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DOSES interview with Kristopher Kirk

How do you even begin to describe DOSES to the uninitiated?  They play a twisted, deranged version of punk rock that’s crashing headlong into some definite garage and noise territory, I guess.  Distilled into a mangled corpsy syrup of sometimes atonal confrontation and always mind-numbing riffage, DOSES is both wildly original and somehow manages to float, suspended out of time and space; uninhibited by any wish to sound like anything that you’ve ever heard on planet earth before.  They sport a drum-machine and, at least the lineup of the band that I spoke to, are a devout two-piece band with a single-mind to destroy all that is “false and impure”.  Guided by a somewhat enigmatic religious view of sorts, DOSES has got to be some of the purest, true to its roots punk that I’ve ever heard.  The debut album out now on Going Underground Records instantly brings artists like Francis Harold and The Holograms to mind, but the more I listen to DOSES the less they sound like anything else I’ve heard; and that’s not easy to pull off.  If you’re a noise junky, love some sinister scum rock, or are just a diehard punk freak you’re going to need to hear this album, trust me.  Songs like “Pig Gut” and “Bang Bang” propel you into the start of the manic journey that is the self-titled DOSES album, and once the ride’s started you better keep your hands and feet inside the cage because there are going to be dangerous riffs about!  Sludge monsters that thirst for flesh like “Dull Silk” and “When You’re Gone” or the twisted creatures risen from the depths of your subconscious like “Reasons To Kill” finish out the album.  It’s an insane ride and it’s not for everyone but for those that can grasp what DOSES are trying to say, this is gonna be a good one! 
Listen while you read:

What is DOSES current lineup?  If I understand correctly there have been a few different radically different incarnation of DOSES.  Can you talk a little bit about how the band has changed and progressed over time in those regards?

DOSES consist of Kristopher Kirk and John Gaston at the moment.  There have been many incarnations of DOSES.  This is DOSES version VI.  The previous V incarnations of DOSES are completely irrelevant to version VI.  John and I are not original members of DOSES. 

Are either of you in any other bands right now?  Have you released any music in the past with anyone else?  If so can you tell us a little bit about that?

Neither of us are in any other bands right now.  We both have released music in the past with a multitude of bands.  Those bands are all defunct and have no impact on the current state of DOSES, in fact they mean nothing as those bands weren’t real. 

Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Huntington Beach, California.  Home of PUNK.

What was the music scene like where you grew up?  Did you see a lot of shows growing up?  Do you feel like the music scene there played a large role in shaping yore musical tastes or the way that you play now?

On the surface, the music scene in Huntington Beach is awful.  There’s no place for kids to play really, it’s mainly bars and strip malls.  Bands that are bred from that environment are complete and utter garbage.  I did go to a lot of shows growing up, mainly around Santa Ana, Long Beach and Los Angeles.  The music scene in Huntington Beach did shape my musical taste, because most of those bands were awful.

Was your house very musical growing up?  Were either your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved/interested in music?

Ron and Barb were not heavily involved in music.  None of my relatives care that much either.

What was your first real exposure to music?

I hadn’t had any before DOSES.  I had exposure to music, but if you read back, it wasn’t a real exposure as stated above.  DOSES is the only real musical force at the moment.

If you had to pick one moment of music that changed everything for you, redefined art and opened your eyes to the infinite possibilities of music what would it be?

When DOSES became real.

When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music and what brought that decision about to begin with?

Krishna delivered a message to me in the meditation trance I was having.  I was told to conquer the world with a single notion, and that notion was that everything before this was superficial.  This was real.

When and how did you two originally meet?

I was introduced to John by our Chinese financial backer in 2012 and we became the recent incarnation you see now.  He saw big things for the two of us.  I can’t pronounce his Chinese name so we just call him Myst.  Myst provides us with the finances we need to move forth in DOSES. 

What led to the formation of DOSES and when was that?

DOSES formed in 2011 as I was told.  It came from two people by the names of Hunter Wallace and Nathaniel Reager.  They were originally from Kansas and DOSES started there.  They’re no longer part of DOSES and are written off as has-beens, John and myself represent DOSES now.  In the future we may not even be a part of DOSES. 

Why a two-piece rather than a traditional trio or something?  Did DOSES intentionally set out to be a two-piece or was it just kind of a natural progression with the band?  Did you draw any inspiration for particular duos that had come before you?  Ten years ago two-piece bands were kind of a rarity, but it seems like they’ve gained a lot of recognition and people are much more willing to take them seriously these days rather than dismiss them as a gimmick or something.  What are the best and worst parts about having a two piece band?

