INTERVIEW: Dose | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Amir Dehghan

The usual path for a band that’s starting out is to gig, gig and gig some more: to get your work out to as many people as possible, taking any slot possible at any venue that will have you to try and make yourself heard. But sometimes going the opposite route can work in your favour – making people put in the effort to chase you down.

It’s the latter route that shoegaze-informed quintet Dose have gone down since their formation, picking their performances selectively and keeping their recorded presence to a bare minimum. With headline performances at The Cluny and the Riverside to their name, it’s a strategy that’s paid off for them so far. As they unveil their debut physical release and prepare for a busy live schedule this spring however, band members Euan Barr and Sean Turland kindly answered a few questions to unravel some of the mystery around Dose.

Having started the band to “realise [their] shared interest in discordant, absonant music”, Barr tells me: “we’ve never set out to emulate a certain band or genre: we feel it can be restricting, but listening to Slint definitely changed our approach to songwriting and dynamics. Stylistically we’re not too sure which genre best describes us – the shoegaze element is still present, but aspects of art rock, slowcore, Krautrock and noise rock also take equal part in our sound; even some of the early math rock.”

Stylistically we’re not too sure which genre best describes us – the shoegaze element is still present, but aspects of art rock, slowcore, Krautrock and noise rock also take equal part in our sound; even some of the early math rock

It’s this interest in the more dissonant and experimental areas of rock that helped bring them into the orbit of much sought-after producer MJ, who recorded their debut double A-side single Furniture/Opaque. Turland states, “MJ has always been a producer we’ve been aware of since the early Eagulls recordings – and of course his own Hookworms releases – but we never really imagined he’d be within reach to work with. We’d initially recorded two different tracks at a studio in Glasgow, but it all sounded too polished and didn’t feel they’d be the best introduction to us as a band. Then we stumbled across Drahla’s Fictional Decision – the production on that track (and his other work) has a raw, almost chaotic edge to it which we were looking for after our last experience, so we sent him some demos and it just went from there.”

Yet while their music embraces chaos, Barr and Turland have maintained a meticulous and ambitious approach to running the band, most evident in their Riverside headline show last year. Turland believes that “playing the Riverside was a turning point us as a band. It forced us to take a big step up, especially when playing the night after The Jesus & Mary Chain. It was quite a surreal experience to be performing there after being the other side of the barrier to watch acts like Interpol, Temples and The Horrors. I remember walking off the stage feeling pretty deflated, but the light technician claimed we’d filled the space better than the Mary Chain had the night before – so either he’s not a fan of dense squalling feedback, or it can’t have been too bad.”

With their debut single finally set for release, Dose are now focusing on a busy live schedule to reinforce their reputation as one of the most in-demand new bands in the region. “We’re making our first venture down to the capital to play The Old Blue Last, then we’re back up north for support slots with Sugar Candy Mountain and Pinkshinyultrablast, and the Hit The North festival. Then there’s always a few things under wraps to come.”

Furniture/Opaque is released 27th April on A Turntable Friend Records. Dose support Sugar Candy Mountain at The Cumberland Arms on Sunday 15th April.

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