We have kept a firm eye on the talent that is Dog In The Snow for some time. Having seen and been impressed by the Brighton based duo when they have played live, BrightonsFinest has been eagerly anticipating their first release, Uncanny Valley EP, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Comprised of Helen Ganya Brown and Eva Bowan, they have created a heady mixture of experimental electronica with strong vocals that burrow deep into the sub consciousness leaving your mind full of their lovely reverbing ethereal atmospherics. Uncanny Valley EP came out on the 9th October, so we caught up with Dog In The Snow to find out more about the release and their music.
Where did you grow up?
[HELEN] I grew up in Singapore, Eva is from Poland
Do you think where you lived has influenced your music?
[HELEN] Yes definitely. Singapore is an interesting place to grow up. An economically prosperous place but also a place that made me dramatise the dystopian-utopian constructs of universes like Brave New World.
[EVA] It didn't really inspire me directly, maybe more in the way that it influenced my personality and that transferred to my music. Being in the UK and my development since coming here has been definitely more influential.
What kind of music were you brought up on?
[HELEN] I had a fun childhood love Neil Young and Pearl Jam thanks to my dad. Then MTV set me back a few years in my teenage years, and I slowly got out of it again by discovering amazing musicians such as Sufjan Stevens and Sigur Rós.
[EVA] My parents didn't really listen to much music so I made all my choices independently going through most typical phases (excluding pop and hip-hop). Although I have always been drawn to electronic music so it was in the core of my interest.
Can you remember the first album you owned?
[HELEN] Something on cassette, probably the Spice Girls.
[EVA] Some disco compilation or something by Rammstein.
What was the first instrument you played, and when?
[HELEN] Recorder at school because I had to. Guitar is still my favourite.
[EVA] Guitar, a few years back at music college. Synth is my favourite.
What drives you to write music?
[HELEN] A need for a creative and cathartic outlet. To try and make sense of the absurdity of existence.
[EVA] A need to express feelings that can't be expressed in any other art form. The unique satisfaction that comes out of it.
How did Dog In The Snow form?
[HELEN] I have been writing songs since I was about fifteen. I met Eva last year through mutual friends, I had been taking steps towards a more electronic-based sound and knew Eva would be the perfect person to help with this direction.
Is there a story behind the name?
[HELEN] It was inspired by the ending of Franz Kafka's novel The Trial
How would you briefly describe your music?
[HELEN] Existential / experimental pop stuff.
What are your main influences?
[HELEN] Literature, podcasts, dipping in to people's conversations.
[EVA] Movies, literature, old experimental music and art.
What inspires your lyrics?
[HELEN] Reading lots of books and finding interesting phrases which may then spur on some overall idea / lyrical content for a song.
How do you approach the writing process?
[HELEN] Hide away behind closed doors.
Tell us a bit about Uncanny Valley EP?
[HELEN] The songs on the EP were all based around a loose theme: which is the aesthetic phenomenon of robotics professor Masahiro Mori's 'Uncanny Valley'. The hypothesis states that when something/someone looks and/or moves almost human but is still slightly off, it creates a unique feeling of revulsion and uneasiness in the observer. I felt like all the songs touched on this existential feeling.
What has been a musical eye-opener and how has it affected you?
[HELEN] Hearing Sufjan Stevens' album Illinois when I was about 14/15, somehow turned a switch on in my head to start writing music. It's still my favourite album ever and it must have reached me at the perfect time.
[EVA] Discovering Radiohead as a teenager expanded my view on music and then meeting certain people at the right time in my life has always been really helpful with taking my taste to another level. Also moving to the UK has definitely changed the way I perceive music-making and the industry in general.
What would be your perfect band of any musicians?
[HELEN] Frank Zappa, Scott Walker and Brian Eno. They would be called Zap-Walken. Christopher Walken would be in all their music videos.
[EVA] Karin Dreijer Andersson, Tim Hecker and Andy Stott.
What would be your perfect line-up of any three acts for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
[HELEN] What a tough question! Right now, I'd say Scott Walker, Phillip Glass and Jónsi all in a church.
[EVA] Fever Ray, Aphex Twin and Broadcast. Somewhere small and private.
If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to Dog In The Snow?
[HELEN] Sufjan Stevens. I love the albums he's had some kind of hand in producing (including his own).
[EVA] I reckon Nigel Godrich could give me some production tips.
If Dog In The Snow did a cover, what would it be?
[HELEN] We once covered In Heaven by Peter Ivers when we supported Chrysta Bell; probably something like that again.
What music are you listening to at the moment, any recommendations?
[HELEN] Julia Holter's Have You In My Wilderness is on repeat. She manages to perfectly capture a very indescribable feeling, akin to just really questioning one's existence. Wish I could be more specific but I am still trying to understand what it is.
[EVA] I listen to Sea Oleena's Shallow a lot at the moment. It is perfect for this kind of chilly autumnal vibe.
Do you get to go to many gigs?
[HELEN] I should go to more. Big Freedia at the Haunt was pretty amazing, Sufjan Stevens at the Dome too of course.
[EVA] I really enjoyed seeing James Holden this year and Tim Hecker's gigs are always a great experience.
What has been your happiest memory with music?
[HELEN] I'm not sure. I feel like music for me is a necessity more than a pleasure. I of course enjoy it and it does make me happy in some way, but it's more of a deep form of expression rather than just doing something like eating pizza (which definitely makes me happy).
[EVA] Supporting artists I really respect. Being close to them is very inspiring and it drives me to make more music.
What makes you happiest when you are not playing music?
[HELEN] Reading, wrapped in a duvet with some barley tea.
[EVA] Making art, walks, reading, and spending time with people I don't hate.
What are your future plans till the end of the year and after?
[HELEN] Hoping to do more shows, a few potential support tours early next year, and more music releases!