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Interview With Dead Poet Society Drummer Will Goodroad

What first got you into music, Will? 

Will: What got me into music... I mean what gets anyone into music it's like inherently a human thing, right? What really got me into making music is you just know, drums. Like I'd go to church and I'd watch, like sit right next to the drummer and just watch him just 'cause it just looked, so I don’t know, awesome.

Press shot for the rock outfit Dead Poet Society.
Photo courtesy of Chandler Moyer.

Growing up there was a drummer in your church?

W: Yea! Were Lutheran, and we were trying new things! Trying to get hit with the kids, you know.

I grew up in Roman Catholic, so it was just a choir, and organ, and then after once I got into like evangelical it's just like what is this, this is something new!?

W: Those are the early services. [Laughs].

How did you find the guys then, if you started in church how did that came to be then?

W: Honestly, it was kind of like, we were all kind of the same outcasted person in our individual high schools that we grew up in. We all kind of met each other in college and you know, just had like-minded thoughts and like-minded goals and like-minded tastes.

And the rest is history!

W: Yeah. [Laughs]. Then we got 10 years down the road.

It's been 10 years now?

W: Yeah man, it's been 10 years! I wanna say it's probably almost closer to 11 now, but I don't know if there's an official anniversary date. I don't know when we started dating. [Laughs].

How would you describe Dead Poet Society’s music to someone who's just discovered it, Will?

W: I would say it's a rock band that doesn't fall into the traps of clichés and wants to take chances. Yeah, I honestly just want to just say it's a band 'cause I love bands that don't really fall in a genre you know.

Well, who were your guy's music influences growing up?

W: We all kind of had similar but different tastes. Like there's this guy in Minneapolis that I grew up listening to called POS and Jack Collins, all the way out in Jersey was listening to him at the same time in high school, so that was kind of cool. I don't know, we all bring something unique to the table.

You have a new record that’s out! Are you excited, nervous?

W: I’m all the feelings! I'm anxious, nervous, [and] excited. It's a lot.

You’ve been doing this for 11 years so it kind of gets mingled in there, right?

W: Yeah. [Laughs]. I’m kind of all in at this point.

Wouldn’t you think it gets easier or harder at this point?

W: It’s kind of like anything, it's almost like life, it doesn't get easier. Not necessarily you just kind of get used to the challenges that come up and kind of learn to navigate and learn new tools to navigate through them, I guess.

What do you hope fans will take away from the new record compared to the other ones?

W: I kind of want it to be like a tool that they can have like a movie that I can go to make me feel good or reflect on some sort of thing or book I can read. You know what I mean. They don't have to necessarily learn anything it's just kind of a nice little device.

What was your favourite song on the record that you got to take part in Will?

W: There's a lot. There's a lot of lyrical elements that I really like in certain songs. The musical and production things that we tried on this album that turned out a lot cooler than I thought. We have some more electronic kind of sounds with like "Hard To Be God" or "KOET." Then we have some just straight-up old-school Dead Poets songs like "Black And Gold," -the very last song- it's one of my favourites that we kinda just whipped together at the last second along with "81 Tonnes." They’re all great!

I’m excited to hear the record! I’ve been a fan of you guys for a minute!

W: Thanks, man! How did you discover us?

Honestly wild to me, a Spotify recommendation, man. W: Beautiful!

It’s doing something right!

W: Yeah, that’s how I'm discovering a bunch of artists these days.

What are the ones that you've been discovering from it?

W: I just discovered this band PLTS. A song called "On And On" came on the other day and I've been obsessed with it. So good!

There's one band that I've been loving and they're getting in a little bit of recognition, Letter Sent Home -they just got signed by SharpTone Records and they're getting very much pushed a lot on Spotify.

W: Nice! I’m gonna go check them out after this!

What was the creative process like for making this record compared to the last ones?

W: This one was the first one that we had like a ticking clock 'cause the record before we've had you know the years that we've been a band to just accumulate this, this wealth of songs. This is the first time we had a new challenge -we're kind of perfectionists with faults at some points, so when we were forced to move on from things that we didn't want to move on from, you know.

Did that stress you out a bit?

W: Oh yeah! But the pressure sometimes makes diamonds, I hear!

What are your music influences for this record compared to the last record?

W: We don't really intentionally go in thinking of what other artists have done. We just kind of write from what we wanna write so like "My Condition," kind of would throw off someone who's used to something that we usually put out, but that's just where the direction was that for that song, it's just where it had to go.

I've heard that from a lot of bands lately, that they don't want to take inspiration from a lot of bands nowadays. I was talking to someone who didn't listen to Spotify for months so they don't get influenced by other artists.

W: Well, I mean that’s fair. I mean, if you wanna be an absolute purist, but then that's kind of just taken away the fun of music 'cause I like music.

