Seattle band, The Moondoggies, as seen in the Lynn Shelton directed MTV series, $5 Cover (Yes, that’s right, MTV did something right!) and at many a night at Blue Moon, talks to me backstage about their new album, Tidelands.
Tell me about how you got involved in $5 Cover.
Kevin: Lynn is a very convincing person. The fact that she was friends with The Lights, guys that helped us out in high school and got us shows, helped. They suggested she talk to us so we met for coffee and I told her some stories and she said she wanted to reenact them as long as they were honest to the stories, I was all about it. Lynn is really excitable and she’s a really good director.
What do you guys think of the Seattle music scene?
Kevin: It’s good. I mean you drive around other areas of the country and it’s something that can be taken for granted. It just isn’t happening in a lot of places, where they are just this excited about their music. It helps being in a little big city. It’s really diverse. I think Seattle is one of those rare music cities.
What do you guys think about the “hipster” culture?
Kevin: I know wandering around Capitol Hill sometimes I start to feel a little queazy and I need to go home or something. The truth is, once you get in and start meeting poeple, everybody’s a real person. You meet a good musician and they end up being the nicest person you ever met. I think the idea of hipster culture is more perception.
Caleb: There was something in like The Onion like hipster calls other hipster hipster. They’re basically telling each other how much they’re a hipster. If you think about it, if you step back farther and farther, someone in the Burbs is looking at us going, “Look at those hipsters!” It’s just a loose generalization.
What’s your favorite things about Seattle?
Kevin: I like the weather. I know there’s plenty of people who don’t, but I love the weather. I always look forward to Fall. I go down South and I can’t stand how humid it is.
Caleb: Growing up here, it’s kind of hard. It’s like what’s your favorite thing about your family? It’s just the thing you’re used to and maybe you don’t know it until you’re out of it. Then you appreciate that the weather changes are awesome. The ability to go up to the mountains, being an hour away from the coolest place you’ve ever heard of, I think that’s my favorite thing about Seattle. It actually has city, music, all those great things and then you’re 45 minutes away from being in an isolated lake.
Carl: Or the desert.
What exciting things are coming up?
Kevin: Record release next month. Tour in November. Hopefully we’ll be going to Europe next year. Just vague plans, but a lot of exciting stuff that we hope goes through.
What’s different about your new album, Tidelands?
Kevin: It’s a lot more of a record compared to the first album. The first album had most of our songs crammed on there. This has more of a comprehensive feel to it. A lot of songs going into each other and it’s more of the direction we’ll be moving in.
Is the new album all new songs?
Kevin: There’s a couple we’ve been playing live almost since our first album came out.
Caleb: Then there’s songs that were written since before the first album came out like “Empress of the North.”
Has your sound changed much since the first album?
Kevin: I think we take a lot more chances. I think we’re open to becoming unhinged with our sound more, letting things happen accidentally, going in the studio and letting something develop in there.
Caleb: I also think in some ways it might seem like its changed if you’ve only heard a record of ours, but for us, I don’t think we think it’s changed tremendously. For this next record we’ve been doing a lot of the songs for a long time. They just didn’t make it on the first album so they’re going to feel different.
Do you want to keep evolving your sound?
Kevin: I don’t want to be comfortable. It’s not like you make a record and go, “Alright, I did it! I made a good record!” You’re never satisfied. I think you would just get bored. I’m open to whatever catches our fancy. This time we would just tinker in the studio and try different things and plug this into that. I think as artists you have to or you just get stale. You’re never really content unless you’re really full of yourself.
Caleb: I think we’re in a good position as a band because bands can get labeled as something and then fans get disappointed if you go out of that. We do have somewhat of a label but ours is a little more vague so we still have the ability to keep doing whatever we want and not necessarily disappoint.
What would you describe that label?
Caleb: Jazz. (All laugh). No, just in general? Rock and roll.
Kevin: I like that.
Who are your favorite musicians right now?
Kevin: Easily one of the best contemporary bands is The Black Keys. A lot of great local stuff: Zoe Muth, The Maldives, Grand Hallway. There was a dark age from the late 90s to 2001 but I think there’s a lot of good interesting stuff going on now.
Caleb: I love so many musicians but The Dillards, we listen to them a lot, Booker T., who’s playing tonight.
Do you think there’s another local band that deserves more attention, besides yourselves?
Kevin: Oh yeah I do, I know I’ve answered this question in my head. Definitely root for your friends. Grand Hallway, The Maldives, all of Grant’s stuff (of Magic Mountains) but that’s not really fair (The Moondoggies are currently supporting Magic Mountains on tour).
Caleb: I was going to say Grand Hallway but they’re getting plenty of attention now.