Doe: "We want this record to get some kid, somewhere, excited"
“Weezer mixed with riot-grrrl” - Doe are the stuff of dreams.
Published: 1:15 pm, September 09, 2016
There was a point when Doe didn’t think they could be a band anymore. Meeting through an ad back in 2013, founding members Nicola Leel and Jake Popyura have been through some tough times – and a few guitarists – but thanks to latest addition Dean Smithers, Doe’s future has never looked so bright. Proof is in their debut album ‘Some Things Last Longer Than You’; a punch-in-the-gut record packed full of raw energy and indie-pop-punk bangers, poking holes in the kind of people we all love to hate.
“I think we came to a realisation of just how much work we’d put in,” says Jake, speaking of the decision to keep Doe going. “When everything was up in the air, we decided to carry on writing and we got really excited about what we were coming up with. Then when Dean joined, it was clear that an album was the next step.” Recording the whole thing in five days with Hookworms’ MJ, they describe how they had to work together, not only as a band but also as friends. “All three of us are really intense people and are quite similar in certain ways. If we didn’t have someone like Dean who’s also intense and passionate, the way we play together and write together wouldn’t be the same,” says Nicola, with Dean adding: “It can get a bit intense but I think that’s a good thing; it definitely contributes to what we’re doing.”
Doe weren’t always the shit-kicking trio we’ve come to know and love. As Nicola details, they were almost an “accidental lame rock band”. “We had these three songs and I sang in a really American accent. It was really not very good at all,” she laughs. The change of course happened once Nicola had written ‘Let Me In’ – a building, brashy pop punk anthem that is a regular highlight during live shows. “We knew then that was the kind of sound that we really want to do,” Jake remembers. “Since I was about ten, I’ve been wanting to form a band that sounds more like Weezer than punk. Weezer mixed with riot-grrrl bands like Sleater-Kinney. When Nicola and I met, it just seemed like a very obvious path to go down because we were both really keen on that same stuff.”
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Although their sound has developed throughout the past few years, they agree that it’s only since Dean arrived that the band feel settled, with a chemistry neither of them have felt with previous members or projects. “There’s still the fundamentals going on but I think our sound has changed since I’ve joined,” Dean explains. “My parts are very different to other people’s parts. I think this is what it’s meant to be.”
The artwork was something the band pondered over, working through their initial ideas to land on the perfect visual. Created by Jake, Dean explains that he and Nicola came up with an “ambiguous” concept. “I had this whole thing that the house represented the darkness that inhabits the world,” he says, with Nicola adding, “We’re huge horror film fans so we wanted that aspect of it – a kind of horror-esque homage. It started off as someone coming up to a house and the house is this big bad thing that they’ve got to battle through.” Jake is quick to interrupt, “It was just a big rouse for me to get a Sylvanian Families house,” he laughs. “And now I’ve got one and I couldn’t be happier.”
Discussing stand-out moments, Nicola remembers the band’s first weekender tour, playing with Plaids in a basement in Manchester. “We then stayed up all night drinking and listening to shit pop punk videos on YouTube and it was my teenage dream come true,” she says. “Doe could’ve just stopped there to be honest and I would’ve been fine.” It seems that teenagehood still plays a prominent part in Doe’s output, as Dean explains the intention behind the upcoming album. “All the stuff that meant anything to me growing up was the records that made me feel like doing something,” he says. “We want this record to get some kid, somewhere, excited… about something.”