Wednesday, January 09, 2008

loops, OMD and African drumming.
this is the way of the Dodos.

by Kenyon Hopkin

Following a tour in 2007 with labelmates Les Savy Fav, San Francisco duo the Dodos--named for the poor extinct flightless bird--are getting ready to support their second record, "Visiter" [sic], out March 18, 2008 through Frenchkiss. Originally a solo venture for Meric Long (who went under the name Dodobird) the Dodos harbor some of the most intriguing low-key post-Elephant 6 music this side of the equator. Long added Logan Kroeber for percussion so he wouldn't get lonely on tour and not have to play all the instruments. Dodos forever. [Kenyon knows how to write a feature story but doesn't have that kind of time. So the ever-popular Q & A it is.]

AC: OMD? Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark? You only have OMD listed as an influence on your profile? why? If that is true, that rules. You love them?
Meric: They're kinda my favorite band of all time, though I wouldn't say they were the only influence, just the first and longest. Seemed easier to uh.....streamline, ya know?

AC: You're into West African Ewe drumming. Tell me about that please! And then country blues. You've sewn it together so well. How are you doing that?
Meric: In school I had this grandiose idea to try and write a paper on the history of popular music, starting with its origins in West African drumming. So I went and began studying with this Ewe drum master from Cal Arts in Ventura. It was easily the most difficult music I'd ever played or tried to understand and it totally restructured the way my brain heard rhythm. At the same time I was playing in a Balinese Gamelan ensemble and I was getting turned on to country blues fingerpicking through a friend from Charlottesville, Virginia. The paper ended up sucking, but I had my mind blown by all of the similarities and influences between these various types of music I was getting into.

AC: So you were solo for a while. When and why did you decide to add another guy?
Meric: Well the other guy's name is Logan, and we started playing together in February of 2006. I always wanted to have another bandmate being that it's not much fun touring by yourself. I never intended to do the solo thing, but I wasn't really motivated to go try and find the right people to put together a band so I figured if I played out enough maybe the right person will come to me.

AC: Why the name Dodos? Was that the only animal not taken yet?
Meric: ha. yes, that is why.

AC: How'd you hook up with Frenchkiss?
Meric: Syd Butler babynapped us at the Mercury Lounge in New York and made an offer.

AC: How do you guys make a full sound live with two people? You have other people on stage or you use loops?
Meric: I loop my vocals sometimes, use a lot of open chords, make sure the drums are boomin.

AC: You recorded the drums and guitar live at the same time and it sounds great. How are you doing that?
Meric: We wanted the record to sound live, so we recorded the drums and guitar at the same time but in two seperate rooms so we could still isolate the sound of each instrument and capture as much naturally as we possible could. There were small windows in each room so we could still see each other. I had this triangular line sight between me, Logan and John our engineer so that I could communicate to both of them in separate rooms, but only if I kept my head in one position and opened my eyes real wide. Type Foundry in Portland where we recorded has these amazing rooms that sound alive and really verby. There's no carpet so the sound just bounces away and there's a lot space to fill, which I think helps each instrument sound big and full.

AC: You have sweet gigs lined up- Union Pool in Brooklyn, Noise Pop, SXSW and Coachella-- are you f-ing psyched?!
Meric: We are f-ing psyched. I'm really excited for SXSW, it was our first time last year and I feel like I'll be better prepared this time to navigate through the craziness. For Coachella we're becoming a subsidiary of Akron/Family, so it's not a Dodos show. But it'll be super fun.

further reading:

No comments: