Guitarist Dave Devine and singer and keyboardist Tania Katz have been making music together for about eight years, playing covers at shows and performing the occasional jazz gig. They have been talking about writing their own material for a long time and tried bringing on other musicians, but Katz says they never found the right combination.
About two years ago, Devine and Katz started to explore new ideas, and ultimately decided to be a duo. When thinking of a moniker for their project, Devine figured that since Radiohead took its name from a Talking Heads song, they could take a name from Radiohead. They landed on Doors That Don't, from a lyric in the band's “Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors.”
While there’s a cover of Radiohead’s “I Will” on the Doors That Don't self-titled debut EP, the other four tracks are Devine and Katz originals, which they wrote before recording everything at Devine’s home studio. The EP drops on Bandcamp and all streaming platforms on Friday, December 4,
Katz says their originals are contemplative, while Devine says the EP is “wintertime music.” In some ways, he adds, it’s an extreme mix of acoustic and electronic elements. “And there's Tania’s pure, beautiful voice, and then it's mangled later in the songs."
Both Devine and Katz know their way around a number of genres, including jazz and rock. They've performed together as part of The Good, the Bad & the Devine, the guitarist's annual tribute to Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western soundtracks, at Dazzle.
But Doors That Don’t uses sounds that neither musician has incorporated before. They sample a ship idling in the Arctic Ocean, ice cracking, desert birds and feet crunching in snow.
“We were sampling things natural,” Devine says. “This was that kind of extreme, where it is a sample, but it's not anything like a regular percussive drum-machine sample. It's actually being put into this music. That's definitely new for us. We were trying to not use anything that was stock in the box or a sound that someone else had. We crafted these sounds and then elected them, like a scrapbook for each piece, so that it has its own kind of world that it lives in.”
Devine and Katz play most instruments on the songs, but two tracks include drums by Shane Endsley, who also plays trumpet for Kneebody; Devine’s wife plays violin near the end of “Grey Sun.” Kneebody drummer Nate Wood, who has his own mastering business, mastered the EP, while Mighty Fine Productions’ Colin Bricker mixed it.
Katz notes that there are folk elements and earthly elements in their songs, but in front of an electronic backdrop. Lyrically, she says she writes about the things going on around us: “climate change, the relationship that we have with the earth, whether that be as a people or personally, and being a member of the earth, and what it feels like to walk through this world seeing what's going on around you. And it's not that it’s sad music, but some of it's pretty sad. There's a lot of pain in the earth right now, politically and climate-wise.”
Katz has always dreamed about recording several takes of her vocals and using them to make it feel like her voice is swirling around the listener, and she says she was finally able to do that on this EP.
“It’s very physical,” she says. “The way that the lyrics made me feel, that's how I needed to hear it, just hearing all these voices swirling around. So there's some imagery there that I think ties in with the themes.”
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