Q&A: The Dodos guitarist Meric Long
San Francisco based duo The Dodos released its sixth album, “Individ,” in late January 2015. The group consists of guitarist and vocalist Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber, who have been playing together for nearly ten years. The Dodos have a rapidly growing fan base of listeners who appreciate their hard work and focus on the instruments. Long talked to the Eagle about “Individ,” life on tour and his expectations for their show at D.C.’s Black Cat on Feb. 24.
The Eagle: Tell me a little about “Individ.” What went into it? Where did you find inspiration? What messages are you trying to portray?
Meric Long: It was a record that we kind of put together pretty fast, there wasn’t a lot of thought put into it. It pretty much came together with the idea of trying to just go into the studio, record some stuff and see what happens. There were a couple of things I wanted to do, I wanted to just go into the studio and record some stuff and not have the pressure of it having to be a record. Also I felt like it was time that we played to our fans. In the past we have never really done that. I feel like I have a vague idea of what our fans look for in our music and I decided to give them that.
E: What is life on tour like for the Dodos?
Long: Well, we’ve been touring together for around 10 years now and this time has been different. Touring now is great. I feel like it’s a positive part of my life, it’s not this thing where I go out and destroy my body then come back a wreck. We’re much older now, a bit wiser and a bit more careful with how we treat ourselves. We’re just trying to keep things positive. It’s a very disciplined approach.
E: Have you been working on any new music projects?
Long: No, not at the moment. There’s a bunch of keyboard equipment at my house right now that I’m waiting to get back to. That’s my next project, to dig into that and incorporate some of that. On the road it’s pretty much focusing on the task at hand.
E: You’re two weeks into a tour from Seattle to Switzerland, what are you looking forward to most in the coming months?
Long: I’m looking forward to getting really good as a band. We’re getting tighter, more comfortable, and a little looser on stage. As long as we’re focused, we’ll just progress the longer we tour. Hopefully by the end of it we’ll be a better band than when we started.
E: Have you played in D.C. before?
Long: Yeah, we’ve played there a bunch. D.C. has always been a good place for us, we have always had good shows there even before we had records out. It’s one place where we seem to have fans.
E: The two of you have been playing together for almost 10 years now. Can you tell me some of the best moments so far?
Long: We’ve had some pretty great nights, I mean it’s hard to say… We did a tour all over Asia and we went to all these places that I never thought I would see, let alone get paid to go play music in. I came back and I felt like a different person, it opened my eyes to a lot of things
E: Any plans for the next 10 years?
Long: (laughs) I don’t know man, I’m never looking that far into the future. I’m not very good at planning ahead. It’s usually six months at the most.
E: You’ve built a reputation for your endurance and relentless work on your music, any advice for aspiring musicians?
Long: Just keep it fun and keep it loose. Don’t take it too seriously because it will squelch the life out of what you do.
E: Why should people care about the Dodos? Why should they listen to your music?
Long: I don’t know. The reason why I want people to listen to us—and I don’t believe anybody should listen to us—is because I feel like there are some layers underneath that are worth listening to. We kind of play music for other musicians, people who can physically imagine what is going on in the music and appreciate it. We put a lot of work into creating layers within our music and it’s not very obvious when you first listen to it. For the person who does choose to listen to our music, spend some time with it, they will be rewarded with those layers and I think that’s worth something.
The Dodos will perform at The Black Cat on Feb. 24. Doors open at 8 p.m.