Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dent May Interview!

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to interview Dent May, whose ukulele-driven pop confection of an album, The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele, I have been listening to on repeat for the last month or so. As expected based on the charming quality of his music, the bespectacled Dent May was incredibly friendly and endearing. He even let me subject him to a questionnaire featured in Tiger Beat magazine in the 1960's.

Half A Person: I read that you went to film school. Did you initially want to do movies? What made you switch to music?
Dent May: Definitely. I guess music might have been my first love, but growing up and in high school I was always planning to go to film school. I didn’t necessarily want to be a part of the film business, but I wanted to write and direct movies. Anyway, I got there but after a few semesters I wasn’t really digging it. I’m still interested in making a movie one day or something like that, but I decided to go back to Mississippi and start writing songs more seriously. Making movies is such a large-scale effort and process, while making music is a little bit more easy and maybe more personal.

HAP: When did you start to play the ukulele? And why?
DM: I played ukulele when I was a really small kid, like around eight or nine years old. My mother taught me how to play it because we had a toy ukulele lying around the house. The first song she taught me was “26 Miles,” which is a cover song on my record. I’ve been playing it off-and-on forever but I didn’t start writing songs on it and performing with it until two or three years ago.

HAP: Are there any ukulele-based groups or artists that inspired you?
DM: Yeah, definitely. George Formby was a vaudeville star in the twenties and thirties and had a lot of comedy-musical movies. I really dig his songs. There’s also a guy called Cowboy Jack Clement who was a country-western producer in Nashville. He worked with Johnny Cash and he has always been a ukulele aficionado and he got the ukulele into country music, which I dug. There are definitely a few people I admire, but they didn’t really inspire me to pick it up in the first place.
HAP: How excited are you to tour with A.C. Newman and Animal Collective?
DM: I’m super excited! In fact, we just drove from Mississippi to Seattle in pretty much one shot. I start tomorrow in Vancouver with A.C. Newman and I’m super psyched. I’ve never been to Europe so I’m especially excited to go over there with Animal Collective. Hell yeah. I’m really excited.

HAP: If you’ve never been to Europe, why all the Paris-references in your songs?
DM: Well, “Oh Paris!” for example is kind of like a fantasy. I grew up listening to a lot of French music and watching a lot of French movies, but I couldn’t afford to go there in the past so I wrote a song about it instead. I’m really psyched to play “Oh Paris!” in Paris for the first time.


How would your mother describe you in one word?

What is your favorite flower?

What is the most insane question you've ever been asked?
“Are you serious?” This guy interviewed me recently and his first question was, “I just gotta know, are you serious?” I was like, “I don’t really know how to answer that question!” I know it’s not a super crazy question but I was kind of confused!

What word in the English language do you wish you had invented?

Where would you like to live?

What is the first quote that comes to your mind?
“Live long and prosper.”

What do you miss about your childhood?

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
Stefan…I was thinking about “Family Matters” when Steve Urkel makes a time machine or turns himself into Stefan or whatever.
What is the main fault of your character?

Who is your favorite historical figure?
Grace Coolidge.

Describe how you kiss in one word.
If you met the right man today, would you propose tomorrow?

What in the world do you least desire?
Getting married.

Why do you think most men date you?
For my body.

Finish this sentence. "Happiness is a thing called..."
Happiness is seeing the world!

If you haven't picked up a copy of Dent May's album, get it now! Also be sure to check him out on tour with A.C. Newman and Animal Collective.

No comments: