5 minutes with Dehd: The indie rockers on their new album and band breakups

Hunger chats to the trio about their upcoming album and their musical trajectory.

Since bursting onto the scene, Chicago-based trio Dehd has continued to make waves within the genre. Comprised of lead singers Emily Kempf and Jason Balla, and drummer Eric McGrady, Dehd were a refreshing addition to the genre with their strain of pop-infused indie rock. Noted for bearing similarities to a vast array of industry stalwarts, from the likes of the Velvet Underground and New Order to The Growlers, Dehd committed to a no-punches pulled approach to songwriting since their eponymous 2016 EP.

It’s notable — the band survived an inner-band breakup (Kempf and Balla), but that hasn’t put them off tackling the highs and lows of modern-day romance with equally scintillating harmonic crescendos, which cut right at the core of life’s daily heartbreaks. Following up from their critically-acclaimed second album Flower of Devotion, Dehd is gearing up to drop Blue Skies later this month after releasing a slew of vibrant, lush singles — ‘Bad Love’ and ‘Empty in My Mind’ are HUNGER’s top picks. Here, we catch up with the Jason ahead of the new release… 

I’m really loving Blue Skies. What makes it different from your previous offerings?

It’s the next big thing, baby!

Can you describe the sound/vibe on Blue Skies in five words? 

Hopeful, enthused, grounded, joyful, anthemic.

Your last album, Flower of Devotion was released slap bang in the pandemic. Did you have more of a sense of normality this time around when recording Blue Skies? 

Every album is made outside of time and space. The pandemic made no difference to us in this writing and recording process.

What are the main themes of the album? There definitely seems to be a sense of lightheartedness…

Yeah, lightheartedness and hope in the face of despair, whether it be personal or worldwide. And holding onto your friends’ hands and remembering why you’re still trying to stay alive.

You guys are really evocative of bands like New Order and This Mortal Coil. What bands have had the biggest effect on your sound/aesthetics during the years?

Noise fuzz club electronica (Emily) and Frankie Cosmos (Eric).

Is there any band whose trajectory you’d like to follow? 

We follow our own 😉

So, there was a famous romance and break-up in Dehd — between you and Emily. That could have crushed any band — how were you guys able to get past it in such a practical way? 

WHAT! Emily and Jason dated??? I thought they were just cosmic musical life partners in sound and friendship!!!!

What’s the most surreal moment of your career so far? 

For me, it’s when people sing the words to our songs. It never gets old.

What’s next for Dehd? Are any big celebrations planned for when the album drops?

A big party at Metro in Chicago on June 4th. And we’re pretty excited about the EU/UK tours this fall.

Finally, what does music mean to you as a band? How does it enrich your life on a day to day basis? 

Music saves lives my dawg! It keeps us all feeling stuff and hanging on.

Blue Skies will be able to stream on May 27th. 

  • Writer Nessa Humayun
  • Image Credits Alexa Viscius

Related Content