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Ferocious Dogs' Dan Booth Discusses New Album and What’s Next for the Band

11 October 21 interview: Katie Lyle

After signing a record deal during the pandemic, Notts six-piece band Ferocious Dog are back with a brand new album. We got the chance to sit down with co-founder and violinist Dan Booth to chat about the making of The Hope, being signed to a label, and everything coming up for the band…

Dan Booth (second from left) and Ferocious Dogs (Photo: Justin Griffiths)

The Hope is coming out this Friday. What can we expect from this new album? 
We signed a record deal with Graphite Records last September and with COVID we couldn't tour, so it gave us time to really work on songs. We ended up writing seventeen for this album and then we started recording it in January. It took about six weeks, we put everything into it, we had two and a half days just on cello alone. We were really lucky that we got a record deal during COVID times because that gave us the money to produce what we think is our best ever album, so yeah, we are really happy and proud of it. The reviews that are coming in are just ace, everyone seems to be loving it that's reviewed it so far. 

What have been your inspirations for the record? Has it been different? 
We have kind of gone along the same lines in terms of writing about what we are passionate about, injustices and stuff, but there's a few stories in there as well which we have included. I think musically it's next level compared to anything we have done before. We have done different tricks in the studio by using different guitar amps, where normally we would just use the same amp for the whole album, but we were using different ones for different songs and really put a lot of time and effort into this one.

How has your sound evolved over the years? You have been going for a long time… 
I think with the players that we’ve got at the minute, the songs have got more technical and the band have as well. I think everyone’s evolved. Alex, our drummer, has been with us about six years. He was quite young when he started with us but I have watched him turn into pretty much a world class drummer, which obviously takes time. So yeah, there has been a lot of evolution over the years.

We go off the energy from the crowd - what the crowd give us, we feed off

You describe your music as Celtic Folk - do you feel that you still fit here? 
I think we are still in that genre, but not always. One of the songs on the album has got a ska feel to it. And then we’ve got a real folky element, and then some of its rock, and a lot of its punk. So it's really hard to pigeon hole our music now, especially with this latest album, because it still sounds like Ferocious Dog, but there's so many more layers to it. 

How does it feel to be back out performing - you have a hefty tour lined up… Has this been your longest break? 
Oh yeah, it's definitely been the longest break. We’ve had some great festivals in the summer. We literally start our tour tonight, I leave in about 25 minutes for Liverpool. It's gonna be cool. It's been more exciting for us and more exciting for the crowd because they have obviously missed it, we have obviously missed it, and that energy quadrupled at the least, which is crazy because we go off the energy from the crowd - what the crowd give us, we feed off, and we give it our all, so that has made a massive difference. 

Ferocious Dog live in concert (Photo: Rob Marrison)

Has the process of writing this album during the pandemic been quite different to previous music you have worked on? 
Yeah, I mean we started writing it early last year, and then the record deal came in in September, so we already had some material. But then obviously COVID hit, and there were different rules, so sometimes we would be able to get into a big music hall where we could all go in together and space out, but then other times we could only do it in pairs, or outside, or using technology. Ryan’s pretty good with technology so with one of the album's songs, Victims, he literally wrote the riffs and the whole body of music and sent it to me to put the lyrics on, so we didn't really have to get together for that. We could create a demo that we could then record in January. There have been lots of different processes, we’ve worked around COVID and we’ve obviously tried to stick to all the rules, as we are not going to be breaking them. So it's been a long process of writing with COVID to tackle during all that, but we’ve managed it. 

How have you kept inspired to keep creating… 
I think we had a lot of time on our hands, and we had no way of performing because of COVID. So we channeled all our energy into writing, and because we did sign the deal we wanted to get the best album we could to do the deal justice. So that was kind of the inspiration really to make the record label proud of what we’d written, and luckily when we sent it to them they absolutely loved it.

We’ve got an exciting tour to announce for the Spring which will end up in Nottingham

Has being with a record label been helpful for you as a band?
Oh, totally. I mean, it's not just the money side, which is obviously a massive thing - especially when you can't tour - and without them there wouldn't be an album. But it's the people they put into the team; they put in digital marketing experts, an album campaign manager, a PR guy. They basically do the big things that bands just can't do on their own, like get in touch with magazines and get reviews and get on radio, all the things you just can't do as an unsigned band. 

What is next for Ferocious Dog? 
We’ve got some amazing festivals booked for next year, which we can’t say yet, because the festivals have not announced us yet. We’ve got an exciting tour to announce for the Spring which will end up in Nottingham as well, at Rock City, so we are looking forward to another sold out gig at the end of April which will be a highlight because we have not played that for a long time now.

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