He’s the front man of post hardcore band Alexisonfire, the singer songwriter of City and Colour and is the other half of folk duo You+Me with Alecia Moore (AKA P!nk).
Dallas Green is a man of many incarnations and he is returning to Australia off the back of his fifth recording as City and Colour, If I Should Go Before You.
Speaking to The Upside News from his home in Toronto, Dallas sips a glass of wine and tells us why he loves coming back here.
“I’ve always said to myself, and people around me, that I like to go where people are listening. Ever since we first came with Alexisonfire many years ago, people have continued to listen and be interested in the music I’ve made. I’ve felt an obligation to come and show my appreciation for that,” he says.
“I think maybe the second time I went, somebody said they couldn’t believe how soon we’d come back, and it had been two years since we had been there. I got into a discussion with that person about how bands won’t ever come back or they come once every ten years and, to me, that doesn’t make any sense, so I’ve made it a mission to always try to come once, if not twice, every time I make a record.”
It’s his 15th Australian tour, and Dallas thinks nothing of getting on a plane to come and play to the people who love having him back, time after time.
“It’s really not that far. People think it’s far. It takes a day to get there, but how many days have you spent in your life doing absolutely nothing? I can spend a day on an airplane, go to the other side of the world and play my guitar and sing for people. I have no problem doing that,” he says.
In particular, he enjoys coming back to Adelaide, as it has some significance to him.
“Adelaide was the very first place I ever went to in Australia so I have a very special place in my heart for Adelaide,” Dallas says.
“I’ve played Thebarton Theatre about three times now and I love it. I think it’s great. I love the layout of it. I love that it’s an old theatre, but it still has character. It’s always nice to play a place that has some character, rather than just a big, black room.”
The release of 2013’s The Hurry and the Harm has seen Dallas Green touring with the consistent ensemble of Dante Schwebel (guitar), Doug MacGregor (drums), Jack Lawrence (bass) and multi-instrumentalist Matt Kelly.
He speaks fondly of the group and considers them family, which he feels is one of the best parts about touring with them.
“It’s strange, because we get along as people better than we get along as musicians, which only helps to make the musician relationship even better. There’s going to be good days and bad days when you’re playing constantly and there are such highs and such lows. If you’re lucky enough to be in love with it, it’s a fantastic feeling when it goes well, but it breaks your heart if it doesn’t, because you’re in this very tumultuous relationship with this thing,” Dallas says.
“So to have a group of people I not only love playing with, but also love to just sit and talk to – and that goes for everybody in the group, we all have this wonderful relationship with one another – it makes flying around the world and sleeping in a travelling tin can most of the time rewarding almost, to a fault. That’s what I love most about it. When the shows are good, it makes it even better, but when the shows aren’t good, or things aren’t going well, you can turn to one another and get through it, and that’s my favourite part.”
Dallas is known as an introspective, solitary writer, demo-ing songs in his basement, and working up every instrumental part by himself, but If I Should Go Before You is very much a band record, where trust and camaraderie was key.
“The biggest challenge of producing this record was getting everybody together. Once that happened, it was pretty easy to make the record, because there was a sense of trust in one another that nobody was going to let anybody down. Making the record was easy. Once the songs were there, we knew what to do. That’s a really wonderful place to be,” he says.
“Introducing all these different people from all these different walks of life and my song writing being the root of how all these wonderful people met each other is the biggest accomplishment I’ve ever had in my life.”
Having also produced the record himself, Dallas is pleased with the outcome, but firmly believes the live show is even better, because that’s what he constantly works towards.
“I think they’re even better. In all of the different music projects we’ve been involved in, it’s been important to us to be good live. I want to make the record great, but the record is a snapshot of that time of your life. It’s a platform to go out and do better every night. So, if you already have this great version to work from, you can go out and try to outdo yourself every day,” he says.
“It doesn’t always happen, but you can evolve and find new parts of that song you didn’t know when you were recording it; I love finding new ways to sing something. Sometimes you wish you’d figured that out when you were recording, but sometimes you need six months of singing something every night to realise what you can do with it, but as long as it’s better and more interesting than what you did on the record, then that’s the important part about paying music: that evolution.
“The greatest thing anyone could ever say to me is that we sound better live than on the record. If they come to a show because they love a record and leave loving the live show even more, then I’ve done something right.”
You can catch City and Colour at Thebarton Theatre on Monday March 28 with tickets through Ticketmaster. Doors open 7:30pm.
By Libby Parker