Q&A with Dalton Winfree of The Strumms

The Strumms

For those of you who caught the recent Strumms article, you might’ve turned right to YouTube to listen to the Nashville band. For those of you who didn’t, shame on you. 

Just kidding.  

If you haven’t given them a shot, you should. I was lucky enough to learn all about them in a short interview with Dalton Winfree who is the guitarist and vocalist for The Strumms. Thankfully their meaning behind the music matches exactly what I love in bands – a push to notice the things that need to be changed in the world. The Stumms’ music has meaning behind it that makes you think. If there’s one thing they want more than most it’s for their fans to find the right information, and to question everything.

Creative Control: How did you start out?
Dalton Winfree: The Strumms started out as an idea I had with a friend I was starting to teach guitar to. I was really into New York music at the time, like The Strokes, The Virgins, and The Velvet Underground. I wanted to make music like that, and I brought in Will because we had a lot of similar music tastes in Avant-garde artists and weird rock acts like Buckethead and Primus. We had also played together before and we just gel really well. We just kind of evolved from there.  

CC: What bands do you compare yourself to?
DW: I like to compare us to Gang of Four, Public Image Limited, James Chance and The Contortions, with slivers of Nirvana, and maybe even some slices of Rage Against the Machine in there. We have a lot of influences all over the board. I feel like some would shock people.

CC: Why did you choose to make music with political undertones?
DW: We wanted to make songs with a purpose and a meaning. Will and I are not the kind of guys to just make some meaningless love song just because it could sell well. We really want to make things that will touch people and make them question what they’ve learned.  

CC: Have you ever gotten backlash for your songs or the message?
DW: Nah, we have never had an issue with anyone so far. Which is kind of funny considering some places we have played in the South, but so far no problems. If we ever did they probably wouldn’t really even know what they were arguing about. Misinformation in the States is crazy, especially in Tennessee.  

CC: What do you want people to get from your music?
DW: I really want to see our music empower people, and make them question the way things are operated. It doesn’t take the wisest set of eyes to notice that the whole Capitalist system is set up against them. I mean the whole purpose of a state is to violently enforce upper class interests over the whole so the lower class doesn’t rise up to take what’s also rightfully theirs. It’s really aggravating just thinking about how exploitive our system is. If we can help people to realize this, or to further this thought, that would be a great accomplishment. 

CC: Where do you see yourself going or where would you like to be in the next few years?
DW: I see us getting signed and being on tour probably in the next couple of years. Playing some big venues and doing some really cool shows with some activist organizations. We work really hard, so I’m hoping in the next couple of years it’s going to pay off.  

CC: What’s next for your music? Anything new coming out?
DW: Right now we just finished our first full length album, which should be coming out next year. It’s going to be called “Album of Un-American Activities,” and we are really excited. We did the whole album pretty much live and got it done in 3 days. It was a blast, the guy we recorded with said we were the fastest band he’d recorded with, which I thought was pretty punk rock. We are very excited about it, and can’t wait to unveil our ah, “magnum opus,” ha. 

CC: What was your best live performance?
DW: Probably my favorite performance was at The Mouthhole in Nashville. The crowd was electric and they had a TV waiting for when we started playing “Break Your Tvs.” One of the guys who owned the place picked it up over his head and threw it, and everybody was stomping on it It was pretty awesome that we could inspire people to kind of do that and cut loose.  

CC: What is your favorite song you’ve recorded?
DW: Mine would probably be “Militarize The Police.” That song is just so jammin’. I think Will’s is “Friedrich Nietzsche.” I don’t know though, it could be one of the new ones. I never tell him the names of the songs.

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