Review and Interview: Dog is Dead 28/11/2011

tumblr lollusJyFd1qgbye4 Copy1Image: James Hawley

Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen is a venue which attracts two types of people – self proclaimed ‘cool kids’ who are fans of unknown bands and the unknown bands themselves. It’s likely the artists are so up and coming you’ll mistake them for the former category and find yourself chatting to the next big , without even realising. It’s located near Shoreditch which is unashamedly a hipster paradise. Cult Television shows such as The Mighty Boosh base their characters in this area, whilst they attempt to find fame for wearing outlandish clothes.

Dog is Dead, a band who are currently drowning in praise from almost every music expert, have played Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen five times. They professed it’s one of their favourite gigs. Their support acts, Rae Morris and Kai Fish & The Light, were unfortunately subjected to a crowd with one object of affection.

Rae Morris is of the Birdy type, but she is undeniably stronger and more developed in terms of voice and song structure. Her vocal style was striking in the casual setting and left everyone in the room impressed. Quite simply you can’t ignore her and carrying on discussing different types of cider when she performs.

Kai Fish & The Light (side project of Mystery Jets’ bassist) were unfortunately too easy to chat through. The music is definitely good, if a little too similar to his previous band’s sound. They have tried to avoid this comparison by adding unusual and highly interesting female vocals . However, the influence is still apparent and the perfomance was slightly muted.

The headline show proved exactly why Dog is Dead are receiving so much positive response. Their energy was so infectious even the indie fans who usually aim to look uninterested and sulky broke a smile. Robert Milton’s vocals are even stronger live than on record, their crowd interaction is witty and mostly refreshingly, they were obviously grateful for the encouragement they receive. The band also showed confidence in being able to continue their success, by putting their most famous track ‘Glokenspiel Song’, in the middle of their set. The rest was full of new and lesser known material, which had the power to enthrall the crowd even on first listen.


Interview with Robert Milton and Lawerence Cole

So what do you think of this venue, do you like it?
Both: Yeah we do.

R: We’ve played here about five times, to about five people every time. (Laughs) So this is going to be us coming back with vengeance, hopefully we’ll pack it out. It’s going to be a wicked feeling, unless something goes hideously wrong.

What’s the best venue you’ve ever played?

R: We just played this show in Amsterdam, which was insane, the building was amazing, it’s so theatrical and the people there are crazy, so it was fun. This venue is really good though.

L: We’ve played here so many times; we’ve become friends with the lighting guys, built up relationships with them. (Laughs)

What festivals did you do over the summer? I enjoyed seeing you at Latitude.

R: Latitude was so much fun.

Do you actually go the festivals?

R: Yeah, it’s great being at the stage where you don’t stay in hotels and lose your soul. (Laughs) It was just getting a free ticket for a festival and then playing for half an hour. We were having a complete blast. The set was over before we knew it, and we love playing to crowds who are brilliant.

What’s the crowd at this venue usually like?

R: Good, but it’s hard performing in London, particularly in a trendy part. We’re not a very cool band. (Laughs)

Yeah you are, you’ve got a Shakespeare reference as your name.

R: (Laughs) That’s such a mum thing to say.

I didn’t want to ask you the classic questions about your name, so I thought I’d offer you other animal based names instead, such as lion with leprosy, cat in a coma and tiger with tuberculosis.

L: (Laughs) Tiger with tuberculosis is ridiculous!

R: What a stupid, stupid name. (Laughs) Tuberculosis is really serious, you can’t just throw that around!

Your dog is dead, surely that’s worse?

R: (Laughs) It might have died of natural causes and had a great life.

L: Yeah, just passed away in its sleep.

What’s your favourite dog based song out of: ‘Dog Days are Over’, ‘Who Let the Dogs out?’ or ‘Hounds of Love’?

Both: Hounds of love, we enjoy a bit of Kate Bush.

What’s your favourite breed of dog?

L: Chow Chow or Husky. Chow Chows look like lions; they’ve got a mane and a squashed head.

R: I’m actually really petrified of dogs. I think it’s deeply rooted in my childhood.

I read that you were described as “When Fleet Foxes and Hot Chip meet in Narnia” what do you think of that?

L: I don’t mind it I just don’t know where they got Hot Chip from.

R: I would never say anything bad about people who are writing good stuff about us, but people seem to find it quite hard to classify us.

Are you fans of either of those bands?

L: Yeah, I love Hot Chip.

R: They’re both really good bands, they’re not like, our main influences or anything.

What are your main influences?

R: That’s really difficult, we grew up and still do listen to so much music of all genres, like Soul music, R& B, Jazz.

Did you ever listen to anything that you are now ashamed of?

R: No not really because everything comes back around doesn’t it? Everything gets cool again. (Laughs) I had a really big eighties obsession and now that’s trendy.

If you had to be a biscuit, which would you be?

R: I can’t imagine that awful situation where that guy, you know that guy with a gun who makes you do things, comes up like “be a biscuit!” (Laughs) It would be awful being a biscuit because you have very limited activities!

If you had to end it in biscuit manner, would you like to be dipped in tea first or just be eaten straight away?

R: Tea is kind of like an anaesthetic right? So like you’re numb. (Laughs) You get gangrene from it and lose your limbs. (Laughs) What a ridiculous question!

Do you ever read reviews, and have you ever had a bad one!? Everyone seems to be supporting a lot.

R: It’s a funny when you become full time musicians and your music is then in the ether for anyone to listen to and criticise. To be fair we’re had really solid press and reviews, and the majority of people are really great to us, but yeah, not everyone is going to like your band whatever happens.

Dog is Dead are beginning to write their first album, which they hinted may be out some time next Autumn.


Dog Is Dead ‘Hands Down’ (Seams Remix) by charmfactory

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