BT: Scott, thanks for your time today. Dr. Dog has received some great press and performed at some high-profile opening and headline shows in the last couple of years. If you will, discuss the growth of the band leading up to the current album and tour.
SM: It's been a very consistently rewarding process, but nothing has changed drastically. When we got our manager three or four years ago, that changed the structure of the band. But lifestyle-wise and touring-wise, things haven't changed much. Once we put [album] We All Belong out, we had been touring so much and getting the opportunity to open up for all of these great bands and playing for an automatic audience. We'd been doing that for so long that it really seemed overdue that we step out and see what is out there for us as a headlining band. That made the last year quite a bit different for us and it's varied from town to town in terms of the [audience] turnout.
BT: If you will, talk about the recording process for Fate.
SM: That process was a real milestone for the band because it really felt like a different kind of record than anything we'd made before. That was because the live side of what we do as a band has taken over the primary energy for years. At first, it was all about writing and recording, but there's been a lot less time for that and a lot more playing. We've changed a lot as a band as a result of that and its come full-circle. When it came time to make a record, our expectations were different. It was a good situation to look at ourselves as a band and it was time to learn more about the studio craft.
BT: How did the songs evolve for Fate?
SM: Some of the songs came out of a recent burst of writing by [bassist] Toby [Leaman] and I. Toby and I - who are the main songwriters in the band - have been playing music and we've been best friends since we were about 12. We met as musicians, so it's been this thing that we've always done together. His identity as a songwriter and mine feel so overlapped in my brain. We don't really sit down and writer together, but there's a conscious sensitivity from one to the other. It feels like the direction he goes in songwriting, I can easily appropriate and vice-versa. By the time the band actually started, he and I had 150 songs written that had never been played. Plus, we've been writing new songs in the last six or seven years. There's always pressure when it comes to making a record because there are new songs and songs that didn't make it on previous records. Fate - like all of our other albums - encompasses songs written over a span of five years.
BT: How do you view the climate today in the age of home recording advancements, iTunes, satellite radio and the Internet?
SM: It's a double-edged issue for me like any other modern phenomenon that we're witnessing in changing times. On a very basic level, it is a wonderful thing for people to feel empowered to make their own music. Recordings now can rival what were previously very expensive recordings. There's a flipside to the flipside that's positive in that everyone can do it now and everyone can be heard. The industry is falling apart because of this and there is anarchy in the music business. Record companies are scrambling trying to figure out how to make money because people aren't buying music and it's leveling the playing field. Having 10,000 hits on your 'myspace' site isn't going to further you - it's irrelevant in terms of getting support. I feel like it's placed an emphasis on touring because it's the only way a band can make money. That's an organic quality that lies in the true function of being in a band - the live show is becoming an important part of indie rock culture.
Dr. Dog will perform at Bottetree Cafe with Delta Spirit and Seth Kauffman. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets for the 18+ show are $10 and can be purchased at www.thebottletree.com or by calling 533-6288.