Dog Fashion Disco’s Todd Smith talks about new album “Sweet Nothings” and Summer Tour

dog-fashion-disco-21448248Back in late 2006, the experimental metal band, Dog Fashion Disco, announced to their fans that they had decided to call it quits. They had just spent the last 12 years constantly pushing themselves to be more creative and crazy, playing different styles like ska, piano, and metal with many calling them circus metal. They had recently just released their sixth studio album, Adultery, and were reaching more fans than ever before. Since then, they have played a couple of reunion shows running through a marathon of fan favorites and keeping the camaraderie alive amongst the bandmates. In late 2013, the announcement was made that not only would DFD get back together, but they would be putting out a new album, called “Sweet Nothings”. They would then launch a highly successful Indiegogo campaign and realized that fans not only wanted a new album, but that they want two new albums, a music video and some overseas shows in Britain. Media Mikes recently caught up with the lead singer, Todd Smith, about their upcoming summer tour, the release of “Sweet Nothings” and the hectic schedule they’re about to enter.

Jeremy Werner: I guess the first thing that automatically comes to mind is what was it that lead you guys getting the band back together and put out another album?
Todd Smith: Since the break-up, we’d done several reunion shows and we’re all friends…so because the demand was still there and people were planting those ideas in our head about doing another tour, another album, so forth and so on, we figured why not? Like I said, we’re all very close friends. We enjoy creating and performing music together. It was just like a reunion with old friends who happen to make music together. It seemed like a no-brainer really.

JW: Your last album, back in 2006, “Adultery”, was what a lot of fans and critics would say is your best album. Was there any pressure heading back into the studio to match that same level or was it just business as usual?
TS: For the most part it was business as usual. Of course, opinions are subjective. I’m flattered that people love “Adultery” so much and are pleased that we went out on a high note, and I think we’re reemerging on a high note as well. Everyone who’s heard “Sweet Nothings”, is gushing over it and saying they love it. Will it be as well received as “Adultery”? I have no idea, but I think people are definitely gonna think it’s a solid release. I definitely do, the rest of the guys in the band do. The engineer that we recorded with said it was the best sounding he’s ever had come out of his studios. There’s a lot of positive things being said about the new album.

JW: Going back to the people who’ve heard it. You guys played the full album for a group of people that paid a certain amount towards your Indiegogo campaign. Was the room just ecstatic?
TS: Oh yeah, absolutely. There were loud cheers and applause after every song. A lot of smiles. As far as the comments when we were mingling after we played the record, they were gushing as well. They were really digging it. It’s a lot to digest in one sitting, but the reaction we got was very positive.

JW: Did the crowd have any favorites?
TS: I mean…they all seemed to be well received, but as for a crowd favorite…it’s kind of hard to tell. I had quite a few glasses of wine. (laughs) The memory’s a bit spotty, but I remember we all had a great time and they seemed to like every song, so I really can’t pinpoint a favorite.

JW: Now I remember a while back you mentioned that you guys might avoid playing new music on your upcoming tour, is that still true?
TS: Jason and I had a conversation that we totally misunderstood each other. I was saying that I would entertain performing two new songs, but we have such a catalogue of music, that I think giving people just a hint of a few new tunes and then just playing through a retrospective from each album we put out would probably be more pleasing to the crowd. So we’re going to do two new songs formericafuckyeah the most part, every night. If for some reason we decided to just do one new song a night, that might happen as well.

JW: Going back through all your songs, what are some of the songs that you might be playing that you have rarely, if ever, played?
TS: Let me think…I mean we haven’t played in so long, I don’t remember what was in rotation back then, but we’re gonna revisit “Satanic Cowboy”. I’m trying to think what else…”Dr. Piranha”, we haven’t played that in a while. “Valley Girl Ventriloquist”, we’re gonna do that one. Pink Riots, we’re gonna do that one. Besides the reunion shows, they haven’t been played in many, many years. There’s gonna be plenty of songs to choose from every night. We’ll try to cover all our bases.

JW: Please tell me “Darkest Days” is one of those.
TS: One of those is “Darkest Days” (laughs)

JW: (laughs) Awesome, I love that song. With DFD’s music, it’s always been experimental. Sometimes it’s different from song to song or completely changes tempo within the song. It’s very Mr. Bungle with how you guys can just flip on a dime. So I gotta ask, with the new album, what kind of musical ideas went into this or is there a running theme on “Sweet Nothings”?
TS: There’s definitely not a running theme. The album is all over the place. It starts out with a jazz…smokey lounge…kind of 1940’s kind of vibe and then ends with a song that starts out acoustic country…mellow…goes to dub and ends with a three minute section of stoner rock doom metal. So it’s all over the place. We have a short attention span and we like a lot of different types of music so we tend to write a lot of different styles and try to incorporate them into an album. Even several styles into one song as you know. A lot of twists and turns, and I think our fans love twists and turns. They’re fun to perform live.

JW: I see you guys haven’t released a single yet. Is there a song you’re looking at as your first single?
TS: As far as I know, the first single would be a song called “Taste So Sweet”. It kind of goes back to maybe, “Committed to a Bright Future” era with a catchy hooky chorus, lots of horn lines. We’re making a video for that in July. So that’ll most likely be our first or second single. We had talked about a song as a lyric video, initially a song called “We Aren’t the World” which is more of an “Adultery” vibe. It has tons of horror lines, cello, lots of moods, lots of twists and turns, a big epic chorus. That would probably be the first one we do a lyric video for just to get something out there because we’re not available to do the video shoot and release the “Taste So Sweet” video until July.

