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Monday 9th August, 2010 11:42AM

Glowdogs is Hugh Smith, who uses all kinds of fancy implements and instruments to create the sound of a band all by himself onstage. In an email interview he tells us why that can lead to disaster, what drew him to wanting to be a solo musician and why Dire Straits made him want to be a rock star.

How long have you been playing as Glowdogs?

1 year.

Where are you based?

Grey Lynn, Auckland

What was the defining moment that made you want to be a musician?

I come from a musical family so playing music has always been a part of growing up. I got into music properly last year due to having a late twenty’s crisis’ from working in a dead-end job for a while. This motivated me to get into gear and start recording and performing full time.

What other bands/projects have you been involved in?

At the moment I am also playing drums in space punk band, Thunderbox. Thunderbox consists of rock and roll gods from the future.

Is there a story behind your band name?

Fleet FM was putting on a rave gig last year– around this time I was thinking of what I could be called. A friend of mine came up with the idea of having hot dogs that glow in the dark. I also love the idea of super hero dogs that can shoot lasers out of their eyes. So Glowdogs was perfect as my music sounds like more than one guy hence the plural at the end of Glowdogs.

How would you describe your sound?

Pop punk desert techno

What do you enjoy about playing solo as opposed to being in a band?

Having control of everything is a plus. But it is also risky as I record and play everything live and it has to synch properly otherwise there’s no hiding a f*ck up! But that is what is fun and challenging about Glowdogs.

What has been happening with Glowdogs recently?

Just getting back into playing some live gigs again after a big summer hiatus due to some of my gear breaking! Boohoo hoo! But yes I am raring to go this year.

Do you have any releases out or on the way?

I released my EP ‘Glowdogs’ last December which was self produced. I have just finished recording some new tracks, ‘Echo in the wall’ and ‘Woman in a portal’ (available on the interweb) I am hoping to have a bigger release in the near future. Just need to sort out how and who I will do it with.

I do a lot of song writing and recording in the Coromandel. I think isolation helps with the creative process, and it is really easy to focus with no social technology to distract you.

What is your writing/recording process?

Two ways of recording, I usually have a song already in my head, which I will test out live then record if it’s any good. Other ways I will think of a tune in my head while going for a stroll, and usually record the ‘good bits’ into my phone by humming the riff or screaming some lyrics, which often scares people I am walking past.

Are you looking forward to playing the 95bFM Fancy New Band Showcase?

Yes! I think it’s a great line up and the Kings Arms is awesome.

What do you enjoy most about playing live?

Free drinks and playing to a crowd. My performance is crazy, I never play my songs the same. I am constantly tapping pedals to record and loop live guitar riffs, bass lines, drum beats, effects and vocals to create a somewhat structured song.

What’s the best or most memorable gig you have played?

It will have to be a house party last year where 300 plus people were packed into a lounge and were all dressed up as dead people dancing and falling on top me while trying to play. Good times!

What are you listening to at the moment?

The new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and LCD Soundsystem albums, Robert Palmer, Kyuss, Devo, Little dragon, Yeasayer, Crystal castles and Thunderbox.

What does the future hold for Glowdogs?

I am busy testing and recording new songs all the time. I am hoping to have some kind of release very soon. I am also looking at expanding my performance one day by having more musicians to play with me, but whether this will be a new project remains to be seen.

What was the album that first got you into music?

Hmmm…tricky question. Well the first album I can recall listening to over and over and loving (thanks to my dad) has to be Dire Straits ‘Brothers In Arms’. It is such a good album and it totally made me want to be a rock star, I must have been 3 or 4 years old.

The state of music in NZ is…

Generally I think NZ music is damn good. Fifteen years ago it was so rare to see success from here, but these days there is so much good original music being produced.

By Gareth Meade

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