Earlier this year we introduced the superb sound of Officer, AKA DC Logan. We caught up with him to discuss his songwriting process, U2‘s Popmart Tour and Kanye
Cougar Microbes: What time did you wake up today? Was it out of choice or necessity?
DC Logan: 6am… I needed to get up to take my daughter to nursery and get to work.
CM: Describe your sound to the uninitiated?
DC: I write songs and then sink them into soundscapes that I reckon enhance the narration of the story contained in the song. For want of a better phrase, in an attempt to give it a concise ’thing’, I’ve been calling it ‘Indie Soundscape’. It’s the kind of thing where you can be sweeping high and widescreen in a wall of sound, and suddenly plummet into very intimate and sparse moments. Whatever the song or story is urging me towards.
CM: Tell us a little bit about the tracks we’re featuring here
DC: Ambulance is from my debut album, ‘Myriads‘. It’s a song about a period of time and circumstances surrounding a pretty awful car crash members of my family were in when I was a teenager and just how that impacted on and changed myself and those around me. “El Presidente” is a collaboration I did with a few close rocker friends that I thought I’d put out as a little almost B-Side in honour of the unhinged nature of the current U.S. presidential election. It was originally kind of born out of a conversation with a homeless man in London who had formerly served in the forces.
CM: How do you kill time on the road when on the road? Hobbies/games?
DC: I haven’t done loads of touring yet. Last time we seemed to develop a thing about having inebriated planking competitions and midnight races down the most dimly lit stone city stairwells we could find. Sampling local food and drink. I also won a free drink at the bar for my after party twerking skills, although, I think that was just to get me to stop! I spend what time I can exploring local haunts recommended by people at the venues we play. I love getting out and being in the different cultures and landscapes. I always take a couple of books. Try to find out a bit of history and legend about places. I’m not a video gamer but I love social games and quizzes with friends and crew on the road. I love visiting historic buildings or attending local faith services and enjoying the spirituality of the culture I find myself in. On the road I tend to have flurries of writing where I discover the beginnings of a lot of new songs and then some will make it beyond the tour.
CM: What have been your favourite venues to play? Any venues you hated?
DC: There have been so many good ones with such brilliant people but I think one that really stood out was an ancient wine cellar I played a couple of times in Nuremberg. It’s a great size, not too big, not too small and sounds, looks and feels so good. It’s a magical venue on the hill in the very beautiful old part of the city. Just a sublime venue and atmosphere with an incredible bunch of DIY people and we packed it out twice and had a load of singing along so that always leaves you with such a warm feeling in your heart. It’s got this kind of punk vibe clashing with this incredibly ornate gothic medieval architecture, with really romantic old myths. I guess it’s mainly connection with the people that makes somewhere extra special. Venues I’ve hated… Hm, not sure, although I remember playing in a basement somewhere on an Irish tour where I kept getting
electrocuted, which made for an interesting evening.
CM: Are you able to write on the road or do you do this in your off time?
DC: I get the beginnings of things but don’t often get the time, focus or relative clarity to complete them on tour. Having said that, I completed what I feel is a cracking tune while in Berlin on tour. We had two beautiful days there with back-to-back gigs in different parts of the city and I wrote a song I hope will be on the next album that features bits of Berlin and its amazing people in there. I find it such a vibrant, inspiring and kind of haunting city.
CM: Is there a song you are simply sick of playing live?
DC: No, I just won’t play it if I’m in that headspace with it. I’ll give it a little vacation until it comes back to me refreshed. There are songs that people always want, but I haven’t gotten sick of them at any point, probably because of the audience response and participation always keeping them alive and different each time.
CM: What is the songwriting process like for you?
