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INTERVIEW W/ Danger Dog: "You won't get anywhere if you're not willing to be vulnerable”

The self-proclaimed West Midlands emo quartet Danger Dog have become renowned on the Liverpool scene for their visceral live shows. Their music loves to play with your expectations, often lulling you into a false sense of security with gentle, melancholic atmospherics before lurching into angst-fuelled attacks. In terms of their personality they are friendly and unserious, yet their music taps into a much darker and more poignant realm both in its sound and its lyricism.

We spoke with the band about their brand new single '(D)anger Dog', becoming confident in vulnerability and, of course, Coco, the most dangerous dog out there...

Photo Credit: Stu Price / @stupricecine

Q. Can you explain the idea behind the eerie red aesthetic that is present in all your visuals surrounding the new single '(D)anger Dog)'?

A. “It's a fast, aggressive, punky, distorted song. It kind of doesn't let up the entire time and so whenever we play it, it's always a big moshing song. With the artwork for our singles we’ve kind of changed colour each time so with this one, we went for red as it matched that aggressive feeling. For the photos, I wanted somewhere that looked interesting but that was still nondescript. That’s what led us to Formby beach at night time. We got a lot from being up on the dunes with all the grass and the mountains of sand behind us. We did a lot of running around to create some more distorted and blurred pictures too. It was really tiring and I came home with sand in every bit of my clothes but it was worth it haha”.

Q. You mention the single artwork there, each track has featured a particular dog on the cover art, who’s dog is this?

A. “That’s Coco! It's Harry's dog, she's a little Border Terrier. Because we're Danger Dog, we thought why not get the best dog that exists as the mascot. A girl I went to high school with actually reached out to make a poster for us or something and we thought we’d use Coco as the model. So for the first single ‘Big Z Surf Memorial’  I got her on a surfboard. Then for ‘What If We Get Sick Of Each Other’ we had Coco looking in the mirror. She features on the cover of the new single too!”. 

Q. Do you enjoy blending high intensity sections with more mellow vibes in your music?

A. “I think it's really fun, Yeah! We've been doing stuff like that for years. The tracks often start really mellow and then are super heavy and distorted by the end, even with the vocals. I started Danger Dog by writing a couple things by myself but I wasn't comfortable with my lyrics or my voice. So my way around that was just to shout it and scream it as loud as I can so I don't have to worry about singing or people understanding what I'm saying. The new single ‘(D)anger Dog’, was one of the first ones I ever wrote for Danger Dog and no one knows what I'm saying because the lyrics are cringe.

Q. Do you feel you’ve become more confident in your singing and writing?

A. “I’m slowly getting more confident with singing. I'm doing a songwriting course so I started singing out of necessity really and now I sing in front of a band. I think writing lyrics is a vulnerable thing and I still feel that you won't get anywhere if you're not willing to be vulnerable”. 

Q. What’s the idea behind the lyrics on the new single ‘(D)anger Dog’?

A. “I went to a festival and met this girl and really fancied her but then she fell in love with my best mate and they’re still my best mate now. I think I just found this video of her and I was like, I'm gonna write a song about her”.

Q. If this new track was one of the first you wrote for Danger Dog why did you decide to release the other two singles before this one?

A. “I feel like if we put this one out first it would have put people off! But this is my favourite one and it's such a fun one to play. I think as we started writing more and gigging more it became apparent that Big Z needed to be the first single because it was the one that people knew. The riff at the start is so recognizable that people started to know it. So we came up with the plan to put that out first and then ‘What If We Get Sick Of Each Other’ which is more chilled out before we release this latest one that’s full pelt and all shouting!”.

Q. How much does your live side feed into how you think about writing songs and how you think about recording them?

A. "I think we’re mainly a live band. I feel like there have been songs that we've written specifically because we wanted something fun to play live. We'll put stops in and we'll put little bits or motifs or whatever that might not use if we were just recording".

Q. What kind of experience do you want fans to have at your live shows?

A. “We just want them to have a fun time…and a memorable time. We want them to have a little mosh, a little boogie, a little self reflection in the tender moments and just experience a mix of emotion enjoying it.  I've been going to gigs since I was like 13. I used to get beat up in the pits as a 13 / 14 year old kid and go to school the next day and I think that's really funny.  I think because of lockdown and stuff a lot of people have missed out on that experience of being able to grow up going to gigs and experiencing live music. So we want to allow people to come and just be a freak for 40 minutes while we play without worrying”.


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