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Artist Spotlight - Doc Robinson

We had the opportunity to interview indie-folk band Doc Robinson! This group has a fantastic mellow sound that at times they can pick up, which is sure to evoke comps to Mt. Joy and Dr. Dog. Their songs are tight and they should definitely be on your list of bands to check out. Also be sure to check out what they had to say with us below!

How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?

Nick- I started writing songs at 16, started some bands in high school, but let it go for a few years, and just worked on songwriting at home. Then around 25 my uncle took me to a dr dog concert, and we had a good talk about not giving up on your dreams. i started a band the next day, and since then have made it my life’s mission to carve a livelihood out for myself as a musician, going on 8 years now

Jon - My mom is singer, and conductor so I was brought up in a very musical household. I started singing and performing at a very early age, in local theater productions and at the Fine Arts & Dance studio my parents owned and operated in my hometown. I started pursuing music more seriously when I began singing with a band my freshman year of high school, and started to write and perform original songs.

Could you walk us through your process of writing music?

Nick- It happens different every time, sometimes i’ll have a whole song come together overnight, lightning in a bottle, but usually when we’re working on something together it starts with a germ of an idea, a friend we knew, an experience one of us had, a line gets pulled out. Most of the time there’s a chord progression that starts the ball rolling then we build the story on top of it. Sometimes we’ll finish the song in one sitting, but a lot of the times it takes months of slowly chipping away at it, forgetting about it, picking up where we left off. Our motto when writing is always “the song is king” that keeps our heads in the right place.

Jon- What he said.

What artists have inspired you in your career?

Nick- the two artists we named our band after: Dr. Dog and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, were both big influences. Not just for their music, but also for the way they operated as bands. When you look at how they’ve treated each other, taking care of each other, sharing credit, speaking and acting with true humility, and what kept the wind in their sails, they both had a real spirit of brotherhood and love that defined their chemistry. The Grateful Dead and The Band are two other big influences in that respect, where the group and the music always came before the individual. Being in a band is one of the most complicated relationships imaginable, with so many opportunities for things to go south, Especially when you’re out on the road for any period of time together. you’re like astronauts out there together. the older I get the more I admire bands like the dead and smokey and Dr. dog for the way they were able to operate, shake most of that baggage off, keep the focus on what matters, and i think that love that they have really shines through in the music, you can hear it.

Jon - I’ve been greatly influenced by artists and bands like Sly & The Family Stone and The Allman Brothers Band, who I feel chose not to conform to one specific niche within their genre of music, and were able to create a sound that was unique and unmistakably their own. Jeff Buckley, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, Ben Harper, My Morning Jacket, Outkast, The Roots.

Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use?  If so, what’s the story on them?

Nick- I’ve got a little 3 octave Yamaha reface CP keyboard that has made it onto almost every recording we’ve ever done. it only has 6 different kinds of keyboards on it, but they’re all analog and modeled after classics. then it has a few different dials with verb, chorus, wah, delay that’s simple enough for me to turn knobs and feel like I know what i’m doing. it’s always in the van with us on the road, and has participated in many late night writing sessions.

Jon - I sure love singing into the original Neumann U67’s and 87’s at Musicol Studios. We’ve been blessed to have many wonderful sessions in that building with head engineer Keith Hanlon, and those mics are a large part of what help capture the magic.  

Can you describe the vibe at your live shows?  Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?

Nick- When we’ve got the whole band up with us it’s just a really good time. We have a lot of fun onstage, and the feedback we get the most is that when people see us having fun it makes them have a good time.

Jon - We like to create a vibe that’s carefree and sincere. We truly love playing our songs with each other on stage, and always want to convey that to the audience. One of the reasons why we love house shows so much is because of the genuine personal interactions and musical intimacy we get to share with our fans, plus we love a good party. When it comes to venues, we definitely aren’t picky, we’re happy as long as we can hear ourselves well, and the room is full.

What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?

Jon - Our music is always changing because we’re always changing. And also some of the songs are about mythical sea creatures.

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?

Nick- we’re releasing our 3rd album Travelogues on 4.20. On 9/21 we’re throwing a small music fest on our buddies farm in Athens, OH, we’re calling the Family Jamboree

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