Interview with The Dose
LA rock duo, The Dose are always one step ahead. Though their debut EP is only a few days away from its release (April 8th, 2016) they are already looking toward what's next, which just happens to be a future full-length. Though the pieces seemed to fall into place easily for members Ralph Alexander and Indio Downey, it hasn't always been that way. Amid sudden member changes (the now duo was left without a bassist moments before a gig) and time taken to hone in on their own original sound, it has taken hard work and passion for The Dose to create their debut EP - it only makes sense that they're already working toward the future.
Fans can pick up the band's debut EP this Friday, April 8th, and catch them on tour this spring and summer. Who knows - maybe you'll even hear a new song or two! Fans can purchase the EP's lead single, "Cold Hands" NOW on iTunes.
The Prelude Press: For starters, could you tell us a little bit about The Dose? What initially drew you two together to form this duo?
Ralph Alexander: We were a trio before, it was Indio on guitar and vocals, myself on drums and then we had two different bass players for a while. The first one quit and then the second one kind of flaked out on us at a gig. And in the interest of remaining professional and “the show must go on,” we decided to to take the stage anyway. So we played our full set with no bass and we kind of just had an epiphany - it was a happy little accident - and we thought, “We might as well just try to give this whole two piece thing a shot.”
Were there any artists that inspired you when you guys were first starting out?
Alexander: We’re both huge fans of The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and I think a band we look up to right now is Royal Blood because of the things that they can accomplish live, and songwriting. I think what we try to do is separate ourselves from this whole two piece thing, which I think is just gaining a lot of popularity with bands these days - there’s more and more two pieces popping up. So our approach to be different and stand out is to still have guitar, bass and drums simultaneously without any backing tracks. We do that by myself playing bass and drums at the same time and then Indio does guitar and vocals at the same time.
I know you’ve kind of mentioned that you guys want to sound fuller than other two pieces, so when you’re doing live sets, how do you incorporate that?
Alexander: In a live setting we use these pedals called the Moog Taurus 3 made by this company based in Asheville, North Carolina. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the band Rush - but he uses the same setup when he needs to be hands free to play, lets say a keyboard part or something different. He will take his hands off the bass, play the keys, and then play the same bass pedals with his foot. Growing up, I always thought that was really cool that he was able to do that and pull it off, so when the time came for us to start talking about doing this two piece, I thought, “Well if he can play keys and sing and play that bass at the same time, why can’t I play drums and play bass at the same time?” I looked up online to try to find the same pedals, and I couldn’t find them anywhere because they’re discontinued, so it really took me a while to find a pair of them. But once I found them, I jumped on them, got them and we went to Atlanta and started the whole experiment and now we’re here.
So you moved to Atlanta before you started working on the EP?
Alexander: We went to Atlanta - the two of us - to visit friends and family and we kind of just used the experience and the time there as kind of an excuse to be out of Los Angeles. So we had a little bit of privacy and a bit of an opportunity to clear our heads and be in a state that was new to really go for it.
Do you think that the change of scenery and space helped you guys get into that mindset for writing?
Alexander: Yeah, definitely. I think if we were in Los Angeles when we did it we would have been just a little too comfortable. Being in a new space, in a new state and a new environment definitely helped creatively.
With the EP dropping soon what are you most excited for people to hear on it?
Alexander: I would say a wide range of different influences we have on there. Each song kind of represents the different direction we have going. One song is definitely more of a rock n roll song and another one is definitely more of a love song, and another one is more epic and we even have one song that is just purely instrumental, and I don’t think any band has done that in a long time. I think the only band I grew up listening to that did that was Metallica. We just have a whole wide range of different things.
The songs that you have released from the EP - “Cold Hands” and “Truth Lies Inside” - show off that diversity because one is very raw and energetic and another is a little bit slower and more vulnerable. What made you want to release these two songs before the release of the EP?
Indio Downey: Well “Cold Hands” is our single. We chose “Cold Hands” because it’s somewhere in between the spectrum of our softer stuff and our heavier stuff, so we thought it would be a good representation of the music as a whole, and it’s kind of a good representation of what we want to accomplish in the future. Given the pads and the bass, the drums, the guitar and the vocals, and there’s even bells on there - so we were kind of able to accomplish a wide variety of sounds.
In terms of “Truth Lies Inside,” we wanted to release that one second because we recorded that at Third Man Records, which was an amazing experience. I think that song is on the heavier side on the EP. It’s pretty different than “Cold Hands,” so it’s unexpected for people who haven’t heard the EP yet. We wanted to release it so people would understand that our music is diverse and it’s not all as mellow as “Cold Hands,” which I think is something people will understand once they have the album.
For “Cold Hands,” you released a video as well, and it has some really cool imagery to go along with the track. What was behind the concept of the video?
Alexander: Indio and I wrote a sort of narrative and then sent that off to Davis [Factor], who was the director on the project, and he kind of just took it, ran with it, made it his own and added a lot of the different elements in there, like the duality of the two Indios facing each other, and the wolf and the character at the end. He really made it his own.
Are there any songs that you haven’t released yet that you’re really excited for people to hear?
Downey: Yeah, we’re actually in the process of working on an album and we’ve got a bunch of new material. There are definitely a couple of songs that will cool for people to hear in terms of them seeing how far we’ve come musically since we recorded the EP. Because we recorded that EP right when we first started rehearsing as a band, and it has been a while since then. We’re excited for people to hear how we’ve grown and progressed since then, now that we’ve been playing together for a while.
How do you think you’ve grown between the EP that is just now coming out and the album that you’re working on?
Alexander: When we wrote the EP, we’d never done a gig together as that lineup, so now that we’ve done some gigs together, we know what works and what translates live and what doesn’t. So we’ve definitely adapted our songwriting.
On top of the EP and writing new music now, you also just announced tour dates with Bush. What can people expect from your upcoming tour dates and live shows?
Alexander: Just seeing two guys create the most amount of sound possible on stage that we can get away with without using backing tracks or pre-recorded parts. And hopefully a faithful representation of the songs live. Hopefully people see that we can actually pull it off live together, and not be disappointed in what it sounds like.
Downey: They also might be able to hear a new song or two before we actually release something new. We’re going to be playing some new songs that aren’t on the EP.
Do you have any concrete plans for when you’re going to release the album?
Alexander: We’re going to release one more music video for the EP, then as we’re recording the album, we’re going to record another music video so that we have an in studio, personal video that documents the making of this new album.
Thanks for chatting, I think that about does it! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Alexander: Thank you!
Downey: Yeah, thanks for having us!