Interview: Year of the Dog

We enjoyed listening to your song “Arch Enemy”. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it? Also, what inspired the song title?
Arch Enemy” is about growing up with my older brother. As a kid all I wanted was to play with my big brother, but unfortunately he didn’t deem me cool enough. I quickly noticed that in his games – be it with toys, on the PlayStation 1 or in his imagination – he always played the lone hero. Every hero needs a villain, so I cleverly (for a kid at least) snuck my way into his games by playing the bad guy. 

We love the music video that accompanies the song. What ideas went into making the video and is there any story – or message – that you hope the video contains?
The video was shot at Blaenavon Quarry in Wales. The song is about childhood days, and Olly Jenkins (saxophonist) frequented the quarry with his grandparents when he was young, so thought it tied into the theme nicely. Also, as a band who are mostly Welsh and formed at the Royal Welsh College of Music, we feel a duty to promote the places and people in Wales as it’s given so much to us throughout our lives. 

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
Our sound is a hard one to describe, and we take pride in that. Our overall sound we title ‘brass-house soul’, though Arch Enemy itself includes elements of pop-rock and indie. The chugging guitar is similar to the bands like the Black Keys and The Dandy Warhols who we listened to growing up, but there’s also elements that bare semblance to Ezra Furman’s ‘Love You So Bad’ – the alt rock song written for Netflix’s Sex Education in which we play ’Swing Band’ performing our tune ‘Run These Streets’ in episode 3, season 1. 

What have been career highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
Career highlights definitely includes our feature in all three series of Sex Education, but also that we performed prime-time slots at festivals including Boom Town and Noz Stock (MainStage) in our first year of being a band. We’ve also hit Sofar Sounds London, Heart Radio (live), and had a feature on BBC news ‘How To Be A Band In Lockdown’. My personal dream is for us to play on Jools Holland one day. To me, that’s the ultimate recognition that you’re an artist/band worth your salt. 

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
As individual musicians we all have separate music tastes and artists we worship. For me personally it’s Red Hot Chilli Peppers, for others it’s Bruno Mars and Snarky Puppy. 

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
I’ve been listening to a fairly new track by Gabriels – Love and Hate in a Different Time. That track slaps, check it out if you’re a fan of old styles with a new spin.

Finally, you’ve had your music used in the Netflix series ‘Sex Education’. What was that like and how did it happen?
Our time on Sex Education as Swing Band was a mixture of being incredibly excited and boredom in ways only drying paint can understand. The cameras, the crew, the globally recognised star-actors you casually chat to – it’s all surreal and creates this electricity in the air. Though this is accompanied with endless waiting. Scenes are shot over and over, days are long – we’re talking 6am-8pm, sometimes later. I could go on but I think you can imagine the rest. Though it may not sound like it, we are so grateful to be a part of that world. We have a lot of work to do though as Netflix didn’t credit us because we weren’t a verified band when we went on set for the first time. This means there are over 40 million people who have seen us perform our music but don’t know we’re an actual band, so it’s our job to get the word out. Thank you to Pillar Artists for helping us do so!

Year of the Dog: Facebook | Instagram

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