DOGBANE (EN.)

1- Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. What are you guys currently up to?
Mitchell Allred- Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Currently we are promoting our second full length album “When Karma Comes Calling” out now on Heaven and Hell Records. Since its release we have been gigging as much as possible. Time spent in the studio has a way of making everyone a bit rusty. You sit around waiting to lay your tracks down and then a good deal of time is spent listening to them, trying to make sure things are the way you want them. It’s very time consuming and doesn’t leave much time for rehearsing. Our main goal since the album’s completion has been to get our live show up to speed.
Kevin Davis- “When Karma Comes Calling” let us know that as the next cd progresses we will play more shows. When we did “Residual Alcatraz” it was done before the band was ever established; leaving more time for recording. I feel like when we recorded “When Karma Comes Calling” we used the same process by focusing on the recording primarily. So, to answer the question we are playing shows and writing the new cd this time.

 


2- First off, could you make some history of the band?
Kevin Davis- My recollection is that me and Mitch grew up together and Jerry and Dave grew up together. All of us were mutually adjoined over the years. I recorded Jerry and Dave’s previous band Rictus Grin. I think I made a comment to Dave and Jerry one night while recording about something we could all do together. Soon after, they approached me about it. I contacted Mitch (who I was pretty sure would be onboard with it). We jumped right on it. Jerry and Dave had already come up with several of the songs which would pave the way for us to start looking for a singer, which we did. Jeff Neal was the vocalist in the first evolution of a band named Steel Wolf (headed by Warren Deatherage credited with rhythm guitar on the “Charisma” cover by Dogbane on the Versailles Records Kiss tribute comp.) We approached Jeff about joining forces. He seemed eager to do it as well. A very interesting combination it was, and we trudged through and made it happen. After Dave’s untimely passing in 2012 we were in a tailspin. Not only from losing our best friend, but we just lost the number one driving force behind Dogbane. The one Riff Meister! Soon after Warren Deatherage joined forces with us and we layed down the track for the Versailles Records compilation. We had picked ourselves back up. Then, as fate would have it Jeff Rinehart came to practice with Dogbane and nailed the tryout to the wall with a premeditated respect of everything Dave had left before. Changing the complexion of Dogbane from Dave’s influences of Savatage and UFO to Jeff’s influences of Mercyful Fate and My Dying Bride. That’s pretty much it. Everything was back on track.
Mitchell Allred- The original version of Dogbane began rehearsals in June of 2010. That first incarnation was probably always destined to be. We come from a very rural area of North Carolina. If you play in a band here you pretty much know of everyone else who plays in a band here. Your paths always cross eventually; whether it’s through doing shows or in a studio somewhere. We all already knew of each other and had respect for each other’s abilities. It just so happened that we were all free to begin Dogbane when the opportunity presented itself.
Jeff Rinehart- Kevin Davis (our bass player) contacted me by e-mail in early March 2013 thru a musician’s network classified website I had joined, after checking out some of my influences and posted songs. He asked me if I would be interested in auditioning, after explaining some common influences we shared musically. Shortly after that, I met with Jeff (our singer) and got the first CD (Residual Alcatraz) from him to listen and learn the songs for the audition. I was really psyched about the music because I could really hear the prominent two guitar attack that I was always into, and I could just tell that the riffs and hooks would translate well live, and would be really cool to play. About two weeks later, I met up with everybody for my audition on March 24, 2013. It was an awesome experience, and we really had a great chemistry that first day! The ironic thing was, I felt underprepared because I had only learned seven of the songs well, as the other three, I could play some parts, but not all the way through. Everybody else just looked at each other half way thru the audition and said “We just figured you would have about 2 or 3 songs down. Nobody else has come in and played that many the first time, and we had to show them how to play some of those.” I was like, “Really I was sweating it because I didn’t quite learn all the songs well enough to play straight through.“ I think I was made an “official member” sometime in April 2013, because we shot the video for Ride the Serpent in May, haha. The rest as they say was history.

 
3- How could you describe your sound?
Jeff Rinehart- I would say we have a very full sound live where Mitch and I really try to come up with complimentary guitar tones sonically. He tends to scallop out his mids and boost his highs and lows. I tend to like a little more punch and attack with presence but boost my mids and dial down the highs and lows. We are a loud band live in comparison to most bands because we both play full stacks, compared to most people playing with half-stacks these days. Stylistically, our sound is very much grounded in NWOBHM, traditional heavy metal, doom, with some elements of thrash, punk, speed and power, and some passing references to Southern Rock.
Mitchell Allred- We’re about as old school as it gets these days. I’m sure some might call it dated, and others might say it’s intentional. In reality it’s very unconscious thing on our part. Basically what you have here is five middle aged guys who grew up on a very traditional style of heavy metal. I’m not saying that’s all we listen to, or that were not influenced by other types of music, or even other types of metal. We just play the type of metal that got us into metal in the first place. We’re not closed minded in that regard either, and sometimes different styles do creep into our sound. However it always comes from an honest place and it’s sincere. Stylistically I would agree with Mr. Rinehart’s assessment. We have described ourselves publicly as NWOBHM with a touch of doom and I believe that’s a fair comparison.
Kevin Davis- Like Mitch said we are Old School. And we’re old and we’re just doing what we know. It all comes from the heart with each one of us putting in our own influences. That makes for a hodge ­podge of anything from traditional metal, to doom, to glam metal, to hard rock, to hardcore punk. That’s kinda the way I see it anyway.

 
4- What are the band’s main musical influences?
Jeff Rinehart- The interesting thing about our influences is that although we have some common ground influences, like Iron Maiden, Black promopic2014Sabbath, etc, I find that the way we bring in our diverse interests in other bands and still find common ground to meld it into our own sound really works well for us. I personally am very influenced by King Diamond/Mercyful Fate and My Dying Bride in terms of lyrical conceptual ideas and music writing. But since joining this band, I have been converted into being a fan of Trouble (the first two albums) and love The Skull (the band comprised of former members of Trouble and Pentagram).
Mitchell Allred- The answer to this question is going to vary with each band member you ask. Honestly I don’t even think we could narrow that down to a manageable handful. It’s also the reason the band, while keeping things “old school” still manages to cover a lot of ground. We are just rock-n-roll and heavy metal junkies. Chances are if it’s a rock or metal band from the late sixties to the early eighties I’m probably influenced by them. Undoubtedly the NWOBHM era and early American doom are at the heart of things for me, but when I think about the bands that made me pick up a guitar and say “yes, I want to do this.” Thin Lizzy, Grand Funk and UFO come to mind.
Kevin Davis- I agree that this one will vary from member to member. For me personally I am influenced by anything 60`s rock, garage, psych. 70`s rock/metal/punk. 80’s metal/punk/ hardcore/indie/garage/psych. I don’t know if that is too vague but it really about sums it up for me.

 
5- How is the feedback for your new album being?
Jeff Rinehart- I think so far, we have had really decent reviews. It’s interesting to see how often times the things which some reviewers really love about our sound, songs or production being old school and analog sounding, is a turn off to other reviewers. For the most part though, we have been really pleased with how well received it has been, so far. I guess it just depends on whether the reviewer appreciates traditional sounding metal and likes authentic sounding analog production with very little frills, or bells and whistles.
Kevin Davis- As with our debut release this one still sounds dated and we tend to hear that a lot. Only a handful of reviews have come our way with the new cd, but it hasn’t been out that long and we look forward to seeing more reviews.
Mitchell Allred- For the most part they’ve been favorable, but you can’t expect to please everyone. Some say we instantly transport them to the golden age of metal while others say we rely too much on the ghosts of the past. It would be untruthful to say that you don’t want everyone to enjoy your album, but at the end of the day as long as you’ve stayed true to what you are trying do it doesn’t really matter what the reviewers say. It’s still too early to speculate on how the album will be received, but I look forward to it all… good or bad.

 
6- And are your personally satisfied with the final outcome?
Jeff Rinehart- I listened to the CD the other day, and I definitely got pumped when listening to it. So that to me is important, in that it conveys the energy and has the dynamics we were going for from the beginning. I think the finished product translated our vision pretty well.
Kevin Davis- I would have to say yes on this one. We took a different approach to it this time with my longtime friend Gary Hawkins stepping in to mix this one for us. I can say that I gauge the new one as I did Residual. When I can listen to it through time and time again and not have anything bother me then I am happy. Of course you could nit ­pick something to death, but it reaches a point where it isn’t real anymore. I think we are still for real.
Mitchell Allred- At this point the album is what it is. Do you look back in hindsight and wish some things were done differently? Of course you do. There are very few perfect albums out there and I would never claim our album is one of those. Although when I sit back and listen to “Karma” and factor in everything, I think we achieved the energy we were looking for. I feel our songwriting has gotten better and the band is solidifying more musically than ever before. I can hear those improvements when I listen to the album and I’m extremely proud of that.

7- How could you describe this opus in just 3 words?
Mitchell Allred- Heavy, diverse, true.
Jeff Rinehart- Raw, energy, hooks.
Kevin Davis- WISER because I think we learned some things from the first cd that we have applied to this one. And likewise we have learned from this one so as to be applied to the next one (which is well in the works by the way). COMFORTABLE because I think we have grown more comfortable playing as Dogbane on this release, which was spelled out for us in a recent review. CONSISTENT because I feel that we didn’t drop the ball with the Karma. I won’t say it’s any better or any worse, but I think it speaks for itself. And I think we stayed true to what was inherent with Residual and I look forward to doing the same with our upcoming release.

