In Conversation With . . . Dustin Dopsa of Final Thought

Final Thought is a pop-punk band from Barrie, Ontario. Their latest EP, Take This Home, was released on January 27.

The CD release party was held at the Native Friendship Centre in Barrie on January 30 (check out the band’s site on MySpace).

The following are notes from a conversation between Wanda Waterman St. Louis and the band’s lead vocalist and songwriter, Dustin Dopsa.

School Daze

I definitely wasn’t into music as a kid. I played a lot of sports, hockey and stuff like that. I was a jock, I guess, the captain of every team at my school.

My childhood was very different from the life I live now. My parents got divorced when I was in grade four or five so I don’t know if that was what spurred me into music. I don’t think the divorce influenced my songwriting directly but it does influence the kind of person I am and That’s what my songs come out of. Living with one parent?my mom?made me a totally different person than I would have become living with two parents.

Musical Roots

My grandpa wanted to teach me guitar when I was in grade six but he passed away before I really got into music. Later I got together with this dude from hockey and played a little bit. He showed me his guitar and taught me a couple of songs I liked that were easy to play, and it kind of grew from there. I’ve been playing guitar ever since then.

I started the band three years ago. I just wanted to be in the battle of the bands in my school so I hooked up with some friends and it kind of just grew from there.

I started singing because I knew if I wanted to be in a band somebody had to sing. Once a band is formed everyone wants to talk to the singer but when the band is forming no one wants to be the singer.

After the band got going I did take a couple of really basic singing lessons but that was the only musical training I’ve ever had. I taught myself piano.

I just started learning drums this summer and It’s amazing for songwriting. Instead of trying to sing the rhythm I want the drummer to play, I can just play it for him. And you have more of a sense of where the song is going and what needs to happen with it. It’s not necessarily starting with a beat as knowing what beat should go where.

We put a lot of time into recording Take This Home. We were playing the songs live for a while before we even got into the studio. All six songs are awesome songs in our eyes. And on this EP we did everything we wanted to do.

Songwriting

I still write everything. I’ll sit down and take a song idea and take it through the motions, so to speak, then record it and take it to the band and then we’ll go from there. Everyone has input. This EP was the first one we did some co-writing on. Me and Emmett, the other guitarist, we wrote ?Take You Home,? the lead single of the record, together. Obviously it worked out well because we came up with probably the most catchy song on the record.

It was good to be able to do that. I had always written songs on my own but I think we’re going to do more co-writing from now on.

Writing a song is different every time. Sometimes it starts with an influence from another song or a lyrical idea, but most times it just starts with a melody, an idea of what the hook or the chorus is going to be like.

Once you have an idea you can take some lyrics that you’ve written or a topic you’ve been thinking about and sit down and work for a couple of hours and just go for it. Sometimes it starts with a bit of a beat or a catchy rhyme but usually it starts with a melody and gets built off that.

The first part of the song is a light bulb thing. It can happen anywhere. The initial idea for ?Take You Home? was just a memo on my cellphone, me humming into it. The rest of the creation process is a more personal thing, when I need quiet time.

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