Croatian post-hardcore trio DEAD DOG SUMMER

DEAD DOG SUMMER seamlessly fuses various shades of top-notch post hardcore on impressive debut album – listen!

13 mins read

Almsot a year since our initial teaser of their new album, Croatian post-hardcore trio DEAD DOG SUMMER have finally unveiled their captivating debut full-length via Geenger Records. “A Place Of Someday” delivers ten quality tracks drawing from various takes on post hardcore from the 90s, showcasing their great talent for emotive, relentlessly raw, driving, yet melodious compositions. It’s a strong testament to their ability to explore and evolve without losing their identity.

We sat down with the band to discuss their backgrounds, 30 years of alt rock and punk music in Croatia, their local independent music community, the new album, and more! Have a good read below.

You guys were active in the scene during the first decade of the 00’s, playing in bands like Nikad, The Farewell Reason, Senata Fox, Implicite and many others. Can you give us some more background on that era, how you got involved in active recording and performing in your independent rock scene?

First of all, thank you for this interview and thanks to everybody who will read this.

We all started to play in bands in the late 90’s and 00’s, writing fanzines and organizing shows in our hometown Cakovec which is located in the north-east of Croatia. It all started with going to shows, buying first fanzines and figuring out, hey, we can also do that.

That was our getaway, that was something that gave us the meaning of life in that time and it was something you feel part of it. Still is. In that time there were no social media, no streaming services, there were only printed fanzines where you could check reviews or ads and then order a record or find someone who has it to tape it for you or to burn you a CD if they had CD burner.

There was less music available, organizing shows was much harder cause there were no „alternative“ clubs and youth centers in small cities, it was much harder to get proper equipment cause there was less money cause we were all high school kids or in college. There was no home recording, you could not record a record in your rehearsal space that easily.

But there was something magical in it cause it was so new to us. It was a great time where we met most of the people from the scene who became our friends and still are and what is more magical is that they are still here, we are still friends, we still play shows with the same people that we played in 00’s, maybe not the same bands but the new bands that those people are in right now. We made some friends for life.

This whole punk hardcore community is what made us the people we are right now, the whole DIY scene opened a new view on life, thought us how to go through life and how to live it, to be a better person, to respect others. That was and still is the best school in my life. You know that phrase “If you were a punk, you never were”? Maybe we think differently and have different priorities now but this is something who we are and we feel part of this community where we feel at home.

How do you compare those years to the alt rock and punk scene nowadays?

You know how people often say that “in my time it was better or when we did it, it was much better” and stuff like that? I don’t agree with that. Yes, you had more printed fanzines and maybe more active bands but everything was harder then and it was not on that level it is now.

That is mostly because the people who ran it then are still active in the scene running labels, organizing shows and festivals, and doing everything they can and afford now to have the scene they always wanted to have. It is much easier to record and release your music, to distribute it, to press records cause a lot of those services are now run by people who were in the scene then are still now.

The only thing that I see as a part of the problem is that there are no young kids at the shows, the average age of people on the shows in Croatia is from 35 to 45 now. Maybe the reason for that is that when you entered the punk, it was always a rebellion against everything and your parents and now their parents are punks and hardcore people who still go to shows, right?

But if you want to do it now, it is much easier, you don’t need money to print fanzines, you don’t need a lot to record a record or video, everything can be done easily but also everything is much faster now, there are news bombarding you from everywhere, new music is popping out everywhere, people attention is much shorter. I read somewhere that kid’s attention is something like 15 seconds, and that is it, they skip the song or anything else. People don’t listen to whole records, only singles or parts of the songs.

Are you trying to take advantage of the digital era and the various tools for bands and artists it offers? What are some of your personal examples of running a band differently compared to your earlier days as musicians?

As mentioned, we are taking advantage of everything we need to use for our band to be heard cause this is something we love and would like to share with everybody. As there are tons of information every day from everywhere, you must be present there, everywhere. I never thought that I would shoot music videos for our band, but we did it cause now you have to have a music video, also in this hardcore punk scene cause a lot of kids are listening to music on YouTube.

Right now running a band is like running a business, I know that sounds scary but it is. You must be present on social media, using streaming platforms, be present on Bandcamp, and all the other services you can think of.

But on the other hand, it is much easier and faster, for instance, if I want you to hear our music, I will just drop you a link and in a second you can hear our music, right?

