Catchy as fuck hooks, screeching/grunting guitar solos and gut wrenching vocals – It’s what got me into Weezer all those years ago, and it’s what got me immediately into North London indie punk trio Doe the first time I saw them. Performing at last year’s A Carefully Planned Festival in Manchester, it took about a minute into their first song before I was head over heels for them. With a nod to Weezer and many other bands of the time, Doe make wonderfully catchy pop smashes, a handful of which sound like they’d be perfectly at home on the soundtrack to a 90’s teen movie. They even played a Weezer cover that night (‘Suzanne‘) cementing that love; carving it into a tree.
Now they’re taking these tunes overseas, making their American debut in New York this February. To coincide with their trip to the Big Apple, Brooklyn based label Old Flame Records are putting out a cassette of their latest record ‘First Four‘ – An LP made up of their previous EPs.
The US Tour announcement also came with the news that Doe are soon set to release two new tunes! One of the upcoming singles ‘Avalanche‘ featured over on Noisey today, a stream of which you can hear below:
Get a load of that, right? No wonder the Yanks are chomping at the bit! With its glorious, soaring duel-vocal chorus, ‘Avalanche‘ is massive. Pure Weezer vibes again, this track is like a late 90’s alt-wet dream. It’s out on Fierce Panda February 16th!
With the new single on the way, and their US dates looming, I reached out to Doe to find out what they’ve got planned whilst they’re out there, upcoming plans over the coming months, and what they think of the tripe producing machine that is current Weezer.
BCFB: This February you’re off to New York to play some shows – Was the news a bit mind blowing for you?
Nicola: Well I guess it wasn’t news as such, because we decided to do it and actively made it happen, but it is totally mind blowing. A few years ago I was desperate to find a band and play any show anywhere, so if you’d have told me then that I’d be going to New York and doing all this cool shit with my best buds (gross) I’d probably have had a small heart attack on the spot. To summarise: yes.
Matthew: Totally. My New Year’s Resolution was to stop finding excuses to tell people that Doe are playing in New York in February. This interview has set me right back. Thank you.
Where are you playing when you’re over there?
Jake: We’ve got 4 Brooklyn shows, then one in Manhattan and one in New Jersey. We’ll have the actual dates and venues up on our site in two shakes of a lamb’s bastard.
Talking downtime – besides playing shows, how excited are you to get out there and explore? What are some of the adventures you’ve got planned?
Nicola: We’ve been told there’s a pretty snazzy bus that takes you to all the good places, so that might be on the cards. Does eating and drinking a lot count as an adventure?
Matthew: I know that they put lots of craft beers in cans, so I’m looking forward to that.
Jake: I’m attempting the 365 challenge this year (where you try and average watching one movie a day for 365 days) so if we don’t make at least 8 cinema trips whilst we’re over there I’m going to kick off, Elton John style.
Nicola: Note to self: make adventure plans.
With this being your first time playing the US, are you hoping to venture anywhere else?
Nicola: On this trip we’re sticking around NYC for logistics/cost purposes, but we do have a show in New Jersey which will be a nice little excursion. It would be bloody great to go out again in the not too distant future and travel around a bit more, but we’ll have to see if people will tolerate us the first time round.
To coincide with the announcement of these dates, you also announced your new relationship with Brooklyn label Old Flame Records. How did this come about and how psyched are you with the partnership?
Jake: Old Flame reached out to us a month or two ago; they became aware of us through Mike Taylor (Amazing Radio) and the guys in Dead Stars who I’ve been friends with for a while. They have such a good back catalogue and are really lovely and supportive, so we’re chuffed to bits to be working with them.
Matthew: Exceptionally psyched! To get that level of support from Old Flame has been incredible. I’m really looking forward to saying hello to those fellows soon.
Nicola: We discovered Potty Mouth around this time last year and they immediately became one of my favourite bands, so to end up working with and having the support of Old Flame is, to use an earlier turn of phrase, mind blowing.
Taking a minute out from the American Dream; back on home turf – how was your 2014? What were some of your highlights?
Nicola: 2014 was a year of really hard work for us as a band. In February, our original guitarist Alex decided to bow out right at the time we had a new EP to write and record for release in March; a UK tour planned for April and tons of other shows booked. We were really sad to see him go, but we had so much on the cards we cracked on and found Matt pretty much immediately. We threw him straight into finishing and recording the new songs and learning all of the other stuff ready for the shows which was intense. We were pretty lucky to find someone we could work really well with despite our extreme neurosis as human beings; god knows what he must have thought. There were many highlights, but a personal one for me was playing Southsea Fest. I went to Uni in Portsmouth and spent the entire 3 years trying and failing to find a band/get involved in music stuff. Southsea Fest was the first time I’ve been back since, and it was just such a wonderful moment to come back in that scenario, although it was mildly frustrating to know there was such a good DIY scene going on right under my nose. Aside from all of that sentimental crap, it was just a great show.
Matthew: We’ve played some excellent gigs, and played with some bands I love too. The highlight for me though, and I’m aware that this doesn’t sound like much, involved an impromptu game of “protect the effects pedals from rogue beachballs” in Brighton. It was athletic.
What sort of things have you got lined up for the upcoming year?
Jake: We have a new single out next month on Fierce Panda and another release that we can’t say much about right now, but it involves some people we’re very fond of and will go down a little later in the year. Other than that, writing loads and playing shows when we can. We’ll be on tour at some point too, hopefully heading back to the mainland to get fed like kings/queens.
Nicola: A lot of what we do is determined by opportunities to eat.
Finally…Having seen you perform ‘Suzanne’ at ACPF 2014 in Manchester and from reading your Facebook bio, I know you’re old school Weezer fans. A bit of a sore subject for me, Make Believe was what finished them in my eyes…What do you think of the current Weezer?
Nicola: I’ll be diplomatic here because I love Weezer & a lot of our friends whose opinions we respect like the new stuff too… for me they just kinda lost the knack of what made them so special. Maybe new Weezer is actually really great, but because we compare it to old Weezer it doesn’t stand a fighting chance. Maybe? I love that song ‘Go Away’ on their new album.
Matthew: I’ll also go for diplomacy. Ahem… there were better albums released last year. And every year since 1996.
Jake: I’m not a fan, which sucks because I wish I was. It goes without saying that most bands eventually end up, to a greater or lesser extent, developing their sound and taking it into territories they’ve yet to explore, because if you were to just stand still for 10+ years then what’s the point? The thing with Weezer is that their development post-Pinkerton has never felt natural or honest to me. Rivers used to write lyrics that dealt with actual shit he was feeling and that was reflected in the music. It was admirable. These days it’s like every song is written with a desire not to exorcise his demons but to build them a beach house and put them through college. There’s no heart in it anymore and it saddens me because the heart and soul present on Blue and Pinkerton is what made them so fucking good.