The State Of Music: Part 23: Michigan - Dog & Panther

For this State Of Music post we need to go back to the very early days of Choosemymusic.org, to a time when I would write interviews for bands featured on the music website Groopease.com, as this is where I first heard Dog & Panther. To be honest, they totally slipped my conciousness when I was franticly hunting for bands in Michigan. I am not even sure now what triggered it, but here we are.

As per usual with my lack of imagination and creativity I am finding it difficult to place Dog & Panther to any particular band. I would say, with their use of 'sounds' and the slightly higher vocal range they could be likened to The Flaming Lips with a little Sigur Ros thrown in.

One thing that might surprise you in the interview below is that Dog & Panther have only every played one gig. If I had my way I would be putting them on all over the country.

Does it matter what they sound like when the album is this good? I absolutely love it. I am sure you will too.

CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who are Dog & Panther and where in the world would we find you?

We are Ian Sigmon (Dog), Ben Vrazo (&), and John Katona (Panther). We are from Michigan.

CMM: How long has the band been in existence and how did it all start?

Ian and I (John) began working on short films together in 2006. From that, we began making music together. There was no plan. We were just making music we liked without goals to release or sell anything, or even to play shows. Ian showed Ben our stuff and Ben offered to sing on it. It took four years to finish and release our album and we kind of released it out of nowhere. We played no shows and did very little promotion.

CMM: How best would you describe your music?

We love sounds. So we use sounds we record (many times from nonmusical objects like a cigar cutter, bottle of maple syrup, car parts, boxes of tissue, etc) to try to arrange them into songs. Then, we add vocal melodies and lyrics that are personal, yet we hope people can relate to. But, I think our favorite part of music making is playing with objects that make sounds and trying to turn them into something.

CMM: What is the music scene like in Michigan right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment?

It’s really good. The times are tough economically, and I think the best artwork comes out of hard times. In Michigan, there are a lot of great indie and folk artists like, My Brightest Diamond, Dale Earnhart Jr. Jr., Prussia, Jeff Pianki, The Real Efforts of Real People, Joe Hertler, and YRLK.

CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an artist you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?

I think so. Our moods are shaped by the weather. It’s more difficult to write a sad song on a sunny day. And, our music is dramatically shaped by our moods. So, the weather is shaping our music (Transitive Property, right?). We also like organic woodsy sounds, which is very characteristic of Michigan.

CMM: What other influences does the band have, musical or otherwise?

I’d say we are influenced by a ton of things, such as:

-our friends/families

-books/films/videos/comics

-apple brandy

-Musically: Animal Collective, Sufjan Stevens, Philip Glass, Cloud Cult, BT, Sigur Ros, many more (new stuff every week, we are all really interested in new music)

CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?

-1 Album: What Happened (11 Songs)

-3 Album Promo Videos

-1 Single: “Giant Hands”

-1 Documentary

CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?

We have only played one show, which was at the Crofoot in Pontiac, Michigan. It amazed us how well everything turned out. Over 500 people showed up for just us and our opening artist, Jeff Pianki. To perform the songs, we had 14 friends on stage with the 3 of us (4 drummers, horns, saxes, piano, guitars, backup singer, keyboard player, and a guy on stage doing live video).

CMM: What's next in the pipeline for Dog & Panther?

-3 song folk cover E.P.

-New Full Album

-Mini tour

CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?

www.dogandpanther.com it links to all our videos and music


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