KEXP Track Premiere: Dog Mountain – Purity

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With a name like Dog Mountain, how could you ever fail? The Bellingham indie rock quartet doesn’t need the name as a crutch — they match both the majesty of mountains and dogs by crafting powerful, tastefully arranged guitar-heavy tracks that aptly blend the band’s humor with their own introspective tendencies. With a new album in the pipeline, the band has shared their latest single, “Purity.” It’s may be the band’s most mature and emotionally wrought song yet, displaying the band’s masterful understanding of dynamics. Waves of guitar distortion sway in and out through the verses, surging in the chorus over distant vocals that serve as a steady baseline for the rest of the song. Strings pop into the mix as well at key moments, underscoring the drama lingering beneath the disaffected melodies.

You can stream the track below. We also caught up with the band to learn more about their Bellingham beginnings, the origins of the song, and most importantly — dogs.

 

Dog Mountain originally started with an overnight jam session that your bio says “looked like it was gonna be no good.” What happened to change that feeling?

It’s true, Dog Mountain started from a jam session with Mat, Nick, and founding member Nate Braks (who is no longer with the band). It was entirely spontaneous. It happened in Bellingham, maybe three years ago. The three of us were jamming on some random post-grunge progressions. We had some room mics set up and we happened to record a few. Later we listened back and were surprisingly excited about what we heard. We decided that it would be cool to record vocals over it. It was a blast. There’s a song about Sketchers, the sneaker brand on there. We released it as our first EP, gods dogs, although it serves kind of more like a demo.

You were originally based in Bellingham, but now you split your time between there and Seattle. How would you describe Bellingham’s music scene and how does it compare to Seattle’s?

The scene in Bellingham is really great, it’s easy to start a project and in particular to find an audience for your music. That’s why the Bellingham scene has continued to flourish. There are lots of great all ages venues to play at like Make.Shift Art Space and the Alternative Library and there continue to be great bands. I (Mat) lived there for five years. I always felt like the music scene went in waves because it was a college town. Some of my favorite bands from Bellingham still play, like Candysound.

What we dig about the Seattle scene is that it is more diverse and eclectic. It is really inspiring to see so many artists expressing themselves across a wide spectrum of mediums. There really aren’t as many all age’s venues, however. Bellingham has a lot of cool all-ages venues and houses that Seattle can have a hard time sustaining.

Tell me a bit about your latest track, “Purity.” Where did the song originate from? What ideas and feelings were you trying to capture in the music?

“Purity” is the last song on our soon-to-be-released album, titled Meadow. The whole album is about searching for faith and about trying to maintain that sense of faith in a world that can feel overrun by unbelievably dark things. It’s hard to tell if “Purity” is a hopeful or a nihilistic song, but in any case, it feels like it’s the thematic climax of the record.

The video for the track also includes clips from what appear to be home movies and old PSAs. Where did you collect the footage from and how did you conceptualize using them for alongside this song?

Rob and Mat listened to the album while clicking thru old Super 8 footage on YouTube. A lot of that old home-movie-type stuff seemed to amplify a sense of nostalgia that we felt was present in these songs for a really long time. We wanted to explore that theme for our first video. Our roommate Antoine has a lot of experiencing video sampling for his beats project Sous Chef. We teamed up to create this video.

A favorite shot of the video is at the end of the bridge when it pans over to this swimmer girl. She’s laughing and just radiating happiness. After watching the clip over and over during editing we started to think about what it might be like to try and find this girl. Like, it’s likely she’s dead now.

As the PNW’s leading dog-themed band, who are your top 5 dogs of all-time and why?

Cujo – Stephen King’s famous rabies dog – no explanation needed.

Border collies – they’re literally the most beautiful animals in all of the kingdoms. They’re like the dogs sitting at the cool kids’ table of the dog kingdom.

Scooby Doo –he was always having a cow cuz he couldn’t get any of those Scooby Snax but Mat believes the hungrier you get, the more shenanigans come your way.

Pug – it’s like a little nugget of happiness.

Gabija’s stuffed animal bulldog, Cute – He still remains in her childhood bedroom.

Honorable mention goes to Tekno the Robotic Puppy.

What’s next for the band? It sounds like you have a full-length in the works? Any upcoming shows?

We will be releasing two more music videos for the other singles on the album, playing a super rad (soon to be announced) release show, and hitting the road for tour.

Our full-length is called Meadow. We’ve been working on it for a year and a half and we’re super excited to share it with everyone. It was engineered and mixed by Nick (our bassist). It comes out before year’s end. We’re thinking a lock of Mat’s hair will be included with the preorders.

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