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Home FEATURES Artist Interviews The Dodos Interview

The Dodos Interview
Friday, 24 October 2008 04:15
Our music editor, Chris Rolls, catches this 3 piece band before they head off for more world touring.

There is an instantly disarming quality to the gentlemen who make up The Dodos. Perhaps it is because we have met on a few other occasions, the last being a daze of drunkenness alongside fellow San Franciscans The OhSees and NRSZ in Austin for SXSW. Or maybe it is because The Dodos are genuinely nice young men. Singer/guitarist Meric Long arrives first at our meeting spot, the Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco. Soon we are joined by drummer, Logan Kroeber, and the latest addition to the group, multi-instrumentalist Joe Haener (formally of Gris Gris).

The Dodos: Joe Haener, Meric Long, & Logan Kroeber

The terminal seemed an appropriate meeting place as it embodies a decrepit charm reminiscent of music created by The Dodos. As the photo shoot gets underway, I mention to Meric that this terminal will soon be demolished to make way for a 110-story super modern structure that will fold into the rapidly ascending San Francisco skyline. Suddenly the structure's art deco charms surface amongst the homeless sitting on the rows of antiquated wooden sitting. We both seem to breathe it all in with a heightened awareness of impending change.

After an attempt at snapping photos in an old phone booth we are busted by security and asked to leave, which we obligingly do.

After dodging the office happy hour crowd at a few financial district watering holes, we decide upon the Gold Dust Lounge on Powell Street. With our destination in mind, Meric speeds off, cutting corners and jumping yellow lights to get there as quickly as possible. The rest of us trail behind. I comment on Meric's pace. "He is always like this," Logan assures me. "This is why I say he has the brain of a lobster," Logan pauses then continues: "Lobsters are fucking stupid, but they have an amazing sense of direction."

When we arrive at the Gold Dust, Meric has already scored us a window seat, and has made his way to the restroom.

Logan finishes discussing his quest to enter the pro rankings on Wii golf, a task he appears determined to complete before heading back on tour. Joe, on the other hand, says very little, but emanates an advanced aura of calmness once a beer is placed before him.

Once Meric returns and everyone has adjusted, the conversation takes a decidedly foul turn. Exactly how the topic of colonoscopy and colon cleansing arose is a mystery, but soon an enthusiastic debate about the merits of colon therapy erupts. "I know a couple that does it together" Logan says without a hint of humor. "If you are cleaning out your shit with your lover maybe your relationship should be over" adds an obviously bothered Meric.

From colonics the topic switches to pre-show rituals. "We like to sing 'Temple of the Dog,'" states Meric, "it helps loosen up the voice." Then, without skipping a beat, each person at the table begins singing "Hunger Strike," but of course no one can recall the lyrics verbatim. Logan tries, but gives up after "but it's on the table," which becomes the song's impenetrable point. In fact, the only line anyone can sing for certain is "I don't mind stealing bread / from the mouths of decadence."

After dedicating a solid five minutes to Eddie Vedder's masculine growl, the boys appear ready to discuss The Dodos. The band has been touring almost non-stop for the past year. In 2007 they released Visitor, an album that has received universal praise. It is hard not to fall for the album. Long's vocals are instantly endearing, the lyrics emotive, and the music a blend of bygone jangle backed by Tupperware-tight percussion.

But, rather than jump right into the band, the conversation detours into chairs and ritualistic behaviors developed on the road. All the while, newbie Joe just sits and watches, so it seemed only appropriate to lead in with who this dude is!

Fecal Face: Well first off, it is apparent that once there were two and now there are three. When did you decide to add a third member, and why this motherfucker?

Meric: He is the face of the band.

Logan: He is the only one who stands, so people see him more than anyone else.

Fecal Face: Oh right, you two are seated most of the time...

Logan: Yes, so in clubs with low stages people only see Joseph, sometimes.

Fecal Face: Since you are seated most of the time, are there chairs in your rider - do you have a specific type you like to sit on?

Meric: No, I have sat on everything from amp cases and stools to like, umm...what was the building you were talking about earlier that looks like the thing you stick up your ass?

Fecal Face: What...building in my ass?

Logan: (laughing hysterically)

Meric: (laughs) Why can I not think of the word...oh, a suppository! I was sitting on these little orange suppositories that I had to balance on. I like to sit on anything that is at least the length of my legs.

Logan: No, arms. I used to play on anything as well, but last time we went out I finally bought a drum stool, and that has been very good because before I ended up on shit that was all angled, and jumped around on me. I have sat on Meric's guitar amp before, and fucked up all his settings...

Meric: Yeah, like in the middle of a set all the sudden the distortion just goes all fucking crazy. Actually it's weird for me how important what I sit on has become. We were in Brighton and I spent like 15 minutes walking around looking for the perfect thing to sit on.

