Indy: Why is the album titled African Elephants?
Chicken: They're pretty amazing animals as far as animals go. They're pretty upper level, man. They mourn their dead. They're smarter than we are. They're hard to beat. In the animal kingdom, they're definitely in my top five.
Indy: The album mixes up both punk rock and rock-steady that harkens back to older punk rock. Were bands like the Clash and Operation Ivy a big influence for Dead to Me's sound?
Chicken: Those two bands are definitely two of our most influential bands, especially lyrically. Both of them have this view that everything's fucked, but there are things you can do about it, and you've got to stay positive. You've got to know what you can do, and do it. I get a lot of inspiration from them lyrically, and musically both bands made such great records.
Indy: On African Elephants, it seems like your songs toy with the idea of how punk rock should sound. Songs like "California Sun" and "Cruel World" aren't fast and aggressive punk rock, but instead have a poppy sound to them.
Chicken: When you're writing songs, you don't get to pick which ones pop into your head that want to be written. We wrote that song ["Cruel World"], and it was just too catchy and too fucking depressing to not have it on the record.
Indy: How is it to have punk rock as your occupation?
Chicken: It's a blessing and a curse ... We don't sell any records because nobody sells any records, and we don't make any money because nobody makes any money. Yet you have enough to go all around the world, so it sounds like you're doing OK. People are like, "You must be on the radio and shit because you're going all over the world." And we're like, "No, no, no, no, sorry we're not that." Then they're like, "So how come I've never heard of you?" "Well, no one's really heard of us." It's hard to describe to people and sometimes you can feel kind of alone.
At Englewood's Moe's Original BBQ and Bowl, March 7.