Dog is Dead interview: Weird and wonderful Christmastime...
A FTER a monumental year, West Bridgford quintet Dog Is Dead are now firmly in the festive spirit and frontman Rob Milton has big plans for his few days off over the Christmas period.
"I'm just going to eat tons of food, drink a lot… then fall asleep," says the 21-year-old.
For a band who released their debut record in October to acclaim from fans and critics alike, as well as winning an army of new fans through outstanding live performances, Dog Is Dead would have every right to celebrate with style.
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However, Rob says that this year they'll be doing something a little different: "We're going to have our own little Christmas party. We have quite an unusual place of work – we don't have an office and we all hang out with each other all the time, so we're just going to have our own brand of embarrassing office do. Having said that, there won't be any weird, awkward moments between us… they happen all the time."
The band's festive enthusiasm has resulted in the release of a quirky cover of Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime, some 12 months after gifting their fans with a rendition of Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, Rob's favourite Christmas song.
He says that this year's festive contribution was chosen for a very different reason, quite simply because it was really weird.
"I can't believe that it's a classic household Christmas song that's played all over the country, it's really strange.
"We thought we could have a lot of fun with the track, mess about with a lot of cool sounds and make it our own, which was quite nice."
The accompanying video embodies the sense of enjoyment the band were aiming for when recording the single, with silly string, turkey and party hats all featuring heavily.
"We had a lot of fun being stupid in front of a camera. A mate of ours directed it.
"We went to Asda and went to town on buying the most naff stuff we could find and just messed around."
Christmas songs have become almost a tradition for Dog Is Dead, and Rob has his sights set firmly on writing his own for next winter.
"I want to write my own. I was going to do it this year but Christmas crept up on me. I think it's quite fun to do something around Christmas because the rest of the year can sometimes get a little bit too serious."
Rob is quick to point out that he isn't the only one of the band excited at the prospect of Christmas, saying: "Every year Paul (Roberts, guitarist) tries to get us all to do secret Santa, and every year we forget. I guarantee you he'll bring it up later today.
"Everybody will say yes and then everyone will forget. That's the inevitability of it. I imagine he's going to be the first to do the whole 'going solo' thing."
Dog Is Dead could be forgiven for thinking that Christmas has come early.
Earlier this month, the band won the Original Penguin New Blood prize at the Artrocker Awards. This is Rob's first accolade for quite some time and could well be a sign of things to come for the band.
"We've never really won an award, apart from coming second in the school talent show, so this is a big deal; I've got something to put on the mantelpiece now.
"It's really nice to win something like this because you don't often get anything to show for all the hard work that goes into music.
"It's not like I've won an Oscar.
"Jamie Foxx gets introduced as 'Academy Award-winning Jamie Foxx', I'm not sure anyone will be referring to me as 'Artrocker Award-winning Rob Milton', but it's still really nice."
If this wasn't enough, the band were also rewarded by BBC Radio 1, who added their latest single Teenage Daughter to their playlist, among the likes of JLS and X Factor winner James Arthur.
Despite this individual success, Rob is keen to see the wider picture. "I think it's a good thing that any guitar bands are on Radio 1's playlists.
"People want to listen to it and the station is willing to play it.
"There is a change in music happening at the moment and I guess we're a small part of that… and that's a big deal to us."
Above all else, Rob classes this new exposure as a result of the band's hard-working approach.
"It's about steadily progressing and growing all the time.
"I think that everything we've done has been a stepping stone to the next level so knowing that Radio 1 are hammering out the new single is brilliant, a sure sign of things to come."
Even with the events of 2012, Rob is keen to note that next year will be as important to the band's progression: "I think that our growth is going to accelerate even more.
"Since the record came out we've continued to grow as a band and now we have a platform, helped by the songs getting airplay on the radio."
The band have scheduled shows across Europe and the UK, before heading across the Atlantic for a run of dates in the United States, something which has clearly excited Rob.
"Next year will be packed full of music and great things, it'll be our biggest tour yet.
"We're going to have the chance to do all of the things we've wanted to do and visit some of the places we've always wanted to see."