-Interview- The Black Dogs (4/30/23)

The Black Dogs talks about keeping a fresh Rock signature sound, upcoming new music and much more.


From: England
Sounds like: Heavy Stoner/Space Rock

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "The Black Dogs" and is there any meaning behind it?

We started in 2011 as a Hendrix cover band ''The Dolly Dagger Experience" - putting our own heavy spin on some of our favourite Jimi Hendrix tracks with some other blues numbers thrown in. Blues is where the band started and like so many others it paved the way for bigger things. Gradually we started writing our own blues tracks and began to shed our skins of the blues to form a solid hard rock stature. "The Black Dogs" came about when we decided to take our growing love of 70's inspired underground rock (influenced mainly by various American heavy rock bands), and turn it into something that we could call our own. The concept of The Black Dogs is featured in English folklore, which is said to be a bad omen, often connotated with depression and sadness when they mystically appear.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

We'd like to think that we're producing something new and exciting with our take on alternative hard rock. In the early days we fell in love with lesser known bands that clung faithfully to their own originality, making rock music that breaks new ground but stays strong to the elements of artistry, without becoming commercialised and playing into the status quo, like so many well known bands seem to end up doing. We try to keep our sound as organic and visceral as we can, but at the same time hope that our listeners can pick out influences from other bands who put originality and raw expression at the forefront of their art. We try to distance ourselves from audibly competing with popular trends in the market - which currently feels perversely oversaturated with 'artists' that sound like hundreds of others before them.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

We are a heavy, raw three piece hard rock band from South-West England, drawing influences from 70's riff rock, psychedelia, metal, and most importantly, the last grassroots rock and roll movement that we hope might save a generation of musicians from aimless repetition: the American desert scene.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

The Atomic Bitchwax, Elder, and Clutch.

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

COVID has slowed our progress to some extent in the past few years. Lockdowns have made it difficult for us to travel to our studio/rehearsal space as we live miles apart from ourselves and our base! But we make things work and try to keep a positive attitude. We play music together when we can and try to make the best of the time we have.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Rock?

Rock music has produced arguably some of the most satisfying sounds in existence, but since 2010 things feel like they are slowly folding back on themselves, treading over old ground and walking backwards into old habits. So many bands are trying to sound like other bands, either as a result of fandom or lack of imagination. At the same time the 'Yoko Onos' amongst us stretch the concept far beyond it's intelligible boundaries, often producing a similarly tiring result. It's a strange time we live in where modern rock music has become so evolved, complex and varied, but yet can lack the basic, raw and unrefined elements that drew us to it in the first place. For us, rock music isn't a puzzle to be solved, nor is it an idea that requires any comprehensive understanding to be enjoyed. It is a mighty canvas to be loved, spat on, driven over, burned and thrown into the fucking sea.

7. What's the current music scene like there in England?

In the rural areas in which we live our music scene has died a death that none of us really anticipated. One minute everyone's coming out in hoards to watch live music and now, after many closures, only a few select venues manage to keep a float with a steady stream of artists and punters. There's still some great pockets of music lovers and people who live for the weekend gig, but these are typically much closer to cities and more densely populated areas.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

We are yet to find out how many pennies we will get from uploading our new EP online, as well as some other content. From what we've heard we're everything but hopeful. Nevertheless we hope to gain revenue in physical sales of merchandise as well as ticket sales to our events.

9. What's next for The Black Dogs?

This Friday (May 5th 2023) we will be releasing an EP containing some tracks we've played for years and a couple of recent ones that have paved the way to our recent metal-influence style that we hope to forge ahead with. 'Neptune Rising' (The EP) is a small, stripped back collection of music that represents the journey toward finding our current metal-influenced style. We hope to release another EP by the end of the year, which we expect to feature the band cast in a somewhat more refined and settled light within the stoner-metal genre. We do all of our recording and mixing under one roof, completely by ourselves and the whole process has been a massive learning curve for us all. everytime we have another release we're slowly but surely creeping toward where we want to be.

10. Any shoutouts?

Our Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, spouses and friends, you bloody lucky people.