vocalist/guitarist Chris Roach, and bassist/vocalist Mason McDonald began playing instruments at a young age. Marsella started on the drums around age 13 after realizing that sports just weren’t his thing. At age six, Roach’s sister bought a guitar. Since he picked the instrument up quickly, before long he received a guitar of his own and hasn’t stopped playing since. McDonald’s dad often played piano around the house, so at age eight or nine, he taught himself to play the instrument by ear. Drummer Louis Moore, however, didn’t grow up playing an instrument like his friends, but rather grew up in a musically inclined household, as his dad was a musician. In the sixth grade during an advisory period, Roach asked Moore (who confesses he only pretended to be good at playing the drums) to start a band with him and the rest is history.
The band released its first album, Journals, in December of 2011. McDonald was not part of the band at the time, which left the vocals for the album completely in Roach’s hands. With the addition of McDonald, Dear You released their second EP, titled Faith, Fear, and Hope, in August of 2013. “[McDonald] coming in as a lyricist was big because it pushed me to do a lot better,” Roach admits. Mason coming in also helped in the creative process because it allowed Chris to bounce ideas off of him instead of relying completely on his own thoughts. Going into the recording process for the second album, they only had one song that they knew wouldn’t really change – the rest were more of a skeleton, just a collection of thoughts that hadn’t quite come together yet. In the span of 14 days, the two were forced to write in chunks instead of just a line or two here or there, which made Faith, Fear, and Hope much more cohesive and put together. In the two years between the two albums, the members themselves grew up which gave way to the progressed, more mature sound you hear now.
Although they aren’t currently in the process of creating a new album, they are looking forward to doing so in the near future as well as touring parts of the country they have yet to play in. They’re already lined up to play the Austin (6/09), Houston (6/10), and Dallas (6/11) dates of Man Overboard’s Heart Attack Tour featuring Transit, Knuckle Puck, and Forever Came Calling happening this May and June.
When it comes to interactions with those who support them, Dear You takes the cake on breaking down the barrier most bands try so hard to put up. Whether you’ve known them for ages or are just meeting them for the first time, they’re sure to make you feel as if you’re reconnecting with an old friend and making up for lost time. “We want to be remembered as the band that is more than just someone you listen to,” Moore says. Instead of just being the band whose music you love, the guys in Dear You want to be your friends that just happen to be in a band. Face to face contact and making time to hang out with fans is one of the things they want to strive to make a priority, even if it gets over their heads in the future, and I have no doubt that they’ll do just that.
Words and photos by: Meagan Sullivan
For more information and updates on Dear You, visit any of the links below: