Continuing in a series of interviews from the Bonner Springs, Kan., Warped Tour show, I took a moment to speak with the lead singer of Beat Union, Dave Warsop. He had just wandered in from catering, but he kindly put his plate down to speak with me.
Bethany, PopWreckoning: Hi, I’m Bethany. Can I get you to state your name and position in the band?
Dave Warsop, Beat Union: Dave. Singer. I’m the vocalist and leading guitarist.
PW: Your album, Disconnected, talks a lot about anxiety for the future and technology issues. Do you think technology really is a big problem and how does it affect musicians?
DW:I don’t think technology is a problem at all. That’s something that I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. On that song, that’s a song that I think you just realize your surroundings. I think every band, every songwriter is some what of a philosopher or… well… I’m going to rephrase that.
Every band, every songwriter is what’s in your mind and coming to conclusions about your surroundings and that song was literally just about taking in how things were changing with technology and not wanting to be left behind. I don’t think technology is a bad thing at all. It’s just realizing in that song how much things are changing with MySpace and people downloading music. But it’s not all a bad thing.
I think it’s very much a good thing to explore the music. That song’s just about change.
PW: How do you feel about music downloads?
DW:I’m all for it. I’m the kind of guy who wants to go to a record shop: find the CD, find the vinyl. I want the physical product so I can take that home with me and look at the pictures and read the lyrics, that’s the kind of person I am.
But that’s just me and not everybody has to be that way. I think downloading music, well music is as healthy as ever, it’s just the way that it’s being sold to people has changed completely and I guess that’s what the song “Disconnected” is about.
I actually think “Disconnected” can be so much more than that. That’s just a song about alienation as well, you know what I mean? It can be a lot more than that. It can be alienation, solitude and I think those are things which all human beings feel. I mean everyone is disconnected to a certain extent being trapped in a human body.
PW: Have you found the American audiences pretty welcoming to your band’s music?
DW: Definitely, yeah. American audiences have been really, really great to us. They’ve been really, really good. We’re just excited to be touring over here and getting a shot at it.
There’s not many bands where we’re from [the UK] given those kinds of opportunities. We’re just really grateful that we have them for what we do and play for an American audience. I think the American audiences are a little bit nicer to us actually. Purely because we’re a different sounding band because we’re English, so maybe we stand out a little bit more here and we sound different in the American music market. So, people seem to take to us quite strongly, it’s been very flattering. We’re real happy to be here.
PW: Is there a different way to approach America versus England or is it pretty much the same type of touring? You choose the same type of songs?
DW:Definitely, I’d say. Well, that’s quite an interesting question because I’d say in America we try to emphasize our Englishness. At home we’re still seen as quite an English band and a lot of our influences come from the late 70s sort of music, more English music.
Well, I think again, the whole part that stands out a little bit more, so we definitely emphasize our Englishness: that we’re from England and have English accents when we sing. We don’t really try, but we want it known that we’re an English band in America because that’s what we are.
PW: Are there any wild stories you have about Warped?
DW:Nothing too wild so far, sorry to disappoint you. I guess since it is a rock and roll tour, it hasn’t been very rock and roll for us so far. It’s been a lot of hard work getting up early mornings, setting the tents up, playing in the heat and trying to meet as many people as possible. I talk to kids and try to make some new friends and try to make some new fans out here.
So, yeah, as of right now there hasn’t been too much partying. Although we did-after our show in Denver there was a free bar for all the Warped bands and we went along because we’re from England and fond of a few drinks. I think if you put any band in front of a free bar, it’s going to get messy.
Actually that night did get messy. So actually to answer your question, that’s the one night things went crazy. Our merch guy got naked and I’ll admit that I loved some one. I told someone about my undying true love for them, which was possibly alcohol induced.
What else happened? A fight nearly broke out outside with us and some locals, so yeah that was kind of a crazy night.
PW: Any plans to celebrate the end of Warped in Kansas City?
DW: We just, well, we’ve got another show tomorrow, so we’ll probably just be enjoying the day. Soak up what we can of Kansas. We’ll have to get drunk another night. So that’s the tough part, it’s work. It’s such a grueling schedule, so there isn’t a lot of time partying on the tour. I wish there was.
PW: So it’s not quite as rock and roll as people expect it?
DW: No, I’m sure other tours are more suited to the rock and roll romantics.
PW: Ok. Final question. What’s playing currently on your iPod?
DW: I recently got this off a friend’s iTunes and I got Ben Folds Rockin’ the Suburbs, the entire album. It is really, really nice. I’m a Ben Folds fan, but I didn’t have that album.
PW: What’s your favorite song?
DW: “Not the Same,” the first song “Annie Waits” and the third song “Still Fighting It,” I think it’s called. They’re three really good songs off the album. I’m also listening to Nick Lowe at the moment because I’m a big fan of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe is a songwriter that actually produced all of Elvis Costello’s records. I’m also really enjoying a Swedish singer called Robyn. I think she’s really good. I try to listen to as many different types of music as possible.
PW: That’s awesome. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. It was nice meeting you.
DW: You, too.
PW: Good luck on the rest of the tour.
DW: Again, it is really, really a good time. It’s a pleasure to be out here. I’m really glad our band has this opportunity. We’re very grateful. So thank you for taking the time out of your life to talk to little ole me.
PW: Aw. Thanks. Best of luck to you guys.
Beat Union: myspace
Photo Credits: With the exception of the first two official Beat Union pictures, the third photo is courtesy of Joshua Neal.