SCAN Interview: Dog Is Dead

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Your new single Two Devils is out, can you tell us a bit about that?

Yeah, well Two Devils is quite a bit darker than usual, darker than anything we’ve released before. And it’s a newer song of ours too, we only wrote it about a month ago but we just got really excited about it and decided we’d release it. We thought it might be a good excuse to make a really great video too, and see what people think of this other side of us, really. But yeah, it’s good, it’s a nice little twisted, romantic tale and we’re glad to have it out there.

I was going to ask you about the video actually – it sounds really dark and different from your usual jaunty stuff, apparently you’ve been wearing tonnes of make-up for it too?

Haha, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun.

So what’s it like having gone from being a bunch of local favourites to a real, well known band that makes fancy music videos so quickly?

Well yeah, it’s been really strange. When we first started playing… it was just about getting ready for our next shows, which were usually school talent shows when we were about 13… and we just thought ‘you know, if we just get really good at guitar, then we’ll be the best band ever!’ and you never think that a few years down the line that you’d get to the stage that we’re at, where making these videos is just part of the job. It’s really surreal, especially when you realise that you have this whole team of people with you, and you’re singing your lyrics to them, and you realise that they’re just trying to make a really great piece of art with you… and you have producers and directors and it’s just insane. It really is so different from just being a bunch of teenagers with guitars, and the speed that its happened at has been crazy too.

Your single was played on Huw Stephens’ Radio One show the other day, how are you finding mixing with all of these taste makers and big figures in the radio and music business?

Ah, yeah, Huw’s a really nice guy! We’ve met him a few times actually, and he’s totally great. We’ve had these few people that have just been so important to our development you know, who have played us on the radio when they definitely didn’t need to play us, they had no big record company pressure on them asking them to play our songs, we we’re just releasing them ourselves and they picked up on it. There’s a few people like that and it’s amazing to meet them, mainly because it’s just surreal to meet these ‘radio voices’, I still can’t get over it really. But it’s great being able to make friends with all these lovely people.

I don’t know if you’d agree with this, but do you reckon part of the reason your band has exploded in popularity recently has been because you were featured on Skins?

Well yeah, I’d agree actually, we thought it’d be a really fun thing to do because it was a totally different field to what we’re used to. And it’s really weird because we’ll get 100 Facebook posts a day from people from Chile and Brazil who have watched this stuff, which is really strange, because you don’t realise how relevant it’s going to be. I mean I don’t feel like Skins is particularly relevant to my life, so I had no idea that it’d be so popular to your average ‘Chilean Joe’ or ‘Brazilian Mike’ or whatever. So it’s very very strange but it’s really internationally widened our audience, which is great.

I saw you guys on tour with Bombay Bicycle Club last year, and they were about to head off to Brazil after they’d finished the UK tour, so obviously there’s a market for this kind of UK indie music, do you think you’ll ever get over to places like that yourselves if the audience keeps expanding?

Well we were really jealous of those guys actually who were going to be jetting off to Brazil when we were off back to Nottingham in our tiny little van,, but the plan’s to get as far out as possible in the end. We’ve just done our first few European shows which were great, so to get to South America and places like that would just be incredible. And our bassist/sax-player is originally from Chile, so we already have that connection which might make it a little easier for us, hopefully!

Good luck with that then! Going back to Skins for a second, that show is known for being really quite musically literate, and the music that gets played on there always seems to capture the Zeitgeist really well, so what do you think it is about your bands sound that has made it resonate so well with people right now, in 2012?

Well I think the key with that is that we’ve always been true to what we wanted to make and we’ve never got wrapped up in a trend or a scene or a fad or anything like that, because things like that blow up as quickly as they appeared. But yeah, it’s been quite slow as a result but I think we have a really organic feel because of that, so maybe that’s the kind of thing people really want right now, I don’t know. But the slow build has been worth it.

So you’re currently working with David Kosten on your newest material, and he’s worked with some brilliant artists like Everything Everything and Bat For Lashes over the past few years, so what’s it been like working with someone like him? Has he had any influence on your sound?

Kosten’s a total genius, it’s just been the most fun thing ever to make stuff with him, he’s totally nuts and he’s such a big fan of the band so it’s worked really well between us. But yeah, I’m a really big admirer of the production work he’s done, with Bat For Lashes in particular but also with Everything Everything, and he really just knows how to get the best out of a band. But I think the best thing has been how he’s introduced us to a whole world of new toys and new synths that we had no idea about before, and given us free reign to get as creative as we like with all the new material. It’s worked really well, so we’re starting to get some really great new sounds.

So is it just the single you’ve been working on with him or are you doing the album with Kosten too?

It’s the single and then the album, yeah, we’ll be recording the album proper after the tour and then the plan is to spend a nice bit of time in the studio. And we’ll obviously have all these new sounds on it too, we’re trying to do as much exciting stuff as we can whilst still staying true to the kind of music that has enabled us to get into this position in the first place.

You’re coming to Lancaster on tour on the 10th March – thanks for coming here by the way! – so what tracks form the Dog Is Dead discography could you recommend to people from Lancaster who may not have heard of you?

Ah no problem, we’re looking forward to playing here, we’ve been wondering whether or not it’s an actual library we’ll be playing in…

It is indeed an actual library, the gigs there are great, they just move the bookshelves and bring out a whopping sound system and stage in their place… I think it’ll really suit your sound actually.

Oh wow, fantastic, we’ll look forward to that then! But yeah, going back to your question, I don’t think I could single out one track that people should listen to, they should just find us on YouTube or go to our website and go through everything they can find if they like us. We just our music to get heard by as many people as possible, basically.

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