Upcoming artist and songwriter Dogtanion tells us how it all began, from experimenting with digital music-making equipment to penning his first ever song.

Kyle Fisher
  • By Kyle Fisher
  • 16 Jan 2013
  • min read
Dogtanion is the stage name of Colchester-born Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, label darling of London indie Tape Club Records.

He has so far produced an electro-pop EP (Switzerland, which features fellow label mates Peter Lyons and Kerry Leatham of Peter and Kerry on seperate tracks) and a full length LP. Having toured with Peter and Kerry and Laurel Collective on the Tape Club Tour, Shaun Mooney caught up with Dogtanion on the last night of the tour in The 100 Club, London.

M: When did you first start writing songs? What made you want to write?
Dogtanion: I was in a metal band when I was 15. We were called EFD - Excellent Flying Deth. I played drums. Back then we all listened to dance music and drum n bass, and I got a copy of Fruity Loops. You know that crappy software to make dance music?

Well I was writing songs back then, and I think twice now my songs have been used to impress a girl!

After that I met someone who was really good at making recorded music, and he helped me figure out what to equipment to buy. At the time, all the new, cheap microphones were coming out and condensers and stuff. Technology went from being thousands of pounds to £200 for a decent mic, so I could slowly start building up stuff.

I was writing songs for a long time before then, but I didn't really have the means to structure them in an interesting way. I think I was smoking too much weed to know what I was doing. So being able to record them was actually integral. For me, writing and recording are like the same thing.

M: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
Dogtanion: I was 15 at the time and it was a song called Kill Me. I could probably play it on the guitar still. It was one of the worst songs I've ever heard and I wrote it. But you've got to start somewhere, haven't you?

M: Where do you get your inspiration?
Dogtanion: I guess humour? A lot of my lyrics are quite funny, but they're trying to talk about something quite serious. I don't know really.

M: So you use your sense of humour to deal with quite heavy topics?
Dogtanion: I guess. I was reading an anti-hipster article about how everyone is so ironic and sarcastic all the time, and how no one is sincere any more. I think it's really stupid to think you can be sincere at all any more. I think there is a layer of irony over all things because nothing is straight up. For me, writing music, even when you're writing about something either really meaningful to you or something external, it will inevitably be funny or strange or absurd.

M: Can you put your sound into just three words?
Dogtanion: Erm... Just songs. Pop songs. Just pop songs. They're three minutes, they've got singing in and they usually have a chorus. I think I could be more specific but I'd need more words.

M: You're not allowed, sorry.
Can I have hyphenated words?

M: Nope! Now the Tape Club Tour is over, what's next for Dogtanion?
Dogtanion: I'm writing for an exciting, classic singer but I can't really talk about it! I'll probably write another album of sad Dogtanion songs and some remixes and stuff. I want to sort out a much heavier band, so more rock which would be written all together in a rehearsal room. At the moment I write on my own.

M: What is your favourite sound in the entire world?
Dogtanion: It's the sound of the train in the distance that I can hear from my bed at my parents' house.