BANGS! Featured Artist: Interview with Trevor Hedges of Sundressed

Life is serious. Music is serious. But if you don't take the time to have fun in that mix of seriousness something happens, you implode. That balance is something that can come forth is sarcasm at times and learning to laugh at your own mistakes. Sundressed has found that line to walk.

Looking out over the heat of burning sidewalks, dust blowing haboobs and sticky prickly things called cacti, Sundressed hails out of Tempe, Arizona with a briskness of, “take that life and live it.” Even their social media blurb on themselves shows this: “In the pop-punk weasel system, fake rock offenses are considered especially heinous. ... the dedicated rockers who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as Sundressed. These are their stories.” You can't get much more Sundressed... than Sundressed.

It's all cool and they know it. Now on Animal Style Records are releasing their debut album, 'A Little Less Put Together' on March 24th.

Photo Credit: Craig Hedges

Song River:  Life sometimes does take its time figuring out what one's stride is supposed to be. Sundressed seemed to need this time as well.  How did you know what fit and what didn't fit for who you wanted to be?

Trevor Hedges: This is a very thoughtful question! I think the longer you practice honesty and humility, the more apparent your true self becomes. Music is definitely a resource for finding that in oneself. For this record, we really just wrote what came out and then did our best to fine tune it into a full piece of work. We are really happy with it!

SR: Is Sundressed settled and comfortable or are more transitions always a part of music?

Trevor Hedges: I would say that we have definitely found our sound, but I don’t know that we’re comfortable. Writing music is very personal to me and I think it will change as I do.

SR: Trevor Hedges, as the songwriter how do you take those emotions that sometimes can be rather dark but you don't allow them to be. There is a unique way you have seemed to find in balancing both sides of Sundressed, can you explain?

Trevor Hedges: Yes, I have been through a lot and overcome a lot in my life, and while I love music that covers dark subject matter, I feel like its really important to offer some kind of hope and resolution to these things. There is a lot of beauty in life amidst the dark parts we all have to trudge through and I really want our songs to be all encompassing of the journey, the struggle, and the resolution.

SR: Clean and sober are to be celebrated without question, however Trevor there is a balance among the media to the artist in not beating a dead horse.  One thing I think your fans would like to know though is, and good advise is always beneficial, what made you decide there was another direction and how did you go about getting there?

Trevor Hedges: I agree in not beating a dead horse, I think its important for me to be transparent about sobriety because a big part of staying sober is helping others with similar ailments, and you never know who might need to hear your story. For me personally, I finally got to a point where I couldn’t live with it or without it and I really had no choice but to give accepting help a shot. I’m very grateful I was brought that far down because it gives me a special appreciation for all the little things I have now.

SR: The streets of Tempe, AZ were at one time a music mecca... many feel that the music scene in Phoenix Metro is on that upswing again of fantastic musicians and bands coming forth.  What is it Tempe and Arizona has breathed into Sundressed that makes it all work?

Trevor Hedges: The Tempe music scene definitely has its ups and downs, and seems to be stronger in certain genres, but we have definitely been on the up and up as far as local bands getting out there in touring. It’s definitely had its advantages and disadvantages considering how well this scene is doing in the northeast side of the country, but I think it’s also helped shape our sound. I’d know like to shamelessly shout out some Phoenix/ Tempe bands who are out there killing it : Lifelink, Genesis Company, Troubled Minds, Way Under, Never Let This Go, Saddles  and many more. We also have a lot of bands to look up to like The Maine, Lydia, and Jimmy Eat World!

SR: 2017 seems to be the year where Sundressed has definitely taken that ray of sunshine and worn it very well. First let's talk about the new album, "A Little Less Put Together." Where do the songs come from on this album?

Trevor Hedges: Lyrically I wanted this album to cover a broader theme than specific instances like recovery and relationship. The songs are really about entering your late 20’s and how different and weird this world is. There are so many reasons we all feel a little less put together and I think it’s a powerful movement to take comfort in a groups struggles, relate to one another, and help each other. This was also the message we were trying to convey in the video for the title track.

Musically it was really fun to take a step back and built the backdrop for all these songs, we had 11 songs to work with as opposed to the shorter EPs, so we got to experience with a lot of different types of songs.

