The Dear Hunter’s The Color Spectrum is a 9-EP Concept
:: The Dear Hunter ::
By Joe Kovack
Creativity is an unencumbered, uninhibited force of nature that knows no bounds and refuses to conform to any singular conception. The Dear Hunter exemplifies this through music.
The unique and concentrated vision of Casey Crescenzo is what gives The Dear Hunter life. A multi-instrumentalist, lead singer and writer, he is the driving force behind the music and one could say that he is The Dear Hunter, just as much as Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails.
It is a story told through music, and one Crescenzo has been eager to tell. In a recent interview with The Marquee, Crescenzo explained how his vision manifested after being kicked out of his former post-hardcore band The Receiving End of Sirens.
“We ran into some very intense emotional battles and I was asked to leave the band, it was heartbreaking. But I knew that I couldn’t do anything else but music,” Crescenzo said. “And at that point I knew that I could take this thing that has always been a side project outlet for me and make it real. I really had no idea what it could become; it was just about writing music. I’ve definitely had some roadblocks, but at the end of the day I can rest with the knowledge that this is the result of my personal hard work,” he said.
Crescenzo was born into music. With his father and mother meeting in a studio in San Francisco —his father an engineer and producer, and mother a studio vocalist — music became a second language that would influence him throughout his life. “I was lucky growing up. I was exposed to a lot of different music that kids my age didn’t listen to. I was really lucky to grow up with the music that my parents loved but also the music that they continued to write,” Crescenzo said. Picking up the guitar at age eight, he began writing simple songs, and by age 10 he knew that devoting his life to music was in his destiny.
While The Dear Hunter may embody the prog/art avante rock genres, there are traces of all styles of music riddled throughout the works — even within individual songs — changing from progressive rock to melodic Beach Boy-esque vocal harmonies. It’s a melting pot of styles, rhythms, harmonies and melodies that work together in ways rarely heard these days. “I never had just one love of any specific genre growing up,” Crescenzo said. “And while writing music, instead of forcing the progressions, melodies or vocals into a specific sound, I’m just going to let them develop naturally and explore what comes out.”
As a vocalist, Crescenzo’s voice exudes a passion for what he is doing. Having sung harmonies with his mother since childhood, it was something that he loved but didn’t know how to harness until playing with The Receiving End of Sirens. “I always sang a lot softer and I never really got aggressive with my vocals until I played with those guys,” Crescenzo said. “I wanted so badly to sing, but they told me I sang too mellow. But over time, I was able to break down that wall in my mind of being timid, and eventually felt more comfortable and now I’m at the point where I feel comfortable being loud, or soft; whatever the melody or the lyrics require in my heart and in my head.”
Not only is the music an amalgamation of styles, but a conceptual work of art as well. With his first three albums following a singular plotline, it is a heavily romanticized, ongoing version of his life with no end in sight. “The whole idea was that instead of just sitting and writing songs about myself and depressing someone and complaining, I’ll take what has happened to me as inspiration and I’ll try to create a story about that, and obviously romanticize it heavily so that it is interesting and it actually does justice as a concept record,” Crescenzo said. “The idea to make it an ongoing thing is the story with the life of someone from start to finish, and I wanted to leave myself the room to grow as a person, to experience more of my own life so as I write the stories and music I have more experience as a person to fill in the gaps,” Crescenzo said.
Crescenzo’s newest release, The Color Spectrum is a nine-EP set of 36 songs, four tracks for each color of the spectrum, including white and black. Each four-track set is a reaction of Crescenzo’s emotionally and cognitively to the color, with each set sharing similar qualities of sound and style. Some produce more rock-laden tracks while others are more ambient/industrial and even folk/Americana sound. It goes back to Crescenzo’s love of all music and understanding that creativity has no structure or prescribed regimen.
Whereas his earlier albums (all titled Act plus a number) all worked together, the pieces of The Color Spectrum are each meant to stand alone conceptually, something Crescenzo said was needed: a break from the ongoing storyline, but not a break creatively. “There’s a definite theme behind each EP, there’s no story really. I felt this was a good opportunity to step away from plot driven music. The inspiration was kind of a kneejerk reaction to the way certain colors make me feel, and the way I react to those colors in my life,” Crescenzo said.
:: The Dear Hunter ::
:: Summit Music Hall :: July 20 ::
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