The only thing is that everybody is present everywhere and it is hard to be heard :) Right now is also easier to get reviews in webzines or even daily newspapers because people who are now running it and writing those were on the scene once or still are and understand this music and the message behind it. Right now is the best time to be in a band, but you maybe need to work harder for the promotion.

In the early years, you only had Myspace which was a great platform for promotion, then you had Facebook and Instagram, and YouTube and now you have TikTok and maybe something else. We are only present on Facebook and Instagram and all streaming services for music.

Our album was only released digitally for now and that was not an option then cause there was no Spotify or Deezer of Apple Music, but we would like to have it on vinyl also soon for sure.

You mentioned that this band was something you procrastinated for a long time. Give us some more details on the proces of forming Dead Dog Summer.

Boris and I played in The Farewell Reason before that band and Kreso was in Nikad. The Farewell Reason split it 2010 and Nikad split up in 2003 or 2004 or something.

After that period we didn’t play in bands but for sure we missed it. Every time when we met at some party, it was always, we should play something, I had some ideas, will send it to you and then we did a rehearsal or two but had other priorities in life and postponed once again. Some songs ideas for the songs were written for our former band The Farewell Reason.

The first idea for No Regrets was recorded 13 years ago I think. I had some ideas that were brewing in my head for some time but it was always, first I need to finish this, I need this to make it right, what if nobody will like the music I make, what if the other guys will not like to play, where will we have rehearsals, etc. Typical questions in your head that try to stop you every day. And then you realize that the best time to do something for you and that makes you happy and you wish is right now. Nothing will happen by itself, there are no stars that need to line up to something, nobody will come and take your hand and guide you, show you the way.

That is what this whole album is about. It is about if you want to do something you have to do it yourself. Because a place of someday is nowhere. The band was formed during the first lockdown cause we had a lot of free time and when you have time, your mind is working 200 times faster and at that time it was working in the right direction. When people were afraid and locked in their homes, we were working in our rehearsal space.

First 5 songs that we made were from my demos I had but as we didn’t play for that long inspiration hit us very quickly so we first recorded a demo with 5 songs without vocals cause we didn’t have any lyrics, then we recorded the whole album, mixed it and master it and then realize, we can do it better so, we did it twice. On the first recording, we wrote lyrics in the studio and didn’t know how to sing it, we both didn’t sing for 10 years or more before recording so we didn’t know how to do it, who will sing what part, etc. As we do most of the stuff DIY we did it once again and that is what you can hear on the record.

Why ‘Dead Dog Summer’?

We had a booked show at a festival in our hometown and we needed a name, so we went through my record collection trying to find something interesting and there were 1000 ideas but then we saw a record by a band we all like called Policy of 3 whose album is called Dead Dog Summer. As it was summer and the temperature in our rehearsal space reaches 37 degrees Celsius it was a great name for the band. There is no deeper meaning in that.

So how does it feel to be able to run things normally in the post-COVID era? How impactful was the pandemic in your case and how it stroke your local music scene?

Of, it feels great to be finally “free”, to move freely through the world, to play shows, and to hang out with people. Pandemic was very impactful in our case cause we started the band during the pandemic, recorded an album, and wrote most of the lyrics and it opened our eyes to be grateful for the “freedom” we had and to appreciate little things in life like going to the shows, hang out with friends.

It also opened our eyes that we are not free at all and in a day or two, “they” can take you everything. Does this sound like a conspiracy theory, hope not :)

This is what the last song Neverending Story on the album is about.

Cause everything was closed, you couldn’t travel, or have fun and the whole thing was based on people’s fear. What pissed me off in those times was, you could not play shows but you can go to church on Sunday. I think a lot of people got more dulled with the news and everything media served us but also a lot of people open themselves and left the life they had and start to do what they really like.

The main problem with quitting the shows and stopping the whole entertainment industry was that the bands, actors, and the crews had no money cause that was their main income so they had to start something different and if you work something you like for your entire life and have to drive Taxi or deliver food, what impact that has on your mind and soul? It will crush you for sure.

For us, we had no impact cause we do regular jobs and music is “only” our passion. Now after the pandemic, there are tons of everything, concerts, and festivals but there are fewer people cause some of them are afraid, and some of them forgot how to go somewhere and have fun.

Those 2 years made a much bigger impact on humanity than we are aware of now. Kids who went to school for the first time were not allowed to play with their friends during their most important years in life. We’ll see how it impacted us all in a few years.

Are things back to normal now? How thriving is your punk rock scene now?

