Q: As I listened to the lyrics, I was wondering if Ghost is a metaphor for something? Is the ghost you?
Dunedogs: Mmm cool question. Yea the Ghost is you, me, the other side of ourselves. The person we talk to in private, in our head, or in the shower. The energy we check in with. I love the romanticization of death, and sadly, the word Ghost carries such “scary” weight – but I wanted to introduce the thought that we could get to know our own ghost before we die. Our spirit, I guess. Ghosts don’t have to be spooky creatures. They are just energy transfers. I think. When you spend enough time alone, hiking, camping, in the wilderness….or in quarantine apparently, you really have time to evaluate your spirit, your ghost. I love that shit. Scary stuff. But it needs to be done.
Q: I love this song and how even though the lyrics discuss loneliness, the synths and your unique uplifting vocals create a more upbeat track. Can you take me through your writing and production process on creating “Ghost”?
Dunedogs: Hey thanks for the kind words. “Ghost” was a collage of 2020 for me. Everyone had a different experience and I wanted to create a clean, danceable canvas for people to find movement in. Stuck in isolation for the past year, we all struggled to keep our heads straight. Of course massive political and social shifts occurred as young people took to the streets – we were all stuck inside and all alone, until we weren’t. We had young leaders exposing major human rights disparities in the U.S. and the world; art seemed to hibernate, and our connections to each other were often replaced with conversations with the self. On paper, the production of the song started with the lead guitar line, and the lyrics kinda fell into place from there. As the world truned, I would revisit the lyrics – we had a capital insurrection in the US – so I rewrote the second verse to comment on the power of that. In this weird space between loneliness and eye opening growth, I pieced the rest together with some up beat drums and gritty vocals. The question I wanted to explore was ummmm, in the absence of “community”, “Do the values I embrace inside my home, inside my body, match the value I bring to the world outside of my home; outside of my body?”
Q: How is the music scene in Chicago? Do you have any favorite venues that you like to perform at?
Dunedogs: I love the Chicago DIY Scene. Tons of cool house shows, lofts, basements, backyards – those are where you can really connect with people. It’s sweaty, smelly, and full of raw human energy. The Dreamhouse, The Litterbox, were two of my favorite spots. I help run a space in Humboldt Park now called Lunas Spot – kind of a multimedia art space. The fabric of the Chicago music scene is always changing – for the better of course.
Q: This track puts me in a good mood and makes me want to dance. Is that what you were hoping listeners take away from “Ghost”?
Dunedogs: Hell yeah. Thanks for saying that. I wanted the track to hold some weight, while also being light enough to put on as background music and dance through your kitchen. Different listeners have different intentions, and I love music that can be digested in many forms. It’s a dance rock upbeat tune, but if you want to direct it, its full of political frustration, and nervous energy. I was growing up as I wrote it. I’m still growing up. Forever hopefully!
Q: Who would you most like to collaborate with, if it could be anyone in the world?
Dunedogs: Good lord. Margaret Glaspy. Phoebe Bridgers. Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. The Vaccines. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. Maggie Rogers. Dominic Fike. Do I have to pick one? Ok Maggie Rogers then. Her music is lyrically loaded, powerful, but usually upbeat and uplifting, at least hopefully. That’s that deep deep dance that I love. She sent me a handwritten postcard probably 6-7 years ago now, along with a ton of other fans I’m sure – when I bought her first project. Wow, maybe 2012/2013? That was awesome – she took the time to handwrite a thank you to her small group of fans and that really stuck with me. I started writing songs for her to sing that I never sent to her – always said I would send them. I should. Since then I have watched her just blow the hell up. I have to hold my tongue when people talk about discovering her, cuz I’m totally screaming in my head like “O YEAH IVE KNOWN ABOUT MAGGIE SINCE “THE ECHO”. She looks contagiously positive and honest. Her music is colorful. She hopped on stage with Hozier at lollapalooza a few years ago and I shed JUST ONE tear. 🙂
Q: Do you remember what first got you into music or what the first song you learned to play was?
Dunedogs: My now 84 year old Godmom is a saint. She bought me a used mini red electric flying V guitar for $100 bucks when I was 11 or 12. We wrote a tune together called Blue Dog, Dog Blue, something like that. We were obsessed with this painter George Rodrigue who was famous for his paintings of blue dogs in front of bright colored backdrops.
Q: Covid and quarantine has been an extremely difficult year for everyone, and I especially wonder how that affects artists creatively. Do you think being locked up actually helped you create music or put you in writer’s block?
Dunedogs: I was given the gift of time to create. I think I touched on this a bit above, but yeah I was grateful for the time and space I was given to evaluate my place in music, in the world. I had weeks where I wrote everyday, and weeks where I wrote nothing. I had a roof over my head, food on my table, enough cash to pay my bills. A lot of people had horrible experiences caring for families, paying their mortgages and of course getting sick – so I know we all had extremely different experiences during Covid, but I was lucky as hell. Grateful for that. Thanks for all the rad questions!
Interviewed by Melissa Cusano