With this new era of AI, with everyone freaking out about it, did you guys use any tools while making the record? And do you think people are overreacting over AI?

W: I think people are like rightfully curious 'cause it is interesting. We didn't use any per se, I guess for the writing of the album, but for the "My Condition" music video, the director used elements from I think he said Midjourney. I think people will overreact to things 'cause that's what we do, we like to overreact. But I think it'll be a cool tool to use, I don't think it's gonna replace humans, you know. It's not gonna be a brave new world tomorrow, but give it the time it might.

Which songs are you most excited for fans to hear on the record?

W: I'm excited for them to hear it as a whole. I really like the kind of ride it takes you on, like let me take a gander at my album here.

Oh, you got the vinyl!

W: So Side A, pretty much all of it's come out, "Uto" I'm excited for, yeah, those lyrics hit home pretty hard, "LA Queen," "Hard To Be God."

It’s just banger after banger.

W: They resonate with a certain frequency for me. I hope it does the same to others.

Are you excited for your headliner tour?

W: Oh yeah, absolutely. I'm nervous 'cause I'm so used to like opening. I'm used to getting the show started.

What shows are you excited for in the tour?

W: Amsterdam is gonna be insane. It’s the most we've ever sold for a single show and they keep making it bigger. We’ve sold it, technically sold out the capacity twice. So they opened up the balcony and then they made the balcony bigger. That one I'm very nervous for and very excited about.

Any US shows that you're excited for? Maybe to see family and that?

W: I'm excited to play Boston and Minneapolis because those places are like my second homes.

What are some new bands or artists that you recently discovered that you think people should check out?

W: This band that we just took out called Public Theater. I'm obsessed with those guys. They're very honest and like genuine songwriters and I think they can connect with a lot of trials and tribulations that the younger kids are going through these days.

What's the best piece of advice that you've ever gotten while doing music, Will?

W: It's just music.

It's just music? That’s it?

W: It was kind of annoying at the time, but there was one professor whenever we'd have like this test that was coming up. He’d say it was a pivotal test that would determine your grade or whatever some big project and he would always undermine it with remember, it's just music. Like however big you're making it in your mind, however much sleep you're gonna lose tonight, just remember it's just music. Like you might have your heart broken, you might crash your car, and then put all of it into the song and guess what someone still might go, "Huh? Skip." [Laughs]. It’s just music.

Damn, that just hurts you in the feels, right there, man. Like you create something that's like just music like...

W: But that's kind of beautiful though, it can be just music or it can be like this song that gets you through it.

Relatively, yeah. Have you got like messages from people like, "Yo, this song has helped me through this?"

W: I have and I still think they're bots, I think [Laughs]. No, it's crazy, it's insane. I don't take any of that for granted. I’m very fortunate to have people that we have along with us on this ride.

It's a great journey that you guys have been on for so many years that you guys have shaped up this scene of rock in general, like you guys have done a lot of it.

W: Hey, we learned a lot from our older brothers in Badflower, Highly Suspect, Nothing More, and Biffy Clyro! We had a lot of great mentors.

If you could talk to yourself from a year from now, what would you tell yourself?

W: You look well rested and healthy good for you. [Laughs]. You don't look transparently pale. [Laughs]. That's what I'd like to say.

Do you hope that you won't be transparently pale in a year, dude?

W: I'm hoping to get some more vitamin D this year. [Laughs].

All the tours and festivals and everything, I would hope so too.

W: Yeah, a lot of indoors, you know. For as much travelling as you do, it's a lot of cars, planes, trains automobiles, and inside of buildings.

You can probably see your favorite places though?

W: Yeah, you gotta take the opportunity to explore, you know.

What has been your favourite place that you've toured, like your favourite show ever?

W: Favourite show ever? I can't single them out, but there are moments that we've had in our early career in Mexico that I'll never forget. There are just some of the hometown shows, just pulling people out here. I mean going to countries I've never even thought about, like exploring Prague last year was crazy. Can't take it for granted.

If you can have your listeners and fans remember one thing about yourself, Will, what would you want them to remember you by?

W: The music. I don't want 'em to listen to what I say, I just want 'em to listen to our songs.

Describe yourself with one word, which would it be?

W: Snowflake. [Laughs].

Wait, aren't you from LA or you're in LA right now?

W: No, I’m from Minnesota. A snowflake is beautiful, and individualized on its own.

Finally, what are your guys' plans for the rest of 2024? I'm assuming touring? As well, the back half of the year, any plans set for that yet?

W: Honestly, world domination! [Laughs].

Just destroy the world?

W: No, no, no. Not destroy it, just dominate.

You guys are like the dominators!

W: Sure. I’ll take that.


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