Resin Dogs seem to be one of Australia’s most well loved live acts. Hailing from sunny Brisbane, they seem to bring the party vibe to wherever they visit, whether it’s a small club like the now defunct Minke bar here in Adelaide, to playing to thousands at Livid and Big Day Out. We caught up with Katch, the DJ of the crew, to talk about what they’ve been doing recently and about their coming tour.
He mentions it’s very hot in Queensland, and also says, nonchalantly, that he’s been “doing a lot of office shit – the record label and that. It’s very interesting; running the record label is an interesting and intriguing part of being in a band. I’m just learning the ropes of all that, dealing with getting stuff out and deadlines. You gotta know what’s going on with your business or else your fucked,” he laughs.
Speaking of the record label, they’ve been rather quiet of late, with no new signings but a few “potentials”. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a bad sign… quite the contrary, with acts like Katalyst and Downsyde supporting some of the bigger hiphop events around Australia. “I think Katalyst and Downsyde getting huge exposure is great, more of it!” Katch enthuses, “for that style of music as well as the acts.” I mention that I’ve heard the Resin Dogs on our ‘different’ Triple M. “I didn’t even know Triple M played our stuff. Wow, this is great!” he exclaims. Wondering if this extra radio play will impact on the group, Katch is, as I expect, unfussed. “Just means more people are going to hear it,” he says, probably with a wry smile.
On problem with becoming commercial is being pigeonholed and labelled. Katch is rather philosophical about this. “If it helps sell “that thing” to “that person”, you know what I mean, it’s just a description thing. If it helps sell it to the audience to help them get an understanding [of what we’re about] I guess its OK. To me it’s all beats, uptempo, downtempo, whatever. We are a “party” band,” he adds, referring to the classification of the Resin Dogs being ‘party hiphop’, “we like people to have fun, but if we want to tell people about the reign of terror and stuff like that we can bring that along as well. But labels are labels these days – there’s so many brands of t-shirts but it still just a t-shirt. This might sound wanky,” he laughs, “but even if you’ve made one person change, at least you’ve made a change. I’ve had people come up and say “you’ve started me getting into DJing” and stuff. And I feel sorry for them, because now they’re going to spend all their money on records,” he chuckles again.
Talk moves away from the “business side” into the makeup of the band for this tour. I had heard that the band rarely practices, and was rather astonished that they could sound so good together live. “Sometimes there’s no rehearsals,” Katch agrees. “When we brought Abstract Rude out we had a couple of rehearsals, to get him used to our songs, so he knew what he was doing and wouldn’t be walking into it blind and put on the spot. If there’s time we’ll do it, but most of the people we tour with have a fair idea of the songs.” The line up is quite variable, featuring different session players and different guests, ensuring a different experience each time. “We try and keep the main core of the band of course,” Katch says, “but we bring guest acts out who we’ve worked with, or like to work with, friends of ours from interstate and what not.”
Collaboration seems to be a big part of the Resin Dogs vibe, and they’ve collaborated with DJ Ransom, Ben Ely from Regurgitator, Abstract Rude, Lazy Grey from Brothers Stoney, Mad Doctor X, Kenny Dope, Barry Ashworth of the Dub Pistols and more recently The Pharcyde, Jungle Brothers and the wonderful vocal talents of the UK’s Spikey Tee, who’s on tour with them. “We’ve collaborated through the record company ringing up saying ‘we’ve got a bunch of people who you may be interested in working with’”, Katch explains. “Our first record was produced by Robert Reed from Trouble Funk because the record company said “you sound like these guys, maybe you should contact this dude” The Pharcyde were hooked up that way too… We’ve even simply looked at peoples records, found phone numbers on records and got in touch through that. It’s amazing”, he says, “you find records and they have numbers are for the actual artist, because they’re underground or whatever, and it’s quite a buzz!”
Talking about Spikey Tee brings up my favourite topic, sampling. We talk about the impending trade agreement with the USA and what impact that may have on Australia’s recording industry, especially those groups that use samples. “It’s what you do with samples,” Katch says. “People take huge chunks and are oblivious to the whole thing, and there’s those who take it and chop it up and make it their own. If you contact the right people and get proper usage it’s all fine. Sometimes the whole art of sampling is ‘can they find it’ in the first place, a game of deception.” I wondered if the difficulty in clearing samples was the reason why there are two versions of Adore You, one with the original singer Queen Adreena, the other with the aforementioned Spikey T. “It was partly because yeah, fuck, this is going to be a big nightmare clearing this, so it’s like a cover version. But mainly it was the fact that he could sing the part. He had these solo records out on Grand Central, and his vocals just spun me out. When he came out, I think it was 2002, I introduced myself, and we’ve kept in touch since. When he came out to do the Livid festival last year, they hung out with us for a few weeks at the Studio, and one day I just asked him ‘do you want to sing this, coz I reckon a male version of Adore You could be good’. So we got it done.”
As time was quickly running out, although it felt like we could have chatted all night, things turned to the impending gig. Katch is definitely looking forward to coming to Adelaide. “I’ve had some wicked nights at there,” he says wickedly, speaking of times fondly remembered at Minke. “Small and intimate is good, but sometimes it gets too hot,” he says. “The Big Day Out and that you know, are just massive. Good crowds and a massive audience to appeal to, but they both have their merits. If I had to I’d play in front of one person, or one hundred thousand it doesn’t really matter, I’d still play my best,” he adds.