Since their 2008 breakthrough Fate, Dr. Dog has been ascending quickly into the hearts and minds of educated music listeners. Their brand of psychedelic rock meets indie folk has evolved over years, enabling them to grow as a band and perform to some of their largest audiences to date. The band is in the midst of an extensive tour that will keep the Philadelphia-natives on the road through mid-November. Ahead of their upcoming Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Pickathon performances, we caught up with drummer Eric Slick to chat about the new album, what they learned from mentors My Morning Jacket and why they enjoy playing festivals.
What was the biggest difference recording away from home for the last record versus being back in comfortable territory this time around?
I wasn’t in the band when Shame, Shame was recorded but I think the biggest difference for the other guys was peace of mind and time flexibility. We were able to create our own schedule without being at the mercy of the producer. Typically we worked from 10 AM-10 PM every day and if we needed to get things done beyond that we could stay as long as wanted to at our own studio.
After how well Shame, Shame was received commercially and critically, was there any pressure to up the ante a bit on Be The Void? Did you guys do anything different this time around?
There was no pressure. The band is in a very different place these days and being at our own studio allowed us to be comfortable. We renovated the studio a little bit and had a wonderful mouse named Clarence Clemons.
The band explores a couple of different genres and styles, which is reflected on some of the tracks. What were you listening to when you headed into the studio and did that have any effect on how certain songs turned out?
We weren’t listening as much as we were reading. Two books that influenced us were Keith Richards’ Life and Joe Boyd’s White Bicycles. The goal for the recording sessions was to be in the moment and react to each other in real time. It was more exciting for us to do that and I think that will be the blueprint for how he work in the future.
Did the band experiment in the studio a bit more this time around? If so, what was different?
I think we experimented more with texture this time around because Dimitri Maños is the band. He’s an incredible guy and has an idea for everything. Sonically, Be The Void is our most “out there” record because of him. I love the guy.
What’s the coolest thing about playing festivals?
Seeing our friends, playing to new people, and stealing extra food from the buffet.
As the band becomes veterans of the festival circuit, which one is your favorite to perform at and why?
Pickathon in Portland. Best people, best bands. Beautiful location. Excessive amounts of Yerba mate.
It may be a bit early to think about it, but does the band have any new songs in the works?
We sure do. We also have an EP coming out at the end of August that features a few outtakes from Be The Void. We wanted to call it Avoid The Noid but Domino’s owns the trademark.
How’s the tour been? Is the band playing anywhere new? If so, what place are you looking forward to seeing that you haven’t yet?
The tour has been great. We are playing in Alaska in September and we’ve never been there.
How important was My Morning Jacket to the band’s growth? What lessons did you learn from those guys?
There is no band out there who works harder than them. They are also some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. Those are two life lessons right there.
After the band is finishing touring, what’s next?
We are buying a house and we are all living together.
What’s the most random thing to happen on the tour so far?
We intended to see the Wright Brothers Memorial but we ended up riding Go-Karts. Dimitri won.