Interview: Dodson and Fogg
Published on July 30th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Sounds of Day and Night, Chris Wade’s third album as Dodson and Fogg, is perhaps his best yet; it’s psychedelic prog-folk/proggy psych-folk/folky psych-prog/whatever par excellence, so if that cluster of words piques your curiosity then we implore you to get investigating.
Alternatively, read our four-and-a-half-quail review of it, then get listening.
By now a fully fledged Rocksucker favourite, Chris was once again kind enough to put down his bag o’instruments for just long enough to answer our questions about his latest triumph…
This is your third full album in less than a year. How do you manage to be so prolific, and do you envisage yourself continuing at the same sort of rate?
Well, I work from home so obviously I have more time in the day to set aside for recording. I’ll do a bit every day, whether it’s write a track, come up with ideas or spend the whole day recording a song. I have the process down to a pretty good system now, so it is getting easier.
But if I was like most singers or bands I wouldn’t have as much time as I might be touring or travelling for promo and stuff. So this is a pretty steady pace for me, just like a normal job really too, and I like to keep busy and on my toes (which also helps as I am quite short and often end up on my toes for practical reasons too).
I won’t be releasing another one this year. I need to promote more properly and sell the album, spend time on that end of things before moving straight full on to the next record. I would like to still do one or two a year though if I can, like all the greats from the ’60s: The Beatles, Donovan, all those chaps.
Would you agree with our assertion that there’s been a slight shift in emphasis towards psychedelia from folk? That is if that even makes any sense…
Yes fine sir, that does make sense. All the reviews so far have said it’s shifted from folk/acid folk to more straight out psychedelic folk and trippy rock at times. Folkwords said it was space folk, which I quite liked.
I think it’s because I’ve started playing more instruments myself, like the flute, more keyboards and percussion and stuff, so the sound has naturally progressed with me being a curious sod with the instruments. It’s expanded and there is more confidence I think to try more ideas out.
I think the next one, so far, seems to be taking on a mix of folkier styles and some more electric guitar thrown in. I’m all about songs though really, I love writing a properly structured song and then laying on the textures and seeing where it ends up. That is exciting for me. I don’t plan it, it’s just how I feel and what seems to naturally develop.
The name of the album and its song titles suggest that it’s sort of a concept album, or at least has some narrative to it. Do you see it this way yourself?
Yeah, at first I had the idea of all songs about night but then it started getting a bit corny and limiting, so I decided it might be a series of songs, like a film made up of short stories, floating around the day and the night, taking in characters and scenarios and then buggering off on to the next one. It was really enjoyable to have a theme and concept, albeit a loose one.
Who did the album’s artwork? It looks great.
My girlfriend Linzi Napier did it. She’s a painter and artist. She does some ace stuff. Has an exhibition on at the minute in Otley.
Have you considered doing any live shows? If so, what might your setup be?
I have been considering it but I just haven’t got round to sorting anything out yet. I considered solo acoustic shows, then tried to get some other musicians involved but I haven’t actually committed properly to it yet. But I hope I will soon… I’ve had some gig offers, but I need to get the right thing together.
Have you given much thought yet to the next album, and if so what can you tell us about it at this stage?
Yeah some ideas have been coming up, bits and pieces as well as some full songs, but I had a couple of weeks off recording anything at all to come at it from a fresh perspective. I think you do need to stop a bit for a breather and get yourself ready for a new album and the task of getting twelve or more new ones together, which can seem intimidating when you are at the starting point.
Before I started Derring Do I remember being a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to do another one, but I found it easier and the same with this new one as well.
But I am definitely going to get Celia from Trees back on it again. I was too impatient this time and it was a shame not to have her voice on it. She has a beautiful voice and her range is amazing, so I think I would be an arse not to have her on my next one. I’ll see how this one pieces together.
Can you ever see yourself diving back into your writing and various other pursuits, or do you feel you’ve now found your niche?
I don’t know about diving back in but I might dip my little toe in a bit, or maybe my…no, not that. Yeah I would like to get into doing some writing again one day but at the minute I have no fiction ideas and I think I exhausted scenarios for my main character from the Rik Mayall/Cutey and the Sofaguard saga and I haven’t found a new non-fiction topic I fancy writing about or one that loads of other people haven’t already covered.
Dodson and Fogg is definitely my main thing now, I think: it satisfies me the most and gets the most feedback and interest by far, so I can’t think of anything better than spending my time recording.
I hope to be an odd old man one day, as opposed to an odd young man, with one hundred albums released and a strange cult following camping in the back garden in a tipi, asking me what I was on when I wrote “insert song title here” and I pelt them with tea bags and wine gums and tell them to clear off. But they don’t. And won’t.
Where was I? Oh yeah, definitely want to stick to recording, I really enjoy it. There is a little cult following building up now and interest coming from Japan and Europe consistently so I am going to stick at it this way, releasing and promoting myself, because it’s fun and satisfying.
What other new music from 2013 have you enjoyed? That is if you’ve had the time to listen in amongst all the recording!
I honestly haven’t heard anything. I’ve heard bits on the radio, but I can’t remember any names or anything. I did hear a bit of The Tangent’s new album online and enjoyed it.
Other than that, I heard some cool bands on an episode of Sideways Through Sound on 2ser radio in Australia, but I’d have to check the names. Ah! Arborea was one, they were really good. And Stealing Sheep, I heard something by them that was great.
I’ve been putting Incredible String Band on the record player mostly and also been listening to Goldfrapp too. Love their stuff.
Chris Wade, thank you.
Sounds of Day and Night is out now on Wisdom Twins Records.