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Dehd (Fat Possum)

Updated: Jul 2

After a chance meeting at a house concert in Chicago in 2015, the trio of Dehd has forged a career for themselves over the past 9 years. Singer/guitarist Jason Balla, bassist/singer Emily Kempf, and drummer Eric McGrady have a special way of blending the distorted guitar sounds of garage rock and post-punk with pop hooks, resulting in simple yet satisfying Rock songs. 

Following the success of their Fat Possum debut, Blue Skies, in 2022, Dehd decided to turn their next writing session into a road trip. With a van full of recording equipment they headed to Kempf’s off-the-grid new home in Taos, New Mexico where they chopped wood to keep warm and worked for as long as the solar panels held a charge. They then traveled north to a borrowed cabin surrounded by the chilly waters of the Puget Sound, just outside of Seattle. Here they wrote and recorded demos while looking out at the shifting tides of the water and the seals that would hop onto the dock. 

On the way back to Chicago for their final writing session at the warehouse that they call home, Balla and McGrady became stranded for days in rural Montana after hitting a deer and abandoning their van. This tireless sense of adventure, both internal and external, has become a trademark of Dehd over the years. “Eating, sleeping, breathing - our only purpose was to write,” Kempf recalled.

The result of their travels is the trio’s fifth album, Poetry, which was released in May. The album features 14 songs of catchy hooks, minimalist arrangements, and dreamy melodies. It’s a little bit power pop and a little bit punk, all woven together by vulnerable lyrics about the ups and downs of love. Highlights include the singalong anthem “Alien,” as well as the super catchy and upbeat “Light On.”

After scoring a Top 20 single at Non-Comm with "Mood Ring,” Dehd released the second single, "Dog Days.” At press time it had moved up to #13 on the tracks chart and the album, Poetry, was perched at #3 on the Non-Comm albums chart. Stations such as KLRR, WZLO, WNXP, KCLC and WRLT are leading the charge. 

Speaking about “Dog Days,” frontman Balla explains: “This song is a celebration for the messiness of life and the search for companionship. It’s about opening your heart and letting it be pummeled. It’s taking risks, receiving rejection, dealing out disappointment. It’s about being brave and sometimes making bad decisions. It seems like everyone I know is out here grasping at love and often, fucking it up, breaking hearts and having ours broken along the way. It’s just the rules of the game and I wanted to make an anthem for people on the same rollercoaster, just trying their best, losing fast and loving hard.”

The trio is playing some festivals over the summer, along with radio show performances and a nine-stop headlining tour in Europe. Following that, Dehd’s headlining tour of North America will begin on October 17 in Toronto. 

Photo by Jacob Consenstein


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