It takes a private studio to keep up with Dr. Dog’s output, and heading into album eight, the Philadelphia folk outfit had officially outgrown its kennel and built a new one, basically from scratch.
“We had been at our old place for seven or eight years, and it was getting kind of stale and kind of small. For months, we were looking for a place to buy, but we found this amazing spot in an old silversmith shop,” singer and bassist Toby Leaman said.
“It was kind of cool, working on the studio even before the record. By the time that came around, we’d already finished a project that everyone pitched in for. That was real satisfying.”
The sweat equity, with the creative energy put into this new album, B-Room, makes its release all that much more rewarding.
“You would walk in and feel proud. No matter how the record was going, you could fall back and be happy with everything in there,” Leaman said. “If recording was going crappy, there was plenty of actual labor to do. You always came out feeling like you did something positive.”
It only makes sense that Dr. Dog would pay tribute to its new digs with the first record born from it, but despite all the resources that went into the main studio room, it was the B-Room that was immortalized with the title.
“That room got used a ton. With some of the songs, the entire track was recorded in there. The more we’ve gotten away from tape recording, the more we’ve had to rely on sound engineers to help make it happen, but the B-Room still had that same old equipment we were all so familiar with,” Leaman said. “I’d go in and record vocals for hours, just messing around
to see what could happen without wasting anyone’s time, and all of us
would stay and work late in there. It was great.”
Lots of songs were brought to the table and new studio, but it was only a select few that made the final cut.
“We don’t walk into sessions thinking every song written is going on the album,” Leaman said.
“If we did, Dr. Dog would have lots of really long albums with shitty songs on them. It was only the ones that came most natural that we really pursued and finished.”
Dr. Dog feels great heading into this tour with The Lumineers, including Thursday’s stop at the OKC Downtown Airpark, and already has songs in the works for a new album. But a trip across the pond and a national headlining tour will come before the group holes up and finishes another record in its new home.
“This album, more than any other one, was a band effort,” Leaman said. “To write this record so collaboratively and then build this studio together … we’ve just never felt tighter and closer.”