Cody Power is the lead singer/guitarist in the up and coming band Talk Like Dog. A rock band made of musicians across Wicklow who have been gigging for the past year and a half supporting other local acts like Alta Cura from Bray. Talk Like Dog have been asked to headline a gig in the Harbour in Bray with Tung In Cheek opening for them on the 28th of December.
I met up with Cody at the Harbour Bar right beside the stage he’d be playing on a week before they were scheduled to headline there for the first time. We talked about the band’s early inception, their influences, the advice he had on how to work in a band, and the state of Rock music right now:
So how did you get started?
Well, I’ve been playing music for about ten or twelve years and I was always writing with a band in mind but I could never find people because I live in Kilcoole and I hadn’t gone to a music school or anything. So eventually I was like “fuck it, I’ll have to be singer-songwriter I guess” and started doing open mics. I started making connections and met up with a few people that I really clicked with. There was enough overlap y’know like a Venn diagram, we all brought our own flavours but had an interest in similar genres. By this point through the open mics had gotten me to the level of confidence to think “maybe my songs aren’t terrible”.
So I joined a music course and met this really good drummer, our drummer, who’s not really a drummer he’s a guitarist and songwriter. Mark’s a better guitarist than any of us actually who just also happens to be a really good drummer. He doesn’t even play the drums at home, he just plays when we practice. I don’t know how he does it, it’s ridiculous but yeah, he was the first piece of the puzzle and it just sort of went from there.
Tell me more about the other band members. What makes you all fit so well together
Well, Jordan (the bassist) saved us because me and the drummer Mark were playing with this guy Mike Monahan, who’s still making tunes as Mickmon in the Basque Country. He moved there because it’s cheaper and the weather’s good which is fair enough. Mike was a really good fit and came at things with this sort of Beatles mentality but when Jordan came on, he was able to keep up that melodic Paul McCartney style but put a Kim Deal Pixies flavour and make things a bit grungier.
Whenever I’d record at home I’d always record two guitars because it usually sounds better than one guitar so I asked Jordan if he knew anyone that could play guitar and he told us about Aidan from his old band The Limits, which is funny because Jordan was the guitarist and Aidan was the bassist but they did a little switcharoo with Aidan on guitar and Jordan on bass. I just play straight Blues but Aidan was able to add all these cool little Jazz scales. He’s also a filthy little emo at the same time and loves his My Chemical Romance, which is a lot of what we do as well. Aidan opened it up so it didn’t have to be a song built off one riff, make things much larger with a lot more dynamics and stuff. It’s really nice to look at those old songs that were built around one guitar and slot him in and sort of jazz it up.
How would you guys typically go about writing songs?
Even though I’d be the most seasoned songwriter, we can all look at song structure and they each take the song into directions I never would have thought of on my own which is where the magic happens. It’s not just me coming in and going “I have a verse, a chorus and a breakdown” and that’s a great starting point but Mark could be doing this fill and I’ll be like “wait what’s that? That’s sick.” We focus on that for a minute and then Aidan will come at it with another bit and Jordan will be doing something else and we suddenly have a song. It makes it a lot more than just me chugging along on my power chords
What would be the advice you’d give for people who want to be in a band and how to write in a collaborative aspect
It’s a fine line where you need some sort of leadership but not have it be too oppressive. It’s really easy to jam, go off on tangents, and not work on an actual song. And it’s great fun but that’s a jam, that’s not band practice. Everyone has to be on board with being serious enough to want to get on stage and play the songs really well. If somebody goes “what if we do this?” don’t get annoyed if it’s making things harder because it’ll make things better. You don’t have to say yes to everything and sound like Van Halen’s third album but never shut down an idea. I’ve been to bands where one person is the songwriter and writes every part and I’m sure that can work but it’s usually so boring, it just dampens everything. Because you get those moments in the chaos where someone takes it in a direction you’d never think of, so it helps you not get stale. You tend to have your influences where you’re coming from and so do they but it’s that variation in everyone’s opinion that can elevate what you’re doing. But for sure, avoid that situation where everyone playing exactly what one person wants.
Is there any broader advice you’d give to aspiring musicians out there?
Make sure you’re writing music that you’d want to hear. Not that we’re the be all end all writing music on the scene or whatever. But the reason I still enjoy it is because I’m playing music that I want to exist because there’s not enough of what I like out there. You don’t necessarily have to fit in a niche or anything but make sure you’re doing something you think you’ll have a passion for and that you’re not just pissing on the newest trend.
Speaking of trends, what is your opinion on the rock genre right now and rock fans declaring rock music being “dead” and “saved” for the past twenty or so years.
Oh chap what a question (laughing)… I wouldn’t worry too much about the whole dying thing, just because it’s not the zeitgeist and it’s not gonna be the pop music thing anymore, it’s always changing, there’s always bands who are doing something interesting in every fucking genre.
Let’s just look at the 90s for a sec. So you got Nirvana, now I wasn’t there but when I look back and think “what other bands were around?” Loads of it is so bad, just because there’s more of it and it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s better music, it can be guitar bass and drums rock and roll and still be lowest common denominator slop. It doesn’t correlate to it being good music just because it’s the thing to do, the trends will always die.
Could you tell us more about your next gig?
Yeah, we’re just really grateful to have been asked to headline a gig for the Harbour they’ve been really good to me and have been great to us. Also, we’re gonna drop a secret tune soon. A treat for the holidays if you will.
Catch Talk Like Dog in the Harbour Bar on the 28th of December and follow them on Instagram or Facebook if you want to hear about their secret tune.