GH – Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first. Can you give us a bit of background information about yourselves? How did you meet, and at what point did Paper Dogs come to be?
PD – Mark and Chris first met playing in the backing band for Kaz Hawkins back in 2011. We quickly realised that we were kindred spirits musically. Shortly afterwards Mark brought Kris and Nick on board. (They had studied and played music together for years). We played with each other for a few years just for fun but after a year’s sabbatical in the Netherlands we finally decided to try and make something of the music we make. Our first gig was in October 2015 and we’ve been busy ever since!
GH – Blues Rock is a pretty broad term. Can you narrow down your sound a bit for us? What do you think distinguishes you from other acts in this genre?
PD – In the beginning the music we made mostly dealt with the sonic fallout from the 60s and 70s. We took artists like Black Sabbath and Rory Gallagher as starting points but now as a band I think we consciously try to avoid such labels. Originality is very important to us and the vagueness of our genre affords us the opportunity to pursue new sounds. I also think if we allowed ourselves to be narrowed down to a specific genre we’d simply get bored! Ultimately I think part of what makes us unique is the mercurial nature of the music we make, keeping the listener on their toes with plenty of unexpected musical segues, twists and turns.
GH – Compared to a lot of other Belfast acts, you have a fairly packed gigging schedule. Is this because of something in your nature, or because your music is particularly suited to being played live?
PD – I don’t know if you’ve heard of the ten thousand hour rule? Because as band we don’t just want to be good, we want to be great! As we see it, the only way to get there is to play as much as possible. We’re a young band and have a long way to go, but every gig is part of that learning process and one step closer to our ten thousand hours!
GH – Your EP, The Lost Art of Conversation, came out last October, what have you been doing in the intervening months to try and build on the momentum from this?
PD – Our last EP was a purely digital release, and we’ve only just got around to organising physical copies to be printed so we’re hoping to get those together pretty quickly and out to our fans. Aside from that the other major part of what we do is music videos. We are very fortunate to have some very talented friends that our willing to work with us towards our aim of creating cohesive audio-visual art! As such, we have three music videos currently out for No Signal, Social Animals and Rabbit Hole which we immensely enjoyed making and we hope to have more shortly!
GH – You’ve recently been announced on the line-up for this year’s Sunflower Festival. Is there anything else big in the pipeline? Can we expect any more releases in the near future?
PD – Sunflower is the big one for this year! We will be going on hiatus for a while afterwards when Nick goes to Japan and Chris goes to Boston but we intend to use this as an opportunity to write more material and come back strong!