November sees the release of the awesome new album by Tyla’S Dogs D’amour ‘In Vino Veritas’ which finds the band using Pledge Music platform for the first time. For those familiar with Tyla though, he has been utilizing a similar since the mid 90’s when the brilliant solo album ‘Nocturnal Nomad’ first appeared. These Dogs D’amour include Tyla(vocals/ guitar), Gary Pennick (guitar), Matty James (bass), and Simon Hanson (drums) who have taken elements from the band’s releases over the past 35 years and added some new ingredients into the mix. It has proven to be an album that has me completely reassessing my favorite albums of 2018 as the 10 song version has been on repeat since first getting a chance to hear it. Tyla was kind enough to spend some time answering questions for us here at RPM Online.
Thank you Tyla for taking some time to speak to us here at RPM Online. I would say you have a lot happening right now but honestly, I don’t know if I could recall a time when there was not a lot happening with you.
Let’s start with the brilliant brand new album ‘In Vino Veritas’ which comes out in November via Pledge Music. What can you tell us about this album?
Well, I think that’s for the listener to decide, isn’t it? All I can say is I had penciled out a few ideas ‘ere n there and so we went into the studio for a few days and laid down the bedrock…that’s when ideas transpose into either nowt or wondrous spirits that will last forever. We then built upon that over a period of weeks adding bits ‘ere and bits there and Bob’s yer Uncle, Fanny’s yer Aunt. Plus we only gave the Vinyl version out to reviewers so there are 2 more songs on the CD edition, not forgettin’ the limited edition double CD version with a whole CD of covers that inspired me from childhood.
You have essentially been making albums in a very similar fashion to Pledge Music since the 90’s starting with ‘Nocturnal Nomad.’ How has the process been with them making this one?
Yep, I’ve been releasing music on my own label ‘King Outlaw’ for almost 20 years now. Pledge has given us the chance to reach more people which it has indeed done, some new and some old fans who had just lost touch, so not only are they Pledging but now they have discovered my Art Tavern and so are catching up. I wish I’d have done it ages ago, which I nearly did with Spike about a decade ago. I’m sure we shall do another one in the future. The only problem I have is keeping to deadlines and even when I manage it, some gremlins get in the works..but people are getting used to me so while on one hand people think I’ve got minions working away like Amazon others know it’s mainly just me and things take time…especially having to sign and number by Sharpie pen over 1600 CDs last week and about 400 Vinyl next week…me and my big ideas eh? I even did auditions for people to do my signature but no one passed the test…mad that eh? I even considered getting a stamp made..…I must say though I’m glad my name isn’t Baron Von Dribbling Mountbatten the Third eh?
‘Black Confetti’ was an amazing song when I first heard the stripped-down acoustic version on ‘Balancing the Ships of Honour.’ I love how the saxophone enters the song after that brief pause at the beginning. How did this new band version come together?
I actually wrote it on electric guitar and drum machine and sent it to Si, who put ‘real’ drums on it, then we lost the take somewhere in cyber world. I knew it was a good un, and sure enough, I was right.
I love that you guys have also released a four-song EP with the classic unreleased b-sides to make this feel much more like an event and a record release from the past. How did it come to be?
We recorded over 17 songs in the studio, so it was simply a matter of waste not want not. There’ll be another EP to follow after the album as well.
‘Bottle of Red’ has a sense of joy that runs through it which kind of reminds me of a happy ‘Satellite Kid.’ What was it like recording that one, as you also have an acoustic version on the EP?
When we started recording it was just me and Si, next day Matty came into the mix and then the following day Gaz landed.
At the very end of ‘Monster,’ there is a howl that brought a smile to my face as it recalls previous albums and songs like ‘Errol Flynn.’ Was that a spontaneous thing in the studio, or did someone suggest it?
Just Spontaneous .. people do suggest things to me… usually ending in …Off.
(laughing at end of the previous answer) This album really delivers the rock without any traditional ballads or acoustic numbers. ‘Movie Star’ makes a great closer with the guitar work and then the final slow down with the piano for the final words. How did you guys decide on the songs that made the album and the running order?
Well, I’d have said ‘I don’t Love anyone’ and ‘In Vino ‘ were Ballads…maybe even Black Confetti. We all listen to and put ideas forward initially ‘Movie Star’ was going to be the opener and ‘111’ last.
This set of the Dogs has played with you as a solo act, as the Tyla J. Pallas Band, and now Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour. From an outside perspective, it looks like you guys are fully in tune with one another. What has the process been like with Matty, Gary, and Simon in really forming a band?
