Black Dog Prowl is considered one of Washington, D.C.'s hardest hitting rock bands. The four-piece showcases original material ranging from the slow, down-tuned to a fast-paced kick in the teeth. If one insists on drawing a line to the familiar, BDP has drawn sonic comparisons to the likes of Soundgarden, Torche, and Nirvana.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Josh Finver - Guitar/Vocals
Pablo Anton - Lead Guitar
Seth Spaulding - Bass
Enzo Ferroggiaro - Drums
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Black Dog Prowl? How long has the band been around?
We've all been in several projects prior to BDP, which has been around now for almost 9 years.
Josh played in bands including Narcosis, Stereosaurus, and, of course, The Finver Four which was the precursor to Black Dog Prowl and where Josh and Enzo first started playing together. He had been the drummer for a another band called Molotov Valentine prior.
Before joining BDP, Pablo played in a band called Hundredth Nomad in DC, and Evo, Metafonica and Angora in Mexico City. Seth has been a busy bee in the DC music scene, playing in countless bands including Maryjo Mattea & a Pile of Dudes, and Mr. Blonde. He still plays in an Offspring tribute band and holds down the drums for the local punk band Brickwall Monty. He's quite talented.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
There is unfortunately no great origin story with the name. Josh, Enzo and Micah, the original guitar player, had played together in The Finver Four, which was always a sort of temporary joke name that stuck around longer than it should have. But, as it became evident that things were evolving, with a new dynamic -- mainly that there was a much more collaborative approach to songwriting -- a new band and name was inevitable. "Black Dog Prowl" was the end result of a lot of random names being tossed out, kind of like the process with the name "Stone Temple Pilots," and Black Dog Prowl just kind of made sense with the sound and aesthetic and ended up sticking.
Perhaps there was a subconscious influence from the fact that both Josh and Enzo had black labs at the time. Josh's would prowl around his neighborhood in the evenings. We get asked a lot of the name is a Led Zeppelin reference. The answer isn't a definitive "no," but it wasn't part of the thought process. Maybe just an added benefit.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
The writing processes has truly become very much a collaborative effort. There are still times where Josh will bring a mostly finished idea and it's just a matter of tweaks and maybe throwing in a new bridge or whatever, but most of the time it's some variation of building off a guitar part that Pablo or Josh brings in or a bass line Seth has been messing around with... Enzo is sort of the arrangement guy, most of the time. Our shit-filter, if you will. If something doesn't flow right or if there is a part that drags, he'll be the one to take the emotional attachment out of the equation and say "This sucks," or "Let's go in this direction instead." A lot of give and take, which can lead to some friendly disagreements, but ultimately yields quality results. At least we like to think so.
As far as themes or topics, the music always comes first and Josh will sort of go off and write the lyrics. There's usually no explicit intent in terms of subject matter. A lot of the lyrics from this batch of tunes certainly have some social and political themes, but it wasn't a situation where he sits down and says, "Okay, I'm going to really take a shot at the incompetent, know-nothing shithead in the White House that poses an imminent threat to American democracy." At the same time, especially living in Washington, D.C., these days it's become difficult to be in a head space where these things aren't the prevailing thought and on the tip of your tongue. So, it's only natural that would come through in the lyrics. The inspiration is ever evolving, but this band doesn't really write "happy" songs, so if there's something that makes Josh particularly angry, that's probably going to be expressed in a sarcastic, if not thinly-veiled, way.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
It's a little bit of everything. We all have our own types of music that we listen to outside of the band, which finds its way into the writing process. Josh and Enzo had been listening to Dead Sara out of Los Angeles for a good while there, while Pablo has been listening to a decent amount of prog and stoner metal like Opeth and Graveyard. Seth is always big on the punk side of things, but he's been listening to the new Alice in Chains record a fair amount lately. But, there's also an appreciation for artists like Childish Gambino, who are not only unbelievably talented, but make music with a message.
Of course, the majority of the music we are privileged enough to be exposed to is from other DC area bands, which is a constant source of inspiration. Bands like FuzzQueen, Caustic Casanova, Curse Words are some of our favorites. And we're playing a show on December 8th with Heavy Wire and Shagwuf at The Pie Shop in DC, which we're very excited about. Big fans of those folks, the venue, and the pie.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Probably too many to count. As mentioned, we all kind of have our own set of influences, but the early-90s grunge era is probably our most common ground. Bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Nirvana were huge influences. Seth is a little younger, so he may be more into the System of a Down and Foo Fighters time period, but we all grew up on our parents' record collections and just fell in love with loud rock 'n roll. That grunge movement, though, made the idea of being in a band much more accessible and probably led us to pick up our instruments and give it a go.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
Aside from the mounds of cocaine? Kidding, kidding. Yeah, things have certainly changed since we were teenagers, so vocal exercises and general warm-ups before hitting the stage have become part of the routine. Pablo has his finger exercises and Enzo always spends some time with headphones and a drum pad in the green room. Josh and Seth have developed a nice little tradition of getting some quality stretching time in before shows. Particularly with the type of high-energy performance we pride ourselves on, it's always a good idea to loosen up a bit before getting out there.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Oh, man. We have been fortunate enough to be able to update that high-water mark pretty regularly. A few years ago we got to open up for Candlebox in Santiago, Chile, which was incredible. Prior to that we were the support for Steel Panther at the Fillmore in DC. This year we finally got to headline the 9:30 Club, which is one of the most revered mid-size venues in the country and a D.C. institution. So, that was an incredible experience. Then to top it off, in October, we were honored to be a part of Force Fest in Teotihuacan, Mexico along with some incredible bands, like Alice in Chains, System of a Down, Slayer, Stone Temple Pilots and such. It's been a fun ride.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Again, there are so many we'd love to have been able to tag along with from that grunge era, Soundgarden probably being the most appropriate considering our sound. But, today, of the bigger acts out there, it would be amazing to tour with bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, or Alice in Chains. Just to witness how those guys own a crowd and knowing that our songs would go over well with their audiences would be awesome. As far as more up-and-coming bands, touring with The Walking Papers, Dead Sara, or The Last Internationale would be a treat. They put on an absolutely killer shows and we share a similar brand of rock that would fit quite well on the same bill.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We'd just to say thank you for having us and to anyone who's read this far down. We're extremely grateful for all the continued support and hope like hell you dig this new EP. We can't wait to put out the next one in Spring 2019 along with some more live material. Much love and always support local music!