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.