The Obelisk Questionnaire: Andre Dumont of Dead Harrison

Posted in Questionnaire on June 10th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

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The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Andre Dumont of Dead Harrison

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

The best way I can think of this , in every aspect of what it is we do from day to day or project to project…we are catalysts. Whether it was seeing a friend just playing an instrument really well, or seeing a fantastic piece of art that someone else captured in magnificent beauty. They were catalysts to us. A passion that was there to be shared, and it creates another moment that becomes the inspiration for someone else. Hell, even if it was someone having a nice car that they worked on. Another person comes by and starts asking questions about why things do the things they do. Now you passed on another skill or piece of knowledge to help the next race car driver to find his passion. In the grand scheme of things, it’s what some of us are. Even if my band sucks to so many people out there, there is always the other end of the spectrum. Those who get inspired by what they hear, or see, or witness. So to define what it is I think I do/ we do as a band, it’s to be part of the creation of something new. It’s not just in the music, it’s who you are as people. Interact, little by little we all morph a little more into something bigger than all of us. The universe just keeps on swirling us around in its big old celestial body. You know how the saying goes…”as above, so below”. Yeah, that’s us humans colliding with other humans in the vastness of people and matter. We smash together and BAM! Worlds are created. Really, this is a whole philosophical rabbit hole, but that’s us. How this came to be in the very beginning, was a friend who was in a band called Splatter Cats. I saw them jam once, then I felt the call to play drums. Man, that was so cool watching them light up a garage party a few weeks later. That was the start of where that drive came from. I just always hope that we can do that for someone else. To create that feeling.

Describe your first musical memory.

We had an organ at home when I was a kid. I loved listening to music. Liked the way it made me feel. So I would just mess around. Pretty much always by ear. I could never really grasp the writing of music. Just like I still have to look at the keyboard when typing. So sad. You’d think it’d be easy by now. Nope. Oh well. It did however land me some accordion lessons and a little more grasp on making dynamics. Accordions can be creepy if you want them to be. I suppose that would be in the vein of that first musical experience. Then we get sidetracked and go elsewhere, but then we come back when another experience hits us. Each memory is on its own timeline. New ideas are gathered and put into new creations.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Tough one. I have a few.. The most recent though, that’s the real stuff that hits you as a musician. After these past few years, music venues have been shutting down or just using musicians to get people in the door. Kind of a bad music memory for most of us. Until recently, we started curating shows in our rehearsal space. I’ve been lucky to have a big room in an old mill building. Well, people have been missing a good scene. musicians have been missing out on playing their most killer sets. I decided it was time to do shows, but do them with the quality that I would like at a venue. That connection to other musicians and lovers of music has created such an awesome memory as of late. If we reach just a few years back as a band, it was doing a little mini tour. Stepping outside of our little box as a band. That traveling inspired this, another place where we can share music to more people. It’s those memories that give us those best musical experiences. Always strive to create the next great one. Sometimes, they don’t come around for a while. Never give up. Even if you’re out playing some little bar in a basement rock club in Baltimore Maryland, and some peeps tell you to reach out to a group called “Feed the Scene”. Find out they house travelling bands and give them beds to sleep on after being in tents or a van for a week. A shower. Great musical memory. Community. That’s what is needed again. Make more memories!!!

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I think a lot of us gave up on firmly held beliefs a long time ago. If there’s one thing that has the possibility of making things suck, it’s forcing beliefs on people. Like playing guitar, I like it loud. Crank that amp up and feel it. Love that, firmly believed that was the thing to do. Then you play a place where someone cares about how you sound. They’re like”turn your amp down”, and you’re like nah…why? Why should I do the crazy sound persons thing. Then they throw it into the monitor nice and loud, then it doesn’t blast into the microphones on stage, then there’s no feedback from trying to crank the lead vocals. There’s times and there’s places where beliefs come and go, or they change into new understandings of how things work. Oh, we can be stubborn ones. Time changes us. What beliefs do we have that are just constructs? I have a firm belief that it’s my purpose to play music. I’ve almost thrown in the towel. Tested, feeling it was never going to do anything. Well, that belief has kept me going anyways. If that’s a belief worth having, then it’s a good thing. I believe there’s a lot of good in the world. That belief is tested every day.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Maybe it leads to craftsmanship. It also leads to new experiences. I feel that as you progress as an artist, you play with new tools, or new mediums. Usually it’s some kind of connectedness to a feeling brought about by new experiences. Watching how the world, or people around us move to the new and the old. Artistic progression is also lead by watching this and wanting to create more, but better on the next round. It’s a continuous vicious cycle the we love to be pushed by. I would love to say it leads to great things. Just don’t let it be led by ego. Some ego is good, but too much is bad. Be patient, never stop learning. It leads to passion. It leads to the heart. In the end, you are led to the darkness, but your story lives another life. It leads to passing stories and legend.

How do you define success?

Being able to accomplish a task that you have undertaken. I feel that we, as a band, have been quite successful. Maybe not in the big grand picture of the regular music world, but we’ve definitely made a lot of people some really great memories. I think that’s a big success. Maybe one day we’ll sell a million cd’s or downloads or something. That doesn’t mean we didn’t succeed as a band if we didn’t. What is a success is we’re all still here as a band, creating new hopes and new songs. That is our success. We still all work regular jobs. It is a goal that music can one day be that job we love and are passionate about…..and able to still live in this friggin expensive world.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Probably a Hurdy Gurdy. Because now I want one.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A comic book. There’s actually a really cool storyline that goes with the band. It’s all about creating a character, a group of characters per say, that are kinda secret alien guardians. There’s a whole zombie thing too, but I can’t give away details. Bad guys, good guys, secret guys….and gals of course. A comic…yes…that’s what I’d like to create. I suck at drawing humans though.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Movement. It’s a flow. Whether it’s visual, where the eye moves around taking in the information. Or, it’s notes and rhythms put together to move the body. They all lead to feeling a certain way. Feeling oneness with what you’re partaking in. A very essential function. Also, this is another important piece. Interpretation. Each person can have their own interpretation of how the art may bring about certain memories, or relate lyrics to a story of their own. Great art has an openness. It’s also expression. It’s a way for an artist to show the world what they see or feel. It can be fun. It can be sad. It can be beautiful, or it can be grating. Purpose, also another function. Last but not least, connection. All these things keep us progressing. Becoming better and inspiring the next new vision.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Taking another road trip. Travelling is such a great thing to do. Interacting with new people. Seeing new and crazy things. When? Always the question. For now, it’ll be going up to the Holiday barbeque and being with a bunch of family and friends. Keeping the good times real. Most of us were blessed with spawn. Some of our spawn have also spawned. So, looking forward to seeing and being with our most important humans. They are our friends. They are our family, they are the ones that keep us striving to keep moving forward. Plus it’s mountains, sun (hopefully), and a few brewskies. Definitely a good time to look forward to. And maybe a trip to Dracula’s Castle someday….

Dead Harrison, None for All (2024)

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