Prick up your ears and raise the woof because Resin Dogs are out of the kennel with a brand new album, 'Notorious D.O.G.', due for release at the end of November.
It's been ten years since their last album, with Resin Dogs taking some personal time in between as well as working on other projects with their label Hydrofunk Records.
'Notorious D.O.G.' features a rogues' gallery of collaborators, such as Simon Durrington aka SiFixion, Abstract Rude, Plutonic Lab, Dialectrix, Mantra and 'Mr Hip Hop' himself, Hau.
We waved a Schmacko at Resin Dog DJ Katch aka Andrew Garvie, who was a very good boy (yes he was) and kindly answered our questions.
Tell us about the new record, 'Notorious D.O.G.'?
The new record is us songwriting and collaborating with some new and old friends. We had been sitting on this record for a few years now and finally thought now is a good time to release the projects [sic]. Like all artists we had doubts about music [and] where we were heading. It tells some stories of what we went through, we had some lifestyle changes along the way. We finally decided that the world is ready to hear what us Dogs have been up to.
It's been ten years since your last album, what have you been up to in the meantime?
We've been doing a lot of soul searching; the truth is I got abducted by aliens and was transported across the galaxy. When I got back the music genres had changed, so I went away to re-discover the galactic funk that once ruled the earth and bring it back to present day 2018.
Dave [Atkins] went and joined the freedom fighters in South America. While he was there he met up with some musical shamans; they gave him the drums of ancient times and shared with him the knowledge of the sacred rhythms, so he brought them back to share among modern society.
We did a couple of tours overseas to Europe and England; after we got back we decided to have a little rest and start working towards a new record. Around 2010 we decided to take a break when a few different projects popped up that we got involved with. Dave ended up drumming and touring the world with Wolfmother and Azelia Banks, plus a few local bands, while working out of the Hydrofunk Studios.
I help record an album for, and toured with, a loop pedal artist Mihirangi for a couple of years overseas and locally; I also worked with a couple of Brisbane acts Astro Travellers and Calski. I started helping out with music workshops, recording and mentoring disadvantaged youth - last year I took time of to study and got my Diploma. I've been working with some new artists with releases for the record label.
After ten years were there concerns about how people would respond to the new album?
I'm not too sure - my mum really digs it, and as long as there is no swearing on it she's happy. Look, if the people dig it that will be amazing, if radio decide to play it great. I'm taking the approach of not worrying about making songs for radio play, if we do that I feel we lose sight of what we do in the first place.
This record is a struggle of mixed emotions and things we have gone through to release something that we are happy to present. We have the old-school supporters and some new people discovering our music, so that's really cool for us and we are grateful for that, but the main thing is that we are happy with it ourselves. I hadn't listened to the project in a while and when I came back to it it was actually really refreshing to hear.
How has the new material gone down with crowds at recent live shows?
We played a show the other week at The Triffid (Brisbane) and it went down really well. We did some test driving a couple months back of some new stuff and re- jigged some older tunes that were well-received.
Who have you collaborated with on the new album, and what did they bring to the finished product?
Ok. So, we have Abstract Rude from LA who we seem to have an amazing relationship with; he brings some great storytelling and always a soulful vibe. Blu Rum 13: this guy is awesome. Give him a idea and he takes it to the next level. Also, Mantra smashes out a great tune for us proving why he's one of the best. There are a couple of tunes with our man Hau who you all know from the triple j hip hop show; he brought a great vibe and put together a lyrical history of Resin Dogs.
Kel On Earth is the singer from Bankrupt Billionares and smashes out a couple of soulful and sassy tunes, which are a real standout for us as well as being able to work with a great singer. There was also a writing and collaboration with BVA who gave us a great party, kick-back tune. Thavy Ear has blessed us with some great vocal styling and she also has an amazing voice. She does a lot of writing and has been very active in the past couple of years putting in work on collaborations and her own projects. We wrote the track in half a day, then it got re-worked a bit at the Hydrofunk Studios.
Dialectrix also gave us a party banger with an ode to Australian hip hop and also drops a amazing chill vibe that kicks back and talks about hanging out in the Hydrofunk studio.
