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Danbert Nobocan - Interview

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 20 / 10 / 2009

Danbert Nobocan - Interview


Adrian Huggins speaks to Bob Rafferty from Glaswegian post-rock act, El Dog, about his band and their atmospheric and haunting debut album, 'Lamps of the Terrahead'

I recently managed to catch up with and interview Bob Rafferty from El Dog, who recently released their debut album ‘Lamps of the Terrahead'. One of the ever emerging and constantly impressive group of bands coming out of Scotland, El Dog have with 'Lamps of the Terrahead' firmly placed themselves as contenders to be the next big thing to come out of the North. With their atmospheric music, El Dog have an incredible sound that is mesmerising from a band that are still at an early point in their career. I got the chance to speak to Bob about El Dog's music, his thoughts on the British music scene and breakdancing. PB: How exactly did you all meet? I heard break dancing was involved at some point? BR: We’d known each other from different bands but it was this one particular night at our local pub, Nice ’n’ Sleazys,in Glasgow, where they have an open mic night. It was my birthday and a friend had asked the audience to shout out things for me to do. It was inevitable that I should end up naked, really. There was a moment of panic straight after it because these two policewomen arrived in the venue. I thought they were there to arrest me. It turns out they were just flyering for a local strip club. I asked them if they had any jobs going but they just laughed.
 PB: El Dog has similarities in its sound to the Glasgow post rock band, Aerogramme. Do you feel that are carrying on from where Aerogramme left off after they broke up in 2007 or did you feel like you completely started from scratch when El Dog came together? BR: Not at all. Aerogramme was an amazing band and to be compared to them is an amazing compliment. We may share some similar ideals as the, but to be honest we all love that band so much it makes us blush a little to think we're carrying anything on from them. The truth is that we make music which is ‘our’ music. We write songs and music together. Honing it until it makes us feel either a bit shivery, a bit sad or a bit raging. PB: There seems to be a wealth of talent within the Glasgow alternative music scene, and amongst Scottish bands on the whole. Why do you think that is? BR: It’s really cold here. What better way to keep warm than get crammed into a small music venue with lots of other people and jump up and down? The Scottish music scene has always been pretty good. Knowing why is hard to say. I think Glasgow is a city with art at its heart and people have grown up with art as part of everyday life so it possibly comes naturally. Bands like Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic have brought more awareness to the alternative music scene in Scotland, recently. The world is getting an opportunity to see what fruits we have to offer in that respect. PB: You write incredibly ambient and atmospheric music. How do you go about writing this sort of material? BR: In terms of how it gets to be ambient and atmospheric? We all like music that overwhelms and takes you in and hence the tendency we have to do this with our own music. It’ll start with either a single riff or a fully formed song. We’ll take it and work on it together, throwing ideas back and forth the whole time. Sometimes one of us will take the song away and tinker with it alone. We’ll record a demo and think about the arrangement and what the song needs. It takes us quite a while to get to a stage where we’re happy with a song. It’s tough but rewarding. PB: The word cinematic seems to come up a lot when people talk about El Dog. Would you say that cinema and film/TV in general has a strong influence on your sound? BR: We’re all into our cinema and a couple of us have worked on short film soundtracks, sound design and music for theatre. We also try to explore the full range of each track’s feel and atmosphere, pulling in some techniques used in cinema to do so. PB: Has any of your music been used in any film? Is this something you’d like? BR: The Scottish film company, Raindog recently used our song 'Orion' in their full-length feature film 'Wasted'. It’s an amazing film. Very bleak but definitely worth a watch. It would be great to have more of our music used in films and we would love to work on a soundtrack as a band someday. PB: You seem to have been compared to many bands including Biffy Clyro, Smashing Pumpkins,Led Zeppelin and the Foo Fighters, among many others. Which bands old and new would you say influence your sound ? BR: I would say the Police, Rage Against The Machine, Nine Inch Nails, the Blue Nile and Jo Mango, who is also on our label Lo-Five, to name a few have all been an influence in some way. PB: 'Lamps of the Terrahead' for a debut album already has an incredibly accomplished sound, whereas often it takes many bands several albums to get to this point. How do you think you achieved this so early in the band’s career BR: We took our time making sure it was working. We’re also good in that there’s not much of a clash of egos. There is a clash of ideas occasionally, but we’ve gotten really good at listening to each other. As long as our other guitarist and vocalist Alan Peacock gets a big spotlight on him at all times and I get referred to as “Golden Boy” then things run pretty smooth. PB: If you could pick any band to tour with who would it be and why? BR: Now that’s a tough question. Any band that likes to drink tea and cook as much as we do! Failing that the late great Reuben who seemed to be similarly down to earth and have a similar sense of humour to us... Unfortunately, we never got to meet em'. You never know, we may have hated each other! Also saying that... They are about 500 times heavier than us and would have made us look like sissies every night. It would be worth it just to have seen em' rock it for a week or two. PB: What is the next step for the band? BR: We’ve recorded a version of 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!' In a very El Dog fashion which we will be putting out there in the lead up to Christmas. We’ll also be making some scones, dinking lots of tea, playing some gigs, working on material for the next album. The usual rock and roll stuff. PB: Thank you.

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Danbert Nobocan - Interview

Danbert Nobocan - Interview

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