NewTracks New Artist: Office Dog

NewTracks New Artist: Office Dog

Led by the enigmatic Kane Strang and channelling the alternative and experimental sound of Ōtepoti bands of the Tascam 4-track days, Tāmaki Makaurau-based trio Office Dog are heading towards the release of a debut album later this year, releasing singles in A-side/B-side pairs via Bandcamp. Big Air (backed with the more melancholy Warmer) found favour with NZ On Air Music and was featured on their NewTracks compilation this April.

What are your names, where are you from and what instruments do you each play?

Office Dog is made up of myself Kane Strang, guitar and vocals, Rassani Tolovaa playing bass and Mitchell Innes on drums. We are all originally from Dunedin and are now based in Auckland.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

I believe all of us had high school lessons but are all mostly self-taught.

Any other projects we might know you from?

I have released three albums under my own name – Kane Strang.

What’s the background of how Office Dog came to be? 

I started Office Dog with Mitch and Rass as I was really wanting to have a project that was more collaborative. Office Dog was kind of a filler name that just stuck. I think it’s a nice-looking phrase and hadn’t heard of another band called it so it seemed silly to spend ages coming up with something else.

How has your music evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

I feel like I’m finally at a point where I know the type of music I want to make and have ditched a lot of bad habits I had – when it came to recording especially. In the past, I would spend so much time working on things that by the time it came to release it I was pretty much over the songs. Now I prefer to work quickly and move on to the next album/project.

Aside from this release, what’s been the band’s highlight to date?

We opened for our friends Fazed On A Pony last year at Underground and it was a very special show.

What makes Big Air stand out for you as a single?

I think it’s a song that’s going to grab people more quickly than a lot of our others, mostly because of its intensity and slightly more hook-y lyrics. Mitch’s drumming for me in this song is also a real highlight.

What is the story behind Big Air?

Big Air was the first time in a long time that I sat down with the intention of writing a particular type of song – that being something a bit faster/heavier and fun to play live.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

I like the bridge and how locked in the rhythm section is there as it builds into the final chorus. Also the drum intro.

Who did you record/produce the single with and where? 

We wrote the song and then recorded it and 11 others in a very hectic two-day session at Roundhead Studios with De Stevens. All vocals were done at approximately 3am in the morning, which I kind of enjoyed as I was too tired to over-think anything! Rass also had strep throat the whole time.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

I hope it makes them want to come and see us live.

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

I think often I would show my friends and see what they think.

Anyone else in your team? 

We will be announcing our record/label soon!

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?

We are planning on recording again before the end of the year. Maybe just an EP but we will see.

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song. 

  • Fazed on a Pony: Fanfare
  • Recitals: Arrow
  • School Fair: Propped Up

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

I really enjoyed this lecture series Laurie Anderson made.