The D.O.T are dashing to Sub89By Linda Serck
November 08, 2012
It was, admittedly, with some apprehension that I arrived at The D.O.T’s rehearsal studios in London.
The duo are Mike Skinner, formerly of The Streets, and Rob Harvey, former frontman of The Music. They formed last year but a cursory search on Google showed hardly any promotion, with just the odd interview.
And the duo’s own website is primarily a collection of video diaries – but not as we know it. These are acting skits featuring both men, and some of them are rather strange, complete with deep-voiced Hollywood blockbuster narrator.
So what sort of attitude would these two have towards a journalist hoping for a nice chat?
Well I needn’t have worried. As soon as I walked into the very warm rehearsal space, which had a lingering odour of a noodle lunch, both Rob and Mike were charming.
Kind greetings and warm hand-shakes preceded some hilarious, good-natured banter. So when my recorder was finally switched on, we were all on excellent terms.
Rob and Mike were preparing for their first-ever tour and will be stopping off at Reading’s Sub89 this coming Tuesday.
How did this collaboration start?
“We’ve known each other for about 10 or 12 years now because we’ve always had the same management,” says Mike.
Rob pitches in: “We saw each other at festivals and the occasional party but the idea of making music…”
“We were in other relationships,” Mike says matter-of-factly about their previous bands. “It was only when, at the same sort of time, we both happened to be not doing anything, and I was working in the studio just messing around really,” he adds.
“Rob came down one time and we wrote some really good songs. And we seemed to click.”
The result is beat-studded tunes with lush vocals and honest lyrics.
Their album, And That, was released on October 22, along with their first single You Never Asked (featuring Clare Maguire and Danny Brown).
It’s powerful and robust, and a welcome move away from The Streets for Mike. He says: “It is quite different I think, but they’re good songs and they mean a lot to us. There will be people who will always send me tweets saying ‘why the hell aren’t you doing what you did 10 years ago?’, and likewise for Rob.”
And why aren’t you?, I ask.
“Because if you’re a creative person, you have to create something new,” comes the firm reply.
And what of those videos on The D.O.T. website, which include one of Rob dressed as a gangster conversing with Mike dressed as a bobby with a fairly ridiculous hat.
“It’s just an interest,” says Rob. “Mike’s always been interested in video so we just make it part of what we do. You can’t just put a record out these days.”
Mike chips in: “We’re from the generation where you used to have CD booklets to look at. I think that video and websites have replaced that.”
They say the love of video won’t extend to any video projections on tour just yet – in any case, it sounds like they’re too busy concentrating on getting their performance just right, despite both obviously having bags of experience.
“It feels like I’ve never been on tour before,” says Mike, “because it’s all new. But the reason we’re doing it is to feel that genuine creativity.”
So we had photos taken, and we’re now all following each other on Twitter. These really are sound blokes – in music as well as nature.
Catch them on Tuesday, November 13, at Sub89 in Friar Street, Reading. Tickets are £15 and doors are 7.30pm. To book, log on to www.sub89.com
Reading pop’n’roll band Mellor have a brilliant new single coming out called In The Water and have an equally brillant video to go with it.
It is set entirely in the Harris Arcade in Reading town centre and I urge you to watch it. It really is absolute video gold.
The band, who mix The Libertines with a bit of The Shadows and The Beatles, are edgy yet hark back to the harmonic, melodic pop songs of the 60s.
They are currently on their In The Water tour and are coming to South Street Arts Centre on Thursday, November 15.
The next Big Untidy night at South Street is on Friday, with mad genius Malcolm Kaksois, acoustic duo Scattered Few, and your chance to see Sundara Karma before they become stratospheric, in my view.
The 16-year-olds have so much talent it almost makes me cry. Their hooky psychedelia-tinged rock and indie is mixed with a blistering charismatic live show.
Doors are at 8pm, tickets are £5 on the door.
Well done to Alt-J for winning the Mercury Prize this year. I met the band before one of their London gigs and spoke to them at length about their nominated album, An Awesome Wave.
It became apparent from the outset that this was a debut offering that encapsulated all an album should be – of course perfect for the prize that celebrates the album format.
The album has musical and instrumental interludes, to ease you in to songs and to ease you out of them – so it needs to be listened to in its entirety.
I also detected a very choral sound to their music and it turns out frontman Joe Newman was part of an early Renaissance choir at Leeds University, led by keyboardist Gus Unger Hamilton.
Now there’s something you don’t hear from a band every day!
The band were exceptionally nice and pleasing to talk to, so I’m so pleased they won.
Listen to Linda Serck every Sunday on BBC Radio Berkshire at 7pm and email your music news to email@example.com