Listening to Californian band The Dodos means living a passionate and never-ending duel between a guitar and a drum set. It’s feeling it’s galloping rhythms and its organic experimentation, being carried away by a very organic experimentation, being surprised by disproportional music patterns or falling in love with that so very sensual voice and its poetic lyrics. In short, you hate or you love The Dodos, but they will never leave you indifferent. With a style of their own that resists definition, though they are close to psych-folk, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber return to Spain to present their new album Individ (Polyvynil, 2015). Individ is the band’s sixth album, permeated from beginning to end with their creative freedom and absence of complexes and with a rawer version of their characteristic epic-positivist sound and deeper lyrics. We had the chance to talk with guitarist Meric Long about the band, their upcoming European tour, with dates in Barcelona and Madrid) and their brand-new album, among many other things.
You’ve played many times in Spain. Is Spain an important stop in your European tour? What do you expect from the audience in Spain and in Europe in general?
Spain is always the better. We’ve given some of the most incredible concerts of our career here. My wife is from Galicia, so there’s a strong connection with this country. Having this into account, our expectations are quite high, but we’re usually never disappointed.
In this special moment with a new album under your arm, how would you self-define The Dodos?
We’re old! Well, not that old, but after ten years it’s quite nice to cross that line after which you are a “band made up by grown-up men”. We’ve always had a vague idea about what we do, but after releasing so many records, in many of which we’ve tried to escape precisely from that, we could say we’ve reached a greater understanding and appreciation of the music we do.
You started to write this album right after you finished recording Carrier in 2013. Was the creative process different?
The creative process was a bit more spontaneous. I’d like to say that we composed the album in the studio, but it’s not entirely true. It never is, but in this case we were very close to that. It was a very fun process; we felt very loose, carefree and without pressure.
Your latest album has an incredible energy to it and expresses a great creative freedom, something that we missed in previous albums. Did something change in your way of thinking?
No, but as I said, it was all very natural. Over the past few years we’ve had time to develop this way of doing things, although it’s also true that we’ve tried to change things. It’s not that we’ve tried to re-define ourselves with this album; we’ve tried to make the best version of what we’d already done.
The lyrics in this album are more poetic, a trend that started in your previous one…
We’ve focused a bit more on the lyrics in these two albums so all the album’s parts fit. That’s why we’re less literal now. I started to write poetry during the creation process of the past two albums and it’s something that I love doing now.
What has influenced you while recording this album?
Musically, Swans have always been an influence, both for their attitude and for their way to approach music. They are pretty serious and their last two records have awakened us creatively. We’ve also been influenced by Jung’s archetype of embracing your shadow instead of hiding from the things that make you feel bad with yourself. You just have to meditate on these things and face them. This helped me a lot to find ideas to write about for this album’s lyrics.
How would you define the album?
I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, I think about her every night and day, spread my wings and fly away… Well, these are not my own words, but it’s just what’s come out of me.
What’s the concept around Individ?
Cold, unquestionable and adamant resistance.
You’ve just turned a decade as a band. What’s the best thing you remember? And how do you see yourself in the future?
If I look back, I see many mistakes. I’m kidding… Well, there’re a few mistakes, but I’m also very grateful. In the end nothing maters, except for the fact that you’ve had fun and you haven’t been stupid because of that… I have no idea what we’ll be like in ten years. I hope we’re able to continue making exciting records. I’ve also like to be a studio professional and do things in music that right now seem impossible for me to do.
Any hotspots you could recommend?
There’s a place in a small town in Campo de Lameiro in Galicia where they make an amazing corn bread. They bake it in a stone oven for 10 hours… It’s incredible!
You never thought you’d end up…
Knowing where to buy corn bread in rural Spain…