California-based roots rock band Dawes were formed in Los Angeles suburb of North Hills by brothers Taylor Goldsmith (lead vocals and guitar) and Griffin Goldsmith (drums) as well as Wylie Gelber (bass) and Alex Casnoff (guitar). Once known, in their junior high years, as Simon Dawes, the name was changed when guitarist Blake Mills left the group and leaving with him, some of the hard rock sound. Dawes was heavily influenced by the gentle acoustic-based musical trappings and rich vocal harmonies of the Laurel Canyon sound, and also by the shambling romanticized Americana of the band.
Now, five albums later (each with their own back story), Dawes has come home. After recording its last two albums, Stories Don’t End and All Your Favorite Bands, in Asheville, North Carolina, and Nashville, respectively, the Los Angeles band has returned to the city that has been both home and inspiration since its inception in 2009 to record its fifth album, We’re All Gonna Die, with longtime friend and Grammy nominated producer Blake Mills at the helm. It was clear from the onset that home was much more than a physical place for Dawes. It was a state of mind. For the band—guitarist/singer Taylor Goldsmith, drummer Griffin Goldsmith (Taylor’s younger brother), bassist Wylie Gelber, and new keyboardist Lee Pardini, who took over from Tay Strathairn last fall—it also meant getting to a point where everyone felt they had found a sound that was uniquely their own, equivalent to an author finding their own voice. It’s all about the risks they’ve taken, bringing them to a new level that to them, just feels right.