Yes, things are getting back to normal for now, we all live normal lives, have new problems with inflation, and prices going up like crazy so we forgot what it was. The punk rock scene is active, mostly in the capital Zagreb where you can go to punk shows almost every day, there are a lot of new releases coming up from the bands that were working and recording during the pandemic, as I said, there are fewer people on the concerts but that is the problem in whole Europe and there are no young kids on the scene but we need to make it interesting so they will come.

Can you share some local bands, artists, labels and other members of the community that you feel are worth checking out?

Oh, that is a hard one not because there is nothing to mention, but because I would not want to forgot someone. In our hometown we have a great club called Prostor and they are organizing punk and metal show every 2 weeks, there are great venues to play in Zagreb like Medika/Attack, Mochvara, Kset, Vintage Industrial Bar, people in Koprivnica are having FUNK club, people from Distune Promotion organise shows in Rijeka, there is a legendary festival and club Monte Paradiso in Pula, Zadar is having their Nigdjezemska club, Split have Kocka, Sisak is having SKWHT, Karlovac is having Mala Scena, Novi Marof has Stara škola so there are definitely clubs to play here.

If we talk about bands, there are great bands like Ponor which is a punk metallic hardcore, Sentence are oldschool hardcore, Kriva Istina is great melodic political hardcore, One Step Away are also great melodic hardcore, FNC Diverzant who are legends of Croatian punk scene, Shin, Loš Primjer, Mališa Bahat, Kiper, Jembrela, Debeli Precjednik, Mižerija, Okov, Ochi just to name a few that are worth to check out.

If we speak about labels, there is Geenger Records who put our record, mostly digital sometimes vinyls, PDV records who also have a record store in Zagreb, Dirty Old Empire which is also a great label and a record shop in Zagreb. There is a Kraykulla webzine who is covering local and international hardcore/punk/metal) scene, great webzine Thought Words Action from Serbia and many more actors that are worth to check out.

If we speak about our hometown scene there is a legendary punk band Bakterije who are playing for 25 years and Emphasis who are post-metal band and they will release a new record early next year on Geenger Records.

There are also great festivals like 3FF Festival in our hometown, Sick As We Are in Županja, Monte Paradiso festival in Pula, lots of great festivals in Šibenik at Martinska camping etc.

In your lyrics, you seem to be diving into many different topics, including socio-political issues. How do you feel about the current state of affairs and happenings, especially those around us, here is Europe. What’s the mood in Croatia in general and among your closest?

Lyrics on this record reflect the situation that we all live it, the state of I was in when we were making it, there are political lyrics, and personal lyrics and it was all about emotions I had and have about everything that was going around me.

Right now the situation in the world is not the best, we went from a pandemic straight to war and I think people are scared and that is the most powerful weapon. Prices are going up, food costs are going up, prices of flats and houses went up and people still make the same amount of money every month. That is the main problem.

War is never a good solution, we had it here 30 years ago and you can still see the consequences on some people and some areas in Croatia, nationalism is rising in many countries, right-wing parties are winning the elections and that is not good. It is the easisest thing to blame the others, right, different nationality, different color of skin and that is dangerous.

The world that we used to know from a couple of years ago is gone I think. I personally don’t watch TV especially no news so I really don’t know how people are living and thinking, I know it is harder but most of the people rely on their governments and wait for their help, not realizing that the money they “gave” you is the money that you have to pay them every month through taxes and all the other stuff you have to pay every month. Me personally, I am pissed off cause most of those prices going up were just greed from the sellers. Next question, please ;)

Dead Dog Summer - by Klub Prostor - CeZam Čakovec
Dead Dog Summer – by Klub Prostor – CeZam Čakovec

Okay, so what’s up next? What plans do you have lined up for the coming months?

We are now playing as many shows as possible to promote the record and the band because we are still a new band on the scene, maybe play some European tour and release a record on vinyl but still calculating if that is a good idea, to be honest. If there are labels that want to contribute in that, please drop us a line.

After that we will work on new material, record it, release it and do it all once again. There are plans and we will see where this whole thing will go. We are very happy where we are right now and how it goes, we work really hard with this band and are not waiting chances to happen.

Thanks! Feel free to add anything you like and take care! All the best!

Thank you so much for this interview, we really appreciate it and are grateful that you gave us the space on IDIOTEQ. Keep up the good work for the scene. If you can, listen to our record on all streaming platforms and Bandcamp, share it with your friends, and follow us on socials, that is the fastest we can promote what we are doing and use your head and heart before you make the next step in your life.


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