After a few years of touring hard in the States and overseas, recent times have been seemingly low-key and quiet for a loud band like Dead Confederate. They've more or less remained off the radar for the last year. In this short time, the band adapted to their drummer leaving to start a family, learning to work with a handful of new drummers, and half of the remaining members getting married (not to each other). 2011 saw it's fair share of music from them, although not the typical side of Dead Confederate: There were many solo performances from members, an expanded incarnation of the band that ventured out on mini-tours playing Neil Young's "Tonight’s The Night" in it's entirety and, most recently, the formation of Diamond Rugs (a "super group" featuring Dead Confederate's Hardy Morris, Deer Tick's John McCauley & Robbie Crowell, Black Lips' Ian St Pe, Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, and Brian Dufresne of Six Finger Satellite).
It is in times like these that some bands discover what success really means to them. As the band began mixing their third, currently-untitled LP (this time in their home of Athens, GA with producer David Barbe), singer/guitarist Hardy Morris had this to say about Dead Confederate's success - "I don't think any of us have a desire for any kind of quote-unquote fame. All we want is to be able to make records. No one's ever been looking to own Bentleys and swimming pools. We are happy calling 'making records and playing shows' our job. If you would have told me when I was a kid that I would have seen half the world and done a fraction of the stuff we've done, I would have called you crazy."
On their new album - "I think these songs are kind of a culmination of all the stuff we've done. I know for me, I wanted to approach this album like it was the last thing I was going to do; the last album I'd make. I knew that wasn't the case, but that's the mindset I held going in because I think, in some ways, that's what people want to hear. I know that's what I want to hear... Songs that feel like it might be someones last breath. Some desperation, some finality. Not to say it's going to be an exceptionally bleak album or anything, but most of the songs we've recorded for this album hold onto that darker, quasi-southern vibe we do. I think it has some similarities to both of our previous records, but in the end it will certainly be its own thing."
For Dead Confederate, 2012 is shaping up to be an interesting year - "We are label free at the moment, so its kind of like starting anew in a way. Its all a bit fresher and there is excitement for sure. I think, for musicians, its healthy when things are a bit up-in-the-air. Not just, 'we gotta make a record by some labels deadline.' We are just glad to be doing our own thing in the studio and able to take our time and get into it. Its great being on our own timeline. We are planning to go have some fun at SXSW for sure, and find the right home for the record at some point. After the record is released we will tour. My side project, Diamond Rugs will be out at SXSW, so I'm sure we will do some sets with both bands out there and tour all of it later in the year."
Along with writing for and recording the new album, Dead Confederate used the last year to dig into a huge collection of old material. Over the second half of 2011, the band used Facebook as a platform to release 18 unreleased home recordings and B-sides in their first installment of their Sunday Archive series. These releases are something they plan to continue going forward, consisting of never-before-heard tunes released free and direct to the fans followed by limited edition cassette tapes released in volumes. With a new album on the way and a huge collection of older tunes just waiting for release, 2012 will be anything but "quiet" for Dead Confederate.