Interview: Running Dogs

Running Dogs are a foursome from Brighton. I caught up with James, Jake, Dan and Alfie on the last day of their tour supporting Rizzle Kicks, for a chat about their crazy year and bringing pop back.

For people who are yet to hear your music, how would you describe it to them?

Jake: Rock pop and roll is the main genre that we are trying to kill at the moment.

Dan: Bring pop back. Make pop cool.

Jake: Cool pop that people actually want to listen to.

James: Popular music like the days of Blur: refurbished brit pop and good guitar music. We are sick of the current charts; we didn’t even know who was number one the other day.

How did the band form? Give me a brief history?

Jake: Well originally Dan and I went to school together and Alfie and James went to school together and we all met when we went to the same college.

James: It was when we went to Benicassim festival and we saw Oasis and a load of other bands and we said let’s do it.

Alfie: Yeah let’s join and take over the world.

You describe yourselves as a ‘sexy suited four piece’ where did the love of suits come from?

Jake: It was basically an idea to stop ourselves looking like every other shitty indie band wearing Radiohead t shirts and looking like they just stumbled out of bed.

Dan: We want to look smart and put on a good performance

James: Even if people don’t like it they still remembered it

Jake: Yeah if we sound shit at least we look good

Dan: “We hate that band in the suits”

James: We’ve got all the gear but no idea!

You released your new music video for ‘Two Hearsts’ this week, how involved are you with the creative process? And can you explain ‘that kiss’ at the end…

Alfie: Initially it is our idea, we work with a guy called Harry Hitchens, who has worked on a couple of our videos now and what’s great about him is that we don’t have to say too much before his creative juices start to flow

Jake: We basically come up with the idea and then let him run with it and so far it’s worked really well for us.

Dan: And we can’t explain the kiss.. it just happens sometimes

Alfie: In the heat of the moment

If you were a breed of dog what would you be?

Jake: A little Jack Russell

James: Oh I want to be the Jack Russell! “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” I might be the smallest one but I’d take them all.

Dan: I don’t really like dogs, I’m a bit scared..

Alfie: Just be something really big

Dan: I’d be an Irish wolfhound or something like that, yeah a big shaggy one.

James: Alfie would be a corgi; one of the queen’s dogs, or a mongrel

Alfie: Can I be an Alsatian?

Dan: Likes authority

Jake: I don’t know, like a scary dog, just big and hard. One that fights people.

James: No you would be a pug.

Jake: I saw a bear dog once; it was pretty much a bear

How did it feel to be personally chosen by Rizzle Kicks to support them on their current tour?

Alfie: An honour

James: Delighted and enthused

Jake: Really good, such an amazing opportunity

James: I’ve played Brixton now, we can breakup, and I’m not bothered!!

What was your most memorable show on the tour?

Jake: Brighton

Dan: Brighton

James: Second night of Manchester, we pushed all the monitors right to the front, we had loads of room and we just went mental! Oh and Alfie chucked the organ over at Brixton

Alfie: Yeah and I nearly broke my foot, it fell on my foot.

James: I got back to the dressing room and there were two medics there, lifting his foot in the air…

Alfie: Brixton would be my most memorable but probably not for the right reasons..

Do you have any special band rituals before a performance?

Dan: Lots of pacing!

James: And playing table tennis

Jake: Poppas got a head like a ping pong ball

(They gave me a rendition here which I’ve got recorded)

Tell us about your EP?

Dan: No confirmed release date just yet

Jake: We finished recording at the end of September so all the tracks are ready to go and currently we are waiting on the artwork, so hopefully early 2013..

Tell me about your writing/recording process?

Dan: It’s never been an order thing with us

James: Some songs happen in 10 minutes, some take months

Jake: Or four years

Alfie: Mercury Rises our new single, half of it was written a year ago, then we left it and then came back to it

Jake: When we got down to recording the EP it was our first time being put under pressure in a studio and it worked, it made us get the job done

James: And we had a bit of time left over for hand claps and shakers!

Alfie: The guy we were working with Youth Martin Glover has worked with some massive bands, The Verve, U2, The View and it was so cool because the day before working with us he had been in the studio with Boy George and then when he had finished recording with us he was working with Paul McCartney the day after! It feels pretty cool being sandwiched in-between that.

What can we expect from you in the New Year?

Jake: We are doing some little festivals next year

James: Not all has been confirmed yet

Dan: A big collision of Rock and Pop and sort of making a new baby chemical man.

Alfie: Yeah that’s exactly what you can expect

Jake: A Manifesto..

In the meantime Running Dogs present an evening of Festive Spirit, Glam Attire and some flipping fantastic bands at The Haunt 2 days before Christmas. Tickets are £4 in advance or £5 on the door.

Words: Sophie Yates

Photography: Jean Luc Brouard