DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Dressed Like Wolves | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists that we have right here in the north east. This time, Rick Dobbing of Dressed Like Wolves talks sketching on Roseberry Topping and the need to have a little lie down on stage.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

My name’s Rick and I write wordy/sweary/twee songs with my Spooker Recs friends Dan, Paul and Aaron, mostly. Other people tag in and out and there’s this lad called Matt who’s like the only ghost in the band as well. We’re from Thornaby and Middlesbrough and most of us still live there on farms and that.

I like drawing ghosts on things like Roseberry Topping with sharpies in an effort to keep our little DIY label Spooker Rekkids strong and powerful. Check it out. We’ve got some cool stuff coming up.

What inspired you to first start making music?

I thought it would be dead cool to be in the Get Up Kids and liked the bass riff from Carousel by Blink 182, so I bought a bass guitar. You can’t really write songs on a bass though and I couldn’t really sing and play it anyways, so I sold it and got a normal guitar instead. I thought I was pretty good at writing words down and having a sing. Turns out I wasn’t but I was pretty determined. Luckily I got better. I just wanted to write songs about things that mattered to me and have a moan. Writing songs is sometimes just like having a moan but cooler.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

In short, objects lying around rooms, boxing, things and people I love, Hellogoodbye’s Second Album, Weezer pre 1995 and all our friends’ bands. In a bit more detail… Daniel Johnston because he’s honest and just recorded his songs at home on a chord organ. It’s simple heartfelt music that showed me that I could just get on with it and didn’t need to actually be able to play things properly. Oh and Neutral Milk Hotel because of the fuzzzzzzzz/plaid. We have four guitar pedals between us and they’re all fuzz. Don’t worry, they’re all set to stun.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s fuzzy, casiotone laden, chord organ rock’n’roll songs and it’s quiet, sad songs that’d go down well in a funeral parlour with a cup of tea. I dunno, Bright Eyes? I’m not sure really. Have a listen or come to a show. It’s a bunch of songs I really mean and enjoy playing with my friends.

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?

I’m not sure. We have friends in amazing bands like General Sherman, Hold Music, Mouses and By Toutatis who we play gigs with and all sound different but we’re stuck between trying to be dead rock and roll and then still being able to play tea houses and libraries with a bit of chord organ and a violin. I like being able to play all kinds of places from empty shops and laundrettes to ships; the stranger the better. I always feel a bit out of place regardless. It’s dead good though.

“In my head it’s as punk rock as, but I always look like a little nerd pretending to be a woodsman in the photos”

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Dressed Like Wolves?

You can expect me to give a shit, mess up a few times, talk a fair bit but probably not about the songs I’m playing and then have a sit down and one time I had a lie down too. I’ve never watched me live so I’m not totally sure. In my head it’s as punk rock as, but I always look like a little nerd pretending to be a woodsman in the photos. Come along. I dunno.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

I need to start writing these down. So I have some shows I’m really excited about. We played this vegetarian restaurant in Eaglescliffe called The Waiting Room in May with our Spooker Rekkids friends Hold Music. I love this venue; it’s tiny and the neighbours complain when we play there and it’s right near the train station too.

We also played at The Cluny 2 in Newcastle on 23rd May for Evo Emerging. I’d never played The Cluny and was pretty excited about it. Last time we played Evo Emerging we played in a vintage shop next to some shoes. This time we’re going to rock it.

We’ll be supporting The Burning Hell in Middlesbrough at the Westgarth Social Club on Monday 15th June for The Kids Are Solid Gold, and they’re lovely people. We have other shows but I’ve forgotten them. So that’ll do.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?

Well, we supported Jeffrey Lewis this one time… Nah, the biggest achievement was getting a bunch of my friends together and making this album In The End We All Just Walk Off Into The Sea In The Eyes Of The Ones We Left Behind, particularly the last song I wrote for it, which is the last song on the album, and means the most to me. We did a video for it in a day with a load of lovely, lovely people and it was very weird and fun.

We’ve got to do some cool things but just having people dig us and enjoy the songs I write, while having some fun, is all I’m really bothered about.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

The biggest challenge for me is being scared of everything. I’m super nervous about shows and anything to do with my music because I want to play the best I can and it’s pretty scary singing about things that are hugely important to you in front of people when you’re not that open with people in any other situation. I know it’s not that big of a deal really and I’m just being a doyle but I can’t help it.

I’ve messed up some opportunities by being petrified and just falling apart while I’m playing songs. It’s pretty funny I suppose. My band stop this from happening as much now anyways, cause they’re properly bodacious and amazing musicians and people too.

What else have you got planned for the future?

I’m not sure. Just to keep swimming I suppose.

Dressed Like Wolves support The Burning Hell at Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough on Monday 15th June.

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