Dent May – self-described hotel bar lounge singer – has been charming his way into the hearts of music fans since the release of his debut album The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele on Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label in 2009. The Mississippi-born, Los Angeles-based songwriter, performer, and Dolly Parton enthusiast has since released two more acclaimed records and played hundreds of shows. For nearly a decade, Dent May has crafted bright, homemade pop songs that pull from the past—disco, soft-rock, country-western, psychedelia, soul, funk—all with light-hearted wit and his distinct croon. Across The Multiverse, his fourth full-length album, finds the Mississippi native embracing a hi-fi sound with the sheen of his new surroundings in Los Angeles. Dent may will perform in Berlin for our Kiezsalon on February 28th 2018.
1: I obsessively taped reruns of The Partridge Family to VHS when I was a teenager.
2: DJing weddings is my side hustle.
3: My great-grandfather was a doctor who delivered Isaac Hayes.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I’m inspired by everything, all the music I hear whether it’s good or bad, all my personal interactions and relationships, books I read and movies I watch, the websites I surf on the internet and so on and so forth. I’m always listening for a phrase or a melody or an idea to incorporate into a song.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I’ve been making music as long as I can remember. I went to a performing arts elementary school, and I was in choirs and musicals as a child. I started taking piano lessons when I was 6 or 7 years old, then took up guitar and started my first band when I was 12 or 13. We played covers of Creed, 311 and Limp Bizkit. We recorded a cassette and sold 100 copies to our classmates.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Weezer – Blue Album
The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
Aaliyah – One In A Million
Outkast – Aquemini
Harry Hosono & The Yellow Magic Band – Paraiso
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Karaoke in Mauerpark and getting rejected from Berghain. I love Berlin!
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
In Los Angeles my favorite place is the L.A. River. It was a real river, then they paved it with concrete in 1938. You’ve probably seen it in movies like Terminator 2 and Grease. The city has plans to restore it to its natural glory, and I have my fingers crossed they don’t mess that up.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would be a college professor teaching literature. That was my career path before I started releasing albums and going on world tours.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I bought the Carly Simon album No Secrets for like a dollar. I’m in love with the song “The Right Thing To Do.” I also bought Barry White’s Greatest Hits and a collection of Ernie K. Doe tunes.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
It was an honor playing the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival curated by Animal Collective. Our set was fine, but the weekend hanging out with so many great artists and watching them perform was magical.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology is extremely important, because I couldn’t do this without being able to cheaply record digital audio on my laptop at my house. I also do a good bit of editing with software. I record a bunch of takes of something then comp together the best of the batch. Even if we didn’t have computers, I’d be doing this the old school way cutting to analog tape, but then again that’s still a form of technology.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My sisters are incredibly supportive. Everyone in my family is super normal, so I think they get a kick out of having a weird dude in the family.
To listen: soundcloud.com/dentmay