# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Dodson and Fogg - Interview

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 26 / 11 / 2022

Dodson and Fogg - Interview

Earlier this year Chris Wade, under his Dodson & Fogg alias, released ‘The Book Of Moods: an instrumental album, one track, 20 minutes duration, to accompany a book displaying his art and photos. The music was, as is always the case with Wade’s work, both soothing and inspiring. Even without Wade’s distinctive vocals it was instantly recognisable as Dodson & Fogg. Now Wade has released ‘The Sea Of The Night’, another (mainly) instrumental album, this time to accompany his book of poetry of the same name. Apart from one song where Wade sings one of the poems from the book, there are seven spoken-word pieces from it included on the album. As usual with Wade, he’s assembled some interesting characters to collaborate with, such as Nigel Planer, Tony Law and Brian Pettifer, to name a few. Coupled with Wade’s instrumentals, it makes for one of the most satisfying albums to bear the Dodson & Fogg name. Considering the amount of quality albums Wade has issued under Dodson & Fogg in the last ten years, that’s some statement. Chris Wade is one of our most prolific artists, if not the most prolific. A look at the Dodson & Fogg Bandcamp page reveals just how productive this artist is. But it’s not just his music that shows how talented Wade is. He’s authored many books and seems to be adding to his library of work at an unheard-of rate. As with his music, Wade is not skipping on quality; it’s still amazing how Wade not only finds the time to produce all this work, but how he keeps the quality up. His newest book (at the time of writing) is the latest in Wade’s ‘Classic Album Series’, this time titled ‘Kate Bush, The Early Records’, taking a detailed look at the first four albums from an artist whose music, much like Wade’s own, knows no limitations and follows no fashion. A look at the books Wade has so far written is more than impressive and gives some idea of the scope of his work. We took the opportunity to ask Chris Wade a few questions, as usual his answers are fascinating. PB: Chris, it’s been a while, hope all is well with you. I see that you’ve put a new poem up on Facebook from an upcoming poetry collection. ‘The Child Is Busy Growing Tall’ is so honest about the times we are living in. Is there a theme running through your new proposed poetry collection? More of your astute observations of current times? CW: Hello my good man. How are you? I hope you are doing OK! Well, first I want to say that I realise how ironic and, dare I say, a bit tosserish it is to be moaning about social media in a poem which I then post to Facebook. I don't think the internet is all bad. In fact I think it's amazing. The things you can do online, the people you can connect with, the information you can find out, the platforms available for independent people like me who hiss and back away from any company showing interest in them – or, for the most part, not even acknowledging their existence in the slightest. I do hate mobile phones though, and I get sick of seeing people gawping at the screens and toggling through mindless crap. It's affecting people's attention spans. Fewer people read books these days but they can spend three hours scrolling through Instagram pics and Tik Tok videos. It annoys me. As for a theme in my poetry, I am not so sure. I am using the poems in a similar way I do with songwriting: to express a view, to get something out of my system, or merely paint a mental picture of a special day or a memorable thing that happened. So the poems are very similar to the songs, really. They are relaxing to do as well, and artistically fulfilling. But there are bound to be some that link together, given how grumpy I am about modern culture. PB: Your latest book of poetry ‘The Sea Of The Night’ is complemented by an album of the same name. Why did you choose the few poems you’ve set to music on the album above some of the others? CW: I just thought for a minute about which ones I liked best and which I thought would work well in audio narrated by some actors I knew. There are some I would have liked to have included, but it would have ended up too long and sprawling. That said, I do have some that were recorded that I have put to one side, all ready to go on a future project. PB: There are a number of different actors or comedians reading your poems on ‘The Sea Of The Night’ and, as with your musical collaborations, it appears you’ve chosen the right people for the job. Did your collaborators get a choice or was it a question of you asking them to read a specific poem? CW: I mostly just asked my favourite actors that I know or have worked with before if they were up for it, and they all said yes. I then chose a poem I thought would suit their voice best. I was honoured to have