Q&A with Philly-based band Dr. Dog

Chris Rutledge

Philadelphia-based rockers Dr. Dog release their new album “Be The Void” today. Singer/bassist Toby Leaman recently took the time to talk with The Herald about the album and their upcoming show at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville on March 3.

Q. What were some of your goals while working on “Be The Void?” 

A. It was definitely a goal to make a more upbeat record. That was something we talked about before we even started recording the record. The songs that were working were those types of songs, so those are the ones that got put on the record. But there was kind of a purposeful thinking behind it. 


Q. Are there any specific themes on the album? 

A. No, I would say that this record is sort of more like our earlier records in that it’s really just a collection of songs. There’s no real thematic thread between the whole thing, which I’m fine with as long as all the songs sound good. There might be something you can read into. Just because we didn’t intend it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. So people that come up with something, it’s there. 

Q. Your studio albums have a live feeling to them. Is that something you strive for? 

A. I’m a firm believer that anything that’s recorded or documented should be just that, a document. It should be a representation of the reality of what was actually happening. I feel like for a band like us, we put out records and we tour. So what should our record be? It should be what we were doing when we were making the record.

Q. You recently added multi-instrumentalist Dmitri Manos and drummer Eric Slick to the band. How has that impacted your sound? 

A. I don’t think it can be overstated how much they’ve changed the band. Our drummer is better than pretty much anyone in the band, and he makes everyone better. He plays harder. He’s really fast in the studio. He doesn’t really mess up. That definitely would have a huge influence on making the record, because a lot of the songs are really visceral songs that work right off the bat. And that was because of his ability to sort of get in the pocket and drive it home. And then Dmitri, he’s got a really good sense of things that are great. It’s just a really positive force in the band. He works as hard as anybody, and he comes up with great ideas pretty much all the time. The addition of those two guys has made a huge difference, and it’s made the band really fun.

Q. What does Dr. Dog have in store for Nashville?  

A. Nashville’s always been good to us. We play really well in Nashville. I think we’re playing a new room I’ve never been to, but I know it’s going to be a blast. I love that town, there’s a lot of good people down there. We’re going to be playing a ton of new stuff, so people should brush up on the new record. We’ve been touring the old record for over a year and half, so just let them know — let them know when they come to the show they’re going to hear a [expletive] ton of new stuff, and they’re going to love it.