JW: I want to touch upon your Indiegogo campaign for a bit. A lot of bands will put it up and will slowly watch the money crawl to their goal, but with you guys it was extraordinary how fast and how many people latched on as soon as it was live. I bet as a band, it’s a great feeling to reach your goal that quickly.
TS: To meet our goal of $30,000 in 27 hours was completely unexpected. I remember going about my day, that first day, and just seeing the totals just go up and up and up and up. I hadn’t checked in a few hours and they were way up. Our fans are absolutely incredibly and I don’t just say that lightly. Granted we’d possibly still be making music if we had no fans because we enjoy it, but they keep the train rolling. We’re very humbled by the generosity of everybody and how much they actually cared about DFD getting back together and how they care about whatever project we do. We’re very lucky in that respect.

JW: I’m sure before starting you guys didn’t have stretch goals in mind, but after that response, you got to. Even more amazing is reaching all of them. Didn’t you guys break the top 10 most successful Indiegogo music campaigns?
TS: Yeah. I think we’re in the top 10. In regards to the stretch goals, once we hit $30,000 and added the first stretch goal of $50,000 for the video, I mean I thought that was gonna peak and it just kept going and going. We ended up at $85,000 which is a staggering amount. Shows how much people love Dog Fashion Disco.

JW: You guys are incredibly busy with side projects like Polkadot Cadaver, El-Creepo, Knives Out and other things…and with such an impressive and positive response to DFD…do you think DFD now deserves your undivided attention and everything else kind of has to sit on the back burner for the time being?
TS: I would say that everything is on the back burner now. The last stretch goal was to do two albums to be released within a year of each other. So with all the tours we have coming up, there’s really no time to devote to anything else besides Dog Fashion Disco, which is fine. We just wrapped up, mixed, mastered, put a nice little bow on “Sweet Nothings” and we’re already psyched to get back into the studio, wishing it was happening next month. Everybody will go into their little corners and start writing and then we’ll reconvene in December and have another album out by next May or June.

dfdsweetnothingsJW: Might be too early, but do you have any ideas for the next album?
TS: Not really. I definitely wanna utilize the horns a lot like we did on “Sweet Nothings”. I mean, they’re just too good not to have. So ya know, a lot of twists and turns. Maybe have more extremes. I’d like to do like a 50’s doo-wop kind of song and then a song that’s just the heaviest thing we’ve ever done. Just a lot of polar opposite dimensions and dynamics to the album. And really like there are no rules, not like there are any rules on “Sweet Nothings”. Going into it, wanna try to do something new and push the envelope as far as what we’ve done before.

JW: So what is the future now of Polkadot Cadaver, El Creepo, Knives Out and other projects?
TS: It’s really hard to predict. I would love to do another El-Creepo record. Something that’s a little more acoustic and mellow. That’s always fun to do. Polkadot has a handful of shows that we’re doing until the end of this year. We’re going out with Bam Margera and his band in August, doing a run on the east coast and then doing a full national tour with him in October and November for Polkadot. So that would be the next in line to revisit after the next DFD record considering that that band tours as well. Kind of like a missed opportunity if we don’t put out a record and do more shows. I would say DFD and Polkadot would work simultaneously and then maybe El-Creepo would be the next thing to get to. As far as Knives Out or anything else, I would seriously doubt that there would be another album that we would put out with Knives Out. It doesn’t make any sense. The band doesn’t tour and the members aren’t available to do shows, so it’s like…what’s the point?

JW: Looking at this upcoming year, in terms of tours, it looks like the one big thing of note is that you guys will be heading across the big pond for the first time.
TS: This would actually be our second time. The first time Dog Fashion went over there was 2001.

JW: Oh shit, I guess my Dog Fashion Disco history is a bit rusty…so I guess the obvious dumb follow up question would be are you excited?
TS: We’re extremely excited and psyched that the first two shows have been sold out and that the third is on it’s way to being sold out. So that’s incredible, it’s gonna be a lot of fun. The weekend is gonna be a blast. We’re looking forward to it.

JW: Because it’s doing well in ticket sales, do you see yourself branching out in Europe?
TS: Our agent overseas is actively seeking out a support band for Dog Fashion Disco. Most likely that would happen next year. I would love to go deeper into Europe. That would be blast. So hopefully that will happen next summer.

JW: I’m out of questions, any last thing you wanna tell the fans?
TS: I just wanna say thanks for all the support on Indiegogo and support they constantly give us. Spread the word: the new Dog Fashion Disco album, “Sweet Nothings”, is coming out July 22nd. We’re psyched to be back on the road and hearing people’s reactions to the new album.

You can check out Dog Fashion Disco on their summer tour, ‘The Merica F*ck Yeah Tour’, playing alongside Psychostick and The Bunny The Bear, at the following dates:
May 29th: Amityville, NY
May 30th: Albany, NY
May 31st: Pennellville, NY
June 1st: Watkins Glen, NY
June 2nd: Trenton, NJ
June 3rd: Providence, RI
June 5th: Westland, MI
June 6th: Cleveland, OH
June 7th: Cherry Valley, IL
June 8th: Joliet, IL
June 9th: Minneapolis, MN
June 10th: Merriam, KS
June 11th: Waterloo, IA
June 12th: Des Moines, IA
June 13th: Lincoln, NE
June 14th: Denver, CO
June 16th: Salt Lake City, UT
June 17th: Sacramento, CA
June 18th: West Hollywood, CA
June 19th: Las Vegas, NV
June 20th: Tuscon, AZ
June 21st: Scottsdale, AZ
June 23rd: San Antonio, TX
June 24th: Houston, TX
June 25th: Fort Worth, TX
June 26th: Oklahoma City, OK
June 27th: St. Louis, MO
June 28th: Indianapolis, IN
June 29th: Columbus, OH

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