them involved in such a weird little project. PB: You seem to attract well-known collaborators fairly easily and some stay with you for more than one project. Is it just a matter of making contact and hoping for a favourable reply? CW: The funny thing is, I never plan anything out or set out to work with anyone. It kind of happens spontaneously. I love doing projects, books and albums, films and documentaries. On some of these projects I end up befriending certain people, always unexpectedly I must say. I might interview someone for a book or a documentary and they become friendly, stay in touch by email, the odd phone call, and then they agree to take part in something like this. I have a very busy mind, not always the best thing to be honest, but for the most part it's invigorating to be working on lots of different things at once. I don't really know how good I am at them all, but I enjoy them all so much. People keep discovering my music, books and art films, so there must be something right about them. My main thing though, when hoping for collaborators, is just to ask. I remember just asking Rik Mayall's agent one day if Rik would like to do an audiobook with me, totally off the cuff without even thinking of the money side and if it was even realistically do-able. That one worked out. But then there are people that I really hit it off with from the word go. The actor James Woods, for example, who I interviewed for a book on the film ‘Once Upon a Time in America’. We got on very well and I ended up interviewing him about his whole career for months on end for a book I put out in March. It's all sort of organic. I never overthink it. Nigel Planer for instance, who is one of my favourite people, a great actor and a very supportive fella. I can't overstate how amazing it is for me, who grew up admiring his work so much, to be able to collaborate with him. I loved doing those two EPs of his songs with him during lockdown. It was lovely. Brian King is on the poetry album, too, the artist and voiceover artist. We have done a lot of things together and I was thrilled to have him on board. He has a great voice and is a really funny bloke, too. Brian Pettifer is someone I liked when I was a kid in Lindsay Anderson's films, firstly ‘if....’ I interviewed him for a documentary I made on Lindsay's films and we stayed in touch. He does a lovely, kind of sad reading on the new album. Tony Law is a great comedian that my dad and I like. I was in touch with him last year for something that didn't pan out, but I sent him a poem and he loved it, so he recorded it for me at home and sent it back to me. It was an exciting project to do. PB: The music flows so seamlessly on ‘The Sea Of The Night’, the poems complement the music. Were you apprehensive as to if this project would work? CW: Funny, my dad asked me this and I said I thought it either would or wouldn't work, but I wasn't really scared. The important thing is if I like it when it's done. Of course that doesn't always mean it's actually any good, but if I am happy with it, that's all I can hope for, really. If others like it or think it's a misfire I can't really do anything about it. But I personally loved doing this and when I listened back as an editor, and then as a casual listener as if I hadn't put it together, I enjoyed it. I tend not to get apprehensive about stuff because I never start something unless I am very sure of it. PB: Your vocals, which have been praised in the past, only make one appearance on ‘The Sea Of The Night’, were you deliberately trying to focus more attention on your poetry and instrumental work? CW: Yeah, I thought it was best to keep the words spoken for the most part, and just sing one of the poems in song-form. I just thought it would make it a more even listen for the person putting it on if it was mostly instrumentals. PB: With so many different projects running at the same time how do you plan your workload? If you’ve started, let’s say, a book, do you continue until it’s complete or wake one day and feel it’s a music day so the book can wait a little longer? CW: This varies actually. With some books, if they are only small 100- to 200-pagers, I tend to stick to them and work on them everyday until they are done. If it's about an actor or director, I will immerse myself in their work and read as much about them as possible, watch their films again and again, watch documentaries, read interviews etc. I tend to stick with them until they are done. Then I might have a break from books and do some music or a documentary. If the book is long, I tend to work on other projects at the same time to lighten it a little for me, and then I go back to them. I have about ten books already started at the moment and I have a plan for which I am doing next and then the next after that. For books I have a folder with all the ones I plan to do, have formatted and mapped out etc. This folder has about 50 project ideas in it which I then filter into a sub-folder of 10 that I feel I will work on within the next year or so. It works quite well, this system. With music, I just record it and don't do anything else at all. I will do twelve hour days, playing and mixing etc. Making music is really addictive. PB: Before I get to the question that is the most important, I have to say that for many music holds a time and place. Many can remember moments from their childhood which are only recalled when listening to a certain song or album. It’s been 10 years since Dodson & Fogg’s music entered our lives. I can’t recall dates, places or memories when listening to any Dodson & Fogg album because they aren’t of a certain time. They take me on a journey to a mythical place where all is well. Every album, every time. It’s a unique body of work. Is there one Dodson & Fogg album which means more to you than the others? One that does hold a certain place and time? CW: That's so lovely of you to say. That really means a lot. I love the fact that anyone listens to my music, but for it to take you away to another place, that is special for me. Thank you. Yes I do have some personal favourites. The first one for starters, because I recall how excited I was putting it together and getting to mix the late Celia Humphris's beautiful vocals into my songs. I was in disbelief to be honest. And also getting Nik Turner and the late Judy Dyble on it. It all felt like a special project and it set the ball rolling. I also have an attachment to the ‘After the Fal’l album from 2014. Getting Scarlet Rivera on it was really special, but I just remember really enjoying recording the whole thing too and writing the songs. It had Ricky Romain on sitar, Celia on vocals again, along with some others. My personal favourite of all, though, is probably ‘In A Strange Slumber’, which is also from 2014 I think. Getting Nigel Planer to record the two story interludes (it was our first time working together) was really fun and I just remember really taking months over it, piecing it all together and waiting for a chap called Kevin Scott to record the string sections in Canada. That was a really fun one to do. PB: In July, you announced that the Dodson & Fogg project was going for an extended, if not permanent, rest and that you felt you couldn’t explore new ground under that name. If that’s the case then thank you for 10 years of some of the best music ever released. I’m sure we all understand that you’d like to devote more time to your books, films and art. It’s almost unbelievable how you managed to produce such a varied and vast body of work in such a short time. But every Dodson & Fogg album has had something new to offer. Surely you haven’t hung up the guitar (and all the other instruments!) for good or even an extended time? CW: Thanks for saying this. It's very kind of you. But I definitely am not stopping it. I probably won't do any for a year or two though, because I do feel kind of musically burned out. In the two months since I finished the poetry album I have barely played my guitar, save for noodling about on it, and have no song ideas at all. That's the longest time in 10 years I've had no ideas. I do think I need a break from it, to go back in with fresh ears, to make sure the music doesn't go stale and ensure it's still fun to record and for people to listen to. I am enjoying poetry at the minute and the books on film history are really fascinating to do. I get all my research side satisfied with the books and my creative side with drawing and writing poems. I am also writing a novel too. But I definitely will be going back to Dodson & Fogg again, just not for a while. I could never quit it. It means too much to me and it's a cathartic thing to do. PB: Phew! It’s good to know you haven’t abandoned music totally. Your newest book is another in the classic album series: the first four Kate Bush albums. You’ve covered a diverse set of artists in this series. Are they all albums you personally like? CW: Oh yes, definitely. I never write about anything I am not interested in. Kate Bush is one of my favourites. She comes and goes in my listening rotation, but she's in there now again. As are The Stranglers, which is why I recently did a little book on their first two albums. I like all kinds of music, really. PB: Do you already know which albums/artists you are going to cover as your next book in the series? CW: I have a little sub folder of ideas for the classic album books. They are all ones I want to do at some point, it just depends when I will get around to doing them. I want to do another Kinks one. I did a book about their ‘Village Green; album a few years ago. The same with film-related books; I have loads lined up, I just have to figure out what order I will write them in. PB: Do you ever get to the point when researching or even actually