Words by Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad contributor
Old mates White Dog have been nice enough to give us a quick squizz at the first two songs from their new LP, ‘Sydney Limits’. They’re launching it this Saturday (October 22 – here’s the Facebook event) at the Botany View in Newtown with Skin Prison and Narrow Lands, and it’s a free show.
UB spoke to White Dog back in August, but after hearing the record, we figured a re-interrogation was in order. Sam (vocals) and Dave (guitar) obliged.
How stoked are you on the record?
Dave: Getting the album done has been a bit of a trial. We did the recording in mid-Feb and we’re hoping we’ll have the vinyl in our hands on Friday afternoon. There were a few blues over creative decisions during the process, but I reckon we’re better for it. I finally got to the point last week where I had some distance from it and could actually sit and listen all the way through. I reckon it’s got legs.
Sam: We are collectively pretty happy with the record. Doing a full length album is something that no one in the band has done until now. I’m pretty curious to see how it is going to be received given that it’s 16 tracks of pretty abrasive music.
There’s definitely more meat and perhaps a little more fury on the LP than on the 7″, 452a. Was there something in particular that inspired extra angst in the lead up to making the record?
Sam: Well we recorded it in a studio, then had it mixed and mastered by a couple of fellas who really know how to push the speakers. That combined with my vocal sessions… I did the vocals in portions. I’m not trained or anything in singing obviously, so I’d blow my voice out in 20 minutes, call it a day and then go back 3 days later and repeat the punishment. I think that combination gives the recording a fair bit of oomph in comparison to our first release.
Dave: In terms of inspiration for the lyrics, you’d have to ask Sam about that, but as for the music it was definitely easier to write the new songs for that album than the ones for the 7″. We really had our charter down and just followed through.
The record’s eponymous opener is a ferocious statement of intent. Was it written specifically as an intro?
Dave: Doing a hardcore punk concept album about Sydney was something that originally started as a joke, but we came to realise it was actually right on the mark. The idea of a having an opening track that sets the tone for the record was the same.
Sam: There were actually some arguments in the camp about whether to open with it, close or scrap it all together. It’s a song that was a bit of a throwaway instrumental at first that we dug. I thought it’d be an idea to put a lyrical premise to the album. In the end I think we are all happy with the opener.
Who or what is this song ‘Neck Up’ about?
Sam: It’s not about one specific thing. It’s basically about feeling outnumbered in a situation with anyone who calls the shots… Politicians, bosses, transport cops, security guards etc. It’s about gritting your teeth and responding to the situation right there and then or walking away from the problem.
Do you have plans to tour on this record? Is going overseas on the cards?
Sam: Touring is really hard for us. Half our band are in other bands. One of us studying a PHD and I’m an apprentice plumber who needs as much weekend work as possible to cover boring stuff like bills n shit. That said, we just hooked up with Agitated records to release the album in EU/UK in January. So we think maybe we can get over to Europe next year… We have been pipe dreaming the concept for a couple of months now. However, anyone out there in Australia who is putting shows together outside of Sydney, hit us up! Would love to get to at least Brisbane and Melbourne soon.
What now for White Dog? You mentioned that the 7″ and LP were ‘the first block of stuff’ you’d done – how’s the second block coming along?
Sam: The second block is going to be darker and tougher. Kieron joined us on bass after the first album was recorded and I think he’s really helping us tap in to a new way of approaching song structure and riff.
Dave: I’m excited to get the next one down on tape. Hopefully we can shave a few months off the process of completing it too.
What do you make of the decisions made by our leader Mike Baird since we last caught up with you?
Sam: Typical flip-flopping polly. I love the whole “we made a mistake they deserve a second chance” regarding the greyhound racing industry. The only mistake they made is on the bottom line for the land development proposal reports for Wentworth park.
What do you recommend from the Botany View menu for pre-gig sustenance?
Sam: Haven’t eaten from there but I heard the kitchens a total winner. Usually I’d recommend rounds and rounds of drinks and a pack of cheese and onion smith’s chips. I would recommend more importantly to come down earlier to watch Skin Prison and Narrow Lands.