We introduced the very intriguing Zachary Dogwood late last month, and thought it might be nice to find out a bit more about them. We spoke with Adam Seigel.
EP: Who is Zachary Dogwood! What’s the story behind that name? Who are you all and where have you come from?
ZD: Zachary Dogwood is one and all of us.
I like to think of him as Dickensian reprobate lost in another time, perpetually amazed, confused and always asking too many questions.
Dogwood came up whilst reading a book of Tom Waits interviews, where old Tom started rambling on about the Dogwood legend – Jesus’ crucifix was apparently made of dogwood. Seems unlikely as it’s quite a spindly little wood but myths about plants are nice so that was the start. There’s a band in the USA called Dogwood and a modifier was necessary, so, thinking that the person associating with this slightly dark dogwood myth might be lost in time or space, Dr Zachary Smith, of yes, you’ve guessed it, ‘Lost in Space” came to mind. Put the two together and, hey presto, you have our troubled misplaced hero.
And the cast, in order of appearance….
I’m from Southend-on-Sea, spent the 80s and 90s living in London and have somehow ended up in God’s waiting room – Eastbourne. Principally I’m a songwriter but play saxophone, flute and guitar too – session work, library music that sort of thing. I’ve been involved in a number of bands over the years and been hired to write songs and library music for others. This is the first band where I have done most of the singing – which is great – for me!
Gerry Bailey is ZDs bass guitarist. Gerry is from London but now lives in Brighton. We were both in a Brighton soul band together for about 4 years. Gerry loves jazz, computers and the Foo Fighters. Gerry’s bass playing is rock solid and our, er…groove. He has supported famous soul singer Gino Washington amongst others.
Michael ‘Bertie’ Budmani is on synthesizer and keyboards. Bertie is from Muswell Hill and now lives in Bath. He’s spent some time doing important stuff in the theatre. His father was a concert pianist and his mother was an opera singer. He has a love of vintage synthesizers and electro pop.
James Court is our drummer, a young drum teacher from Eastbourne. He sings and plays bass too – he’s an incredibly talented all round musician.
A new addition is Steve Le Hardy, who also lives in Brighton. Steve’s a fab guitarist. Bertie and I used to play with him in London during the 1980s in a band called Hey Hey Roxy. We were together for about 3 years and played and recorded all over London. It’s great to be playing with him again.
EP: You’re all obviously talented musicians. How long have you all been together? What brought you together as a group?
ZD: Thank you.
Zachary Dogwood began as a writing/recording project in, gosh, 2009. I was writing with a guitarist from Hastings named Steve Couch. We recorded and album called ‘Fiveways to Silverhill’, which has still to be mixed and put out. In 2013, Steve Couch and I decided to put a band together and play the songs live, so enter Gerry, Bertie and James. Steve decided to do move on to something else so we drafted in additional guitarists, one being my son Aaron who gigged with us and played on the ‘Juice’ EP. The great thing about having Bertie and now, Steve Le Hardy in the band is that there is a connection with the songs we used to play in the 80s in Hey Hey Roxy. In fact we include some songs from that era in our live set, which is great. Unsurprisingly these seem to blend in nicely with the new material.
EP: You’re known for putting on a great live show. Where can people see you perform?
ZD: You’re too kind. We do get a bit dramatic at times.
Mostly we like playing festivals and out door events. It’s great playing these types of gigs as you get a very mixed audience into different genres of music some who you normally wouldn’t reach.
Our next couple are of appearances are at local Beatles festivals in Eastbourne and Hastings. They are annual charity events with bands doing Beatles songs in their own style. It’s great fun and they raise a lot of money. After that we are doing a couple of outdoor festivals in Eastbourne, one in May and another June followed by a big local festival just outside Eastbourne called Chiddfest which has some big acts – and us! 😀
All gig dates and details are on our website www.zacharydogwood.com
EP: Talk us through ‘Juice’. Who came up with the title and what does it signify?
ZD: I came up with the title as an ‘homage’ to Bertie’s obsession with juicing – similar to Super Hans in Peep Show. We were there first though! That was the start but words often have more than one meaning and Bertie and I liked the other connotations…..that juices are a blend of lots of fruits and vegetables which when juiced taste better than the individual fruit and vegetables. You know the sum of the parts is better than the parts themselves thing. Am I boring you? And, hey, Juice is fuel!
EP: Do you feel that you’re a very “English” band? In that your music reflects your very English-ness?
ZD: English in that we come from England, yes. I think we are all influenced by European music as most musicians were in the 80s. Krautrock was an important influence then. I think that we have little in common with the more American stuff like the blues, other than the music we make is influenced by music with some blues derivation. We don’t play twelve bar blues songs. The vocals aren’t sung with an American because we are not American and we don’t try to be. However, we are not a folksy ‘Greensleeves’ type outfit from hedgerows of Hampshire. We sing a lot about the sea and fish though. Well, at least words that sound like they could be fish, ‘place’ (plaice), ‘soul’ (sole), that sort of thing. So there must be a marine connection, I guess.
EP: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into music as a career?
ZD: Don’t do it! Work with computers instead. :D.
Follow your instincts, believe in what you do and be prepared to work very hard at it. You have to put the hours in if you want success. Just look at David Bowie’s work ethic – ask Iggy Pop about it!
EP: What does the future hold for Zachary Dogwood? Where do you see yourselves in a year, in 5 years, in 10?
ZD: Being the type of chap Zachary is, confusion and bewilderment I would have thought and probably, less hair too. At some point hopefully peace, enlightenment and artistic fulfilment will kick in for Zachary and he will find being ‘out of time’ is an illusion and all time is eternal.
I’ll still be writing and playing – I’ve been doing it for too long to stop now. Writing and playing are my dark brothers and my emotional drainage system.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?
ZD: Good question. Easy to be silly here so I won’t…….
What effect do you want your music to have?
Why did you start writing/playing/making music?
Thank you for the interview ☺
You can buy ‘Juice’ from Zachary Dogwood’s Bandcamp store. Find them online on Facebook,Reverbnation, Soundcloud, Youtube, and their website. Zachary Dogwood will be playing at The Beatles Festival at Printers Playhouse, Eastbourne, on April 2.