writing, when you feel that you have maybe chosen the wrong subject or even the wrong time to cover that artist? CW: Actually that doesn't happen, thankfully. I don't usually start a book unless I am really sure I want to do it. I might have a think about a possible subject and if I don't think it's realistic, I don't even start it. It's usually when I am in a particularly obsessive phase with one artist, actor or director that I will take advantage of how I am feeling to do the book. PB: It's great for expats like myself that your books are available from Amazon. Since Brexit, trying to get anything from England is more complicated. Now we can get your books from a local Amazon branch, it makes life a little easier. The Kate Bush book isn’t available on Amazon at the time of writing. Is it likely to be? CW: It is now, yeah. It went on at the start of this week. It seems to be getting picked up all over the place now, which is nice. I interviewed some of the people who worked on the albums for it. It was great fun to do. PB: Going back to your music, influences can often be heard in most artists’ work at some point, but your influences have never really been revealed in your music. At one point I was certain Marc Bolan must have been an influence especially on your earlier albums, but I was mistaken. Do you feel any artist has influenced your music? CW: It's hard to say, actually. The music I was listening to when I made the first album in 2012 isn't reflected in the sound I created back then. So while I may like, for instance, people like Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, their music could never be heard in my personal sound because it just doesn't fit my natural style of making music. It's hard for me to say if anyone has influenced me, because when I record now, I am never thinking of another artist, I am just thinking about the song I am doing and what instruments I will use. If you are lucky, you get your own style going and then it becomes natural and pure. I know I can only sing in the voice I have. While at first I wanted more of a range, I got used to the idea of having limitations and that's where your style comes in. That way, you are rarely frustrated because you know what you are capable of. But I am inspired by so many artists: Van Morrison, Incredible String Band, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, 10cc, Beefheart, Joan Baez, Madonna, Ian Dury, Leonard Cohen, The Kinks, Neil Young, Zappa, Lou Reed, Kate Bush, Black Sabbath, Beatles, Tom Petty... There's just loads of great music. PB: Finally, do you ever have time to listen to music? For pleasure I mean, not for research on a book? If so, do you listen mostly to current sounds or music from the past? CW: Oh yeah, all the time. If I am just relaxing with the family or reading I will have music on. If I want to unwind at the end of the day I just lie down and listen to music on headphones for an hour. When I am editing books I put music on. I just listen to my favourite artists, if I am honest. I rarely listen to anything new at all, only new albums by my old faves. Maybe I should be more open to new stuff, but I just tend to go for established favourites. I do make new discoveries quite often, but they are nearly always bands from decades ago. I am currently into Mike Hart, the obscure Liverpool singer songwriter from the 60s who was signed to John Peel's label. One song in particular, ‘Almost Liverpool 8’, I am totally obsessed with at the minute. I'd better start researching what the kids are into so I can be more groovy and ace. PB: Thank you.

Band Links:-

Picture Gallery:-
Dodson and Fogg - Interview

Dodson and Fogg - Interview

Dodson and Fogg - Interview

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit


Chris Wade speaks about his work as Dodson & Fogg, working with actors for his latest project, maintaining a breakneck work rate and why he’s putting the Dodson & Fogg name on hold


Interview (2021)
Dodson and Fogg - Interview
Dodson and Fogg's Chris Wade speaks to Malcolm Carter about his recent EP 'Watch the Moon', its accompanying film, and also working with Nigel Planer.
Interview (2016)
Interview (2014)
Interview (2014)
Interview (2012)


Movement In The Exterior World/Music For Strange and Mysterious Stories (2024)
Dodson and Fogg - Movement In The Exterior World/Music For Strange and Mysterious Stories
Malcolm Carter reflects on two new stunning albums from Chris Wade (aka Dodson and Fogg, which showcase all sides to his many talents.

most viewed articles

most viewed reviews

related articles

Chris Wade: Interview (2018
Chris Wade - Interview
Dodson and Fogg multi-instrumentalist turned film-maker Chris Wade talks to Malcolm Carter about 'Cuentos', his intriguing new surreal short film.
Chris Wade: Interview (2017)
Dodson and Fogg: Interview (2014)

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors