Interview – Dog Is Dead

Interview – Dog Is Dead

Steve Gerrard Photography

The first mention I ever heard of Dog Is Dead, I was inclined to believe that my ubercultured friend was confused about the title of the popular book and theatre play The Curious Incident Of the Dog in the Nighttime. After a little clarification from her and some facepalming from me, I was introduced to the sound of the five spritely young gents from Nottingham. Then on the windiest of windy April days, Robert Milton and Daniel Harvey sat down on the floor of their little Deezer Bandwagon stage with me for the speediest of speedy pre-gig interviews as they embark on the first leg of their UK tour. The next nine minutes turned up fictional nick-names, over use of hyphens and not getting sick of your band mates:

How are you enjoying Birmingham?
Robert: Well, we’ve been in one van for an hour and and then straight into another van, so we’ve seen about a hundred metres of Birmingham. We’ve seen the market, that was really nice.
Harvey: Yeah, that was cool.
R: There were a lot of people shouting. But shouting nice things, about Bananas.
H: “One pound banana, two pound!”
R: Maybe it’s like a code, or a rhythm.

Why did you choose to do the Deezer Bandwagon?
R: Um… well, we’re kind of on the lookout for the stranger side of gigs. Touring can become all too regular unless you make it something a little bit special, so it seemed like fun.To be honest, we had no idea how something like this was going to turn out and something unpredictable beats things being a little too normal.

What are you looking forward to about doing the Bandwagon show today? (Deezer Bandwagon runs like a silent disco with the audience in headphones, and the band visible to the audience – and vice versa – but in a separate room.)
R: I’m looking forward to being in people’s ears very closely.

Well, you generally are in people’s ears when you play, as opposed to their… noses?
R: Well, they can’t smell or taste us because we’ll be behind a Perspex box! So they don’t get that (sensory experience). We’ll just be (playing) directly into people’s ears.
H: That is pretty cool.
R: It’s a pretty awesome power to have.

Can you give me three adjectives that describe the new album, All Our Favourite Stories?
H: Ooooh.
R: No verbs? You can’t say, like…

Jumping. That’s out.
R: Nor Swimming… running. None of those things. Right… (looks at Harvey).
H: You’re asking me??
R: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
H: You’re way better at this!
R: But you’re wicked at adjectives!
H: You love adjectives! They call you ‘Adjective Rob!’
R: That’s not true! Not after what happened…
H: That one time… (pause). Nah, we’re just making that up.

Oh, disappointing!
R: It is…
H: That’s not one of the adjectives though.
R: Three, then… okay, one is ‘Magnificent’. Two is… er…
H: Maybe ‘Journey’?
R: Two is ‘All-Encompassing’! It’s got a hyphen in between. We need a last one… (muses). ‘Glorious-Fun-Time’! All with hyphens in between!

You guys are BIG cheats.
R: We played by the rules!

I’ll let you off this time. Tell us about working with David Kosten (aka Faultline, producer of Bat For Lashes and EverythingEverything).
R: David’s mad, but he’s a total genius. He has such a crazy and cool way of looking at music and thinking about things. Making music with him was just really really cool. We big fans of things he’s done with other bands and in his own work as well. Yeah, it was really good.

I heard that your album artwork was inspired by visual artist Valero Doval, did you have a hand in making that happen?
R: Yeah, I saw some posters on a wall of a pub or something that were pages of a magazine, and I looked up this guy Valero Doval. So we hit him up and we were asking: “Can you come up with some stuff for us?” and he came up with a few different things: we made a compilation of those things. (With the final product) some of the images were his and we threw in old photographs and things, so he was definitely involved. He inspired us.

You’ve been on several tours before this, what’s your favourite thing about touring?
R: Meeting new people and making new friends. Because in Nottingham I have seven friends.
H: Five of them are on the road (with you).
R: Yeah, five I take with me. And my mum’s one of them, my dad’s the other one. Getting to see different cities in the world is very nice. I like playing gigs. We all do, it’s lots of fun, so playing lots of them in a row is usually very good.

A few of you have been friends since school, aren’t you sick of each other yet??
R & H: No!
R: It keeps it fun, being really good friends. It makes music not get boring which is great.
H: It never feels like work. When you’re a band you are forced to spend a lot of time together, and I think that if you don’t get along really well, then it will just become… work.

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a gig?
R: One time we got booked and we didn’t realise we were playing at a Transvestites’ Ball. That was a bit of a surprise when we got introduced by this 7-foot transvestite man, with a beard. As compere he advertised us as something that we… didn’t quite think… we were. (Laughs) It was very strange.

And what did he advertise you as?
R: It’s too explicit to say. But, yeah, there you go.
H: It was pretty weird.

Besides your own music, which artists would you recommend that your fans should sample?
R: Frank Zappa. I think if you can get into Frank Zappa you can unlock so many musical doors, or something like that. I feel I should also suggest someone new… there’s a new band in Nottingham called Kagoule who are going to be really big.
H: I would say either Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips or Hot Chocolate. One of those three. Any of the above.

Interview by Jenny Bulcraig

Photo by Steve Gerrard

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