Friday, January 17, 2014

Interview with Dr. Dog and Saint Rich


Of all the ways to promote an upcoming tour, I think Dr. Dog and Saint Rich have picked one of the coolest options. In a move of creatively crafted collaboration, their new Casual Freefall Tour EP (available exclusively here at NoiseTrade) features both bands covering a song from each other's most recent albums. Dr. Dog added their lo-fi funk to "Dreams" from Saint Rich's Beyond the Drone and Saint Rich chose the frenzied restraint route on their cover of "Rock & Roll" from Dr. Dog's B-Room. With both bands taking a stab at songs from the albums that each other is touring behind, it's easy to see that they've gotten an early jump on the camaraderie that's usually reserved for the end of a tour. Rounding out the Casual Freefall Tour EP is Dr. Dog's "Phenomenon" and Saint Rich's "Crying From the Home," both from their most recent albums as well. 

Before the tour kicks off in a few weeks (January 25 at Terminal 5 in New York, to be exact), I spoke with both bands about this unique release, as well as their process in getting the songs picked and recorded.

NoiseTrade: What specifically drew you to picking the songs you chose to cover? Were there other songs in the running or was this one a unanimous decision?

Zach Miller (Dr. Dog): “Dreams” was Scott's pick. He was the most familiar with the record so he made the call on that one. I think “Young Vultures” would have been fun to do too. 

Steve Marion (Saint Rich): “Rock & Roll” was the song we van-jammed the hardest on our last tour with Wild Belle. The vote was in: “Rock & Roll.”

NT: How did you guys go about making the song your own? Was it a simple deconstruct/reconstruct process or something else entirely different?

Zach: Now that I think about it, every track was recorded in a different state. We didn't have a lot of time to get together on this one, so we recorded our own tracks at home and sent them to Scott in Connecticut. I recorded mine in Philly, Toby's was down in Delaware, Frank in Jersey, Dimitri in Tucson and Eric just moved to Asheville. I was a little worried because we'd never done a recording like this before, but I was really pleased with the result. It was interesting to track everything out of context and trust that it would work out, especially since we waited until literally the last day to get our s--t together and record.

So as I was recording, I received Toby's bassline and three drum takes from Eric. There was a lot happening at one time. Musically and creatively, it was a challenging song to record because the melody and the chords felt fused together - like there is a new chord on every note of the melody - and it was tough to break away from that, especially being so isolated. But in the end it felt much more loose and laid back. Scott really worked some magic on the mix, too.

Steve: The lyrics of the song serve as an instruction manual for how to record the song. We started with "a Tascam, some Maxwells, a Shure 57 and a stereo delay" and ran wild with it. 

NT: Will you guys be playing these covers on tour or is this just a special one-time recording to capture a fun pre-tour moment? 

Steve: We're going to ask Dr. Dog to cover our cover of their song, but obviously reinterpret it in their own way. We will also be covering their cover of our tune. It's going to be really wild.


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