То есть я могу попросить его показать?
New Jersey’s Dog Date talk best guys for the job and the recording of Hellpod
Gleb Lerner
То есть я могу попросить его показать?
08 august 2020
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Dog Date is mostly a one-man operation based in New Jersey. Since the debut project 80 Bucks in 2015, the lineup has seen a few changes save for Dylan Kennedy, the frontman, drummer, and chief everything officer.
Deep Cuts got together with Mr. Dog Date to discuss the most recent offering in Hellpod, ask about the recording process, a constantly changing team of people who helped along the way, and influencers of Dog Date’s sound and vision.
Dylan Kennedy
How does Hellpod coexist with Flying Fortress and 80 Bucks in your head? Do you have the same mindset for all of your albums?
I think the thing that has definitely changed most from album to album has been my mindset. With 80 Bucks, I didn't think I wanted to pursue this with a live band or keep this an ongoing project at all, I saw it as more of a one-off experiment. I tried to continue to flesh out songs with a live band in mind with Twin Donut and Flying Fortress, and overall just continue to get familiar with the equipment I use and songwriting in general. Little Cowboy is where things had really changed in my overall mindset. I didn’t feel like I had the confidence to continue to make music anymore.

I took a lot longer of a time to create that record, I took some time away from making music and even listening to music and really took the time I needed to figure things out by myself. That record felt like a very positive and necessary weight off my shoulders. I regained a lot of confidence after that record, where now I feel I’m in a much more confident place in terms of writing and performing to where I can experiment a lot with the way that these songs come together. That’s where Hellpod comes in, taking that confidence but trying to make something more sinister just for the fun of it.
Since 2015, most of the material for Dog Date was written, recorded, and played by you. Were there any particular conditions during your recording and how did they change over the years?
The first album back in 2015 called 80 Bucks was almost an experiment of sorts. I had a friend who left a small mixer at my house for a few weeks by accident, and I figured I might as well try and figure out how to use it, and see what I could come up with within the limited time that it was available to me. I was still in high school and I just thought it was fun to be trying something out solo. After I realized I was capable of making something by myself, I got my own mixer and a few other necessary things and began recording things fairly regularly. Everything since the second album Twin Donut has been recorded on the same equipment in my room, and I feel like I get better at working with what I have available to me and experimenting with the recording process more and more through the course of recording each album.

For the most recent album, Hellpod, I wanted to use a lot less layering than I have in the past, and be able to do the most possible with the least amount of overlays. There are still plenty of overlayed guitars throughout the album, but there are surprisingly significantly less than [on] an album like Flying Fortress, where I felt I tried to showcase the blaring overlayed guitars much more so in the spotlight. Having a simple setup is great, and it’s nice to get familiar with equipment over time. I like being able to work with what I have.
Most of Dog Date visuals were done by your brother Sean Joseph Kennedy. How easy it is for you to understand each other, how often do you have to find a middle ground or vice versa, put your foot down?
It’s always a pleasure to have Sean do the visuals for the band. We are only a year apart in age and have been very close our entire lives, so it’s pretty easy to understand where we each come from and what we each like from a creative standpoint. I feel like he’s really locked in a visual look that goes hand in hand perfectly with the music in a very unique way, especially in the covers for the last three releases. He paints individual color separations on acetate, and then lines them up and scans them to create this vibrant, cartoony look, where you can still see his brushstrokes and small details in the work, and i think it’s a really interesting technique.

Sean is one of the most talented artists i know, so he pretty much has free reigns over what he wants to do for the artwork. I always trust that he’ll come up with something great, and he always does. For new releases, i’ll typically send him the files that I’m working on for him to listen to, and a few days later he’ll have a painting based on what he heard. His work is wonderful, and it really fits the tone of this project perfectly.
Are you into anything besides music? As a whole, would you categorize the process as one constant task, or is it more of an impulse?
I’m into a ton of different stuff! I went to school for film, specifically editing film. I’ll go see any movie, I love watching stuff. I’ve been into comic books too since I was a little kid; a lot of the songs I write are actually based off of comic books or movies. I also record and produce a couple of different bands’ records, and play in a few other bands myself. While I was in school I did a lot of printmaking as well, and have a great passion for silkscreen. I make all our merch by hand. I print each shirt and duplicate and package each tape, and I really love putting all that stuff together. So in that way, I guess it makes this project feel like more of a project that I can apply a bunch of interests of mine from all different aspects of my life to.
Hellpod album cover
«It feels like one constant task, in that everything is able to be wrapped up into one project in some form or another. There’s always new things to put effort into regarding the band. However, the writing/recording portion feels more on impulse»
I never have any set time of year to write or to record, I’ll sort of just write more when it feels right. And I record at the same time that I write, so it all usually happens pretty quickly once I feel like it’s time to work on new material.
We saw you on live shows with Wand, Ty Segall, J Mascis, Thee Oh Sees, Metz, etc.. What kind of impact did they have on you? What kind of music did you listen to during the recording of the album? What and who are your inspirations?
I have always been greatly impacted by those kinds of garage/psyche kinds of bands, especially when I was starting this band up in high school. Those kinds of shows and that loud-but-loose energy has always been very inspiring to me. We even got to open up for Ty Segall in March of last year which was a big highlight for the band, especially since his music meant so much to me growing up. But that specific sound can get a little tiring if overdone in my opinion, and I really do appreciate when bands branch out from that sound and experiment with it a little more. I think the way that Wand in particular has grown and the way their shift in sound has progressed through their albums is really inspiring. They are definitely my favorite band out there right now.

