By common consent one of this year’s best UK soul albums is album ‘Colours’ from THE DOGGETT BROTHERS. A selection of singles and mixes from the album has kept the momentum at max for the Doggett Boys but despite the success the brothers are still very much an unknown quantity in the soul community… men of mystery even! So as 2016 draws to an end we decided we all needed to know more about the Doggetts. We tracked them down to their soul lair and kicked off by demanding to know just who the Doggett Brothers are …
The Doggett Brothers are a UK based collective of musicians and producers, with strong roots in modern soul, R&B and dance music. The (actual) Doggett Brothers are Carl and Greg Doggett. We started this whole thing as a studio project in 2010, recording our first ever record, ‘Azure Sky’. Since then, it has grown and grown into something a lot bigger than we expected! The collective is now far bigger than just us, that’s for sure.
OK, so how would you define your sound?
Our sound is a mix of soul and dance music. We love modern soul artists such as Dwele, but also love the electro sound of artists such as Disclosure. We have a very particular idea of what we are after, and don’t compromise what we want to say. We write, record and produce all of our records, from start to beginning.
Where are you from, how did you get into music, growing up who were your musical heroes and influences….
We grew up in a small seaside town call Gorleston (near Gt Yarmouth) Our dad Alan is our hero. He was a jazz drummer who loved Chick Corea, The Average White Band, Weather Report and Steely Dan. That stuff would always be on in the house, constantly! I honestly think that these artists gave us the bug for groove and chord harmony. Whilst we love the sound of artists such as D’angelo and Jamiroquai, we also love Snarky Puppy and Prince. Then our Uncle John introduced us to artists John Mclaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Scott Henderson and Tower of Power. We were very lucky to have a family that was into those artists.
When did you decide to try and make a career out of making music?
Well you don’t think like that. You just know that you have a strong voice that needs to be heard. Whilst many of your peers start to fall into the trap of settling into function bands, you stick to your guns and push on. We’ve always know it would be a matter of time before our sound got heard. We have both played our fair share of pubs, working men’s clubs and rough venues (imagine playing Jamiroquai covers to a pub full of people that want to hear Smoke On The Water!).
Take us through your CV from that decision to the release of your ‘Colours’ album….
‘Colours’ was about two years in the making. After our first album ,’Daylight’, received Album of The Week on Jazz FM, we started to play sell out shows at The Jazz Café, followed by shows at The Pizza Express and many other festivals and support slots including Alexander O’Neal and Trevor Nelson. Those shows taught us what worked and what didn’t. Much of ‘Colours’ is the result of those experiences.
So, ‘Colours’ is shaping up to being one of the best indie UK soul albums of 2016, tell us how you put it together… I mean did you start with a concept or just one song or a set of songs?
Many of the tracks are the result of playing live. Sometimes a vocal will come first, sometimes the music. If we are playing a groove and it just feels right, we know we need to develop it into a possible track. About 5 songs in, we knew (hoped) it was going to cause a stir once it was finished.
OK when you were writing the songs did you have particular singers in mind… and how did you get people like Kenny Thomas to work with you?
Kenny got in touch with us after he had heard us on Jazz FM. We got talking and we wrote ‘You Make Me Feel’ for him. Natasha Watts introduced us to Laura Jackson and Eli Thompson (other featured vocalists) through their Cool Million connection.
Why did you choose ‘Colours’ as the title song?
It just felt right for the album. ‘Colours’ sit’s quite nicely in the middle ground on the album. Songs on the album swing from R&B to boogie to almost fusion’esque rocky guitar lines. ‘Colours’ was also a nod to the many different sounds on the album.
What other tunes are you proud of?
The tracks ‘Why’ and ‘Hotter’ off ‘Colours’ are cool. Both tracks feature Laura Jackson. There is some beautiful Rhodes playing and vocal harmony on the track ‘Why’. There’s a few surprises that you won’t see coming in ‘Hotter’. Also check our ‘2am’, that interlude features trumpet player Davey Howes (he played trumpet on the track ‘Walk This Land’ from the film ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’). ‘2am’ shows our Robert Glasper influence I guess.
How is the album doing? I mean critical acclaim is all well and good but how does that transfer into the real world?
Extremely well. Following nationwide release in the UK, the album was then signed by P-Vine Records for release across Japan where it has been very well received.
How are you promoting the album?
Playing live and having a good PR guy in Steve Ripley helps! Various remixes have also pushed the album hard (Opolopo, Mark di Meo and Yuki T-Groove Takashiki).
What next for the Doggetts?
We are working on some top secret new material!! Extremely buzzed about the new singers we are collaborating with on our new release due out early next year! We have found that we are naturally moving more towards the electro soul, dance sounds….Keep an eye out for a T-Groove remix of our track Hotter in January 2017.
Almost finally, how hard is it for indie (soul) music makers to succeed these days… what do you think of programmes like The Voice and X Factor… ever thought of going on ’em?
As long as you can sound like yourself, you’ll be fine. In regards to X factor….no comment!!!
Finally how can we find out more?
Visit our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, we love chatting on there keeping everyone up to date. Also, drop by www.thedoggettbrothers.com to check us out and find out all the latest news.