The Dear & Departed

Dan Smith is living two dreams at once. When he’s not fronting the New Wave–inspired rock act The Dear & Departed, he’s busy at his other gig as a tattooer at High Voltage Tattoo in Los Angeles—a job that’s immortalized him on the reality show LA Ink. “It is difficult to balance two full-time jobs, but even though I’m insanely busy with the show, the songs still manage to get written,” Smith says, adding that his two worlds recently collided when Kat Von D came to visit TD&D in the studio. “The show isn’t going to last forever and it was an opportunity I had to take when it presented itself,” he acknowledges before adding, “I’m so lucky to be able to spend my time doing two things that I love.”
Smith was originally born in England and bounced around New Zealand and Australia before forming The Dear & Departed in Orange County, CA, in 2006, out of the ashes of his old metalcore act. Although Smith, drummer Jimmy Walsh, and guitarists Darren Parkinson and Cortney Miner have only been a band for a relatively short period of time, they’ve already toured with everyone from Tiger Army to AFI—despite having more in common musically with artists like The Cure and The Church. “To be honest, we haven’t really ever been about that southern California scene, so it’s interesting to be thrown into the mix,” Smith says with a laugh when asked what it’s like for the band to perform at festivals like the Vans Warped Tour. “My favorite stuff to listen to are British bands like The Stone Roses or The Cure.”
Those influences are clearly present in the band’s new EP, Chapters, which sees them channeling the ghost of Ian Curtis despite the fact that it was produced by New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert. “I really think these songs are a much better representation of who we are than our previous recordings,” Smith says. From the anthemic pop of “Tambourine Love” to the brooding ballad “There for the Taking,” Chapters is a breakthrough mix of Brit rock with muscle. So is Smith worried that his reality TV status might affect his band’s credibility? “I don’t really see any negative aspects to being on LA Ink. As far as the show goes, I’m just trying to do my best to represent tattooing the way I think it should be done.”

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