Askers Dodge are a blistering indie four piece based in Berlin, with shades of Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and Black Sabbath. Shows are frequent and energetic, full of witty lyrics, thick guitar, and emotional theatre. All held up by a dancey rhythmic engine room which is capable of turning every night into a Saturday night. Today Greg Thompson answers my questions.
What are your favourite qualities in a song?
Lyrics are often where I look at the moment, but in general I want songs that are unpredictable, with an edge or the feeling that on the first listen, you don’t know what’s coming next.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I find that most of the lyrics I write are vividly ordinary scenes that have played out before me. I suppose it stems from the Jarvis Cocker school of “writing about a hole in the carpet” and what it could mean about the way someone lives their life.
On stage, at least it’s where you think most intuitively rather than taking too much time to decide what to do or how to feel. That for me is happiness. When coming up with ideas for the band you can become obsessed with the negative and overthink problems that you will come up against. On stage it’s often the case that the problems are what make the interesting.
As a performer, what makes a show special or memorable?
When the feeling on stage matches that in the audience. Often we have pretty diverse sets and songs which explore the spectrum of happiness and sadness, love and hate and a few things in between. When shows stand out I think a crowd does too, the idea that even the bloke stood at the back gets what it is you are on about.
As an audience member, what makes a show special or memorable?
Perhaps I’m odd, I like the fact I may be in danger a lot of the time. I couldn’t stand sitting through an Elbow or Eric Clapton concert nowadays because I know it would be pitch perfect, and the same set as the night before. I like the shows that are hard to predict, and have some sort of theatrical twist without taking itself over-seriously. Of course musicianship can stand out, when someone has a voice that comes out of nowhere or is so technically gifted that your eyes melt in their sockets, but I prefer a more carnal display.
What is your idea of success?
To have your music pay for the way you want to live. It could be a modest life paid by shows or teaching, or something much grander, paid by your chart topping outfit. But if your art pays your way in life and it’s something you enjoy, that is success to me.
What is something you would like to learn more about?
What was your biggest musical failure?
I find it hard at 22 to really say. I learned a lot from some things that didn’t go to plan, and I think it’s important in music to do that, otherwise you become too cynical and eventually run out of steam dwelling on past mistakes. Perhaps being over-excited about our first demo EP. Even being chucked out of my first proper band after a week and one rehearsal, showed me I can’t really play in another persons band than my own.
What was your biggest musical success?
Askers Dodge and the people it’s allowed me to be around. Ok so we aren’t huge (at the moment), but AD has been a labour of love, we’ve played some amazing shows and learnt from the not so amazing shows. It’s taught me leadership, creativity, management and so much more. From a sheer development standpoint it can only be seen as a success and I’ve been lucky to have such amazing help and musicians be involved over these two and a bit years we’ve been going. It helps too that the band, in it’s current lineup, are making some absolutely fantastic songs that I’m so excited to get in front of more people to play. The success it seems isn’t going to stop any time soon.
Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden’s singer, is my absolute all time hero. Singer extraordinaire, pilot, fencer, business entrepreneur and all round brain box. I can not even fathom a life where he doesn’t play a part in my thinking on a day to day basis.
What was the first song you have ever written like?
It was a song called ‘Over the Sands’ for a project in highschool, written, recorded and sung all by myself through an SM57 I borrowed from school on this little interface. It was a faux ‘acoustic metal’ track (only because there was no way I was recording or learning drums), trying to emulate my Iron Maiden heroes. So naturally too it was about history, about the Dunkirk evacuations. If only I had written it when Christopher Nolan did his film, then I could have cashed in! I think I got a good grade but I listened to the song recently again and its bloody boring.
Who deserves a plug or shoutout?
There’s a band from the UK called ‘Giant Peach
‘. They don’t have a lot out on the internet and they’ve only one single on Spotify but they are such a great live band and deserve to be doing a lot better than they are.