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A Dirty Dozen with DEREK HENRY from OBSERVE THE 93RD – November 2023

| 29 November 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Theatrical alt-rock duo Observe the 93rd are releasing their new album Eternalism. Music lovers from spanning My Chemical Romance’s early 2000’s emo era to classic rock fans who seek music influenced by The Beatles’ White Album will find something to love amongst the varied tracklist. The piece combines vivacious theatrical rock and influences from rock n roll’s past icons with poignant lyrics exploring the depths of consciousness, the universe, and lifeforms beyond Earth. Beyond the out-of-this-world themes, the band maintains their humanity with songs about loss, mental health, and the challenges of life. The band continues to weave masterful storytelling and thought-provoking philosophy into everything they do, with this album being their most ambitious themed record yet.” We get Derek Henry to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our new single is called “We Are Already Dead,” and it’s going to be the opening track of our forthcoming album. It’s a song that introduces the listener to the concept of Eternalism, which is the theory that the past, present, and future are all equally real.  I definitely use a lot of phrases with double meanings and can be pretty cryptic with our lyrics, but I often leave the specifics up for interpretation.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve always been a creative person and sought out those kinds of outlets. I started off drawing and painting. Music seemed like a very natural extension of that base. I started playing guitar at 14 and started singing at 18. Prior to that, I was focused on solely visual art.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

A few bands that really sparked my own interest in music as an outlet are System of a Down, The Beatles, and My Chemical Romance. My taste is pretty eclectic, which I think that list displays lol but the main thing that makes me connect to any art is authenticity.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d love to do a song with Meg Myers, Billie Eilish, Gerard Way, or Lana Del Rey. They all write very raw, emotional music with a darkness to it. I think that would jive really well with what we do.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

Draw, paint, gym, skateboard, and listen to records.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

In terms of genres, I’d say Alternative Rock / Emo. We definitely write pretty diverse material though. It’s raw and heartfelt rock music. And we’ve gotten a lottttt of really varied comparisons. Ones I like have been MCR, The Cure, The Mars Volta, Joy Division, SOAD. I don’t want to call anyone out who has made comparisons I didn’t find flattering lol. Above all, we of course just want to sound like us, which is a cliche band thing to say but nonetheless true.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

None of us would cook, so we’d probably go out to get Mexican food or something. Dylan would get more of the drinks in because I’m a major lightweight. I can’t hang anymore lol we’re pretty well-behaved these days in that regard though. And I feel like our friend Logan Miller, who’s playing bass with us at shows, would be the one to crack out the acoustic.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Hmm, maybe when we opened for Lacey Sturm in Lancaster at the Chameleon Club. I grew up playing that debut Flyleaf album on repeat. Her and Gerard Way’s approach to singing always resonated with me, and when I started singing they were both big inspirations. They focus on the emotion, not the technicality (even though they’re both great singers too). That’s very key to me. Kurt Cobain is another one I could put on that list.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

It’s cathartic. Writing the songs, rehearsing, recording, playing the shows… it’s all extremely cathartic and therapeutic. If I weren’t playing music I’d probably focus on visual art again.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

“Why’d you make the duck blue?”, and the answer is, “I drew the duck blue because I’ve never seen a blue duck before and, to be honest with ya, I wanted to see a blue duck.” I’m not really tired of answering any questions. I appreciate anyone wanting to help highlight and promote our band. The one question I always anticipate though is, “What does Observe the 93rd mean?”

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

No, because I feel really good about everything we are creating right now. I’m really proud that we’ve prioritized authenticity and artistic integrity every step of the way.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The White Album. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time and I would love to see their genius at work on that album. I’ve watched that 8 hour Get Back documentary at least 5 times the entire way through.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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