Creating their own take on Traditional Celtic folk, Ferocious Dog takes the traditional instruments; fiddles, whistles, mandolins and mixes them up with a bit of raw, buzz saw rock n’ roll attitude. With their unique, aggressive yet feel-good music they tear up venues across the country often bringing their faithful Hell Hounds along for the ride.
We caught up with Dan Booth (fiddle player and co songwriter) and chatted about 'lively' moshpits, THE perfect album and Spinal Tap moments, here's how we got on....
Okay, we know you’re called Ferocious Dog, we know you’re a celtic/folk/rock band, what else can you tell us about yourselves?
I don’t even know if we’re a celtic band to be honest, we’ve been described differently by so many magazines and reviewers, we don’t know what we are anymore! A lot of people call it Folk/Punk and especially with the new album that’s due out in March, it’s certainly going to be more along the lines of punk so let’s go with ‘Celtic Folk Punkers’….
I read that you recently took on the services of Les Carter (aka Fruitbat) formerly of Carter USM, how did this come about?
We did a few festivals that Carter USM also did and we just got chatting to Les and hooked up on Facebook. When Carter played their final gigs in 2014, I explained to him that we were on the lookout for a new guitarist and the timing was right and it all fell into place. I was a big Carter fan back in the day so it was an honour when he agreed to join us.
Your live shows look somewhat ‘lively’, do you find that these days with health and safety gone mad that you have to tone things down?
No we don’t, we have learned a few lessons along the way and these days we tend to hook up with the venue’s security and ask them to leave the crowd alone! We have had a few issues in the past, when we played at Bearded Theory a while back, the security were trying to get someone thrown out of the pit because they were ‘stacking’ (when people climb on each others shoulders to form a human pyramid). Sometimes it’s easier to leave them to it, it’s not as if anyone is causing any problems and if security do interfere, it can sometimes provoke the situation so easier to leave them alone, no harm ever comes of it, just a bit of pushing and shoving at the end of the day!
Ferocious Dog are completely unsigned and totally independent of any so-called music authority….is this a win-win situation for you as musicians?
Yes and no really, the benefits of being signed is that you get money pumped into the band for you to be able to go out and buy new instruments and equipment ,when you’re unsigned, you have to come up with the money yourselves. The plus side is that you have total autonomy over what/where you play/appear and you don’t have anyone breathing down your neck as they have stumped up cash to get you in the studio etc. We put out an album a couple of years back that was completely funded by us, this allowed us to produce the album exactly how we wanted to do it and we write songs about what we want to write about, we answer to nobody. We do have a booking agent but that doesn’t interfere with what we want to do as a band, it’s a good arrangement for us and we all enjoy the freedom. We are lucky in the fact that we do generate revenue from tickets and we sell a lot of merchandise, this allows us to put adverts in major magazines and attract more people to our shows. We rely on nobody and we never will.
In your opinion, which act or band has produced the ‘perfect’ album?
Levellers by The Levellers by far, the songs are fantastic and the production is incredible
You mention on your website that your new album is going to be released in March 2015, are you still on track for this date?
We’re recording mid February so depending on the mixing and mastering, we should be done by very early April at the very latest. We do want it to be perfect so we’ll see how we get on.
Have you as a band had any ‘Spinal Tap’ moments? If so, please share!
I’m not sure we’ve had many of these to be honest, although when we played Rock City (Nottingham) for New Model Army’s aftershow party in 2012 (the BBC were filming the event too), one of the band members was late on stage. The whole crowd clicked onto which member it was and began to shout his name, that was very funny, I wasn’t going to name and shame but, oh sod it, it was Ellis!
You’re lined up to play some pretty impressive festivals throughout 2015, which festival from 2014 stood out the most for you?
I would say Beautiful Days in Escot Park (near Exeter), we played the Big Top tent to about 4000 people at 2pm in the afternoon on Saturday and it was rammed, they were turning people away! That was without a doubt the best festival that we have played.
I think to get a good crowd that early in the day is always a challenge as people haven’t had long enough in the bar to really let their hair down!
I think everybody that was there, knew WHY they were there….it was one of those moments!
Are you playing there again this year?
We’ve not been offered a slot but they do enforce quite a strict 2 year rule for bands, which is fair enough
You mentioned in a previous interview that you had played at the legendary Rock City in Nottingham when you supported the Wonderstuff, when was this and did you meet up with The Stuffies?
Yes, Erica Nockalls stood and watched our entire set, they’re lovely people, we played before Erica’s band in April 2013….
