Sunday, 11 October 2009
In Conversation with Shaky Dawg
In Conversation with
A little background:
The basis of how I got this interview is straight-forward,
trying to describe the band are another ball game.
Flash back to Poets Express, a poetry and arts
festival that I co-hosted back in July 2009, I ended
up seeing my friend Kylyra's brother, Tor in action
with his new band 'Shaky Dawg'.. If my memory
is correct, they were that brand new there was
nothing online on their website at the time, so
it really was going to be a total surprise.
And it was - I was expecting perhaps industrial
rock or prog rock (knowing what sort off Tor's
other projects are like) but Country & Western
on Acid with dollops off House in places.
It was barking mad certainly, but sounded really
fresh to me, so when I got back to England and
started with the re-launch for Setting Sun, sorting
out a interview with them as well as a new
interview with Kylyra became a priority.
Ky's interveiw for regular viewers came quite
quick. This interview took for reasons too
long winded to explain took longer.
Either way, it was worth it as they are superb.
Check out them on Darkworld and download
some of their mp3's..
Cheers guys, and additional thanks to Ky
for being the taskmistress here (lol)
A good link for them is:
Hi. How goes tricks and whats happening At the moment?
(Tor) Hallo Andy. Well, O'Shott and I are finishing some
techno underlays to new songs which should fill out our live show.
Shott wanted to see the band doing a hour and one half
I felt happy with the 45 min show we had for Poets Express.
It gave us the ability to open for larger bands, but it did limit the
shows we could take locally. So now it's back in the studio,
trying to give the band enough choice to take longer shows,
(Shott) And we got the Ep done on CD.
Can you next tell us a little bit about S-D What
started it all off etc?
(Tor) I guess I'll start here and let Shott fill in what I
missed. O'Shott Crawler began working with
Dark World in 2005 when he agreed to
front the Cafe Crawlers.
I knew his children and they had told me that he had so
many songs he had written, and Dark World should try and get
him to record them. At the time, Dark World agreed to let him
do a recording of whatever he wanted after the Crawlers project
I had worked with him finding the chords to some of the
Crawler tracks. I felt I knew how he was approaching his lyrics.
So in November 2008, I ran into him and asked him if he was
ever going to come down to the studio and try recording
his songs the way he wanted to hear them (He had
always been a bit uncomfortable with the classic
Nashville country sound J.A.Bohr had produced
the Crawlers with.) I asked him what he wanted to create
and he told me this dream of Country-Techno. Playing his
songs with techno rhythms, instead of the classic sound
line-up of country.
I'm not a country fan, but did want to try expanding my
own studio performances (Having someone like Kylyra as
a sister can be intimidating, with her being so versatile and I
having so much similarities in my work. I wanted to do more
styles myself.), do something unexpected.
So Shott and I talked about how we could try and get
the sound he wanted. In early February 2009, we got together
in the studio and began with 3 songs; Cruisin', Criminal, and
Prison. Shott is the main vocalist, I played the guitars and
bass, both Shott and I wrote the techno rhythms,
and Ky and I sang back-up vocals on the tracks. It
wasn't Shaky Dawg at that time, it was O'Shott's
solo project with me as a studio musician. After
finishing mixes for the first roughs ('cause we needed
to hear what we were creating), he passed
around copies to his friends, and requests
for live performances began. So as we began
working on the next four tracks, we decided
to try and take the project live. So it was in
March that Shaky Dawg really becomes a
band. I was originally supposed to play
bass live (my choice). So as we finished the
second set of four tracks and began the next
set of three tracks, I began pushing the
bass a little, going more eccentric.
He really wanted me to enjoy playing
the tracks live. The electric guitar
parts were written and played like
Shott wanted to hear. He choose the
sounds (amps, eq and distortion) for
the electric. I enjoy playing with the
sounds he chose, as they are probably
not something I might have
Kylyra had been working on setting up the first Poets Express
night and wanted us to open it up (the pre-show entertainment).
