How many bands do you know who start out and start out seriously? The art of "banding" with a specific goal is a rarer one these days. Maybe that's why fewer bands seem to break-through? If it's a hobby, it's easier to give up. Doggo are the Philly DIY band who know exactly what they want to achieve in music. We spoke to front man Mike Pinto after the release of the band's debut Hotel Carlyle. Third Introducing Doggo
"We have been Doggo for a little over a year now, but before that we were called Blankbook. We went from being a blues revival band, to a screamo-ish band, to a title fight rip off band, to god knows what else. When we were Blankbook we had a bad habit of writing, recording, and then scrapping projects completely. We ain't about that now. We keep a line of clear communication between the three of us for everything we do as a band. Decisions are made together as homies, not just as band mates. And as far as where we will end up? I honestly have no idea".
"I guess if I had to pin point what this record is really about I'd have to say its gotta be my overall laziness and complacency, and how I want to get past it and not be human sloth for the rest of my life. When I wrote a lot of the lyrics for this record I was in a relatively dark place. The lyrics I was writing before were either too generic and had no meaning, or were too dark for me to feel comfortable putting them out there. A central theme of this record is finding the happy medium between sincerity and not taking anything too seriously".
"As far as the lyrics in Scully go, there really isn't too much deep meaning behind the song. I was literally spending a boat load of time the past summer laying in bed, watching the X- Files and not wanting to do much else. I definitely wasn't appreciating all the good around me and the good people I was surrounded by either. The way this record was written was pretty run of the mill. Nothing too crazy for us. We like to keep our writing as simple as we can".
"For right now we're just here in Philly grinding hard on being a solid band of solid people"
"First off, all three of us are born and raised in Philadelphia proper. There's always been a strong music and art culture here, and with that comes a DIY scene with a lot of different pockets, with different people making tons of music since way before our time. In the past 10 years there has been an influx of people moving into Philly in general. Artists and creative people looking for cheaper rent with more space to work and throw shows. Philly creates an environment for new people to be able to set up shop and make shit happen for themselves and their homies. But with that comes some people who want to gentrify neighborhoods and are rude to the communities they move into to throw shows. Change is great, but when it affects local people's lives, homes, and property taxes than things can get a bit hairy".
"Last summer, Miles and a few other Philly DIY organized a free outdoor gig at a local skatepark where we raised over $400 that was donated to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. At that show Brian was grilling and selling hot dogs and donated most the money he made to our fundraising efforts. We have thrown a few other fundraiser shows since then and will continue to do more fundraising work through shows. We're sure that when we start hitting the road more, more crazy stuff will happen and awesome memories will be made. But for right now we're just here in Philly grinding hard on being a solid band of solid people".
When you talk to Mike Pinto from Doggo you're talking to a man on a mission. This guy, this band, in fact this entire Philly DIY scene, is striving for success with their music. Hotel Carlyle marks the moment when Pinto and the rest of Doggo come out fighting. "This is what we want to do, and we're gonna do it", is the mentality. And it breeds success.
You get the impression that most of the mistakes bands commonly make, in terms of set-up and execution, are no longer in the Doggo system. Speaking to Pinto, their previous outfit Blankbook was perhaps the concept band. The building blocks for Doggo. "Who are we and what do we want to do"? These questions were posed in the Blues and Screamo stages of Blankbook. Now, with the inception of Doggo, the answers are clear and the direction decided.
That direction has inevitably led to Doggo releasing a very, very decent effort in the shape of debut record Hotel Carlyle, as well as their firm establishment within the DIY scene of Philly. That's especially what makes Doggo appeal to us at Third Outing; their community ambitions. The idea of throwing local shows, fundraisers for local issues, and most importantly, understanding the local community and respecting its way of life without bringing disruption to it.
And besides, yes, the record is very, very decent. The Doggos are on the heavier side of the alternative spectrum, but the sound is clear, concise and memorable. Lyricism also plays a big part on the record, and as Pinto himself rightly points out, perhaps his extra effort in developing his lyrical skill-set and actively avoiding complacency has made all the difference. Scully is the Third Outing stand-out track, for this. Lobotomy too. Yacht Boys (2016) especially! Tune!