DOSES has always been a two-piece and will continue to be a two-piece at its core.  We don’t want any more dead weight added to this group.  We might include a rare one off entity in a live performance or on recording, but it will always be a two-piece band.  Adam and Eve were a two-piece and look what the accomplished; humanity and life.  That’s what we’re doing.

Is there a shared creed, ideal or mantra that the band lives by?

We share a mantra with the one high and mighty.  Krishna told us to destroy the physical world as it exists and to cherish no tangible devices.  Our music is an extension to fulfill the wishes of the all-mighty.

What does the name DOSES mean or refer to in the context of your band name?  Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it?

DOSES is an acronym for the way we would like to see ourselves and live life.  It stands for DEPRIVATION OF SELF EXISTENCE SUSTAINS. 

Where’s DOSES currently located at?


How would you describe the local music scene where you’re at now?

The local music scene lacks direction and belief.  It’s full of yester-years rock n roll rip-offs.  It’s very soft.

Are you very involved in the local music scene?  Do you book or attend a lot of local shows?  Do you help to record or release any local music?

I don’t book shows.  Doing so provides a great deal of stress.  I do attend shows as much as a I can.  I have recorded and released local bands in the past but time constraints on my current life have prevent me from doing such anymore.

There’s a lot of stuff that I’m good at when it comes to my job with Psychedelic Baby, or at least I’d like to think so.  One thing that I’m definitely no good at though is describing how a band sounds to our readers.  I don’t think that music fits into these tidy boxes and labels that we like to assign to them.  And that’s usually fine but makes describing music to people who haven’t heard it gets a little muddy and confusing without it.  Rather than me making some long winded weird description of the band that doesn’t make sense would you describe DOSES’ sound to our readers who might not have heard you before?

DOSES sounds like a saw with a dull blade trying to cut cement.  It won’t cut if the blades dull, but one keeps trying.  It squeals and hurts your sense of hearing.  It’s ugly and not for the weak.  Have you ever overheard your younger sister having sex with her obviously older boyfriend?  It sounds like that; bleak.

You all have an extremely interesting sound that seems to combine a lot of different types of musical influences in a fluid sound all your own.  While we’re talking so much about the band’s backstory and makeup I’m curious to hear who you would cite as your major musical influences?  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than just individually?

We prefer to not associate our sound with a direct influence of another act that we put on a pedestal.  We are content enough with being influenced by one another and our surroundings.  When I look into John’s eyes, I know what he’s thinking.  He knows what I’m thinking.  It’s a bond that only we can share. 

Can you talk a little bit about DOSES’ songwriting process?  Is there a lot of jamming and free exchange of ideas when you get together that gets distilled and refined into a song working together?  Or is it more of a situation where one of you will come to the rest of the band with a riff or more finished idea to work out and compose with the rest of the band?

The song writing process is XXXXXXXXXXX.  XXXX  XXXXXX  XX  XXXX X XXXXXXX.  XXXXXX XXX XXX X XXXXXX XX XXXX XXXXXX.  We kind of tend to keep that under wraps and a tight lid on it. 

Do you all enjoy recording?  As a musician myself I think that most of us can definitely appreciate the end result, there’s not a lot in the world that beats holding an album in your hands knowing that it’s yours, you made it and no one can take that away from you.  Getting to that point though, getting into a studio, or even recording the material yourself, especially when it comes to dealing with an entire band, even if that’s only one other person, can be really stressful to say the least.  How is it in the studio for DOSES?

Recording is a wonderful experience.  The studio was flawless.  We woke up like this.  There were no issues at all recording.  We finished the record in about four to five hours.  Having two people made it a most fluid experience. 

How do you all go about recording?  Do you utilize studio environments or is it more of a DIY, on your own time and turf proposition for you both?

We recorded in a studio in Venice.  It was more of a DIY, on our own, proposition.  The only thing we actually utilized was the recording interface and mics.  Everything was on our own time and own merit.

Does DOSES do a lot of prep work before you all record getting arrangements and compositions worked out and sounding just the way that you want them?  Or is recording more of a flexible organic proposition where things have room to change and evolve?

There is absolutely no flexibility.  We use a drum machine, so everything needs to be precise.  The arrangements are already complete and the songs are usually ritualistically performed live before any recording can be accomplished.  There is room to change and evolve a song, but that means re-sequencing the drum patterns. 

Your first release I know of was the Live at The Hogcreek Icehouse in Waco, Texas 10/8/2012 cassette tape limited to only 50 copies which you released fairly early on in 2013.  How was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?  Did you all mic stuff up or was it just a handheld recording?

