Thursday, 16 April 2015

Interview: Dr. Duloc

Dr Duloc Bowl Cuts

Dr. Duloc, 'Lady Lou'

Info: Dubliner Henry Ernest, aka Dr. Duloc, aka one-half of Mr. Rosso has released one of the more unique and inventive Irish albums of 2015 to date. Bowl Cuts slowly calls you in with its laid back lo-fi indie beginning, pensive and thought-provoking middle and finally a dizzying melding of old and new styles to draw down the curtain. The good Dr. has done that difficult job of creating an album with plenty of thought put into it whilst having a sense of humour as a counter-balance, and perhaps more importantly, creating music that can be enjoyed by many rather than few. 

I am quite pleased to have had the opportunity to pick the brain of a musician whose music asks a lot questions;

Can you share with newcomers to your artistry the back story to Dr. Duloc and its predecessor Mr. Rosso? 

Well, I’ve always been making music by myself under different aliases. Dr. Duloc is just the newest, most organised manifestation of that. Mr. Rosso on the other hand is me and my friend, with both of us writing the songs. I wouldn’t consider it a predecessor because we’re still going strong. It’s not a side-project either though. I guess they are both centre-projects.

On the first couple of tracks on the new album, Bowl Cuts, such as opener 'Portland, Oregan', 'Madison' & 'Feeler' there's a definite American sound to the music and vocals, acts such as Weezer, Pavement and even Elliot Smith come to mind, are these, broadly speaking, styles that you enjoy listening to?

Yeah Pavement and Elliot Smith in particular had a huge influence on my music when I started writing songs.  It’s been a while though since I caught myself listening to them. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of John Maus and, of course, Prince.

For me, I imagined Bowl Cuts to be split into three phases as a listener, a lo-fi and fun opening third, then a middle, commencing with the gorgeous 'Eton Mess (Part I-II)' and funky 'Lady Lou', which went took on a genre-bending experimental direction, before finishing on a wistful folky sound. It's quite varied, even the very last track 'Sega' stands out on its own, you must have had a very diverse pallet to start from when writing the album?

Yeah, the story behind that is that the album was originally meant to be 30 songs long, with enough transitions in it to actually make it cohesive. It would have worked a lot better but as a project it was far too insane to actually commit to , so I just used the best songs I had. Regarding the diversity of the album, that’s just to keep it interesting to me. I don’t see why so many bands willingly box themselves into one sound, or one type of music. I like a lot of music so I incorporate  a lot of styles, but at the same time the songs are meant to be idiosyncratic enough for it to not be complete anarchy. Having said that, I don’t think I have found a defining sound yet, so I guess the idiosyncracy of the music lies in the very fact that I’m writing diverse, different songs as opposed to any quintessential songs themselves. But yeah, three phases is pretty bang-on.

Bowl Cuts is certainly quite distinct to a lot of the Irish albums released in recent years on independent labels, apart from people liking the music obviously, what are your hopes for Dr. Duloc and the album, do you see it as a once off or something you'd like to concentrate on in tandem with Mr. Rosso?

Well recording music by myself is not something I’m ever going to stop doing so there’ll definitely be more albums in the future, but right now I’m gonna try to focus more on Mr. Rosso again. New album this summer!

Dr. Duloc, 'Eton Mess Part I & II'

Tell me a bit about the interesting spoken word track 'Herzog 1-4', I wasn't expecting it when I was in transit recently listening to the album and found it unusually captivating.

Haha, basically it’s part of a bigger story I wrote set in the Bowl Cuts universe. It had lots of different characters from the album, each with their own stories, but seeing as I didn’t record all the songs I ended up only using the Herzog story. My friend Stephen Sorensen also made the music for it. Check him out, he’s the real genius!

It's a conversation that seems to be slowly gaining traction lately and I wanted to hear your thoughts, if you are exercised by such things! on the lack of radio play for new Irish musicians on Irish radio stations, does that bother you or is life too short to rail against such obstacles?

Life is too short! To be honest that’s really not something I would ever think about. I have no commercial interests with my music and I don’t even listen to the radio. Having said that, shouts out to Rtelyric - Blue of the Night. Keeps me off the streets at night.

Lastly, have you performed live yet under the Dr. Duloc moniker and do you have any shows coming up where people can catch you?

No, and to be honest I probably won’t. I can see myself doing acoustic shows or something like that but in general I’ll only be playing live with Mr. Rosso. More funk, more fun, more energy! No shows planned just yet but keep an eye open for this summer.

More info on Dr. Duloc and Mr. Rosso below, but first, here's one more track that isn't on the new album, put it's pretty swell.

Dr. Duloc, 'Ode to Flats'

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