They’re up and they’re coming. After being confined to a Melbourne loft for almost a year, garage-rock duo Sophisticated Dingo are escaping from the captivity of suburbia and confusing drunken conversations with their latest raucous-yet-catchy anthem ‘Head Talk’ which they officially launched last week. We chat to lead singer and guitarist Lewis ‘Lew’ Matte.
Hi, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte. Congratulations on the release of Head Talk, how has the response been so far?
Howdy! From our end it seems to have been fantastic. The track has garnered quite a wide reception, especially on Spotify after we landed on a few very cool playlists. For the most part the responses have been positive too, I mean there aren’t too many people letting me know how much they hate the tune. I guess you’d probably expect to hear about the positive opinions more than the negative ones.
Can you tell us a little about the influences for the song?
It was written a while back so I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly what we were listening to. But, the lyrics themselves stem from the angst-ridden world of my own head; ruing the decisions I’d made when I was far less than sober that I knew I had to make amends for. Musically, some bands’ influence that I think come through on ‘Head Talk’ are The Pretty Littles, Smashing Pumpkins, and even hints of Weezer. Jimmy (drummer) and I are massive fans of anything with plenty of hooks in it, but served up a little bit rough ‘n’ ready.
You guys recorded in a kitchen and living room, where did the idea come from?
That brainwave came courtesy of our absolute weapon of a producer Tom Keyte. We were overdubbing parts at his home studio and it had come time to record some gang-vocals to amp up the track. We figured a nice open space would suit this best, so we set up in the living room and smashed it out. It was honestly surprising, to us, maybe not to Tom, how well this set up worked. The living room and kitchen just had such a large sound and beautiful natural reverb to it. It definitely added that extra ‘big’ touch on the outro of ‘Head Talk’.
Head Talk has quite a fun and unique music video, where did the inspiration for that come from?
Thank you! Honestly it came out of the necessity of sitting down and realising that if we were going to release this song as a single, we were going to need a video clip to go with it. I thought that it was a big ol’ angsty rock song, so it deserved a big ol’ angsty video clip. I like the aesthetic of stupid 90s/early-noughties American high-school dramas/comedies – so I thought a couple of dingoes obsessing over the felines they have such tragic crushes on could be fun. I really think it suits the idea of the song being quite simple and easy to follow, but actually having a solid story laid out deep within it.
What was the best part of filming – any fun responses from passers-by?
Well I certainly thought more of the locals would have thought we were setting up a bank heist, considering the latex masks we were rocking. But, apparently not! No one really batted an eye-lid to be honest.
The end of the clip – you left us hanging! Did the dingoes get the cats in the end?
Did we though? Yeah, we kind of did. But, I mean the Dingoes got the two Cats to come along to the gig and, despite a mild protest, have a good time! Which they definitely didn’t think they were going to when Jim-Ding and Lew-Ding were trying to wooh them. But yeah nah, the Dingo definitely didn’t get any more action than that… we’ve never been kissed.
Tell us, how did you two come together and what’s the dynamic like?
Jimmy and I have been mates since we were 13-odd and have always shared a love for music, fun-trashy-pop in particular. When we were jamming on a song with some other mates I think someone said “Ahhh, I don’t want to be a stoner-pop band”. Jimmy and I looked at each other and said “Well maybe we want to”. From there we really gelled; sending each other recordings of riffs and hooks – we never seemed to dislike what the other had to say too much – it has definitely almost always been “YES, YES, YES”. I think that somewhat encapsulates the very essence of Sophisticated Dingo: it’s more feeling than thinking. We like to cook up catchy pop songs, and let them get thrown around in a trash can for a little while, just so they’re rough enough for you.
What’s next for Sophisticated Dingo?
A little bit of this, a little of that, a pinch of cayenne pepper, etc. Nah there will be some more music! You’ll just have to keep your ears… and eyes peeled.