Dr. Dog: Interview with Scott McMicken

—by , November 27, 2008

Can you tell the story of a song from the record?

There are little bits of magic sprinkled through all of them. That’s what got them past the chopping block. When I got to looking at these songs, in my head, they represent how constantly changing I am as a songwriter. Not on a huge level, but like trying new things over the years that I like a lot, like simpler songs. ‘The Breeze’ was me trying to write a song that essentially didn’t change at all. It’s one melody and one chord progression that goes like five or six times or whatever and then it’s over and it never really breaks. So that was an experiment in songwriting for me.

‘The Rabbit, The Bat, And The Reindeer,’ that’s a weird song too, because that was me again trying something that was really not my thing in songwriting, which was sort of a hate message. I always try to put so much passive acceptance into every song I write (laughs) because that’s how I like to live. But that was me trying to be angry about something.

On We All Belong Dr. Dog was getting used to its upgraded recording equipment after the success of Easy Beat. Did knowing the studio better free you up on Fate?

Yeah it certainly was convenient. It felt like the first time we, as a band, went into making an album with a really strong sense of our own identity. For years the studio has just been this blank slate. Especially for the first three, four, five years of being a band, when we never really played live. It was all just this completely imaginary band. We weren’t trying to capture a sound that actually existed. We were just inventing one for every song. So this felt like the first time we actually stepped into the studio with this pretense, you know? I think where we’ve come so far as technicians in the studio made that possible.

And the truth is though I’m very very happy with the way the record turned out and I have no regrets, I don’t think it was a full 100 percent representation. But I’m totally fine with it. I accept that about the process. I know that you can only really go so far as you’re capable of. And that every step of the way is educational. I think we just put a foot in the door on some different ways of recording. So I think for the next one, we’ll just pick up where we left off.

Dr. Dog performs at Webster Hall in NYC on Dec. 2. For more info, visit drdogmusic.com

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