The celebration has started! After twenty-one years Dog Fashion Disco is revisiting and re-recording their first albums; last year they released Erotic Massage Redux and now they are releasing Experiments in Embryos, which features some of the early tracks of Experiments in Alchemy and Embryo's in bloom.
The album sets off in a spin, Siddhis twirls about with carnivalesque arrangments, like a carousel that reveals with each turn the delirious course and color of the album. Primate moves in seductively before exploding into a stringy and rubbery frenzy, as it runs abruptly towards a cotton candy-like verse, it struts concise and shamelessly among the brass fanfares; their narrative is a true display of their brilliance and of a furious kind of euphoria.
Satanic Cowboy seizes you into a nightmarish yet humorous rodeo that could easily remind us of Mr. Bungle's homonymous debut. Like a rollercoaster, it twists and turns, but these dizzy turns start to decompose, they swirl right into a hall of mirrors, proportions melt, they deform and expand with a calculated violence... We must take into consideration the fact that these songs were written twenty years ago, and they still provoke in form and substance. Albino Rhino plunges in savagely, following its effective onslaught, Sexual Abyss unfolds mischievously, filling the room with neon beams, red velvet, and patent leather shoes that might as well dance to a devilish kind of funk; Dog Fashion Disco are always up for a big show. After the winding synthesizer of Siamese Fever marches on ravenously, accentuated by oscillating riffs, this song proves to be one of the most representative of Dog Fashion Disco's style: a trampled and intermittent narrative that unleashes a storm, soft, right in the eye, it winks delightfully towards pop, and suddenly it hits with a drift that carbonizes all. Toothless Dream parades along, surrounded by an aura of mystery, it unravels in between gleams and contrasts, with chaos lurking from a seething mass of dense colors at all times.
They are always playing with the element of surprise Pervert and Fetus on a Beat go off; the guitar constantly articulates devious tides, a natural ebb and flow to their swing, the synths and the brass spread neon-like reverberations along the tide, giving it a variety show subtlety. The album is coming to an end, and even though the tracklisting features songs of two different albums, it presumes of a consistent sonority; if you happened to discover Dog Fashion Disco with this album, you probably wouldn't know it's a revisited album, it doesn't feel as such, it never runs out of vivaciousness. God Crisis marks its end with a lively melody, flirting with blissfulness and with melancholy; this album reaches its climax surrounded by clouds. Jasan Stepp has been a vital part of the proyect since 2003, and today he will tell us a bit about this new album.
-Last year Razor to Wrist released Erotic Massage Redux to celebrate its twentieth anniversary, tell us a bit more about this celebration.
That was actually a really fun project to be involved with. Those songs were all written right around the time that the original members were graduating from High School... 1993 or so. Even then I must say they were coming up with really great stuff, for a bunch of kids. Certainly better than the stuff that I was writing at the time. I had a great time reworking those tunes and turning them into something that is a little more akin to what we are currently doing. For 20+ year old songs they stand up pretty well.
-The tracks on Experiments in Embryos were previously listed on your second album, Experiments in Alchemy (1998) and on your third, The Embryo’s in Bloom (also from 1998), could you tell us more about the process of selection of the tracks?
There wasn't a whole lot of thought that went into that! They were basically the songs that were left over after Erotic Massage and are not featured on any subsequent albums. The band had a bit of a history putting some of the same songs on multiple releases.
-Please tell us more about Satanic Cowboy and Primate!
I can't tell you a ton about those tunes aside from the fact that they are my favorite remakes on the whole album. Primate is a song that was kind of lost to history, it's rarely been performed. Satanic Cowboy has been a staple for going on 20 years. The new version of Primate is going to be featured live much more often, it just turned out great and deserves to be heard.
-It’s been twenty years since these two albums first came out, the scene has changed a lot; Dog Fashion Disco has changed a lot too with albums such as Adultery (2006) and Sweet Nothings (2014) just to name a few of your trajectory, how does it feel to revisit and to look back to the early years of DFD?
The band has changed a lot, truly it's a different band with the same name. Brian White and I joined around the same time 2003-2004 before The Day of the Dead EP. So when you put Adultery beside Anarchists of Good Taste there's a reason they're so different. That said I love revisiting the old material and trying to put our more modern spin on it. It's a blast and a challenge for me. From the standpoint of the guitarist, there is a fine line between maintaining the original ideas, paying the appropriate amount of respect to Greg Combs and turning them into something that is more like me... without completely rewriting them.
-How has your creative process evolved over the years?
That's a really good question. The biggest change for me is the ability to work on and construct songs soup to nuts in a computer, before they are ever introduced to the band. It has completely eliminated creative disagreements in the practice space. Todd (Smith) and I more or less write everything for Polkadot Cadaver and Knives Out and Tim Swanson also contributes some songs for DFD. He has been a creative shot in the arm. Some of the coolest tunes on Sweet Nothings and Ad Nauseam, Tim came up with.
-The element of surprise is always present in your work, along with contrast and eclectic narratives, how do you relate to narrative and what would you say is the importance of surprise?
Complexity and surprise is what makes this fun for us. There aren't many bands aside from Slayer and AC DC that can make the same album for 30 years and not burn everyone out. I want to challenge ourselves and our fans. The idea that we are just a comfortable writing a speed metal song as a 50's doo-wop song makes me very proud to be involved with this group of musicians.
-Your music constantly reminds me of the circus; what fascinates you in particular about the circus and its imagery/musicality?
I'm not really fascinated by the Circus, but I will tell you that what makes it interesting is the idea that it's sold as a glossy, family-friendly event, when in reality it's a bunch of creepy methed-out carnies mistreating animals and fucking each other in run-down camper trailers.
-If Dog Fashion Disco were a movie, what kind of movie would it be? Who would direct it?
I have no preference about the type of movie, but I think Quentin Tarantino would capture the spirit of who we are and do something pretty killer.
-After being so active these past five years, what are the plans for DFD and yourself in the future?
We are going to keep making records with all of our bands: Dog Fashion Disco, Polkadot Cadaver, El Creepo, Knives Out and In The Blind until the cows come home... or until we run out of ideas...