This week I found myself back in Michigan, north of Detroit to be geographically specific. I had the pleasure of having a chat with John Katona of Dog & Panther. They are truly a gem. Dog & Panther do not self promote, play shows (except for one) and they carry no aspirations of rock stardom. They create music for the absolute pleasure that it gives them and they are generous enough to share this pleasure with us.
Dog & Panther started for fun when John and Ian Sigmon were making some music for the short films they had been creating. They showed their project to their friends and the music took center stage. However, one of their friends wasn’t too impressed with John and Ian’s singing abilities so he asked if he could give it a go. Enter Ben Vrazo on vocals. The three continued to hang out making music and before they knew it they had enough material to put together an album. They released “What Happened” three years ago and it got such a good response from friends that they just kept making music. They followed “What Happened” with a single called “Giant Hands”. Watch the making of Giant Hands here:http://youtu.be/2gYe4twqz2Q
Dog & Panther take their time calling themselves a band. All of the sounds they create come from their surroundings as well as traditional instruments. This is one of the reasons they don’t play shows at the local club. There is such complexity in the structure of the songs that recreating this in a live situation requires much preparation and many extra hands. If you check them out on YouTube you will find their video clips and see them collecting and creating sounds in various aisles in the supermarket. http://youtu.be/u6w74q9nc3s
Their sound is easily compared to Bon Iver, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, lyrically I can even see a similarity with Minus the Bear. Even with all these comparisons their sound is still their own. Watching the few videos of them creating their sounds and the artwork that graces their albums you can easily sense that they possess a maturity and a depth that a lot of local musicians do not.
Their latest release titled “Our Bodies” was released earlier this year. It follows the same formula . The sounds are at times haunting and ethereal, drawing you as the listener in. The pauses give you time to catch your breath before you dive in for more. The sounds move you, the lyrics touch you and the phrasing adds additional subtleties to the already complex instrumentation.
While they are not big on self promotion they are easily found on YouTube for a few videos. They do have a Facebook page that I suggest checking out and they are available to listen to on SoundCloud or Bandcamp All of these links are easily followed from the webpage they created to link it all together http://dogandpanther.com/ Don’t expect to find too much personal info on these guys. They tend to remain a bit of a mystery and that kinda adds to the quality of the sound because it isn’t about them it is about the music.
They can also be found on ITunes if you want to add them to your library.