Conrad Duncan in awe of Sharon Van Etten at the InstituteWritten by Conrad Duncan on 23rd January 2015
Redbrick meets… Dog Is Dead
Rob, one fifth of Nottingham based band Dog Is Dead, chats about their exciting debut album, tour, festivals, and their curious name
Rob, one fifth of Nottingham based band Dog Is Dead, chats about their exciting debut album, tour, festivals, and their curious name.
Hey Rob, hope you’re well, where are you calling from?
I’m good, I’m in Norwich. We just did a radio session and now we’re on the way to HMV for some in store signings.
Your debut album, All Our Favourite Stories, was released on Monday (8/10/12), would you say it is a compilation of your favourite stories?
Yeah, we’ve written the album growing up over the past 4/5 years, so naturally we just had a lot of songs and picked the ones that best represented the journey and what we’re about really. So I guess the title kind of sums it up in that way, even though we took the title off one of the later tracks we wrote – 'Two Devils'.
How are you feeling about getting the new album out there?
Really excited, as I say, it’s been a long time coming and we just want the world to hear it and have the CD and have the booklet and look at the pictures and read the lyrics, and get to know it. I don’t want to keep it a secret for any longer, so it’s good that people can actually get hold of it now, it’s really exciting. And it’s a new thing for us because we’ve never had an album; it’s like having a child or something.
I’m sure you get this all the time, but where does the name come from?
We were 16, and we had a gig at the school talent show so we needed a name, and naturally there were some in-jokes flying about that Joss made up. The name means little to nothing to us at the moment, but he just said let’s call it Dog Is Dead, and so that’s how we were known, and we just stuck with it. But it’s been quite cool, because it’s definitely a talking point, and has served us quite well.
How would you describe your sound and who is your inspiration?
I guess we make kind of big, anthemic, harmonious music that’s quite soulful and freaky at times, but at the same time is pop at heart. We have an eclectic range of influence, a lot of real life stuff and films are part of it, we like to make soundtracks and make our music quite cinematic. We listen to all kinds of bands; grunge, psychadelia, soul music, we’re very much inspired by live music and exciting, colourful music, and we strive to have that sort of energy in our sound.
You’re gaining quite a fan base through Twitter, and your songs have been played on Radio 1 and Skins, do you ever get overwhelmed by the support?
It’s nice having people pay attention to what we’re doing. And things like Twitter are great because it’s really personal, and really connects us to our fans, and if they want to ask a question we can give an answer straight back.
What’s the strangest thing a fan’s ever given you?
Yesterday someone gave us some chicken goujons, which was a bit weird I guess. But we kind of encourage bringing weird stuff. Not too weird, chicken goujons do it.
Your tour starts later this month, are you looking forward to coming to Birmingham?
Yeah, we love Birmingham, we’ve only been once, and we live about an hour away so it’s pretty ridiculous. Last time we came it was awesome. Can’t wait.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
I’d love to make something up to sound really cool, but we warm up, there’s quite a lot going on with what we do because there’re 5 of us and we all sing. It’s quite a work out playing live, so we warm up our vocals, probably like most bands, get psyched, probably do some weird stuff. We try to have as much fun as we can, we’re good friends, we’ve known each other for a long time so naturally we’re close and have a really good time whilst playing live, so before we go on we like to get psyched, but nothing too strange.
You went to quite a lot of festivals this summer, which was your favourite?
We went to 25 festivals, but Reading and Leeds was a big deal, because I’ve been going to Leeds for the past 7 years or something as a punter, and it was the first festival I ever went to, it’s always been my favourite, so it was pretty cool. Loads of little ones were a lot of fun as well, like ‘The Hop Farm Festival’ and ‘Pukkelpop’ in Belgium was great. We had the pick of the lot this summer, we did really well for ourselves.
How would you compare the festival crowds to the tour crowds?
Every gig we play is completely different, so you never know quite what to expect. I think the festival weather suits our sound, and people associate us with festivals, but I think our own live shows are more personal and a lot more intense. It’s slightly more relaxed in a festival environment, but both are quite vital, and it’s good to see both a festival live show and a normal live show, I think you need a fix of both.
You recorded one of the songs in a church. Do you prefer a church or a recording studio?
Toward the end of the session, we went to a local church and recorded. Both a church and recording studio are different, and a church wouldn’t suit everything, although there have been some great records recorded there. It was nice to give us something different for some of the tracks, and a different flavour for the record, especially as we had some gospel singers singing with us on a couple of the tracks, so capturing them in a church is perfect, really great.
What are your other interests beside music?
We don’t have a lot of down time, we’re quite a restless band, and we like to keep writing, recording, touring and playing. I guess when we’re not, we’re all really into our films, and I’m especially into horror films. We’re bad football players, but we like to play. Paul supports Nottingham Forest and Joss supports Nottingham County. Trev and Paul are into drama and they act a little bit too.
Thank you, I’m really excited to be catching you on tour on the 24th, and good luck with the album!
Dog Is Dead are playing at Birmingham's O2 Academy on October 24th, tickets are available here.