That was our first tangible release.  It was originally limited to 50 copies and was self-released and it was later repressed on Video Disease.  I believe it was 150 repress copies.  There’s different packaging on the earlier press and the latter.  It was all recorded at Hogcreek, live through the soundboard and these room microphones in the Icehouse.  The sound man was responsible for recording it that night.  I’m not positive on the equipment used, I’m sure it was some digital set up they have there.  We were handed a CD after our set and told to leave and to never return to Waco.

Since Live at The Hogcreek Icehouse in Waco, Texas 10/8/2012 received such a limited release I don’t believe it’s available digitally are there any plans to make that material available again via a digital distribution center or rerelease the material in a hard copy sometime in the future?

It actually is available digitally somewhere.  By the time this interview is published it will also be available on our Bandcamp page along with all the other releases.  They will all be free to download but this will never be re-released as a hard copy.  It had its time in the sun and no its over.

You just released your debut self-titled album on Going Underground Records who I am familiar with because they released an awesome Francis Harold & The Holograms single before they unfortunately split this past year.  How did you get hooked up with Going Underground Records?  I know they don’t release a whole lot of stuff.  Can you tell us a little bit about the recording of the material for DOSES?  Was it a fun pleasurable experience for you all?  Where and when was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

You are absolutely correct.  The Francis Harold singles and LP that Going Underground Records put out are possibly the most important records of the 2000’s; I couldn’t agree more.  Ronald, who is an old black man that lives in Bakersfield, had asked us to be part of the Going Underground Family.  We have never met Ronald, but he has a spiritual connection to Jah and we respect that.  We feel the connection with him and felt it was the right decision.  The recording was fairly simple in actual recording terms.  We recorded the bass and guitar together, then did one guitar over-dub.  The vocals were done a week later once the music was completed.  Our dear friend Michael Porter engineered the whole session for us, minus the vocals, I did that on my own time.  My guitar was recorded through a Sunn Concert lead into a Fender Bassman 2x15.  There were two different pedals used, one being a distortion pedal and the other was a harmonic percolator.  I can’t speak for John as I don’t recall what was used. 

There is two version of the DOSES album out, a vinyl edition limited to 500 copies with some of them being colored and then the cassette edition which actually features an entire exclusive side to it consisting of DJ Hate Crime remixing the entire DOSES album and comes in an extremely limited edition one time pressing of 150 copies.  How did the collaboration with DJ Hate Crime come about?  What was the reason for having a remix B-Side on the cassette?  I know that the digital version of the album is available for free on your Bandcamp page for those who want to preview tracks, are there any plans to make the DJ Hate Crime remix material available digitally in the future once the tape sells out?

We met DJ Hate Crime through a mutual friend.  He’s an elusive DJ that chops and screws a lot of punk songs.  He released a mixtape in 2011 I think.  Maybe it was 2010, but it was fantastic.  It’s entitled All Chopped and Skrewed Up Vol. 1.  We loved it and we wanted to make the cassettes different so people would be more excited to buy a cassette then if it was just a clone of the LP.  In reality, I hate cassettes and wouldn’t buy it unless there was something different about it.  The DJ Hate Crime remix will be available digitally as well once this interview is posted as well.  Everything is free.  Free of guilt, free of worries and free of shame.

Does DOSES have any other music that we haven’t talked about, maybe a single or a song on a compilation that I missed?

Just personal demos that aren’t for anyone else’s ears except ours.

With the release of DOSES extremely recently are there any other releases in the works or on the horizon at this point?

We are working on a 7” for Torn Light Records.  There’s no expected release date for that, but it will be amazing obviously.

Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up copies of DOSES’ music at?

If you aren’t local, I would suggest Going Underground Records or going to your local record shop and urging them to stock the LP.  If you’re local to southern California, I highly recommend people come to a live event and buy the LP from us directly. 

With the completely batty international postage rate increases this last year I try to provide our readers with as many options for picking up import releases as I can.  There’s not a whole lot in the world that drives me up the all more than knowing an album is out, being able to afford the album but not being able to pay for the stinking shipping just because it wasn’t pressed in the US!  Where’s the best place for our international and overseas readers to pick up your music?

I am not too sure at this point.  I’m not aware of any overseas retailers or distros that have it at the moment. 

And where’s the best place for fans to keep up on the latest news like upcoming shows and album releases from DOSES at?

Are there any major goals that you all are looking to accomplish in 2014?

To destroy the competition and annihilate the impure. 

What, if anything, do you have planned as far as touring goes for 2014 so far?

We have one small trip planned to the Bay Area in March.  That’s all for now. 

Do you spend a lot of time on the road touring?  Do you enjoy touring?  What’s life like on the road for DOSES?

No we don’t spend any time on the road.  We love traveling but our jobs and responsibilities in the home land prevent us from doing just that.  I imagine touring with DOSES would be utter bliss.

