Bristol, a hotbed for new music. An interview with Dogeyed.

Photo by A J Stark

Interview
Ahead of the trio’s co-headline tour in March, and off the back of sweet new single ‘Waves’, we discussed Bristol as a hotbed for new music with Dogeyed’s Harriet Elder.

Dogeyed started out as the solo project of vocalist and guitarist Harriet Elder, who had been recording bedroom demos since 2016. Recently, she’s been joined by Jonathan Minto on drums and Tim Rowing-Parker on bass to complete Dogeyed as a three-piece.

We first heard of Dogeyed when they announced a small co-headline tour with Rebecka Reinhard, the two artists being linked through Bristol-based DIY Label Breakfast Records. Though Dogeyed release through fellow Bristol label Specialist Subject, Breakfast seems to have a special place in Bristol’s modern music history.

Rebecka Reinhard released one of our favourite EP’s from 2019 through Breakfast Records, the stunning ‘Valentine Road’, you may also recognise Gorgeous Bully and Pork Pie from these pages (both label Alumni). Through our chat with Harriet, the nurturing nature of Bristol’s grassroots music scene comes to light, “Dogeyed have been playing shows for Breakfast for a while. My first show was Chu-stock when Dogeyed wasn’t even a band. Jamie (Cruikshank, who used to be part of the label) heard my solo stuff on Bandcamp and really dug it and asked me to play. We were asked to contribute to their ‘Devilled Eggs’ compilation last year which is where ‘Joint Pains’ came from – we’re kind of an honorary Breakfast band without being a Breakfast band! I also play in another band (Langkamer) with Dan and Josh who run the label. Love the label and love them as people.”

I’ve wondered for a while about the special ingredient that Bristol has when it comes to grassroots music. The ingredient, a community-based infrastructure seemingly, avid gig-goers and not-simply-for-profit projects underpin the city’s thriving music scene (you can probably afford to rent too). See Lynks Afrikka and Scalping as examples of artists pushing the envelope.

“I only moved to Bristol around 3 years ago”, mentions Harriet, “I’m a south west native but I’d been living abroad for a few years so I can’t really comment on the vibrancy of the music scene before that (aside from the obvious huge bands to come out of Brizzy like Idles, Massive Attack etc). What I found when I arrived here probably helps to make sense of why it is a hotbed for new music. It’s an incredibly welcoming and warm community of people that are very supportive of each other. There’s some great Bristol based record labels such as Specialist Subject and Breakfast but also a lot of promoters, like 1% of one and Deadpunk who put on huge shows but still champion Bristol bands plus… people go to gigs! Shows are well attended, people buy music from local bands, people support the scene which gives bands more of a chance to continue to make music. This environment no doubt has a lot to do with the amount of thriving bands here and it’s cool that the rest of the country is picking up on that.”

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As artists and industry have flocked to London to ply their trade, UK cities such as Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow and Hull have quietly become known as hotbeds for exciting new alternative music. Squid, Scalping, Walt Disco and Bdrmm come to mind fror these cities. But what’s bubbling under the surface in Bristol according to Dogeyed?

“I love everything that Emily Isherwood does” says Harriet “.. so excited to see what 2020 brings for her! Obviously Pet Shimmers are smashing it right now too. My personal top tip would by Immy… which is Tim’s (Dogeyed bassist) new project. Really beautiful, gentle folk music. They’re amazing songwriters and I never fail to shed a tear each time I watch them live.”

In March Dogeyed will hit the road with Stockholm artist Rebecka Reinhard, embarking on a DIY tour that takes in Bristol, Brighton and ends with a Hard Of Hearing presents show in London.

“I’ve loved Rebecka’s stuff since I first heard it through Breakfast Records. She writes really beautiful songs and both solo and full band, it’s an absolute joy to see her live. The tour came about after Breakfast booked our Bristol show (March 6th), we decided why not make a weekend of it.”

New music is in the works for both Dogeyed and Rebecka Reinhard, and what better way to celebrate than a quick jaunt around the UK. In fact, Dogeyed unveiled a new track last month in ‘Waves’, an emotionally rich and totally raw vocal performance channelled through a dismantled lo fi garage rock sound. The shimmering video for which you can witness above.

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“We put out ‘Waves’ at the quietest time of the year (January!) so we’ve been overwhelmed by the coverage that it’s received. It was aligned with our tour supporting Slaughter Beach, Dog (Philadelphia, PA) last month so it was cool to see people singing along to it..” says Harriet. “Aside from our cover of Nicholson Heals ‘Joint Pain’ (on Breakfast Records ‘Devilled Eggs‘ covers compilation), it’s the first new music that we’ve released since 2018. It’s cool that people have stuck by us since then as well as gaining more of a following through the new songs and shows/ tours we’ve done over the past couple of years.  We’re lucky to work with Specialist Subject Records who work incredibly hard on all our releases including this one. In summary, we’re really happy and grateful that so many people have listened to it so far!” 

On March 8th, Dogeyed will end their short tour with Rebecka Reinhard with a special show at SET, London. Support comes from Blackaby, for whom Rebecka recently provided vocals for single ‘Sweet Lemonade’ which had radio play on Radio 1 and 6 music. Event page here. What does the rest of 2020 hold for Dogeyed?

“.. We have another single coming out this Spring, we’re recording an EP, we’ve got a couple of tours pencilled in. We don’t have a manager or a booking agent and we all work / study full time alongside of this so it can be really tough to find motivation (and money!!) to make music and tour but we’re gonna try our damndest to kick 2020 in the butt.”

Catch Dogeyed & Rebecka Reinhard on tour at a town near you. March 6th – 8th.

READ MORE

NEW MUSIC: Bleach Lab – ‘Burnt Orange’.

NEW MUSIC: Blackaby – ‘Sweet Lemonade’.

EP REVIEW: Rebecka Reinhard – ‘Valentine Road’.

headofhearinglogov5 (2)By Karl Johnson

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