One listen through SoCal-based rock/reggae/hip-hop band The Dirty Heads‘ single, ‘Spread Too Thin’, and we were hooked. Catchy but not cliche, this music can only be described as something akin to stoner surfer reggae rock. Everything about it conjures up the sunny LA lifestyle we dream about from our humble Hg2 offices here in rainy London. The Dirty Heads’ new album Cabin by the Sea, which debuted in the top 20 of the US Billboard charts, is set for release in the UK on 3 September 2012 on Five Seven Music.

We sat down with Dirty Heads front man Jared “Dirty J” Watson to chat about the band’s influences, their upcoming tour and what it’s like to make music in Southern California.

Amazingly, The Dirty Heads became successful on a small record label with little to no resources – do you think would this be possible anywhere else but LA?

Yes I do! It’s possible anywhere nowadays with the technology and social media sites we have, but I do think being close to LA helped our situation, especially being an alt band and KROQ being the biggest alt station in the U.S. and being well known for breaking bands. I mean, look what alt stations like KROQ have done for Australia’s Gotye, who was pretty much unknown in the States.

The Dirty Heads clearly have a lot of different influences going on (hip-hop, acoustic pop, reggae, punk rock, mariachi music) but it has that unmistakable chilled-out sound that’s steeped in California. Who are the Californian artists who’ve influenced you most?

Sublime was a huge influence. No Doubt, Del The Phunky Homosapien, Pharcyde.

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How do you think la and the California lifestyle has affected the way you make music?

I think we would have always made the style and type of music we do now, I just think California magnified it for us. Because it is really a lifestyle also.

Your biggest single so far has been ‘Lay Me Down’ from the 2008 album Any Port In A Storm, which spent 11 weeks at number one on the Billboard alternative chart – longer than any single that year – what is it about that song that people seem to love?

If I knew what people loved about songs, I’d be a billionaire.

Your new single, ‘Spread Too Thin’- can you break it down for us?

I was stressed out talking to my dad and that saying came out in the conversation. And I really did feel so spread too thin, so I wrote a song about it.

What cities are you most looking forward to touring this summer?

All of them, I’m not picking favourites anymore. Chicago keeps leaving me drunk late night messages since I left her out last time.

So where’s the best place in LA to catch up-and-coming bands? What LA clubs do you always come back to?

The Roxy, hands down. That was our home for so long while coming up.

You’ve gone from teenage garage band, to local acoustic hip-hop band, to touring worldwide with an international record label playing your unique blend of influences. Where do you see your sound evolving next, or is your current sound here to stay?

I can never and would never say our sound’s not going to evolve, but where we are now as a band sonically, lyrically and as a live act, is where we wanna be.


Check out the full Hg2 LA city guide for more SoCal suggestions.