SR:  You ended working with Curtis Douglas of The Maine on this album.  What is your relationship with The Maine and what did Curtis bring do you feel to this album?

Trevor Hedges: Curtis actually isn’t in the Maine, but he has worked with them before. We have no direct relationship to the Maine , but we have the utmost respect for their music and how they carry their band. Hometown heroes for sure!

Curtis actually did both of our EPs as well, so we were really comfortable working through a whole record with him. We basically took all my songs and reworked them together into the best songs they could be. It’s always nice to have an outside ear to bounce things off, and since he knew our songs so well, we totally trusted him. He knew what we were capable of and wouldn’t settle for less. This record would not be what it is without Curtis and we’re very grateful for him. (GO MAKE A RECORD WITH CURTIS DOUGLAS!)

SR: The album is supposed to be released March 24th on Animal Style Records- how would you describe the overall sound?

Trevor Hedges: I’d like to think we’ve taken a stride in making a more mature rock album. I love pop melodies and the hooks are definitely there, but it means a lot more. This is really our first statement as a band and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!

SR: The pop punk sound is in fast gear with the track "Mill Ave and Broadway" the vibe for a video of you standing on the corner with fast headlights/brakelights in high speed blurring by can be imagined. This song sounds like a personal revelation... "I don't hate you..."

Trevor Hedges: It definitely was a revelation in the fact that a relationship can end because you become different people, but it doesn’t have to end badly and you don’t need to wish ill will on that person in a song to feel good about yourself. Definitely a sign in personal growth for me.

SR: Did you invite any other local musicians to perform on this album?

Trevor Hedges: Yes! We had Charles from Saddles do a guest vocal on “Limelight”,  Danny from Captain Squeegee did the horn arrangement / performance on “Mill Ave and Broadway” and we also had some vocal contributions from Steff Koeppen and Katie Grenert.

SR: The title track "A Little Less Put Together" really rolls this album into one tight package. Song after song on this album have been delivered to carry a hook each time.  How important is it do you feel for a band to make a 'complete' package of tunes good from beginning to end?

Trevor Hedges: I think it's definitely a big step for a band to be able to put a record together and it was definitely a huge challenge for us. We put a ton of sweat into this thing!

SR: Now the band is a part of the So What Music Festival... how did this come about and what do you all hope to bring back with you from the experience?

Trevor Hedges: Yes! We we’re lucky enough to be invited to play and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s always cool to be a part of something way bigger than yourself and we’re excited to meet people and watch Every Time I Die kill it !

SR: Now is the time, looking at Sundressed and your timeline- you are undoubtedly ready. What would be the best advice you could pass along to other bands/musicians just starting and those who are in the midst of chipping away at it?

Trevor Hedges: I’m still a believer that good honest songs are the way to go. Invest in your art, spend time on it, and be proud of it. It takes time, we’ve been at it for 5 years, but people will undoubtedly notice!

“A Little Less Put Together” was engineered, produced, mixed, and mastered by Curtis Douglas (The Maine), and will be out in March 2017 via Animal Style Records.

Sundressed is: 
Trevor Hedges- Vocals/ Songwriter 
Garrett Tretta- Drums 
Forest Walldorf- Guitars 
Justin Portillo - Bass 
Jordan Leal - Guitar

Tour Dates:

3/26- So What Fest / Airhogs Stadium / Dallas, TX
3/27- FOAM / St. Louis, MO
3/28- Township / Chicago, IL
3/29- Donato’s / Columbus, OH
3/30- Sugar City / Buffalo, NY
3/31- Out of The Blue / Cambridge, MA
4/1- Amityville Music Hall / Amityville, NY
4/2- The Pharmacy /Philadelphia, PA
4/4- The Depot / Baltimore, MD
4/5- TBA /Virginia Beach, VA
4/6- The Masquerade / Atlanta, GA
4/7- Cafe Coco / Nashville, TN
4/8- Vino’s / Little Rock, AR
4/9- The Clinic / Houston, TX
4/10- Sidewinder / Austin, TX
4/11- House Show / Abilene, TX

"A Little Less Put Together"