We also worked with Alan Mawdsley aka AL Tweek aka Sunshine Lover while staying out at the Hydrofunk studio for a stint. He did some writing with Dave and he also mixed a lot of the record as well. He has great sonics and has worked with a who's who of the UK hip hop and beats scene. He has worked with Roots Manuva, DJ Vadim, Nextmen and Adrian Sherwood. Some writing collaborations were done with Plutonic Lab who also added his drumming talents.
We also had Justin Tresader who engineered many years of sessions, putting hundreds of files and sessions in some sort of order so we could find stuff years later and be able to pull the right mix up. Crazy Horn sessions with the help of Clint Allen who scored a lot of our crazy arrangements and making sense of it all.
Artwork was done by Cezary Stulgis, a Brisbane artist/ sculptor who now resides in Melbourne. I've known him for years and have followed his work on Instagram. He has been doing these amazing murals and paintings of dogs, so I approached him to use a couple of his paintings. Design and layout was done by April77 who is know for his design and art for many Australian hip hop artists. It was amazing what he came up with from what we gave him to work with; he also designed a new logo for this project.
Has your approach to making music changed over the years?
The approach hasn't but the technology has for sure; it makes us look at doing things in away that hasn't been possible to do in the past. We used to chop hundreds of drums from records - these days we can chop drums, sample our own drums then chop them, replay them or grab a drum pack off the web; the same goes for sampling. On this record we have gotten more live than before and transferring ideas and shaping sounds has gotten more easy.
Hip hop in general has been subject to countless trends and fads over the years; what's been your least favourite, and why?
Personally I'm not into the commercialised side of the hip hop - it gets used by big companies that will push it aside once they make a quick buck. For me hip hop is a culture where its DJing, MCing, Graffiti, Breakdancing and Beatboxing and knowledge of self. In my era you had to be good or prove yourself; you were just plain crap if you didn't come with the goods, unlike today. The commercial rap that doesn't really offer too much; the kids dig it, good for them as long as they are having fun and not hurting anyone or killing each other, but there is a time you just go 'nahh!! its not me'. Yes I'm old, but I still like it if it's good.
Alternatively, what's keeping the genre fresh and relevant?
To be honest, I'm not 100 per cent sure on that because it's always evolving. I'd say ones that are not afraid to push boundaries or try things different other than jumping on the bandwagon of new thing that's on radio so they all follow that. There are some amazing young kids coming up in the Australian scene that are taking it to the next level and doing it quite well where the radio and the record companies now chase them. Using the Internet to your advantage, especially with YouTube video content. Working with disadvantaged youth I've seen a lot of them go straight to their favourite artist's page and watch videos; these guys aren't even on the radio and they have racked up 100, 000-plus views.
Last year you celebrated 20 years of your label Hydrofunk Records; what do you hope the next few years hold?
Over the past couple of years we have been a bit more active, releasing some awesome stuff in the last couple of months, new Tigermoth, new Pegs & Silent Titan album; we just released the Indigenoise record last week, new Resin Dogs soon. Next year we got new Calski featuring Lazy Grey and Jake Bizz, and a new group from Adelaide called Planetself, which is Inkswel and his partner with guest MCs - really awesome, soulful hip hop. We opened up Hydrofunk in Japan last year and have released a few records over there, and have had couple of tours as well with some of our Australian artists. Resin Dog will be releasing the 'Notorious D.O.G' on an overseas label in Germany in the next few months.
Hydrofunk recording studio, which we opened up to do professional recording on a 32-channel Neve 74 console with some great engineers working for us. We're also on the lookout for new talent to release and have working our way to an international market. I've been working towards a music mentoring program to help young disadvantaged people that can use music to help heal or tell their story. After a few years of working in various community roles, I thought it would be a good thing to be able to help some of the young people who don't get those opportunities that a lot of us do.
When will Resin Dogs be on tour with 'Notorious D.O.G.?
Hopefully in the New Year, we're just sorting those details now. We are open to playing festivals - hint, hint!
Will we have to wait another ten years for the next album?
It depends on those alien abductions!