City and Colour’s Dallas Green sets new focus

You know that feeling of relief that comes with being able to share and talk about news that you’ve been holding onto for an extended period of time?

Dallas Green knows this all too well.

Green, who performs under the moniker of City & Colour, first came to national prominence as songwriter in the platinum-selling hardcore band Alexisonfire. Roughly one year ago, he had let it be known to his band mates that he would be leaving the group to focus his undivided attention upon City & Colour once the promotional and touring efforts behind Alexisonfire’s fourth full-length record were wrapped up.

Having two full-time musical projects on the go had simply become too much for Green and he had made his choice: City & Colour was going to be his baby moving forward.

While the remainder of the band was undecided as to what its future would hold, Green was asked to keep his intentions quiet. Approximately two weeks ago however, Alexisonfire announced their demise via their website, chalking their break-up to Green’s departure combined with the departure of another one of the band’s songwriters.

At long last, Green was now free to talk.

“Obviously it was not the happiest news that was shared but it was based on a decision that was made awhile ago,” Green says of his decision to leave Alexisonfire. “If anything, I am happy to be able to discuss it and clear my mind.”

While he says carrying the knowledge of his departure from the band was indeed a burden, Green admits that it was not as though he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

“It simply got to the point where I had to make a decision,” he continues. “Ever since City & Colour started making a name for itself, I was constantly being asked in interviews when I would be making the decision of choosing one over the other. I tried to do both as long as I could.”

Green need not worry about starting over. He has performed sold-out tours of the U.K. and Australia and sees his profile at possibly the highest it has ever been thanks to City & Colour’s newest record, Little Hell, released two months ago. The record shows Green at a pivotal moment in his career and sees him deliver a record that expands hauntingly and beautifully upon City & Colour’s acoustic beginnings.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing when it came to the making of Little Hell, however. For the first time in his recording career, he chose to employ tape as opposed to recording onto a computer, hoping that the warmth of recording to analog tape would show through with the end result. And while he is pleased with the sound of Little Hell, it was an at times frustrating journey for him.

“I have been making records for 10 years and having made all of the records using computers, I got used to the speed which you can work. It is not to say we cheated when making records in the past but everything moves so much faster. When you encounter a problem, you just reboot the system and you’re back at it.

“But when you are using a tape machine that hasn’t been used in 10 years, that is full of dust and breaks down, things tend to slow down. I am incredibly impatient and like to leave the studio knowing I got something done. There were a few nights I’d go home that we didn’t get anything done and that was frustrating. It was definitely a different process for me but looking back upon it, I am really happy with how everything turned out,” he says.

It has been interesting to see how City & Colour has grown over the course of three records and six years. Green’s early work was simple, acoustic guitar-based songs, but it has grown into a majestic full-band scenario, allowing some of Green’s simplest songs to be realized as a full band.

“A lot of the material from the first record has been re-imagined as full band songs. I had always heard them in that way but just never had the time to make a record that way. Over time though, the attention that City & Colour has received has allowed me to spend time making records and to have my ideas better imagined and more fully realized. I saw the making of Little Hell as the chance to bring everything together; this record was a chance for me to say that City & Colour could be anything that I wanted it to be.”

For those not fortunate enough to have secured tickets to Green’s SiriusXM Radio-sponsored show at the Moncton Coliseum this evening (and they were only made available to SiriusXM subscribers), fear not. Though the details are still being worked out, Green anticipates a full-fledged Cross-Canada tour will be undertaken early in the New Year, which, with any luck, will include a Moncton stop.

“Right now, we are just sorting out the schedule and how the dates will line up,” he confirms. “But I do intend to play as many cities as I can on the tour, playing places I haven’t already played and others that I haven’t been to in forever. I think it is going to be a great tour once it all comes together.”

Article published in August 19, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript