Interview: Al James of Dolorean

Beyond the obvious associations of flux capacitors, 1.21 gigawatts & lightning, there’s a new distinction we need to make regarding the DeLorean. Doc & Marty have inspired a pair of great bands to name themselves after their stylish time machine: the one spelled “Delorean” is the Spanish dance-rock band, and the other, the focus of today’s interview, spelled Dolorean, is a fantastic Americana-folk group led by Al James out of Portland.

[Photo by Sarah Jurado]

After releasing three albums in just five years prior to 2007’s You Can’t Win, Dolorean took the last four years as a reprieve, having come to the realization that they needed to slow it down. The constant studio output and subsequent touring grew exhausting, so they decided to put the music on their own time-line, and in doing so, put forth one of the first great records of 2011 called The Unfazed.

The Unfazed works as a quasi-concept album about acknowledging life’s anxieties without getting too bent out of shape; rolling with the punches. It’s entirely apropos in that the album’s mantra serves as a direct parallel to both the band’s hiatus and the album itself, as a living embodiment of being “unfazed.” By accepting the stresses, regaining control of the process and doing it at their own speed, Dolorean gave the music time to grow around the easy feelings and in essence, created a perpetual spiral, whereby this idea of The Unfazed flowed through into the music and the music in turn now embodies the idea of being Unfazed.

Hidden Track: So, let’s begin with this idea of “The Unfazed” that permeates the new album. I gather that this is saying something to the effect of “The Unfazed” are people who can sort of deal with bullshit and go about their lives without being too affected by the annoying burdens?

Al James: In some ways it’s about not dealing with the bullshit, but the flip side of that. It is accepting it, embracing it and not being surprised by it. It’s about not being caught off guard when things go completely off the rails (because the usually will) and just maintaining perspective. Living unfazed is a position of empathy and understanding.

HT: It’s probably not a great example, but that idea made me think of Bernie Madoff for some reason. The guy never showed an ounce of emotion in the face of blunder that probably caused more stress than any human could normally endure. So, who are some other people that come to mind when you think of The Unfazed?

READ ON for more of Ryan’s chat with Al James…

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