Please, put away your cellphones

By Paula Yeoman

City and Colour's Dallas Green talks technology with Paula Yeoman
Dallas Green says he's seen some dramatic changes in the music industry over the last decade.
Dallas Green says he's seen some dramatic changes in the music industry over the last decade.

Don't be offended if Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green asks you to put away your mobile phone at one of his New Zealand City and Colour gigs this month. He's not a technophobe who has an issue with badly shot am-cam going viral. He just wants audiences to really experience the show.

"It's become second nature for everybody because we all have the technology in our pockets. People are trying so badly to remember it that they're forgetting to experience it while it's happening. So, I kind of have a moment every night where I ask people to put their cameras away for one song. I'm not harping on them. I'm just saying, 'Why don't you try this'."

Green, who has four City and Colour albums under his belt and 10 wonderful years in the now disbanded post-hardcore band Alexisonfire, admits it's overwhelming for someone who grew up ahead of the internet revolution. As are other dramatic changes he's seen within the industry.

"It seems like somewhere along the line, in the last 10 years, people decided they didn't want to pay for music anymore.

It's crazy when you think about how important music is to most people. How many people tell you, 'Oh, I'm having a bad day, I'm going to listen to my favourite record.' Or 'Oh, I'm having a great day, I'm going to put some music on that I love.' It's so monumental.

"And you know, you have people who buy a $4 cup of coffee every day of their lives, sometimes maybe three. They won't think twice about that, but they're walking around with all this music that they haven't paid for; that most people are working very hard on. That's been very strange to watch."

Again, Green's not "harping" on at anyone. They're mere observations from a musician who cares passionately about what he does. So much so, he says leaving Alexisonfire in 2011 to focus solely on City and Colour was the hardest thing he's ever done.

"I didn't leave the band because I didn't like any of the guys anymore. I didn't leave because I didn't enjoy playing the songs. I left the band because I felt creatively like this is where I needed to be.

"It was a very difficult decision to make, but I feel like I made the right one, because I got this record out of it," he says, referring to his latest The Hurry and the Harm, which Kiwi fans will get to hear live for the first time this month - preferably with their mobile phones well out of sight.

City and Colour plays at The Civic in Auckland on December 16 and the St James Theatre in Wellington on December 18. The Hurry and the Harm is out now.

- Herald on Sunday

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