Houston Music

Talking Houston Music With the Dead Dialect Podcast Guys

Logic 101 would tell us that more Houstonians making killer music results in more Houston music fans discussing that music.

Still, in a city of millions, relatively few have chosen to broadcast their thoughts on how vital the arts are to this place. But Brandon Clements and Julian Lara have been doing just that for more than a year now with Dead Dialect Podcast, their Houston-based and guest-oriented show has earned an avid following for multiple reasons. It’s well-produced and sounds clean. There’s unbridled enthusiasm from the hosts, because they hand-pick artists they admire for each show. And it's bells-and-whistles-free, allowing all the energy to be devoted to the dialogue.

“Our show is formatted to be a podcast that features a musician or a comic or maybe a fighter from Houston and just have a focused but casual conversation with mikes in front of us,” Clements says. “We have friends both in and out Houston who are musicians, artists and comedians that we feel maybe aren't getting a lot of recognition and who could use a medium that would allow people to discover them or learn more about them and what they do. We record bi-weekly, sometimes more, sometimes less, at Dead Dialect Podcast Studios. Really, it is the dining room of the two-bedroom apartment we both share. When guests come to do our podcast they are quite literally stepping into our home.

“We don't really try and keep too strict of a format since the idea is for the whole thing to be a natural and friendly conversation," adds Lara. "But we typically do have premeditated points, questions or topics relating to the guest that we bring up so that it's still informative.”

All podcasts talk the talk, but DDP is dedicated to also walking the walk by occasionally hosting concerts to showcase its guests. Saturday night (tomorrow), the podcast presents a show at Black Barbie featuring Josiah Gabriel, Jon Black, Sunrise and Ammunition, Popenqm, Pitter Patter, and Moths in a versus set against San Antonio’s Ghost Police.

“It's all music by folks who we feel are some of the best artists in Houston, and it's just another way to get the word out on the talent-rich music scene in this city,” Clements notes. “Ultimately we wanted to have a way to get people we have on our podcast and people who listen to our podcast to be able to come together and hang out.”

If it sounds like Clements understands what’s important to musicians, it may be because he is one. He’s drummed for Zoofeelia and his newest project is Phoebe, which had its debut show at Barbarella this week. The new band teams him with bassist Chris Dunaway (Giant Battle Monster, Devil Killing Moth, Fox & Cats, etc), Popenqm’s Matt Willhelm and Bernie Pink’s Stefan Ridding.

"So far we have a really weird and exciting blend of music spanning our influences of punk rock, pop, some old school emo and whatever else comes out of us," Clements says. "I've also recently taken up drums for my good friend, and my vote for the most underrated rapper in Houston, Jon Black.”

Black has sat at the DDP DRT (Dining Room Table), as have rockers Handsomebeast, music promoter Bassman Pep, comic Gabe Bravo, MMA fighter Tonya Evinger and Houston NORML’s Tracey Guerrero. Smartly, the duo has furthered the area music scene by featuring national acts on the show, bringing attention to what’s happening here for fans of bands like Warpaint, Fugazi and The Mars Volta, who have all had band members on the podcast.

“Typically we brainstorm on who we could have on and come up with tentative lists of potential guests, or maybe make note of folks who might be coming to town that we may want to talk to," says Lara. "Either one of us will reach out to the person or people and coordinate times and days to do the podcast. Ultimately though, it just comes down who we want on. Like, Warpaint is an example of guests both of us really wanted to have on and made it a goal to get in touch with them."

“For me, the highlight of the podcast is being able to use it as a platform to get in touch with and talk to people that directly inspire me or who otherwise I'd probably never get a chance to meet," he continues. "Starting out, I kind of had the idea that maybe we could one day have on some notable people that we look up to, and all of a sudden it was just happening before we were even a year in. As for something that surprised me, when we did the Thomas Pridgen podcast earlier this year, I was pretty mindblown over his super-deep and intellectual knowledge on music and the history of gospel drumming in particular, as well as how ready he seemed to share his side of his pretty well known falling-out with The Mars Volta.”
“Brendan Canty of Fugazi was a podcast that I couldn't believe was happening when it was happening,” adds Clements. “Fugazi is my all-time favorite band ever, hands down. And, as a drummer, Brendan Canty always was the first thing I heard when listening to them. I connected with his drums at a young age. He quite literally gave me a verbal history lesson on his entire musical career from Rites of Spring to Fugazi on to his current projects. It was an honor to have one of my idols walk me through the history of my favorite band on the planet. I'm still not over it. And shout-out to Brendan for being such a ridiculously nice and humble person, glad to call him a homie now.”

Those are some big “gets” for a show that started with humble aspirations and a different name. Both Star Wars fans, the guys christened the show “Houston Holocron,” but as it got more juice and booked bigger names, they decided a name change could help stave off future Lucasfilm legal kerfuffles. So, 14 episodes deep, it was rebranded as Dead Dialect Podcast.

Today their podcast wish list includes Fat Tony, an old friend whose busy schedule hasn’t yet allowed for a sit-down, as well as comic/podcasting legend comic Joe Rogan and Queens of the Stone Age drummer Jon Theodore. DDP will be hitting the road this month to chat up Sargent House Records band And So I Watch You From Afar. It’ll be fun to see who they can grab for the podcast when they hit Fun Fun Fun Fest in November.

“At the end of the day, this is something anybody and everybody can do with a little time and research," says Clements. "If we do our shows ‘in-studio’ we set a time with our guest for that week, buy a six-pack, some water and get rolling. We're just regular people talking to regular people, even when it comes to some of our more well-known guests. Often, we tend to put people up on a pedestal and maybe project our ideas and imaginations of what they're like onto them, but being able to sit and chat with some of these folks just makes you realize that often they're just like everyone else. They laugh, they joke, they drink, smoke, and they curse — just like we do.”

Dead Dialect Podcast presents Josiah Gabriel, Jon Black, Sunrise and Ammunition, Moths vs. Ghost Police, Pitter Patter and Popenqm tomorrow night at Black Barbie, 3621 Canal; $5. The podcast can be heard on various podcasting sites, including Apple iTunes.
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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.