Tag Archives: 16 Ohm Studio

Dog Moon Howl: The Story So Far

I’ve been meaning to write a post on Dog Moon Howl for a long time now and although various snippets have made it into my WordPress ramblings I’ve never quite gotten round to it.  So, here’s a potted history of the band.

Dog Moon Howl was formed in late 2011.  I’d been trying to put together a heavy psych/stoner rock type band for a while when my old mucker Bryan, who’d been living in Ireland, moved back to sunny Scotland.  Bryan also wanted to put a band together, would I be up for it, aye.  We’d been kinda-sorta in three bands together in the 90s, most conspicuously a three piece called Smotherparty.  We advertised for a drummer with an ad quoting a comprehensive list of influences including – but not limited to – Black Sabbath, The Groundhogs, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Funkadelic, SAHB, Primus, Blue Cheer, Thin Lizzy, Soundgarden, Status Quo, Motorhead, RHCP, The Cult, Rush, Kyuss, AC/DC, King Crimson, Queen and Hawkwind.  Who should express an interest other than Smotherparty’s old drummist, Ally, who we hadn’t seen since that band split and who was now living in Edinburgh.

Sorted.  Ally on drums, Bryan on bass/co-lead vocal, me on guitar/co-lead vocal.

We rehearsed a fair old bit, played our first gig at the end of 2011 and a few more throughout 2012 and 2013.  Somewhere in there we released a demo EP called Strip-Lit Hell, produced by Tommy Duffin of Headless Kross at 16 Ohm in Glasgow.  Much to our surprise, the EP picked up great reviews online.

Some of you reading this will have arrived at the blog via my music which you’ll therefore know to be rootsy alt.blues.  Mostly acoustic slide guitar, the rockier moments gnarly and loose, soloing kept in check where it happens at all, mostly song-based stuff.  The occasional banjo.  Well, Dog Moon Howl is largely the opposite of all that.  As a band we all get different things out of it, of course, but for me it’s more-often-than-not an excuse to crank up the electric and have at it.  Very much a lead guitar-based, heavy rock approach with long songs allowing plenty of scope for extended soloing and the likes.  So, you know.  Be warned.

Early this year, we decamped to Alloa to record our first full-length with Alec Pollock of Chasar co-producing at his studio, The Boathouse.  Delays in post-production, combined with/partly due to my coming down with a debilitating eye-infection, left us largely out of action until the album’s launch at the end of June, since when we’ve been playing around and about to promote it.  Again, we’ve picked up some great reviews for the album.

So that’s you about up-to-date.  If you want more information on the band check out www.dogmoonhowl.com or better yet, buy the CD here.  There’ll be a blog about the band’s plans for 2015 coming soon – in the meantime here’s the first video from the album, Blues Like a Hammer.

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Album #2: Update #3.

There’s been a delay or two but the album is more or less back on track.  As a result, it’s now looking like an end-of-July release.  I’ve been doing a lot of pondering over the packaging and so on and there’s a small amount of additional recording to be completed before the final mixes.

The bulk of the recordings were completed a few weeks ago at 16 Ohm in Fleming Street (east end of Glasgow).  Getting there and back was made easy due to the help of a couple of pals (cheers to Bryan Campbell and John Sangster) but there were inevitably a couple of lengthy taxi journeys involved.  Both of these were black cabs; I have expensive tastes – why, just this afternoon I bought a bottle of Diet Coke when a cheaper generic brand was available.  That’s right.  That’s just how I roll.

TAXI JOURNEY #1 …

ME: Fleming Street please.

DRIVER: Fleming Street?

ME: Please.

We set off; all good so far.  The driver muttered away to himself, or so I thought until I realised he was kinda-sorta checking directions with me.  Now, I don’t drive and therefore have no knowledge of the roads to speak of but I had made this particular journey before and could at least point him in the right direction.  I suggested he aim for Duke Street and take it from there.

DRIVER: (incredulous) Duke Street?!

ME: Duke Street.  Yes.

There was a long pause which the driver concluded with an indignant ‘I’m thinking of somewhere else entirely!’  Then, again, as if I had shat in his handbag, ‘Duke Street?!?!

ME: (trying to be helpful) Do you know where Green’s Wholefoods is?

DRIVER: (shouting with what I couldn’t help feel was misplaced vehemence whilst glaring at me via his rear-view mirror) NO!!!

ME: Then I can’t help you.

We eventually got there, but not before the driver – who was, I had come to realise during our time together, a massive bell-end – pointed out that there was ‘nothing up there’ when I directed him to the final turn from Duke Street into Fleming Street.

TAXI JOURNEY #2 …

Happily, a different driver.

DRIVER: (having established my musicianly credentials)  You know that song Band Of Gold?

ME: Aye.

DRIVER: That was on the radio this morning, that Band Of Gold.  Said It came out in 1973.  Then they played it and you know what I realised?

ME: No?

DRIVER: I’ve been singing the wrong words to that song for forty bloody years.

 

And there you have it.

 

 

 

 


Album # 2 …

In my five years of full-time musicianeering, I’ve released two EPs, a mini-album and one full-length album.  All ultimately well-received and all picking up momentum now, as much as three-and-a-half years after their initial release (apart from the first EP, now deleted).  In amongst all that I’ve also dabbled in soundtrack work, produced and appeared on other folk’s stuff and released a demo EP with the band Dog Moon Howl.  Not a bad work-rate but there’s no getting past the fact that full-length album # 2 is due.  So …

The studio, 16 Ohm, is booked for sessions in May.  I’ve been writing, arranging and demoing new material this past few weeks and I currently have ten songs ready to go, three nearly there and plans for an instrumental as yet un-started.  The album’s going to be a mix – very roughly: one-third solo acoustic, one-third mostly-acoustic with percussion-and-that, one-third full band. Ish.  I’ll be working on this one, as with Pissed Off, Bitter and Willing to Share and the recent Hard Times: Volume 1 EP, with Tommy Duffin.  Other guest muso-types to be confirmed.

As with the Hard Times EP, I’m planning on getting a lot of the artwork, design etc. seen to in advance of the sessions, so that the album release can be turned around quite quickly off the back of the recording sessions.  I’m hopeful for a June release – certainly no later than July.

In the meantime, I’ll be writing regular blogs about the process.  Now, I know there’s a school of thought/marketing/whatever that has the creation of an album as a completely open book.  Tracks streamed in demo and rough-mix form, track-lists and running orders released far in advance, that sort of thing.  However, as much as that approach can be very effective, as a punter I prefer to hear an album “fresh” – as a result, I’ll not be posting much, or possibly any music in advance of the initial “single” release (no, not really releasing a single but there’ll be a lead-off track with a video).  Having said that, there might be a few wee “mini-doc” clips that show some limited work-in-progress and the occasional live clip (see below).

Rather than just a dry recording diary (there’ll be some of that, mind), I’ll use this series of blog entries to look at my other releases and at what issues and choices re: different releasing options, packaging and so on there are for an independent musician running a micro-label.  Interspersed throughout will be pieces on my band Dog Moon Howl.  I’ve been threatening to blog on more than just our occasional YouTube appearance for a while and, as we’re looking at recording our first album in September, it’s about time.

So, look out for regular updates here from now on.  In the meantime, here’s a video of the first ever live performance of Happy Man Cries (filmed, incidentally, by my Dog Moon Howl bandmates Ally Tennick and Bryan Campbell) – minus its last verse which was still to be written at the time.  A compete version will be on album # 2.