Music Q&A: Douga

The Manchester quartet chat ahead of the release of their second album Hidden Tapers & The Golden Tide on 8 December

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What informs your music and songwriting?
A little bit of everything. There’s no doubt that life experience comes into it but also a creative urge has been part of me since my childhood. It becomes a way of exploring thoughts and feelings which are both conscious and unconscious, as well as the different shades visually around us and internally. Undoubtedly, travel inspires me to write. Seeing new places and experiencing different cultures helps to break the routine. Watching a good film also contributes as musical ideas feel natural after taking in visuals. There’s too much musical influence to know where to start.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
This band started as a solo venture while I was drumming in Keith/Plank. I only got so much from the rhythmic aspect of music. I’d being writing since I was in my early teens. A few early EPs show a starting point towards the more fleshed-out band that is now. I feel a lot of the evolution comes from taking a step back from being autonomous. Once you start working with other musicians, there’s a lot of healthy compromise involved. You begin to trust each other and bounce ideas off one another. The segue pieces on Hidden Tapes allowed us a chance to improvise on the album. This felt a natural element to incorporate (for the first time on a record) since we spend a fair amount rehearsal time improvising.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’re working on seven or eight new tracks during rehearsals with the plan to record midway through next year. This selection seems like the first time we’ve started an album together. The process is the most collaborative yet. John is working on a print to go with the vinyl addition of our album.

What’s on your rider?
Tarka daal by Gud vegan and an assortment of beers including some Verdant, Mikkeller, Cloudwater and Magic Rock. Tea. Single malt whisky – Lagavulin. Peanut M&Ms.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.

We were speaking to Sweet Baboo in the backstage room of Soup Kitchen this summer and I clapped at something said. At exactly the point when I was clapping, one of the musicians from the second support walked in. They thought I was applauding the end of their set and an awkward conversation ensued. I guess it’s made embarrassing ‘cos we didn’t really enjoy their music and they knackered our drum skins.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Life Goes Off by Jim O’Rourke.

What’s your worst lyric?
In terms of cutting lyrics, Cut the String has the line “I noticed that you’re having fun like a heartless windswept shipwreck from another son.” I guess that’s full of bitterness. I tend to enjoy lyrics that don’t always make sense when I read them back. It can be more about the sound of them together and any imagery implied.

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