Sometimes I wish I was sitting in front of a mirror the first time I hear certain songs. If I had been in front of a mirror when I first heard the first few tracks from The Dodos new album a few months ago, I might have more descriptive words for you today. I might talk about the diameter of my eyes, or how far up on my forehead my eyebrows must have jumped. Maybe I would mention the shape of my gaping mouth, or the amount of drool that was left dangerously near the keyboard. Next time I will grab a mirror.
Meric Long (vocals/guitar) and Logan Kroeber (drums) are two musicians from San Francisco who have been playing together since 2006. The remarkable thing is that just two men walk on stage to an acoustic guitar and a worn drum set, and create the most electric, energetic, sound I have heard in years. With rhythmic strums, graceful vocal tones, and the most inventive drum play, The Dodos prepare to release their second album (first as The Dodos, formerly Dodo Bird) on March 18th via Frenchkiss Records.
Recently, Meric Long of The Dodos was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert (OA): What can you tell us about your new album, Visiter?
Meric Long (ML): It's a lot more representative of our live set than our last record, we recorded it after touring consistently for a year, in which we wrote most of the songs while on the road.
OA: Frenchkiss Records has an incredible stable of talent of which The Dodos are a welcomed addition. How did this signing come about, and how has your experience with Frechkiss been thus far?
ML: The match making came from Kevin Kusatsu who does A&R at Columbia. He told Syd Butler of Frenchkiss Records to come check us out at the Mercury Lounge in New York, which he did. After the show, Syd introduced himself and the rest is history. The label's been great since then, everyone's super on it and supportive, and it's been incredible having other people besides myself, Logan and our beloved annie southworth involved in making shit happen. all they ask is that we make records and tour which is what we love to do.
OA: There are a few other drum/guitar duos out there, but very few have the strong percussive sound that you two have. How was this sound developed, and have you considered adding other members to the band?
ML: The idea of 'big' drums has been there since the beginning. I've always been a huge fan of big toms, that can rattle your insides. I probably spent too much time hanging in drum circles.
We're working on adding one more person. In the direction the music is going I think it'll be necessary to have one more, but it won't be any sort of conventional spot.
OA: You have big cross country tour planned for the spring, but unfortunately no dates in Chicago*. Do you enjoy touring? What has been your favorite city to play, and what has been the strangest concert moment?
ML: we are planning on playing chicago this spring.....I don't know if we have a favorite city to play, but I tend to have a soft spot for cities that surprise me. In that regard, Albuquerque, Houston, and Vancouver have been good to us. I suppose a strange concert moment was when we were in Tucson, Arizona last year, and the opener before us was playing to a bunch of Hell's Angels that walked in. There was one of those 'craziest moments caught on film' type of shows playing on the bar TV set and the bikers were cracking up at this bull who had jumped into the audience and was malling people.....the whole time this blond baby faced dude was playing these really sullen love songs on his guitar. the combination of everything was sort of awesome. We were bummed when the Angel's left before we started our set.
*Additional dates were announce on Feb 28th including two shows in Chicago. There is a complete schedule on their myspace page.
OA: What are your thoughts on the role of new media (i.e. blogs, myspace, youtube, etc), as it relates to the success of independent bands and the music industry in general?
ML: Blogs, myspace, etc. on the side of a musician is great, cause you get your music out there so much more easily. On the side of a music fan it's even better.....I know I've learned about a gajillion bands in the past year alone. As to how that effects the success of band I'm not really sure cause it's still early to tell......the visibility for smaller bands is so much more, but I suppose that means there is more competition for occupying someone's ipod disk space.
OA: What's next for The Dodos?
ML: more records, more touring, more food.
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
ML: Stumptown, portland.
OA: I've read that you are a fan of Raymond Carver. What are your thought on the whole Tess Gallagher/Gordon Lish edited vs. unedited controversy? Has the work of Carver informed your song writing in anyway?
ML: I'd like to see the unedited version of 'what we talk about when we talk about love' for sure, as Carver intended it to be. damn publishing rights....... I couldn't say when or where, but I know there's been a time when I've gotten up and at least tried to write a song after reading a good Carver story. wonder what that sounded like.
Walking/Red and Purple/Eyelids/Fools (mp3)/Joe's Waltz/Winter/It's That Time Again/Paint the Rust/Park Song/Jodi (mp3)/Ashley/Season/Undeclared/God?
For more information on The Dodos please visit their website and to preorder Visiter go here.