Call me a Moroccan Dog
Believe me. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the thrill of hearing Moroccan Dog for the very first time is close to hearing “Grace” by Jeff Buckley. And I don’t have news of current bands that manage to unite this degree of lyricism with a scathing instrumental like Moroccan Dog, who sounds basically like Alice in Chains improvising vocals with Buckley.
But it’s Chris Cornell, the perennial Soundgarden frontman, who speaks most intimately to Moroccan Dog vocalist and guitarist Callan Spafford. Spafford was lucky to have Cornell as a sort of tutor for his music. Among the lessons he has brought to his life, one of the most important is the courage to be authentic. “You need to believe in what you have to say” , Spafford remembers, quoting one of the late musician’s teachings.
Moroccan Dog: the first EP
Moroccan Dog has just released their debut self-titled EP on August. “Moroccan Dog” was co-produced by Michael Cozzi (Guitarist for Sky Cries Mary) and frontman Callan Spafford and mixed by Adam Burd (Fleet Foxes, Brandi Carlile, Car Seat Headrest). Despite the lost dog on the cover, the band’s first ep has encountered a lot of good criticism. That seems to be the case of the mighty Susan Silver, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden’s manager: “A beautiful collection of work. Very deep and so well produced“.
With 5 round songs and huge commercial potential, the EP works sometimes as a tribute to Cornell. “Admit This”, for example, has in its intro chords that resemble the melancholic “Seasons”, present in the Singles movie soundtrack. But the difference of a band that has personality is precisely that it doesn’t stick to standards. With a more pop touch, “Fetter”, for example, could easily figure among the Dave Matthews Band’s discography. Regarding the first EP, the frontman says, “This EP has been a sort of slice-of-life expression for me of this intense sadness that I’ve carried with me since before I can remember”. Don’t worry, Spafford, there has never been rock and roll without a little bit of sadness.
We want people to listen to and enjoy it, but we play what we feel.
Callan Spafford – Lead singer, guitarrist Moroccan Dog
2 3 things about Moroccan Dog
RC – Better explain this issue of being “sponsored” by Chris Cornell…you got to know him, what lessons did he pass on to you?
CS – Musically? I guess a big one would be holding back, and showing off what you can really do when you know that it’s going to have the biggest impact. That in songwriting you have to trust in each part’s ability communicate a depth of emotion, and you need to believe in what you have to say. Personally? It’s nobody’s business but mine.
RC: The music you guys do is refined, with vocals that are very reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. Do you think that today’s audience, used to frantically listening to songs on spotify, is properly equipped to enjoy a Moroccan Dog album?
CS – Thank you. I think that’s a hard thing to speak to, and there are all sorts of people out there. More importantly I think that aspect doesn’t matter as much to us. Sure, we want people to listen to and enjoy it, but we play what we feel – and we’re not about to change it based on what we think might be a little more digestible.
Bonus Question – Since the rock icons of the 90s were practically wiped out…do you see yourselves as the new generation of rock based on good and introspective songwriting?
CS – We tend not to think about ourselves in such a grand scheme. I can say for sure that we’re not trying to fill any shoes or anything. We’ve got our first release out, we’re really looking forward to the next one. We like rock music a lot, and we’re just glad to have some small place in it.
Check the new “Spring” video by Moroccan Dog:
Now, tell us what do you think about the band’s work!