Fecal Face: Why is it so important?

Meric: Because it can totally fuck up my mojo.

Fecal Face: Well you have been touring a lot, so have you noticed your individual neurosis developing?

Logan: For sure. Before I got my own seat it was routine to show up and scope out the chair situation. Now I am more focused on whether or not there are towels.

Meric: Seriously. I think you would welt and die without the towels.

Fecal Face: Why?

Logan: I am sweaty. I sweat more than both of you combined.

Joe: I have seen that actually.

Logan: I sweat - C&C Music Factory over here. So yeah, I gotta towel up, that is my particular neurosis. I get paranoid and sticky if I cannot towel off my arms. My hands get really sweaty, so I have to grip my sticks tighter so I don't drop them, which would be a big mistake. That is like my fear on stage is dropping a stick.

Fecal Face: But it is common!

Logan: I have not dropped a stick in years.

Fecal Face: Wow. That is impressive. Can you back this up?

Meric: That he hasn't dropped a stick? Yeah. I can think of one instance, and when it has happened it is like, "whoa!"

Fecal Face: What about you gentlemen - any neuroses? I mean we covered the chair.

Meric: Probably my strings. I have to change my strings a lot. Like when I go to sleep if I haven't changed my strings then I have to. It sucks when I break a string because it always happens on this one song, "Fools." I just hate that feeling when you break a string and there is all this attention on you...

Fecal Face: When everyone is just watching you?

Meric: Or they are just waiting.

Fecal Face: Right, like you are not giving them their money's worth.

Meric: (laughs) Yeah, that is my biggest concern. On the other hand Joe is like the king of dropping sticks. I don't think there is one show where Joe has not dropped a stick.

Joe: No, I throw them.

Meric: I don't know what happens, but all of the sudden out my peripheral vision I just always see fucking sticks flying off stage.

Joe: It's because when I am playing the trash can I have to throw them down, but occasionally I do drop them. Usually I am just discarding them - tossing them to the side.

Fecal Face: Because they no longer suit your needs?

Joe: No, because I am playing the trash can, then I have to rush back to the vibes.

Meric: Actually I just realized another thing is not to drink beer within a certain time period before playing because I will keep belching while I am singing.

Fecal Face: Or large quantities of cocaine?

Meric: I have yet to do that, but I kind of want to.

Panache: The drug itself?

Meric: No, the combo. I have never played a show on drugs with this band.

Fecal Face: Do you smoke weed or another drug routine, aside from drinking before playing?

Logan: I was with a friend at Treasure Island [Music Festival] who ran into Devendra Banhart. He said the policy is if one of them is going to smoke weed then the whole band has to, and I feel like that is kind our policy. I do not want to go on stage being the only stoned person, but if we all were then it would be totally cool. I will definitely play Wii at home stoned, like that is a-ok, but if I am going to play music I do not want to be the only one going for the cosmos.

Meric: We are about to go on tour with this band on the east coast, and they smoke a lot of weed, and I kind of want to do this whole tour totally stoned.

Logan: Let's do it!

Meric: No, I am totally serious about it. Like I been smoking weed this whole week just to get ready. Smoking weed and playing used to be synonymous with me, but with this band I feel like the responsibilities are like, too great for my stoned mind.

Fecal Face: Can you elaborate on the responsibilities?

Meric: There is a lot going on...singing and playing.

Fecal Face: What about in the studio? Do you keep it clean?

Meric: We did both records pretty sober. I did like a few vocal tracks, like on whiskey (laughs).

Logan: (still laughing) I remember going out, getting the whiskey, and it was like bringing a foreign substance into the studio. It is usually just food and coffee.

Fecal Face: We were talking about Treasure Island earlier, and the entire festival thing...now that the Dodos have been pushed into the festival circuit what is your general feeling about it?

Meric: One thing I have to say about festivals for us is that we played a bunch in Europe, and like half the people would leave while we were playing. At first it was like "aw fuck!" I feel like we are not made for the festival circuit - it works better in clubs. I feel like a lot of people at festivals are like checking shit out.

Fecal Face: Like window shopping?

Meric: A little bit. It is harder to create a vibe at the show. At first it was like, we're playing this big festival, you know, we have to get some fireworks, and fucking...I mean not really, but at first playing the festivals was exciting!

Fecal Face: Right, like cages and girls dancing. But I guess the label did not want to kick down for that.

Logan: I think that we are definitely not a band that can throw down a bunch of hits and satisfy a raging public, but the whole atmosphere at festivals is pretty entertaining. It is like a little city that is dedicated to throwing a party, and there is another little city for the artists where they give you food and drink. It is a fun little thing, and it's summertime in Europe, you know, why not? But I don't know, compared to some other bands that we saw I don't know if it is our thing in particular...but it was fun. I got to see a lot of music, which is an upside -- since we play a lot of shows in clubs, we do not get to see a wide variety.

Fecal Face: And at the festivals you get to meet a lot of people?

Logan: If you are lucky!

Meric: We got to see some crazy bands...like we played after Faust. Like the debris from the sheets that they chopped with a chain-saw was all over the stage when we got on...

Logan: Yeah, and a bucket full of grass that they tossed everywhere, and guys with brooms sweeping it all up before we could put our shit down.

Meric: I would never in a million years have guessed that would happen - that we would be playing the same stage, let alone right after Faust.

Fecal Face: I am noticing some self-deprecation, which is odd because you are being invited to play these festivals. People obviously like your music. Visitor is popular, and certainly with critics.

Meric: (laughs) I don't get it.

Fecal Face: Really? You do not get it? Is there no internal awareness in regards to the popularity of your music?

Logan: Festivals create a false image. It's like here is the stage, here are the people, and it seems like you are bigger than you are. There were people there to see us, people were enjoying it, and some people didn't know us, but it's false...like it is a fucking U2 concert or something. It looks like more than we are.

Meric: It doesn't really say anything about where you are. We didn't earn that.

Fecal Face: What do you mean you didn't earn it! You have been playing a ton of fucking shows and great music.

Logan: It is just a big fucking jump. It is like there is no way of working your way up, it's like you are either in or you are out. It is not like you can go House of Shields, Edinburgh Castle, Cafe du Nord...it's like there are festivals, and then there's not. It's like they need to keep making money, and we snuck in the door. It feels a little weird.

Fecal Face: Would you play state fairs? I think they got it all wrong - you should have to play state fairs, then All Tomorrow's Parties.

Logan: Right. State fairs first, get some shit thrown at you, and then you earn your stripes, and get to play somewhere cool.

Fecal Face: Alright, more serious questions. What is happening with recording a new album?

Meric: We are going to record it starting in March.

Fecal Face: Right, because you are on tour pretty much until then.

Meric: Right. We are on tour pretty much until next January.

Fecal Face: Since you have been touring so much do you think you will continue living in San Francisco?

Logan: Perhaps. I have been struggling with that for a while, but I live with my girlfriend, so I can't just like bail out and put all my shit into storage.

Meric: We have been talking about Montana.

Fecal Face: Why Montana?

Logan: Place is dope man.

Fecal Face: I guess if you are touring most of the time it doesn't really matter where you hang your hat.

Meric: Well I grew up in the Bay Area, so I have a lot of friends, so this definitely feels like home to me.

Logan: There was a while after touring the states where I was looking at places we had been, and thought about moving to a place I never thought I would...like North Carolina. But after going pass that I miss the Bay Area. Like coming home after our last trip to Europe I could see the Bay Area from the airplane, like landing in South San Francisco...it felt really good to be home. I intend to stay here as long as possible.

Fecal Face: So, one last question. I had never read any of your press until today, and it seems that everyone went over your one-sheet and mentioned West African drumming, which is hysterical, but when you read that does it make you think that press is lazy, and that it gives off this ethno-rapist Paul Simon impression of your music that is unnecessary?

Logan: I feel like there is a lot of defensive back-tracking on our part, like they are taking it too far, and then I'm thinking how to better write the next one so that the regurgitation factor is lessened.

Fecal Face: So you wrote your one-sheet?

Logan: Well, it was a group effort.

Meric: Our label was like just write up some information, blah blah blah, and like I wrote it and sent it off. I was like no one is ever going to read this shit, it doesn't matter, but then it was everywhere.

Fecal Face: Regurgitated?

Logan: Exactly, regurgitated.

-------

Interview conducted by the Fecal Face Music Editor, Chris Rolls - chris(at)fecalface.com
Photography by Dave Franklin

Go and see The Dodos this Summer. They're playing all over Europe, Australia including here in San Francisco at Bimbos on Thursday Nov. 6th with Kelley Stoltz... Check their Myspace page and watch the great video for their song Fools below:

Fools - directed by Matt Amato

*this interview is simultaneously being run in Panache Magazine {moscomment}

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"Arrangement" by Michelle Fleck
Friday, 18 April 2014 10:23

This morning we take a closer look at this beautiful painting by San Francisco based Michelle Fleck now showing at FFDG.

Arrangement measures 24"x30", acrylic and aerosol on panel - inquires: info(at)ffdg.net

Michelle Fleck is a painter living in San Francisco. Her work focuses on the relationship between man and the landscape, and the marks we leave on it. Influenced by everyday life in the city, her paintings serve as snapshots of an ongoing intersection of the natural and man-made world. She strives to make work that has a sense of relevancy in a culture driven by a need for change and newness.

 

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010 16:39


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SAN FRANCISCO --- You've seen the murals pop up around town the last week from this Austrian street artist as he prepares for his solo show at Fifty24SF opening this Friday, 4/18.

GET THE SHOW DETAILS --- a bunch of NYCHOS

 

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012 10:56

 

Banksy's Mobile Lovers
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I love you, dear.... Huh? Wut?

 

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Check photos from his last San Francisco solo show in 2012, and mark your calendar for August as his next solo show opens at FFDG.

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Think how high those throw ups can be now.

 

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Open House Sunday - Headland Center for the Arts
Friday, 11 April 2014 16:12

Have you been to the Headland Center for the Arts in the Marin Headlands?

Located in the beautiful ocean-side Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Headlands artists programs support artists of all disciplines—from visual artists to performers, musicians, writers, and videographers—and provide opportunities for independent and collaborative creative work.

This Sunday's Open House runs 12-5pm - FREE & DETAILS

 

Is It Curtains For San Francisco's Art Scene?
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:35

We all know that San Francisco is going through aches and (growing?)/ shrinking artist pains these days as San Francisco property values sky rocket due to the tech infestation going on around the entire Bay Area. Maybe you work in tech and love it, but since this is an art website, we're interested to how this is affecting artists trying to make ends meet.

Some galleries have been forced to close due to 300% rent hikes. Many artists have fled to Oakland, LA and NYC in search of affordable housing and a more vibrant art scene... But we wanna know what you think of how it's going here in San Francisco. How are you making it work? What's your take on the art scene or lack there of? Do you think things are on the up and up or down and out here in San Francisco? Are artists a bunch of complainers and every thing looks great or is it curtains for San Francisco's artistic community? Thoughts

The Rena Bransten Gallery is packing up their 77 Geary space to make way for tech company MuleSoft

 

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Wednesday, 25 August 2010 11:50


+SF

+NYC

+LA

FULL CALENDARS: BAY AREA | NYC | LA

 


 

 

 

Ferris Plock - Online Show, April 25th

FFDG is pleased to announce an exclusive online show with San Francisco based Ferris Plock opening on Friday, April 25th (12pm Pacific Time) featuring 5 new medium sized acrylic paintings on wood.


GOLD BLOOD, MAGIC WEIRDOS

Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.


Jeremy Fish at LA's Mark Moore Gallery

San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.


John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners


Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

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Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.


Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


Flavio Samelo's Downtown Sao Paulo Murals

Our buddy Flavio Samelo down there in Brazil does all kinds of great work including this recent mural project in downtown Sao Paulo in front of one of the most important modern buildings of Oscar Niemeyer from the 60's, THE COPAN.


John Trippe, FFDG and Fecalface.com Founder, Stepping Down From Daily Operations

John Trippe, founder, owner and curator of FecalFace.com and the Mission District art gallery FFDG, announced today that he will stepping down from daily operations of the two ventures to seek new career opportunities.


High 5s - Get Your Feet Wet

I purchased one of the first digital cameras when Fecal Face went online in 2000. It was a massive Kodak with 2 mega pixels


"Touching Base" by Schuyler Beecroft

San Francisco based Schuyler Beecroft emailed over the great new series of paintings he's completed entitled "Touching Base", 16x20in on mounted wood panel. Like them.


Flume - Space Cadet (ft. Ghostface Killah & Autre Ne Veut)

Buddies Jay Howell & Jim Dirschberger did this great video produced by Forest City Rockers.


Fire Shelter for Papay Gyro Nights 2014

Last year we posted photos from another one of Simon Hjermind Jensen's Fire Shelters he's made in Copenhagen. This time around the Copenhagen based artist/ designer created one for the Papay Gyro Nights 2014 way up in on the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.


"Portrait of a Slugger 19" by Hiro Kurata

Beautiful painting by NYC based Hiro Kurata now on display at SF's FFDG through April 19th as part of the group show "Salt the Skies".


"Veins of Octulen" by Curiot at FFDG

"Salt the Skies" opened on the 21st at FFDG and features this great piece by Mexico City based Curiot (Favio Martinez) whose sold out 2013 show Age of Omuktlans ran at FFDG. His forthcoming solo show is slated for March 2015.


Rome's Alice Pasquini ~Mural+

Rome based multimedia artist Alice Pasquini emailed over a recent mural completed in the historic working class neighborhood of Rome called Tufello.


Project M/3 in Berlin curated by NUART

BERLIN --- Project M is a temporary art project with the objective to improve the neighborhood, to push creativity and to connect people. At regular intervals Urban Nation with director Yasha Young invites a group of internationally reclaimed contemporary urban artists to re-design the facade and shop windows of a prominent residential building in Berlin, while it is being reconstructed.


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