I ask as I went to Birmingham before Christmas 2014 to see Miles Hunt, Erica Nockalls and Dan Donnelly do an acoustic Wonder Stuff show.
Erica actually dropped into our house on the way up to that gig to drop off a painting that she had done for my girlfriend!
Back in 2011, I read that you played a couple of gigs in Dubai and Bahrain against advice issued by the Foreign Office saying that only essential travel to the Middle Eastern country should be carried out, as the country's people are trying to overthrow the ruling Al-Khalifa family, how was the trip?
We were asked by Jump Media to play Dubai and Bahrain, the Bahrain gigs got cancelled owing to the unrest! This was a last minute thing, we were still up for it but Jump Media thought it wasn’t safe so we ended up not playing. We did play 3 gigs in Dubai, they really got into the whole thing!
What are your views on the sudden resurgence of the trustee cassette tape? many younger bands are putting out a limited run of them that seem to be selling like hot cakes, do you ever see them coming back into fashion?
I think it’s something that a lot of bands will do but it’s more of a novelty thing that won’t go on forever to be honest with you, more of a fad! Does anyone still own a cassette player?
You’ve been together as a band for a fair while now, what do you think it is that keeps you going and holds you together?
The growth is continuous, this keeps things exciting and when we see the amount of people coming to our shows and attending festivals on a more regular basis, we get offered bigger and better stages as a result. Think about it, we have amassed a huge fanbase over a relatively short space of time and so far have only put out 1 album, this is what keeps us motivated.
It is very impressive, I chat to a lot of bands, both signed and not and they would kill to have 25000 Facebook followers behind them!
We are so grateful of the fans.
Do you find that the demographic of your fans is changing or do you look out from the stage and see a sea of middle aged, balding tattooed men, stripped to the waist, waiting to party?
At first, it was the fans of Levellers and New Model Army that used to come to our shows but now we’re finding that the fanbase is getting a lot younger which is surprising for us but good, they tend to buy more merchandise and being so much younger, they’ll be alive longer to buy more tickets for the shows!
Hopefully we’ll be getting enough money in to keep Les Carter in new camper vans!
Well, I imagine that his ‘rider’ alone would set you back at least half of the door take, best keep an eye on him!
Yes, will do! LOL
Dan had done a sterling job with the main questions, let's see how he manages with the quickfire round, I briefed him on the rules, no passes, no mentions of 'both' or 'neither' and away we went....
Festival or normal gig?
Camping or Camper van?
Beer or Cider?
Hot Dog or Burger?
The Wonderstuff or Pop Will Eat Itself?
Acoustic or Electric?
CD or Vinyl?
UFC or WWF?
UFC all day long!
Ozzy or Lemmy?
George Best or Bobby Charlton?
God or Google?
Interview by Steve Muscutt
We'd like to thank Dan for sparing his time to answer our questions and wish the band all the best for the recording of their new album which should be commencing in February for a late March/early April release date. Please spare a moment to check out the bands social media pages below, they're all listed for you, all you need to do is point and click....
The band are on tour throughout 2015, for dates see below and to book tickets, click HERE
Mar-07 Bodega Nottingham, United Kingdom
Mar-13 The Queens Hall Nuneaton, United Kingdom
Mar-27 The Square Harlow, United Kingdom
Apr-10 The Portland Arms Cambridge, Uk
Apr-16 Electric Palace Bridport, United Kingdom
Apr-17 The Hub Plymouth, United Kingdom
Apr-18 The Phoenix Exeter, United Kingdom
Apr-24 Arts Centre Stamford, United Kingdom
Apr-25 Arlington Arts Newbury, United Kingdom
May-09 The Haunt Brighton, United Kingdom
May-15 Half Moon Putney, United Kingdom
May-22 Knockengorroch Carsphairn, United Kingdom
May-23 THE MOORINGS BAR Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Jun-06 Something to Smile About Thorne, United Kingdom
Jun-13 Gracetonbury, The Windmill Brixton, United Kingdom
Jun-21 Willowman Festival Thirsk, United Kingdom
Jul-10 VolkStock Warwick, United Kingdom
Jul-26 Deerstock Festival Newton, United Kingdom
Aug-01 Outcider Festival Compton Martin, United Kingdom
Aug-06 Rebellion Festival Blackpool, United Kingdom
Aug-15 Farmer Phils Festival Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
Sep-04 Fylde Folk n Roots Festival Fleetwood, United Kingdom
For information, we'll be covering the show and taking a bunch of photos at the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre on April 18th, if you're going to the show, let us know and we'll try and get some pics of you enjoying the show!