The core band is Shott and myself, but we both wanted more to
the live show. My half-brother, Spike, joined the live
band on bass, a friend of Shott's played the acoustic
and I had to jump in on electric (we couldn't find
someone who wanted to play my leads?!?). I
probably was a bit put off for the first few
weeks having to memorise the guitar now,
but Shott had always wanted me on guitar
live, so I did give in. And we rehearsed the
show which 'Break the Bottle' video came
from. Then Ky decided to sing with the band
So with some summer shows under our belt, we're finishing the
full length show. The original final mixes Shott and I finished
before Poets Express are available online
as the 'Bass Ridin' for Digital Cowboys EP'. Physical copies are
available through Amazon.
(Shott) I could give an answer, but I don't know if I need to.
Although I don't want people to believe I'm a hick, only listening
to Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. Because my roots originated
in bands like Stiff Little Fingers, The Cramps, and
Madness and even though I have strong country roots, it
would be more the Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, and
Kris Kristoferson end, the story tellers.
Certainly from listening to your initial Recordings,
it is clear you have varied Musical influences, what
have you proved all of your musical influences and
what are you listening to at the moment?
(Tor) Yeah, I listen to things like Korn, Slayer, Anthrax and
Merciful Fate, industrial stuff like Skinny Puppy,
Einstürzende Neubauten and Front242, jazzy stuff
like Mahavishnu Orchestra (or anything with
John McLaughlin), gothy stuff like Death in June,
Bauhaus, The Cure, New Order, Joy Division,
and classic progressive rock like RUSH, ELP,
and Pink Floyd. Lately I have been listening
to Tor's Angst most, as I want to go into the studio
and do the final mixes and want as much opinion
as I can get out of myself before I'm there. I listen
to Ian Brown's Greatest hits too lately (since
Shott turned me on to him), and discs of rough
Dawg, to program the songs into deep memory.
Can you tell I'm hypo-manic? Shott listens to
quite different stuff.
(Shott) Alabama 3 would have to be,
The Twang, Everlasts new album, 'Return to Form',
as well as all the old classics.
I know from conversations with associates Of yours,
shall we say, you have just Started to play gigs?
How have these Compared to your studio
recordings? Is their one you prefer over the other?
(Tor) We played our first gig opening Poets Express. I have
more to pull off on guitar live compared to studio (which
I find much easier these days). So I like the rehearsals
and gigs. It moves things away from songs into a
show. We write knowing that we want to play them
live now, so new material should fit in fine, but there is
a difference in studio to live. Shott wants the first full
length release to reflect how we perform them over
how we first recorded them. These days, studio is for
making the underlays to play live, with thoughts of
final mixes being done only after the song was played
enough to 'break it in'. The EP were selling at shows
and on Amazon are the first final mixes Shott and
I done. They are good, very good actually. He had
ideas and we turned them into a real product which
was unique. But playing them live has changed
little things that will be added to the full release
(which probably won't be worked on until next
year) when we finish it. Right now it is about finishing
the show and playing out for 6 months at least
before we are trying to finish anything. For me,
playing live is what excites me about
Shaky Dawg. We are thinking and planning
around this idea. It is a better band for me to
play live in Ireland than trying to play Angst
Dawg is crazy enough, but still got an elderly
couple to two-step to live (which was a bit
weird, but I enjoyed it, was good Craig that show).
(Shott) To me Live is where I want Shaky Dawg to be.
The aim of the band is to make people dance. So
performing live is the gratification of that, hell
if you can make people enjoy themselves for an
hour and a half, you got to be winning. That's not
to take away from the studio because the foundations
that Tor and I laid down there are the foundations
of the show.
Have really being enjoying your songs up
On DarkWorld and also your tracks that have
appeared on the DVD that I bought - I
think probably my favourite has gotta be
‘Rogue Trip’ (which I originally thought
was called ‘Road Trip’) which I think is a
knock-out track… Can you tell us a little
bit more about this track?
(Shott) I would like to say that I write the lyrics
down, I don't interpret them. That's your job.
(Tor) But we do both write the techno,
and if makes you dance, it is doing the right thing.
(Shott) I do have to say, that on stage
I would say it is our favourite track, too.
Have being hearing talk from the same source
shall we say you are going to doing some
cover versions which I am sure was going to
include Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire? – how
are your approach going to change from
doing original tracks Like ‘Rogue Trip’? etc
(Tor) Yeah, well we got two covers in rotation right now.
'Ruby' by Kenny Rogers and 'Ring of Fire' by Johnny Cash
(actually wasn't that written by June, not Johnny?).
(Shott) Yeah it was, June Carter Cash. Nothing like being right.
(Tor) The approach to covers is two fold right now.
We originally were working from a list of songs
Shott wanted to do, like Woody Guthrie's
Vigilante Man or Grateful Dead's Sugar Magnolia.
But as we started playing out, we realised we needed
to do covers of classic songs that some of the
audience would know and be able to sing along to.
That's why Ruby and Ring of Fire. And playing Ruby
live twice already showed that people would sing
along (even if it was joined in more out of key and
sounded more like screaming at times). So
covers need that sing-ability to them right now. But
we put the techno together just like any other
Dawg song, same method of madness
and cider (which Dawg drinks Druids cider-
hint for sponsorship).
(Shott) I think the use of the word 'cover' for what we do to other
people's songs is a little loose. I think interpretation is more
what we do. Because the original is in there and we
hope it's essence is preserved, these songs are
we and truly Dawged.
What’s the origin behind your name out of Interest
and where did the inspiration Behind the artwork
for the band come from (Very Tank Girl must add)
(Shott) Should we say Cider and drugs? I think for both
that would be the answer. 'Cause I couldn't say w
here Shaky Dawg came from, it just arrived.
(Tor) Cider and Caffeine? Yeah, well about the dog pics.
Hmm, I looked online for a picture of a dog with an
eye-path, in a cowboy hat, holding a gun (Shott's
request for a cover idea). The pics I found
ended up being used on the EP cover. For the
full-length release we want new pics for each
song, so if you got a dog and a camera and
get a good funny pic we could use, send it
on over. We're looking.
What’s next for you lot? Do you have a
album on the way and maybe more gigs?
(Tor) Hmmm, I think that got covered in my
ramblings... But 'Bass Ridin' for Digital Cowboys
EP' is now available online from
Amazon.com and at tour shows from
the band (the physical disc with cool graphics-
you need this on your shelves). There are
free MP3 downloads on darkworld.com
from this disc.
You can hear the full disc at LastFM.
We'll try to get public performances
listed on the social site pages for the
band (yeah, we'll try...).
(Shott) Now that we have just finished
the full live show, a few gigs have been
booked, so check online for the
when and where.
Couple of lighter questions to
finish off with, What do you do
when you are all not Shawky Dog?
(Tor) Hmmm, Future Dialogue, Deemed Psychotic,
Tor's Angst, the subterranean sharpened key combo.
darkworld.com web work, reading comics,
and doing logic puzzles. Oh yeah, and spending
hours on my bicycle getting to every place
(yeah I need my licence these days).
(Shott) Mop floors, clean toilets, cut grass,
vegetate, look after kids, avoid mothers, sleep...
that's pretty descriptive huh?
What would you like to be doing
when you are 60?
(Tor) Same thing I do everyday Pinky,...
(Shott) Have my nappy changed and clean my
catheter, turn me twice a day... Is that a little cynical.
Lastly, what will you be doing when
you are 60?
(Tor) Same thing I do everyday Pinky,...
(Shott) Mop floors, clean toilets, cut grass, vegetate,
look after kids, avoid mothers, sleep...