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"Two Door Cinema Club – they’re so f***ing polite. It does my nut. Bombay Bicycle Club too. It’s all the clubs I think. It’s like, be a bit edgy.”
Dan Dorrington is the singer in Brighton’s snappiest new band, Running Dogs. For him, the current indie scene has come to a dead end. “It’s just not rock and roll. It’s boring. When you see someone like Liam Gallagher having a bit of a pop, it’s entertaining.”
It was seeing Oasis’s penultimate show before they split up that made Dorrington and his mates decide to form a band. “We all met at college and ended up going to Benicassim that year. “When Oasis were playing the crowd were climbing all the roofs and the towers to get to the stage. They had to stop the show and ask people to get down. It was just mad.
“We came back and said, ‘We could do that’.”
That was 2010 and the aim was to inject some energy into the “dull, bland, boring” indie scene. So they took a name from Don DeLillo’s book about a New York hack hunting down a home movie of Hitler’s sexual exploits.
None of them have read the book, but they liked the ring of the name and the idea that, like running dogs, a band is a pack. Guitarist Alfie Sanders-Earley, 20, is as brash as Dorrington.
“Too many bands stand there looking at their feet and don’t talk to the audience. You’ve got to have f***ing good music if you are going to do that,” he snarls.
To date, Running Dogs have only done 15 shows, but he remembers a gig in December that offered a chance to play Hop Farm Festival as well.
“We got to the final heat of that competition but it turned out they were looking for some folk. It was some Mumford & Sons wannabees that won. They were decent, to be fair. I’m not bitter.”
Given Running Dogs’ sound, getting to the final of a feeder show for Hop Farm was an achievement. The three tracks they’ve posted online have more in common with Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys in that the groove-driven rock is powered along by rapid high-hats and overdriven bass. There are simple, nagging lead guitar lines and echoing, searching vocals. No surprise then that the duo agree Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner is the best songwriter in the business right now.
The best guitarist is a veteran, Blur’s Graham Coxon, according to Sanders-Earley.
For Dorrington, the frontmen worth watching made their names in a different era – Damon Albarn, Mick Jagger, David Bowie. Indeed, Blur seem to be templates for the pair’s attitude – the two have the consciously aloof manner young Blur used to go for in interviews – if not the sound. Sanders-Earley promises the EP they are about to record with Martin “Youth” Glover (who worked on The Verve’s Urban Hymns and invited Running Dogs to his Wandsworth studio) will leave the Arctic Monkeys accusations behind and be “more of own unique style now, more swagger and groove”.
There is more Blur in the art-school drop-out look of the pair when we meet. Sanders-Earley has a chip in his front tooth and a hoop in his left ear. He’s wearing brogues and fitted jeans. “Blur were not interested in the bland indie scene. They were a pop band. They had good lyrics and one of the best English guitarists ever. They weren’t scared of being poppy and we’re not either.”
Style is important to Running Dogs: on stage, the choice is suits. “It took a while for us to get the band going but when we started taking it seriously we got this manifesto: to have a show, to have catchy songs and to look good.
“Other bands just wear Radiohead T-shirts but we want to give ourselves an identity. We don’t just want to be another indie band.”
Dorrington and Sanders-Earley (lead guitar), plus Jake Good on drums and James Howarth on bass, have the manifesto imprinted in their minds, if not in ink. They describe themselves on Facebook as “Young. Urgent. Melodic. Sharp. Sexy.”
Producer Glover obviously agrees. He’s not alone.
A limited vinyl run of 300 copies of debut double A-side Turn Me/Rumpunch has sold out.
They’ve supported Sham 69 at Concorde 2 and at the end of April opened for Rizzle Kicks. The two bands are old schoolmates.
“They wanted a local support because they are Brighton boys,” says Dorrington, rocking back in his chair, itching to get back to the rehearsal room where last night Sanders-Earley reckons he penned their first number one under the working title She’s Treacle. Sanders-Earley went to Brighton’s Dorothy Stringer while Dorrington, who went to Blatchington Mill in Hove, also shared a classroom with another new Brightonian star.
Conor Maynard was in his media class at college. He obviously dropped out to be a pop star. “I never thought that would happen, then the next time I see him he is in LA with Pharrell [Williams].
“Good luck to him, but he wasn’t shy. He was quite loud. He was a bit of a pain in the a*** to be honest.”
- Running Dogs play The Hope, Queen’s Road, Brighton on Saturday, August 11. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £3. Call 01273 325793
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