DC: It’s so varied really and it has long periods of being so all-the-time. It interrupts my life every single day. Pops up and says ‘Hello, write this moment, this thought, this feeling, this person, this landscape, this dream, this book down’ So yeah, sometimes music first, sometimes lyrics. There have been times when it’s been an object I find that kicks off a line of writing. Seems like so much that’s seemingly ordinary in life can jolt me into something, but then again, I feel I have a very rich life in terms of who I’m surrounded by and what I see and do each day and what I’ve come through in the past, both positive and negative. Maybe it’s just the way I choose to look at it. I don’t have to or want to make stuff up, or force things. I love writing; it’s my favourite part of the whole thing, which is in itself life-giving.
CM: Do your songs go through many revisions and demos before recordings?
DC: Sometimes. Sometimes I completely write a song in a matter of very few minutes and it’s totally done, like I’ve been zapped with it. Like some spirit goes ‘Here, hold this for me for a moment will you?’ and then other times I have to kick the shit out of a song for months cos it has something at its heart that I truly believe in and feel convicted about and so won’t give up on. Then there are lots too that I just let go cos the heart of them just doesn’t stay burning and speaking to me.
CM: What came first, the lyrics or the melody?
DC: Really depends on what song you’re talking about. If you picked a song I could let you know. Sometimes it’s a line or poem, a bass line, or a drum groove, or guitar piece, or an image, a conversation… lots of things.
CM: What is your favourite track of yours?
DC: Ha, never been asked that. Never been asked a lot of these questions but I’m surprised I haven’t been asked that one. Right now I’m most into a track called ‘Alexandra & The Apple Man’ that I’m writing. Although, of the ones already out there that people can hear now… Hmm guess it changes, but the prize would have to go to… ‘DATV’ or ‘My Darling Defibrillator’.
CM: If you could record any cover in the world what would it be?
DC: Recently I’ve been thinking “All The Colours Of The Dark” by the majestic Marissa Nadler. There are more than a few good ones out there.
CM: What are your views on auto tune?
DC: I understand people using it as a corrective tool in their arsenal, which doesn’t bother me, but that use of it is not something I want to get into. I can definitely see myself maybe one day using lots of different tools to manipulate my voice for artistic purposes, but not in order to be in tune, I don’t think.
CM: Any other artists/bands from your local scene we really should know about?
DC: I’m not caught up in a local scene. A lot of my friends are doing really interesting stuff, but a lot of it’s not in the world of music. It’s poets, visual artists, performance artists, social justice work, business, community projects… lots of different stuff really. A few friends with work worth checking out are Daniel Peterson, Drew Worthley, Fer, Jess McAllister, Nadia Reid.
CM: What is the most flattering thing you’ve read about yourselves?
DC: I was blown away when my album was described as ‘Timeless’ the other day. That’s such a ludicrously massive compliment, and it’s exactly what my musical heroes best works are to me. That to me says something deeper about the spirit of a piece of work – that it’s free of trend, fashion and scene. Untethered and transcendent. Not sure it’s appropriate for my album, but hey, I’ll take it!
CM: What was the first record/tape/cd you ever bought?
DC: “Pop” by U2. Apparently it’s commercially their biggest ever fail, but it’s my favourite album of theirs, and it came out just as I was starting to really get into music. At the very last minute, about 3 hours before their Northern Ireland concert of that tour, I got given a ticket and a lift to go see them play in Belfast on their Popmart tour with my best mate and his sister. I’ll never forget them playing ‘New Year’s Day‘ that night. They turned off all the lights and 40,000 people screamed every word. It was an electric experience for me at that age.
CM: What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
DC: For better or worse? I’ve had Everything Everything‘s ‘Spring Sun Winter Dread‘ going round in my head the last few days. Love that tune.
CM: What was the last show you paid and queued up for?
DC: Recently thoroughly enjoyed Nadia Reid live at The Lexington. Looking forward to seeing Local Natives this year.
CM: If you had to bring an artist back from the dead in exchange for sending a living artist down, which artists would it be and why??
DC: Ha, excellent. Who would you bring back is really tough… Marley, Simone, King, Cash, Bowie, Strummer, Cobain, Buckley… I don’t know, maybe let’s swap Marley for Kanye.