Funny enough, recently I have been into much softer music than I have in the past, especially during the writing/recording of Hellpod, which I believe is our fastest and most rambunctious album yet. An artist that sticks out to me during this time period is Cate Le Bon. I think her work and her voice is so beautiful, especially her latest release Reward. I had many of her albums on repeat while writing Hellpod over the summer months.
From one project to the next your credit lists are almost always the same. How was the Dog Date team formed? Would you consider everybody involved to be a part of Dog Date? Do you have a permanent band or more so session musicians?
All of the albums have always just been recorded and played by myself, I play every instrument and then teach them to the live band. Almost from album to album however, we have pretty much had a completely different live lineup. For our older albums, it was more of a session musician situation. We had a solid three-piece band that would play most of the shows, but if a bandmate couldn’t make it to a show we would have another musician join and fill in in their place. All-in-all we’ve had 19 different musicians play in Dog Date at one point or another.

For our 2018 album Little Cowboy, I felt the need to change up and solidify the live band, and form a more concrete group of bandmates I could rely on. Since the release of that album I’ve formed a 5-piece, 2-drummer group that is now the permanent band, and I’m lucky enough to share this project with some of the most talented musicians I know. Brad Passarelli, the guitarist for Premiums plays bass, Malcolm Hoyt, the singer of Vomit Fist and guitarist of Chaste plays 2nd guitar, Sean Kennedy, my brother and the singer of Chaste, plays drums, and Leo Didkovsky of Chaste, Liturgy, Vomit Fist and others plays drums as well. All of these guys have been my friends for a very long time, and it’s wonderful to be in a band with people you love to be around.

One day I would love to record a full record with the band. I’m looking forward to that.
If we talk specifically about Hellpod, but also in reference to your other work, can you tell what exactly your music is about? Do you see any significant changes in musical and lyrical components of your albums? Is it part of the same story for you?
I think that although different, each album is part of the same story, for sure. I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable as time has gone on in terms of lyrics. If we’re talking specifically about Hellpod, that’s an album that’s mostly about fears and nightmares; dreams in general, just most of them aren’t good dreams. I wanted to write something a little darker than the previous efforts, especially to contrast against Little Cowboy, which I feel is the most positive album I’ve written.

Musically, I’ve been experimenting with stranger sounds, seeing what I can make work with things that almost sound wrong to me. Lots of sneaking in quick riffs and odd chords where I can. With Hellpod specifically, I tried to trim down each song to make them as short and fast as possible, to keep that high-energy anxiety feeling and make sure no song overstays its welcome. With each album, I try and change up something so that I’m never putting out exactly the same thing, but to me, each album definitely follows the same story. Usually, when I’m done with a record, I’ll go back and listen to the other albums in sequence, and when I did that with this past record, I actually thought they all flowed together surprisingly well, one into the other.

I think you can hear a progression in confidence over the course of the project, and that’s something I’m really proud of.
What bands could you identify as the ones that influenced your music the most? Can you recommend some bands from your list to our readers?
I was always very inspired by the Smashing Pumpkins’ first few albums, and my earlier albums were for sure influenced by a lot of those bands in that Ty Segall/Oh Sees scene. I think overall though the bands I get the most inspired by are my friends’ local bands. I love seeing the people close to me play, and being at shows and just seeing new bands and new kinds of energy on stage is such a great feeling. My bandmates other band Chaste puts on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. They are a grindcore/punk band that is a force to be reckoned with, and their new record (which I had the pleasure to produce) coming out early next year is fantastic. Our friends CUTIE also always put out great stuff and put on a great show. Same with our friends Welwyn. All great local bands in the New York area, and all great people to be around. I’d heavily recommend to check out those bands if you haven’t heard of them already.

Some other projects I’ve been into are Macula Dog, Kamikaze Palm Tree, Warm Bodies, P22, Bleeders, Steve Jr., No One and the Somebodies, and Pledge Drive.
Wand on KEXP
J Mascis
Ty Segall & White Fence
Macula Dog
Kamikaze Palm Tree
Read more:
«A Love You'll Never Know»
The Wytches
«Dreary Nonsense»
«Acid / Slow Decay»
First Taste
Ty Segall
Tyler, the Creator is in full bloom
I like getting lost, I like that s**t. Exploring, makin’ a left turn
・ 2018
Section 8
・ 2019