Who are some of your personal favorite acts that you all have had a chance to share a bill with so far?

Stupid Life, Stoic Violence, High-Functioning Flesh, Blazing Eye, Perfect Pussy, On Parade & Destruction Unit.

Do you remember what the first song that DOSES ever played live was?  Where and when was that?

Since John and I are not original members of DOSES I cannot comment on when and where the first show was and what song was played, sorry.

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

DOSES.  Headlining everything.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to share here with our readers?

We played this small venue in Nevada, I forgot the name, but it was dreadful.  We were promised a guarantee to help pay for our gas and we were shorted a lot after the show.  The promoter claimed we ruined the sound system there and that we drove business away.  Which wasn’t true because the place was packed and no one was leaving.  Luckily we had Myst, our Chinese financial backer, with us and he got our payment.  Myst carries a small axe with him where ever he goes.  So essentially Myst went into the office of the venue, tied the promoter up to a chair and threatened to cut off all his fingers with this axe.  The promoter literally pissed his pants and agreed to give Myst our money.  Myst was already so upset that he just essentially took our guarantee and whatever else was In the envelope of money.  Also Myst speaks very little English so there was a huge language barrier.  We left and didn’t untie the poor guy. 

With all of the various mediums of release available to artists today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the particular methods of release that they do.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music?  What about when you’re buying and or listening to music and if so, why?

Vinyl only and always.  I mainly buy vinyl when it comes down to it, but sometimes I will purchase a tape if it’s the only thing a band has.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so can you tell us a little bit about it?

I do.  It’s huge.

I grew up around a good collection of music and I developed an appreciation for physical music from a pretty young age as a result.  There was always something magical about being able to saunter up to the shelves and shelves of music, pull something off completely at random, pop it in the player, stare at the artwork, read the liner notes and let the music transport me off to another world.  Having something concrete and physical to hold in my hands always made for a much more complete listening experience, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

Of course.  That is the sole reason we press our music onto vinyl.  CD’s are disposable.  You treat them like shit when you handle them, they’re a format of music that has come and gone.  There’s a reason why vinyl is still relevant to so many people.  Owning vinyl gives you the responsibility of taking care of something you cherish.

As much as I love my physical music portability has always been an issue for me.  I really enjoy listening to music when I’m doing just about anything and I just couldn’t ever take enough of it on the go with me to keep me happy.  The advent of digital music has alleviated that problem almost overnight and when teamed with the internet has proven to be a real game changer.  It’s exposed people to a whole world of music that they otherwise wouldn’t have been privy to.  On the other hand though illegal downloading is running rampant and the digital conundrum has dealt a hefty blow to the music industry, as most of us know it at least.  As an artist during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

I feel digital music should be free to anyone.  Why deprive someone of hearing something that was created?  That makes no sense to me.  Also, what is the music industry nowadays anyways?  There are no more rock stars.  If someone truly cares about music they will support that artist by attending a show or buying their physical product.  Those people are the people I want supporting us.  If you’re just going to download it and not support the band, that’s fine.  At the same time though, fuck you.  You don’t really care about that band and that is also fine. 

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can.  I spend more of my life online listening to music, searching through bins at the local shop and talking to anyone I trust for good recommendations than I would like to admit here.  A lot of the best tips that I get though come from musicians such as you.  Is there anyone from your local scene or area that should be listening to I might not have heard of before?

Abortion Reels, Stupid Life, Stoic Violence, Pretty P, Blazing Eye & High-functioning Flesh.

What about nationally and internationally?

Too many to go through.

Thanks so much for taking the time to make it to the end here!  I know this wasn’t short but I don’t like to half ass stuff and I hope it didn’t bore you to tears, completely.  Before we sign off and call it a day is there anything that I might have missed or that you’d just like to take this opportunity to discuss with our readers here?

Only I can destroy I and I will never destroy I.

*Photos by Madison East & Graphic Garrett

(2012)  DOSES – Demo – digital – Self-Released
(2013)  DOSES – Live at The Hogcreek Icehouse in Waco, Texas 10/8/2012 – Cassette Tape – Self-Released/Video Disease Records (Self-Released edition limited to 50 copies, Video Disease repress limited to 150 copies)
(2013)  DOSES – DOSES – digital, 12” – Going Underground Records (Limited to 500 copies, 100 copies on Gold Vinyl, 100 on Blue Vinyl and 300 on Black Vinyl.)
(2014)  DOSES – DOSES + DJ Hate Crime – Cassette Tape – Going Underground Records (Limited to 150 Cassette Tapes.  A-Side is the DOSES album, B-Side is the DOSES album remixed by DJ Hate Crime.)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
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