“There’s never a thought of feeling embarrassed or feeling shy about what I say. People see if you’re playing something that you aren’t into and you don’t actually feel what you are saying. They can tell straight away,” Harriet Elder offers as we discuss the personal sentiment behind the music of her Bristol-based three-piece, Dogeyed.
Releasing their first EP with Specialist Subject this month, the group evidently share the label’s spirit; a diehard determination to present something real, something that captures the heart of someone’s personality through their own experiences. Throughout our conversation, Elder is modest, praising her bandmates, Tim Rowing-Parker and Jonathan Minto. She’s by no means afraid to share her thoughts, however, and has a vibrant spirit that shows most when discussing the craft she explores. This duality encapsulates the emotion behind Dogeyed’s music.
“When I sing it, I really really feel it…”
Having originally written and demo’d tracks on her own, Dogeyed became a trio when Elder sought to perform the songs within a group. Already friends with Rowing-Parker and Minto, a seamless coming together led into the band we find today. The result is a fluid and tight live group, and one that now very much prefers a collaborative effort. “I’ve always seen it as a full-band thing, and perhaps I didn’t really have much confidence or faith in myself and I didn’t really think anyone else would be that into it,” Elder explains. “When you’ve got two other people involved who both have fucking incredible ideas you’d be an idiot to say ‘I’m doing it this way’. It makes it so much better.”
A trio since late last year, the group have since prepared their aforementioned debut EP, one that was recorded at Joe’s Garage, a studio that sits beneath the Exchange. They’ve done well to capture the intimacy you can hear live, balancing a minute scratchiness with understated melodies, all moulded by Elder’s grasping delivery. “When I sing it, I really really feel it, and so the abrasive way it sounds is a reflection of how I felt when I wrote it,” Elder explains. “I probably would’ve been more inclined to yell all the time, honestly, it was Tim that told me that I needed to just kind of chill a bit. Maybe that was a confidence thing as well, being afraid of being soft.”
“The older you get, the better songwriting gets because you can be more honest… It’s a natural thing.”
It can’t be exaggerated just how well-nurtured the songs feel. Yes, they possess a rawness, but if you take the beautiful chorus line of ‘Dry’ for example, they also exude real sentiment, showing just how emotionally impactful Elder’s words can be. When I ask if her lyrical frankness is indicative of her personality, Elder is once again welcomingly open: “I’m very direct and straightforward, so that’s what comes out when I write. I’ve been writing for a long time, so it’s something that I suppose the more chill you become with yourself and the older you get, the better songwriting gets because you can be more honest… It’s a natural thing.”
Dogeyed are one of Bristol’s most relatable groups. Their desire to just share their experiences and feelings is endearing to the listener, yet for them it’s simply inherent. Harriet sums it up well as she paraphrases the message behind ‘Dry’: “I’d like those that listen to feel like they aren’t on their own, and to know that everyone feels the same – we all feel shit and we all feel good sometimes.”
Dogeyed’s debut EP Throw The Bones is out this month, with them supporting The Spook School at The Lanes on the 9th.