Dogood is the moniker of Melbourne singer-songwriter Alexandra Duguid. She’s only released a handful of tracks but she writes lyrics that call you in with their familiar and relatable subject. Having watched this project develop (from afar via Twitter), I thought it was about time I interviewed Ali.
Take us back to late last year, what made you start this solo project? I feel like I have given the impression that this is a thing I’ve just decided to pick up and try my hand at, like knitting or polymer clay jewellery-making, when in reality it’s all I’ve ever thought about doing, since I was a teenager. I’ve always written lyrics, it’s just taken me a really long time to find myself (or actively put myself) in a position where I can make it something more than just some words I saved on my phone, or scribbled down in a notebook. It’s kind of weird because even though playing music live was The Thing that I wanted to do so badly for years, it still feels incredibly removed from any sort of trajectory I imagined for myself, so I am incredibly grateful to be doing it finally. Anyway, I was making music with a few pals last year, and there were plans to form a band but it just didn’t end up happening, however my pals in Miss Miss were doing a residency at Public Bar in September last year and needed some supports, and I was told that I was doing it regardless of being ready or not. If I waited to be truly ready I probably still wouldn’t have played a show yet. I guess Dogood spawned out of necessity.
You’ve released three tracks to date, with the latest being ‘Napier St’. You recorded the songs with Simon Fazio from YIS. How was that experience? I met Simon at a party in 2014 and I decided that he would be my friend. He didn’t get much of a say in it, but I guess he doesn’t hate me too much because he does help me record my music and has played a few Dogood shows with me in the past. He is a good mentor because he tells me to stop apologising so much, which is a thing I frequently do. The experience recording with Simon is fun because all the songs have been done in the spare room of his house, and I get to play with his collection of guitars including my dream Cole Clark Culprit. I want to try and convince him to let me play it live sometime. I am very grateful to have recorded my songs with Simon because he has definitely helped me see how my songs can become so much more than just me singing and playing guitar.
Over the last 5 months you’ve played a bunch of shows, do any stand out as a particular highlight? I played a show back in February at Public Bar (the bar previously known as…) with Shiny Coin and Sandy Hsu, and it was probably the first time I felt like I really really good about a performance. One thing about now singing regularly is I am really excited about how my voice is improving and I really felt it at that show. Also I was opening and there were 15 people there and I was friends with 13.5 of them, so it was just a real feel-good vibe. I love playing with Shiny Coin because I remember seeing them play back in June or July last year and just being like I LOVE THIS BAND! and now I get to play with them! Also in December last year I played a LISTEN show in the Howler front bar. That was the first show I played with Simon playing bass. Because it was daylight savings, it was still really light in the front bar, and Howler is a very green, plant-laden venue and it just felt really nice playing surrounded by all the plants and not in a dark room.
You also make zines (Under The Influence) – what can you tell us about that project? I put out my first zine under the name/title of Under The Influence in 2012, and have put out six or so zine since then. The first one was a collection of essays in which people discussed their favourite band or musician. I discussed my teenage obsession with now defunct Sunshine Coast/Sydney punk band The Scare. I think the favourite zine I’ve done is the collection of anecdotes I wrote about different band t shirts, wearing a different one every day for a month. The first few were mostly about music, however the last one is called Crush Zine and was all about crushes, which I guess was maybe setting up for what was to come with my songs in Dogood. People submitted stories, poetry, illustrations and photographs all inspired by crushes. I will hopefully have Crush Zine II out in April/May. I just keep pushing it back because I keep deciding to do music-related stuff instead. But it’s coming! I probably will put Under The Influence on the back-burner for a while after that.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite Melbourne acts? I’ve already mentioned Shiny Coin, but Shiny Coin! I love Camp Cope a lot, and Jess Riberio. If you want to yell along to songs then Tyrannamen are great for that. Also if you follow me on any social media/are friends with me then you know that I love Gold Class. A lot. I love Stations of the Cross. Jo of Stations is one of my most favourite front people to watch because she unforgiving and intimidating. I will forever and ever love HTRK. Philippa Omega, Shag Planet, Darren Sylvester, Terrible Truths, Miss Destiny, and Totally Mild.
And Melbourne venues? It was my goal to play the Tote some time in 2016 and I am pretty stoked because I did that just last week! The Tote is a favourite, but I also love Old Bar a lot. They are great for a rowdy night that includes a live music component however I really think my favourite venues for seeing bands is Northcote Social Club and Howler.
What’s in store for the next few months? I don’t really know what is specifically in store for Dogood. I have a few shows coming up, one at Old Bar on April 14. It’s a zine launch for a zine called Split, and then another the week after on Friday 22 at The Grace Darling for Sticky Institute’s 15th Birthday celebrations. I think my plan is mostly try and write more songs. I did have plans to put out a cassingle, however if that happens it will be in the second half of the year. A cassette is definitely a Dogood goal. At the moment I have lots of half-songs, so I think I will mostly just be working on finishing them. Reassess what I want to do with them all later.
Thanks for your time! Thanks again!
Dogood plays The Old Bar on Thursday April 14th for Split’s zine launch and Friday April 22nd at the Grace Darling for Sticky Institute’s 15th Birthday.