8- How has the production process for your new release been?
Jeff Rinehart- Well, the production was handled “in house” at our rehearsal space, which is also our studio on Kevin Davis’ property. Kevin handles dual duties as our bass player and engineer/producer. We started recording in late April 2014, but did not finish until the end of September 2014. We really often could only record tracks (drums, vocals and part of the guitars) about once a week during the time we normally get together to rehearse, because of everyone being spread out, with some band members living an hour or more away, and all of us working full time. So it was a little slow going. Sometimes when we could we tried to make up for lost time and occasionally came in during the week, but the majority of it happened on Sundays. We recorded digitally using Cubase, but with an analog mixing board and analog ADAT signal converter. It was definitely a learning experience for me, as I probably sat in on most of the recording sessions and helped Kevin with assistant production duties (keeping production notes of settings for consistency between recording dates) etc. I think we learned a lot along the way about shortcuts and tricks to use the next time, which will lend itself to improving quality and progressing future albums naturally into more mature sounding territory.
Kevin Davis- I think the production was better on this one. We tried some new things that weren’t done on Residual which has also led to new ideas for the next one. Like I said before, my good friend Gary did the mix this time. I reared my ugly head on it a time or two, but for the most part it was Gary. I did all of the tracking and aided a small bit on the master. Like I said before, once I got to the point that I was fine to listen to it all the way through sonically and mix-wise, then I was fine with it.
Mitchell Allred- The studio is always a grind. Getting the tracks recorded is always the easy part. It’s everything that comes after that causes all of the headaches. That’s where Kevin’s patience kicks in. I’ve never seen someone burn the midnight oil like him night after night trying to get things as perfect as he can. Luckily Jeff Rinehart was able to aid him this time around and he seems to be very interested in that whole process. Myself and the rest of the guys have good ears and can help in that regard, but speaking strictly for myself, after I’ve heard everything a million and one times I achieve something of a zombie like state and am not much good to anyone.

 
9- And how do you use to work on the songwriting?
Kevin Davis- My take on it is that the band puts its own take on whatever we have to run with. This time having several songs credited to Jeff Rinehart. Then there is also one from Mitch. It gets better to know that David and Jerry are accredited with writing several of the songs on this one too. And David will also be a part of the new release as well. We do have some that were completely created by the band as a whole. I’ll let you guess which ones.
Jeff Rinehart- Songwriting has been an ongoing process throughout the time I have been involved since 2013. Everybody is encouraged and free to write and contribute music and lyrics. As a matter of fact, we were talking about ideas and directions for how we would like to see the third album go, even during the recording process of this current album. I have written music and lyrics for about 7 songs and have demo’d 5 so far, for the future album project. I tend to like to record on my Roland 18 track Digital recorder at home and then bring the song in for everyone to hear with a general song-structure arrangement. It helps to have that as a reference, but when we actually work it up as a band, everyone still gives their personal stamp on things and nothing is set in stone until the final recording. At other times we might have someone bring in riffs and lyrics and we just put it together and work it out more organically in band rehearsals. We aren’t on any kind of time frame, or under any pressure; so, it just gives us the opportunity to let things flow more naturally when ideas come. I have to say, that the chemistry of this band has really helped me tap into more productive songwriting periods; whereas, in my past experience, they would be a lot shorter lived, with much longer dry spells of writer’s block. Haha.
Mitchell Allred- We all kind of do things a little differently and each of us has our own strengths in certain areas. Rinehart will normally bring us all a CD with the outline of a potential song he has recorded himself. I will normally bring in segments of riffs. Kevin and I tend to just jam on things until they work themselves out. Structuring is Kevin’s strong suit. He has recorded enough bands to know what direction a song should take. Jerry is good in that department as well, while Jeff Neal can work out a vocal melody over just about anything. No matter who shows up with what, every potential song goes through various changes both musically and lyrically before it’s finished.

 
10 – Finally, what are you near-future plans?
Kevin Davis- I think we would all be in agreement to say that we intend to manage playing more shows and at the same time be recording the new cd and preparing for the fourth one.
Mitchell Allred- As things stand now we are in the promotional phase in regards to the new album, which hopefully means more interviews of this sort along with us playing as many gigs as time allows. Hopefully reaching as many people as possible. We also have one eye to the future as homebody3writing has already begun for our third album. Everything is a process and there’s no better time to get started than now.

 
11- That’s all from our side, thanks again for taking your time to answer our questions. If you now want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Mitchell Allred- We would like to thank everyone at “Queens of Steel” for this opportunity to reach your readers. More information on Dogbane can be found through our social media sites at the links below. Horns up and stay true my friends!!!

 
http://dogbaneband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Dogbane
https://dogbane1.bandcamp.com/
http://www.heavenandhellrecords.com/blog/

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