Page 31 - the Noise July 2017
P. 31

the sweet smell of DOGBRETH
Tristan Jemsek
Former AZ transplants Dogbreth make a welcome return to our gorgeous warmer climes from their current Seattle base. Dogbreth takes in a mix of styles, trading in hook based vibrant indie pop, with a dash of guitar histrionics and folksy chanted unison vocals.
There is a delightful combination of skittish nervous energy, lo-fi sensibilities, and a dedi- cated truism within their recordings. Dogbreth is accomplished, catchy and yearning.
The author caught up with front man, Tristan Jemsek, amid preparations for Dogbreth’s upcoming tour.
I hate to start with an annoying and obvious question... but your misspelled band name...?
Reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me about when they wore a Dogbreth shirt on the bus. I guess an old lady was staring at it for a while and then eventually started lec- turing him about how it promoted bad spelling. The thing is though, that old lady was full of crap because it’s not a word, it’s a name, and you can’t misspell a name if you spell it right. Dogbreth is the correct spelling of our band name.
So... is it a secret where the spelling and name came from?
You mean why we spell it without an A? No secret. Megadeth.
You’re from Seattle, but have band members in Arizona? How does that work out?
Well for the past few years since I moved to Seattle there hasn’t really been an official line- up. I’ve been thinking of it more as a sports team with its roster spread across the country. If a regular player can’t go on a tour, then you call up a bench player. The songs are simple enough and I’m luckily enough to play with really talented people so it’s worked out alright with pretty minimal practice. Moving forward though, I am working on an official lineup that will be based solely in Seattle. The lineup for this tour is 3/4th Seattle, 1/4th Arizona.
Seattle has a traditionally great pop scene. Do you play out much in Seattle? How does the Northwest scene compare with Arizona’s?
We’re starting to gig about once or twice a month. The scene up here is a lot denser than in Arizona. A lot more bands, more venues, more people that go to shows. Live music is just such a big part of the Seattle culture. It can be a little overwhelming, but it’s also really inspiring.
I have the impression, rightly or wrongly that you are very DIY focused? What does DIY mean to you?
I guess I am DIY focused in the sense that I maintain a lot of control over the band. I think of Dogbreth as a vessel for my art and the art of my friends, and I choose to approach art as an offering rather than a product. It’s a labor of love rather than a business. But I do out- source quite a bit, and saying I’m super DIY doesn’t do justice to all my friends who I rely heavily on for artwork, design, and screen-printing ...
You’re currently about to head out on tour. Is Dogbreth a full-time concern, or do you have flexible day jobs?
We all put a lot of time and work into it but we all have day jobs too.
For me, your songs seem to flow from the vocal melodies. And although your music is far from what I would call heavy metal, there’s also a bit of a Thin Lizzy vibe here and there. It’s a good combo. I wondered how you approach writing and recording.
Lately, when I write I try and think of it as coming up with a theme song for a feeling. In the studio, I think it’s important to experiment and have fun. The albums that spark me always have an element of spontaneity and imperfection.
Although your music is buoyant and very pop oriented, it’s hard to pick out any one specific influence on your sound. Who first inspired you enough to pick up a guitar and create?
When I first started writing my own songs I was around 16 or 17, and at that time most of what I listened to was either really weird and wacky like The Dead Milkmen and They Might Be Giants or soft and sappy like Iron and Wine. But I think I’ve mainly been influ- enced by my friends in the DIY community over the years. Many of them songwriters from Arizona: Katy Davidson (Dear Nora), Sean Bonnette (AJJ), Tyler Broderick (Diners), Zach Burba (iji) Austin Jackson (Dragons), Christian Hardy (Dragons/Angel Baby), Stephen Steinbrink, Tom Filardo, Cesar Ruiz, Logan Greene, to name a few. Those are kind of all- time influences on me. I think the key to longevity as an artist is to stay interested in your art form. I’m always trying to find new or new-to-me music to get obsessed with. This week it’s Carole King demos and Charlie Bliss.
| Dogbreth play Firecreek Coffee in Flagstaff July 10, 2017. They also play Phoenix Trunkspace July 8, 2017 and Tucson Hotel Congress July 9, 2017. | the NOISE arts & news | JULY 2017 • 31

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