Born out of the ashes of cult Irish band The Hot Sprockets, a band that always felt like they absolutely lived their infectious brand of leftfield country folk-pop, Dogpond (stylised DOGPOND) are a welcome return from some of those musicians in a new form.
Still very early in their life, I took the chance to chat to Franky, former vocalist and harmonica player with the Sprockets, on what to expect from an act that are just one single into their lifespan, and the thoughts behind that debut ‘Kilnamanagh Blues’…
First of all, let’s address the obvious. How does DOGPOND link back to Hot Sprockets, in terms of sound, set up, and development?
Well DOGPOND consists of the three original members of the Hot Sprockets: Franky (myself), Tim, and Joe. After the Sprockets called it a day, us three boys continued on jamming as always on a weekly basis. We didn’t really have a plan or know where we were going to go next, but we knew that we wanted to keep playing and writing music together. So, naturally there are elements of the original sounds that exist in DOGPOND’s music.
Both myself and Tim had been writing songs at home that we both then shared in the jamroom, and because we both have our own unique style of songwriting, you can say there are some resemblances in the sound to that of the songs we wrote while in the Sprockets. In terms of developing the songs, it works the same as we always did it, one of us would write a song, share them in the jamroom and then take it from there. After a few months of jamming together we noticed the songs were really starting to take shape, and become its own thing.
The main difference in the set up is we’re now a four piece. In the Sprockets there were two electric guitars, and with DOGPOND there’s only Tim on electric guitar, so that made a big difference to the dynamics in the band. I’ve picked up acoustic guitar now, and write and play some of the songs on that, or else on the organ or mandolin. Joe does what he’s always done and busts out the tastiest of bass lines. We have our new drummer Ste (Ste-Rex), the guitarist from Punch Face Champion, he provides a new dynamic to the outfit. He’s an all round talented mutt and he definitely brings a new flavour to the songs and sound.
Like Hot Sprockets, you seem to have quite a distinctive artistic aesthetic. Does that feel like part of an identity to you?
That’s just who we are I guess. The clothes we wear or how we play is 100% authentic. We’re really just being ourselves and having the craic together. We don’t give it much thought, we’re just doing our thing.
In regards to DOGPOND’s artwork, I (Franky) do all the illustrations myself, and the rest of them give their thoughts on colour and composition etc. The ideas for single covers and gig posters are our own. We did put a lot of thought into how we want that to look. The lads decided early on that I should do all the artwork, so it would all be consistent and recognisable. So in that sense, we have our own distinctive artistic aesthetic that’s exclusive to us. When you see it, you’ll know it’s us, because it is us!