Simon has been playing drums for or rather with me since 1996. As I said it’s usually him and me go into the studio and knock out about 10-20 songs in a few hours. Then Gaz came along in about 2010, he played in The Dogs tour when Dave T, Timmo and Danny Fury were on board. Matty wrote to me asking if his band could support…I said ok, then me and Gaz did some solo acoustic gigs and that’s where we met Matty this time he was on acoustic. I liked him and we all got on so I’d ask him to support us, then we could never get a bass player and I said you’re always gonna be opening, do you want to play in the band with us? Simple as that.
Several spots on the album include some amazing saxophone work as I mentioned regarding ‘Black Confetti.’ Who played it on the album? Did you already know all the spots where you wanted it, or did he add any that you had not anticipated?
Yeah, when we did a gig last year in Newcastle we were about to do ‘Drunk Like me’ and I jokingly said ..”is there anyone out there who can play saxophone?”…and this bloke jumps out from the packed crowd with a sax in his case. Once we had worked out what key it was (in as we use weird tunings) we blasted it out. I remembered and Gaz got in touch with him and he came and did the bits… He can make one sax sound like a brass section and his name is Ian Douglas.
I know there are a couple dates on the calendar before the end of the year. What are the long-term touring plans for this album?
Yeah, by the time we had finished the recording and decided on a release date all the venues we wanted to play were booked up. We are gonna do a few here and there next year including two festival headliners. We have some European dates in the pipeline like the usual Spanish tour which is always great fun… and I’m planning a few Canadian solo acoustic shows. It would also be splendid to get back over to Japan as I’ve not been there since 1995!
Your artwork has been indelibly connected with your music over the years thanks to all of the album and single artwork we have seen. One of the rare exceptions has been the live CD/ DVD with Tyla’s Dogs D’amour that was recently released. Why did you go with a photograph for that one?
I see lots of great Photos and thought it would be cool for a change.. if I could get a good one of us all playing together that would be a cover too…so all you budding snappers get your wide angles out for the lads!
As a fan over the years, we have seen your artistic talents spread across a variety of mediums from paintings on canvas to guitars and bottles as well as spoken word albums and books. Are there other mediums you want to try?
Yes, I’m planning on moving into a bit of sculpture. I’ve had the clay in the cupboard for a while and I know exactly what I’m gonna sculpt. I’m being tutored by me Missus Lady Jane as she is a ‘proper ‘ artist in her own right and often tells me that I ‘get away with murder’ in my style of drawing. I mean can you imagine if we all had massive hands…haha!! haha!!
At some point in the past, there were rumors that you had thought about doing some sort of country and western album. Is that still something being considered, or has it ever really been considered?
Yes it’s on my to do list, but please let me just get my speed death metal acoustic album out of the way first eh? haha!!
In this day and age of social media, you have largely abstained from it all with only brief dalliances on Facebook or My Space. I remember you once saying that you never wanted to meet Charles Bukowski because of the risks you run meeting people that you have respected or admired for fear of it going wrong. Obviously, we see examples of that happening today on Social Media where fans can stop following an artist over a different opinion. What do you see as the benefits of this digital age?
The digital age has given everyone a chance to have a bash at what they like, be it good or bad. You don’t need to rely on a record deal to make an album anymore … you just need some ‘friends…or fiends’ and yer away. Simon (Hanson) and Ginger Baker did a drum show once and out of all the 100’s of young drummers that were there only two had ever done real live gigs. This is young drummers who all had millions of hits and followers but had never actually played outside of their bedrooms till this day. How mad is that?
What are 3 things you would tell yourself if you could travel back in time 35 years to the start of the Dogs?
One. Don’t take that box of 25 Vinyl, the Finnish ‘State We’re in’version down to the record and tape exchange because I didn’t like the mix or the cover and flog the lot for a fiver. Then to find out they would be worth a grand each less than five years later. haha!! 25 grand haha!!
Two. In 1991 don’t smash up that 1957 J2OO Gibson acoustic as that is also worth 25K now.
and Three..Don’t put 50K on a horse that missed the photo finish and got involved in an oil painting!
‘See its not the principle its the Money.’ -Tommy Cooper.
You have lived in several countries and traveled all over the world. Are there countries where you would still like to live?
Yep, and I’m ere..Edinburgh, Scotland.
Any final words to fans here?
Thanks ever so for supporting me all these years and letting me be able to live this life of Reilly while I scratch my beard and look up to the sky pretending I’m contemplating the meaning of life and composing yet another song in Eb and oh yeah your order is in the post…honest Guv!
Pictures 3,5,6 courtesy of Neil Vary Gig Photography