18 May 2011
Dogman - on howling at gigs and hunting for success
Dogman talks frankly about his musical journey to Andi from Muso magazine.
Since signing to USA label Expat Records late last year Dogman, aka David Sands and his feral band, have been working towards a new album, ‘The cat that solved The String Theory’ released for download and UK only limited-edition CD May 2011. The band is Matt Pawson, classically-educated jazz guitarist, Mr Smith, ace-percussionist and Audiofile Studio producer and Andy Penney, a confirmed Dogman fan from ‘The Whisperer’ days playing bass with a mission to add feeling to his new songs.
“There seemed to be an age between the contract-signing and this new album release with everyone wondering how it was all going to play out,” David began. “We were aware that Expat Records have set themselves up very much an Internet-orientated label and that they are signing lots of artists in the time we were approached. This is the way the music business is going; unless you are a Radiohead-type band and are downloading your music directly to a large, paying, fan-base or you are an established recording artist and the only way forward is the Internet.”
Since the new album release David has found himself listed top in Google as ‘The English Neil Young’ something that Expat’s system of stimulating search engines has already achieved.
“The label chief told me their work starts now and that soon every USA and European radio station and downloading website will know about Dogman. I could have been a small fish in the stable of a major record label or, as it is now, a bigger fish in a new label. The Expat Records A&R man, Paul Shulver, actually loves my music and it probably helps that he is a big Neil Young fan. While I do not want to be known as a NY tribute act, people are comparing me to an artist with whom I have had a long time musical affinity with. I have received wonderful comments on Soundcloud for some of my tunes and songs like ‘It’s a love thing’ and ‘Home Fire’ have had a 1000 plays”, he adds.
Dogman openly acknowledges that few of these ‘fans’ will actually download the album from I-Tunes (http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-cat-that-solved-string/id438076388) when they can listen to it for free. Expat Records use an American CD production that can make and deliver a single CD to a fan and this means no stock for an artist to carry. OK for the USA but postage to Europe would not make this service viable. They said it was fine for me to produce a UK-only CD for gigs, family and friends and this edition has a booklet with some handwritten lyrics.
David currently has over 3000 ‘followers’ on Soundcloud and this number is leaping up on a daily basis with listeners from all over the world. This activity was undoubtedly helped by being made Soundcloud ‘artist of the day’ in March. Some comments argue he is better vocally than Neil Young and suggesting that as Dogman he should follow his own musical path.
“The trouble is the ‘media’ (and here David notes that Muso is part of the machine) want a ‘handle’ for a new artist. They want them to be the ‘next’ Karen Carpenter, Dusty Springfield, Elvis or whatever. In some ways these new singers can find themselves simply a living karioke of musical icons.“
I asked David what comes next
“ I am currently working new songs and on a major soundtrack project about Hale-Bopp and Stonehenge with a superb Florida-based musician, Peter Brown (Bravenote) http://soundcloud.com/bravenote. I am also very excited about collaborating with two brilliantly talented pianists, Russell Chevalier (Expat Records artist), http://soundcloud.com/rjchevalier and London-based, Sophie Kazandjian http://soundcloud.com/sophie-kazandjianon and have been writing lyrics and preparing to record vocals on their compositions.”
.. and where the album title came from and Dogman gave a wry smile.
“My day job as an animal behaviour specialist means that I associate with pets (his previous album was The Whisperer). I was thinking ‘Jazz’ (cool cat) thinking about the ambiguity of feline-play and deeper universal questions.”
… and how the gigs were going?
I am enjoying playing small venues, pubs and bars loving the intimacy with people who are live-music orientated. Some of the audiences are even howling when I start singing the ‘Wolves of Winterhill’ and my opening album track, ‘Spitfire’ is already a favourite with those that are beginning to know my music. Mr Smith suggested we twin with a Winter Hill in the States and when I looked them up - the area was renown for an Irish-American gang who had broken every law you can care to remember from kidnapping, extortion and rape.. Not the best media to be associated with. The dream is to get on Jools Holland like so many emerging artists. However, there is so, so much music out there that I do worry how my songs will survive.”
Just one Dogman song played on Radio 2 or an American radio station playing ‘Wolves’ and you never know.....”