London’s Fat Dog have had quite the rise in the last year or so. From bagging a supporting slot while unsigned on Sports Team’s Autumn 2022 UK tour to signing to Domino Records and releasing their debut single ‘King of the Slugs’ in August, they are currently setting up the foundations for an even more successful 2024. Ahead of their show in Southampton on Thursday (19th October), I caught up with Joe (lead vocals/guitar), Ben (bass) and Chris (synths) to discuss their rise, drinking, and what’s next for the five-piece.
So, you’re back in Southampton! We last welcomed you here supporting Sports Team, how are you finding it?
Joe: Last year I didn’t go around it at all, but everyone else in the band said they really liked it. Especially Morgan [saxophone player]said she went and had a nice cup of tea somewhere
Ben: Yes, I had a nice cup of tea as well! This is only my second time here though.
What was it like touring with Sports Team last year?
J: Alex was nice! Actually, they’re all nice guys, probably the nicest people that we’ve shared a stage with.
Chris: At one point Henry [Young] said that we scared them which is really funny.
B: I think they were uncomfortable because we were new, while they’ve been touring for fucking ages and we were excited.
C: That’s what you get when you don’t listen to the band that you’re putting on tour.
How would you describe the sound of Fat Dog in as few words as possible?
J: Big drums. Electronic. Dog. Fat. Bass.
B: I’m dyslexic, does that count?
We saw ‘King of the Slugs’ release earlier this year. Unusually for a song in the age of TikTok it’s a 7-minute long epic with no edit available on streaming, I imagine Domino have been a pretty unrestrictive label in this regard then?
J: I didn’t even want a radio edit to be fair! Nobody wants to listen to a 7-minute track, but we did it. I’ve not even listened to the radio edit.
How was it working with James Ford on a debut single?
J: He was great, lazy bastard! Only joking, he’s great at what he does and he made a great single with us. It was very nice working with him.
What’s your ideal process for writing a song?
C: Joe recruited us, we work for Joe!
J: I just make some stuff on a laptop normally, and then everyone comes in and makes it twenty times better sounding. So it’s a good process I think.
B: A lot of us are new, we’ve met each other and we get on, but we’re also musicians. All the people Joe’s brought in are the kind of people who want to help make a piece of music as a group rather than have an ego. So Joe comes in with the ideas with his writing and then we all just, like an orchestra, add our bit. It’s very orchestral, there’s no egos. Joe writes it all, which is nice as it’s hard to get people who are accepting to realise that sometimes all you need is to add a little bit to a song [to make it work]. Sometimes you can build the most by doing the bare minimum!
What was the process of Domino getting involved then? As you formed in lockdown, and were around for a couple of years before that.
J: They just came down to see us play in 2022, and it went from there.
The band appear to disagree over when Domino first came to see them play. With some suggesting it was even earlier than last year.
How did forming during lockdown impact Fat Dog, particularly with there being a few lineup changes since then?
C: I wasn’t there, yeah! I try to negate that by having the same haircut as the same synth player [Will].
B: The thing is with the lineup changes is that there we were a very new band, there’s actually more lineup changes even before that with more people coming in – loads of shit. We’re very new, but this has probably been the longest, most serious part of our music bits that we’re doing. This is kind of *the* Fat Dog, before that it was just us trying out.
J: It was a soundcheck before.
Joe… just how on earth are you able to keep your energy up for a complete Fat Dog show?
B: He’s the least energetic one!
J: I am the least energetic one. I just do it for 40 minutes on the stage and then I’m in a wheelchair afterwards.
Does that help with the fact that you’ve only got one song out then, as the audience can connect with your energy rather than singing along?
J: Oh, they still sing along! Well, some of them do.
C: Recently though, a bunch of people got their own names for all the songs because we haven’t released them yet. We’re basically just going to use those as the song names, because they’re way better than anything we can come up with.
J: Yeah, I like the names they have. ‘Vigilante’ is one of theirs.
So, this is your first headline tour. How have you been finding it so far?
J: It’s going really well, people were wearing our t-shirts in Newcastle – that’s pretty mad. We’re playing to 20 people sometimes, but it’s good.
B: In Newcastle we had about 40-50 people, but it was really nice. I actually think that’s fucking amazing, because it was the first one we’d done there. I think we’ve played really well this whole tour, so hopefully people like it – becuase I think a lot of people before only heard us live. We’re known as more of a live band in the past, so we’re trying to transition. So people only hearing our recordings might get a bit of a shock.
When can we expect our next taste of your recorded music?
J: I think our next one’s coming out around February.
B: 3 years ago, Joe sent us a Christmas song and it slapped. Joe’s the master of the Christmas songs.
Fat Dog are an energetic bunch, drinking and preparing to smoke as I talk to them and synth/saxophone player Morgan briefly joins us.
But what is Fat Dog’s choice of alcoholic drink?
C: Real ale
Morgan: Elderflower cordial
J: A pint of beer, lager
B: I am the same as Joe, Stella!
Finally, what else can you tell us about your 2024 plans?
J: Release an album and go on holiday.
B: I presume more festivals, as our agent Rebecca is just incredible. I reckon we’ll do the same [as 2023], we’ve done a few festivals and they’ve all been down to her. So next year, most festivals will hopefully be on.
Thanks Fat Dog!
Fat Dog’s debut single ‘King of the Slugs’ is out now. Tickets for their upcoming UK tour dates can be bought here.