By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
We were well impressed with White Dog’s debut 7” of last year, 452a, which we called “a pretty essential Sydney punk record for 2015” [UB #16].
Now the foursome – Sam (vocals), Dave (guitar), Johnny (drums), and Keion recently replaced James on bass – are back with a new tune, “Lock Out”, and flexing a little harder with roided-up production.
The title of the track is fairly explanatory for anyone who lives in Sydney and used to enjoy going out at night, and it’s a precursor of the fury to come on band’s debut LP, Sydney Limits.
UB hounds Dave for some info.
Where did the members of White Dog meet and what other bands were/are you all involved in?
Everyone in the band either lived in or was a fixture at this rough Surry Hills sharehouse, which the EP (452a) was named after. I think that house came together a bit cause people knew each other from playing in bands. I despise those band bios that list every member’s 14 completely obscure high school bands, but this one time I’ll indulge you in some group highlights/lowlights: Go Roll Your Bones, Ripping Dylans, Sour Cream, Chalk Eaters, Corpus, Okay Cocaine.
What was the musical plan in the very beginning and has that changed over the time?
Sam (vocals) had the original idea of making a tough punk band. He really laid down the law and forced me to break my habit of half-baked Rowland S. Howard-esque noodling and encouraged me to chomp out power chords like a dodgy teen metalhead. Now I just channel my inner 17-year old for new ideas. It’s a deep well of riffspiration. I also had this vague idea that I wanted to make the band sound as mean as seventies/eighties Aussie pub rock looked. We just started working on new stuff, the idea is to be 50% Brainbombs, 50% Hellhammer and 50% Coloured Balls.
“Lock Out” is fairly pertinent with the current state government’s crackdown on fun. What’s White Dog’s take on the laws and the lyrics?
Well, the album is called Sydney Limits and there’s a bunch of songs on there that are based on Sydney in the current moment. The lockout’s pretty frustrating on a personal level and I think it’s hard to argue that music and nightlife hasn’t suffered as a result of it. But the shit we’re experiencing now is really the tip of iceberg. In the long term we’re going to see Sydney become an ark for the 0.1%. Just look at Barangaroo! The city (and the planet) is getting sold off and the elites are lining their pockets in process. They know what’s coming and they’re getting squared away while the getting’s good. Give it a few years and Sydney’s gonna be 40C in the shade and mostly underwater, but those fuckers are still gonna need people like us to fix pipes, haul laundry and drive Ubers. It’s a good thing Sydney rents will be so high, because almost anything fun you’d want to do in a public space will be illegal.
It’s a step up/out from the debut 7”. Was the change/enhancements/whatever intentional?
In my mind the album is just a continuation of the 7″. It’s kind of the first block of stuff we’ve done. And also it’s everything we did with James (bass) before he moved to Sweden. Now Keiron is on bass so everything is naturally gonna be a bit changed up for the next lot of stuff. I think the real development is just that it’s better recorded and has a lot more songs. Sixteen songs in 26 minutes or so. The snare kicks like a shoe. It really gets you fired up for dealing with public transport.
Where and when was the LP recorded and who helped?
I recorded the 7″ in a rehearsal studio and Donnie Miller mixed and mastered it. We would have done that again but it’s pretty stressful trying to mess with the computer and play guitar while getting hammered with acoustic shock. We tried it for a cassette tape, but I made a few mistakes during the recording and it was pretty much unlistenable. Maybe it will come out one day. For the album we wanted to do the same process but have someone else handle the engineering. Wade Keighran, who we’ve known for ages, recorded the band tracks in a day back in March then we spent ages recording the vocals at my house. Sam would blow his voice up after like two takes, and there’s 16 songs on the album. So you can see how the time got away. Wade mixed it and Nick Franklin mastered it.
When is it out?
It’s gonna be self-released on 12″ vinyl hopefully September/October.
Ever seen the film White Dog? It’s one of Samuel Fuller’s later films, from the eighties, and it’s a hard-hitting statement on racism with a slight a Disney vibe. Long shot, but was that any kind of inspiration for the band name?
The one about the racist dog, right? I didn’t even know about the film nor did anyone else in the band until it was brought up by a buddy after we had played like five shows. Maybe it’s a dangerous choice of name because it could be taken out of context, but really it’s meant to be very self-deprecating.
Listen to “Locked Out”: