Mitch Dean Biography (2016)
So often in life things come full circle. The same can be said for the creative arc of a songwriter and Mitch Dean is at that point of his life as a musician. Early musical explorations playing acoustic guitar with his dad in the shed of their Mornington Peninsula home led to the realisation that he could write and primitively record his own songwriting attempts. From there the world opened up as he dove headfirst into the heady rush of rock ’n’ roll, initially with garage-rock band The Marzies and then, in 2005, a swing down the dusty road of country-rock with The Distance – the band in which Mitch would find his feet and gain his alt-country bearings over the ensuing decade.
Both bands allowed Mitch to experience collective songwriting, recording and touring, all of which contributed to the continued refinement of his own writing. His time with The Distance solidified his standing in the local scene, brought him into contact with heroes and respected contemporaries and planted the seed for the next stage in the evolution of his music.
“It was due to a build up of material that wasn’t looking like seeing the light of day anytime soon,” explains Mitch. “The Distance had started to slow down, as bands do after 10 years, and the guys suggested I should do something with those songs rather than let them go to waste. I thought I’d dip my toe in the water and try to record a few songs on my own. Making a little EP to call my own was something I’d always wanted to try for a long time but never really had the reason to do so.”
“I write everything on my acoustic guitar, so in one way or another the songs lend themselves to this simple presentation. The test of a good song are the one’s that still sound great and still connect with people even when played in a solo setting.”
An admiration for singular acts such as Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Kevin Bennett (The Flood), Tom Petty, Gary Louris (The Jayhawks) and Neil Young encouraged Mitch to step out on his own and now, in 2016, Mitch is hard at work on a debut EP (due Feb 2017) that will herald the arrival of the solo artist. In many ways it’s a symbolic return to those nights in front of the 4-track recorder but now with many years of experience, a richer set of influences and a deeper well of ideas and stories to draw from, Mitch is able to fully realise his own alt-country and Americana-styled songs.
The Longer Version….
Where it all began….
Mitch began his music journey playing acoustic songs with his dad in the shed of their Mornington Peninsula home. His love of music soon found him penning his own songs and recording them at home on a small 4 track machine. This experimentation with song writing quickly turned into a small garage band with Mitch recruiting some like minded friends to help form a garage rock band ‘The Marzies’ in order to get his songs heard. Over its 5 year existence the band released one full album and an EP. The band spent much of its time working hard on its live show and played regularly at many Peninsula and Melbourne pubs and hotels.
The next chapter….
Mitch wasn’t sure what the next step was for his music. But through sheer luck in 2005 he was invited to play guitar in a band that would soon take his musicianship and song writing to the next level. This band would soon turn into ‘The Distance’ and would became one of the leading lights of the Australian country rock scene. The bands change in direction to a more alt.country rock sound provided Mitch’s songs the perfect setting to come to life and seemed like the perfect fit for how he imagined his songs sounding. The band released 3 full albums, an EP and 8 music video’s over the coming 10 years. The bands highlights included opening Tamworth CMF, playing the main stage of the Deniliquin Ute Muster, recording a song with James Reyne (Australian Crawl) and Australian country music legend John Chester, touring Australia and supporting and playing on stage with some of Australia’s premier country acts from Lee Kernhagan, Beccy Cole, Catherine Britt, The Flood and many more. The band had regular radio play across Australia and its video clips were on high rotation on Foxtel’s Country Music Channel. The song ‘Country Life’ featuring James Reyne spent 15 weeks in the CMC Top 10. While in ‘The Distance’, Mitch was able to contribute 8 songs to its last 2 albums. Two of these songs were released as singles and video clips and are testament to Mitch’s ability to pen songs that suit the bands sound and direction.
A new day dawning….
As The Distance had been starting to wind down Mitch was only getting started with his song writing. Mitch had been playing with the idea of taking on the fronting duties once again to present his songs as the song writer, feeling the need to strip things back and present the songs just as he writes them in the shed of his home. In the short term Mitch is hard at work writing a new batch of songs that he hopes to record in the not too distant future. So join Mitch on his continued music journey, he has some great stories to tell…………