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Anything But Doomed: Doctor Doom Orchestra Talk Shop

article by John Powell

Pete Doom cocks his head to the side and his sincere smile peeks out of the shadows of his low-pulled hat rim. He chuckles merrily, and faces the opening act, Gang of Thieves. He’s spent the last few minutes shouting over the crowd, telling me how excited he is about the release of Doctor Doom Orchestra’s upcoming album. Over the last year, DDO has made their mark, touring hard, being mentored, and befriending many acts that have vouched for the band’s consciousness and steadfastness.

This is a good thing, as anyone in the band will admit that their mix-up of rock, reggae, tinges of metal, soul, and neo-funk certainly don’t easily fit into a mold. What category could you find them under in a record shop? Pete doesn’t seem worried, and that’s because he, Andrea Tavares, Patrick Hurley, Andrew Simpson, Luke Beat, Jess Markey, and David Pratt are less concerned about making it big than they are about doing it right.

“Dude, it’s been a process,” Pete laughs about the new album. “We didn’t know what we were getting into.” Last September the group discussed recording a new album, and won studio time, but the techs at the studio had too many stipulations- “Oh, you get 40 hours free, but after that if you want to transfer to a different studio then you owe us this fee.”

Pete Doom | Doctor Doom Orchestra

Hesitant, they went back to their own studio and got to work. “It was a wake up call. We have a lot of new music and our first album was only seven tracks,” Pete says. “We got to get this stuff recorded!”

It’s great that you don’t feel obligated to make a new album, but you felt ready.

Pete Doom: We released our [first] album in April.

Andrea Tvares: Last April.

Pete: We’re getting this one out 11 months later, which isn’t bad. We’re still not rolling with the 10-track-plus albums, but right now it’s delivering stuff as often as we can.

EPs are less daunting to people.

Pete: And it eliminates that “Let’s throw five tracks on that are good, but none of us are thinking, ‘This is the song.’” All the songs on this new album, we know they’re not all going to be universal, you can hear on the radio, but the band’s proud of all the songs.

Andrea: We changed it up a lot, too. We shifted away from straight reggae, mixed in more rock. We still have the reggae tones, but it’s a little heavier.

You all have strong and varied influences.

Pete: Somehow it works. [Laughs]

You and Pat have known each other for a long time.

Pete Doom | Doctor Doom Orchestra

Pete: I met him in cooking class in college, being cooking partners. We had to, both in Hospitality and Tourism majors. Him and I were both like, “What the fuck, man?” We got teamed up and I knew he was hungover the first time. Thursday, we had a three-hour lab, and I’m sitting there, cringed, eyes half open, and he is too! He says, “What do you do?” I’m like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “I don’t know; outside of school, dude. You party?” “Yeah; I play a lot of music.” He’s like, “Me too, dude. I play guitar.” “I rap.” “Cool.” And that was that. Pat and I started playing music together. [Laughs] It’s weird, thinking back to that moment. We had to wear aprons and silly hats. Imagine him and I sludged down: “What the fuck?”

Andrea, how’d you get involved?

Andrea: I was playing music with my uncle’s band for a little while, doing covers. I put a post up on Craigslist that I was looking for a band. Pete emailed me and said, “We’re having practice tomorrow night. Come down. It’s a 45-minute drive to my house.” I don’t know what to expect, and this dude comes up. It’s the tiniest room, like stepping into a closet, with six other people in there.

Pete: The walls did nothing. Next door, the metal band, when they started playing, it was like, “Shit.”

Andrea: They played the most unreal music. I had never heard it before I started working with them.

Pete: The best part about the whole thing was we had a lot of friends in Boston, Berkley musicians, and all classically trained, and all the other girls come in with a couple of friends because they’re nervous. This girl shows up by herself. She learned three songs from when I emailed her at 11:30pm the night before.

Especially with the metal and hip hop. That’s what impresses me: all the vocals work well together.

Andrea: We have such different styles. I do pop, and this kid (Patrick) comes in with his rock voice, screaming away, and then [Pete] is firing off.

Pete: We were down here before, jamming acoustic, and my drummer just starts spittin’ some of the double time. “What?”

Pat Hurley: I had no idea he could do that, but we have it on video.




 

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