After their debut Japanese performance at Fuji Rock Festival 2022, Los Angeles rockers DAWES are heading back to Japan this November in support of their latest album, Misadventures of Doomscroller. Metropolis spoke with the band’s lead vocalist and songwriter Taylor Goldsmith to chat Fuji Rock, his new approach to songwriting and the band’s upcoming shows in Tokyo and Osaka.

Image Credit: Sean Reiter

Metropolis: What was it like playing Fuji Rock for the first time last year?

Taylor Goldsmith: It’s always been a dream of ours to play in Japan. So not only to get to play there but to play such a legendary festival was a huge honor for us. Hope to be invited back someday.  

M: How does it feel to have your first headline shows coming up in Japan?

TG: It seems like most artists from the states don’t get to come to Japan twice in two years, so for us to have more shows so soon is very exciting. North America has always been our only real market with a solid fan base. We’re really hoping we can cultivate a community in Japan as well.

M: The new album has much longer, more instrumentally-focussed tracks, how did this come about?

TG: It’s always been a part of what we do at the shows. We just decided to bring it into how we make our records as well. Especially since this album was recorded during lockdown when we couldn’t get on stage and play loud. 

M: How did the writing and recording processes differ from previous albums?

TG: I’ve always written in a fairly traditional structure. This made me think about the arrangements of the songs in completely new ways. Mainly – I used to often try to keep songs as lean and economical as I could, and with this I reversed my thinking and set out to see how much a song could possibly handle. 

Image credit: Jacob Blickenstaff

M: You also released a deluxe edition featuring a live version of the album in February. What was the process like preparing the new tracks for a live format?

TG: More than any record we’ve ever made, the songs from this album feel built for the show. I find that I can put any song from this newest album anywhere in the set and it seems to work. So I feel like they were built to be live versions even in their recorded arrangement.

M: The North American Album tour lasted around two months, with a return to the extended “Night With” shows. How did playing 2-3 hour shows for two months influence your current set?

TG: When we can really stretch out and play songs from our entire catalogue is when we feel like we’re really at our best. Sometimes when our sets end after an hour at a festival or something I feel like we never even had a chance to get started. 

M: Any highlights from the shows so far this year?

TG: We just played Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco. That was a memorable night. Before that we played Borderland Festival which was also very special. Our friend Rick from Goose sat in with us for a few songs. Otherwise the most memorable show this year was probably our LA show because it was our hometown show with our departing bassist Wylie Gelber.

M: What do you have planned for your time in Tokyo and Osaka?

TG: I wish we had more time just to get to know the areas. I have two really young kids that I have to get back to or else I would try to extend the trip for as long as possible. Otherwise I know we’re going to try to set up some special meals at some special restaurants. 

Image credit: Jon Chu

M: What can audiences expect from the Japan shows?

TG: They can expect us to touch on all corners of our catalogue, to play some more popular songs along with some more obscure ones, and to stretch out these songs in their live versions. It’s a lot different from the recorded version of Dawes. People will be surprised. 

M: This year you’ve released “What it Takes,” Dawes Sheet music and a cover of the track “I Love” by Tom T Hall. Any other projects the DAWES members are working on currently?

TG: Everyone is always doing a little session work but hopefully we will be recording our next album in the next few months!

Catch DAWES performing live at Liquidroom in Tokyo on Nov 15 and Umeda Club Quattro in Osaka on November 16. Tickets available here.