The Dodos drummer Logan Kroeber was speaking as he lay on his back in a field in Van Buren State Park, somewhere in the depths of Ohio as the band continued its seemingly endless tour.
The Dodos drummer Logan Kroeber was speaking as he lay on his back in a field in Van Buren State Park, somewhere in the depths of Ohio as the band continued its seemingly endless tour. The phone conversation was occasionally obscured by gusts of wind on one of the rare days in spring that did not warrant a jacket.
The pastoral scene is a far cry from the Dodos' live show. Between Kroeber, songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Meric Long and the help of touring noisemaker Joe Haner, the band generates a lot of sweat and noise. The songs, including those on the band's newest "Visiter," are in essence pop and folk songs. But with Kroeber's vicious and steady hand at the drums and Long's propensity for repetitive, surging guitar lines on his hollow-body (which he's rigged to sound like an electric on stage), the simple, straight-forward tracks turn into sonic bursts of melodic ideas, what Kroeber describes as "catharsis."
"You should have seen us at shows before. Sometimes we'd start a song and somewhere in the middle, I'd just start screaming. Meric would be over there doing his own thing, just making sounds and going off. It just seemed like the right thing to do," Kroeber laughs. "I do less of that now, but I've been having fun making more beats now, anthemic stuff."
If such a comparison can be drawn, the duo is making plenty of noise on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, where they bowed recently at No. 31 with "Visiter." It is their first full-length for French Kiss records, run by Syd Butler, bassist for Brooklyn art-punk troupe Les Savy Fav. That group has tapped the Dodos to open for them on a number of occasions.
"We played a show opening for Jennifer Gentle at [New York's] Mercury Lounge," says Kroeber. The San Francisco-based group has also supported bands like Akron/Family and Wovenhand. "And Meric was like, 'This guy's talking about signing us.' When I found out who Syd played with, I was like, 'Oh hell yeah.' It's cool when somebody from a band you respect is working you and your record. It's a more in-depth process."
Kroeber and Long initially met through the former's cousin, who was rooming with Long at the time. Kroeber's background was primarily drumming for heavy metal outfit Entragian. Long was singing mostly folk, singer/songwriter fare under the moniker Dodo Bird at clubs in the Bay area. Long was seeking a drummer for some exploratory recordings and took Kroeber to task.
"We were working on the last few tracks of 'Beware the Maniacs' [the Dodos' 2006 effort] and playing on 'Trades and Tariffs' and 'The Ball' I remember thinking, 'Man, I hope we work together more in the future,'" Kroeber says. "I was always playing in bands with friends, looking for other things on Craigslist and it was really satisfying finding somebody that I clicked with so easily as with Meric."
The band continues to find new methods to click on the road, mixing up the set list every night and sequencing songs in new ways so as to make the shows like "one continuous thought." In so many ways, they don't sound like a two-man band, with the merciless rhythms on kit and Meric looping his vocals and guitar parts to craft whole manic symphonies.
The touring circus continues this summer, as the band plots its next North American stint after they return from touring Europe in May. They can also be heard at the Pitchfork and Siren festivals this coming season.