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The Dodos Say No

American indie rockers The Dodos are still flying high on the success of their fourth album, No Color, which dropped in March of last year, included a collaboration with Neko Case, and snagged them a #70 position on the U.S. album charts. Consisting of Logan Kroeber and Meric Long, the band – yes, just the two of them – benefits from less bandmates to argue with and less gear to lug around to each gig. But for Kroeber, the best thing about being a band of only two is more of a studio consideration.

“When we record, after we (record) the duo part of things, there’s still tons of room to play around with,” he explains, “doing overdubs and stuff like that is really fun.”

The limited instrumentation – especially live – also proves to be a welcome challenge for The Dodos. While they occasionally bring along a third musician to fill in some of the more complex parts on stage, it all begins with what they can craftily put together on their own. Long uses mostly acoustic or acoustic-electric guitars live, while Kroeber plays on a drum kit that’s devoid of a bass drum, and tapes a tambourine to his shoe for extra percussion texture.

“For me, part of the challenge has been looking for new drums and percussion that fit what we’re doing,” he says, “I picked up some cool stuff last year, and I’m really going to try to work it in. For Meric, I think it’s all about guitar pedals.”

For both of The Dodos, it’s also about the wins as far as composing goes – trying unusual things with their sound and arrangements (which they do more often than not) and seeing them succeed.

“Off the top of my head, “Companions,” off of the last record, has some of the best and most varied tones all in one song,” Kroeber says. “But I also think back to playing early live shows in 2006 – songs like “Nerds” and “The Ball” really stood out to me then, and I kinda wished they would go on and on while we were playing ’em. As far as what didn’t work, it’s more about what we didn’t try. Personally, I wanted to do some weird stuff on “Time To Die” to make certain beats stand out more, but I didn’t pursue my ideas as much as I could have.”

Since they’ve already started thinking about their next album (yes, they’re that ambitious) and are experimenting with more in-studio gear, Kroeber will have plenty of time to be more aggressive with his production choices.

“Meric and I have both been messing around with new instruments, and it might take a while to find out how they work in the context of the band,” he says, “right now, the priority is to get inspired to write new material. And I’m itching to see the country again, so hopefully we’ll be on tour sometime in the spring.” – Kristi Kates

Find out more about The Dodos at their official website.