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Despicable Dogs

Small Black arrive on our shores at along last long upon a surging wave of crackling, Casio-drenched dreampop.

Stumbling upon Small Black is like discovering that secret attic compartment one drizzly afternoon, full of  dusty,  cobwebbed, ornate and alien objects to send the imagination racing, as a child when your mind is still filled with innocent wonder. Distorted, fuzzy and thoroughly enchanting, the Brooklyn quartet soundtrack the hazy days and balmy evenings to come, as summer creeps ever nearer and the nights draw out. Following a trend of exciting emerging bands including Washed Out and Memory Tapes, all wrapped together and coined “chillwave”, Small Black stamp their mark in a saturated arena by being both lyrically and instrumentally soul-stirring. Their eponymous debut EP finally arrives accompanied by the sun-soaked beachside nostalgia of the Yoonha Park directed “Despicable Dogs” video.  
Dazed Digital: How did you come to work with Yoonha Park, who has directed clips for indie darlings such as No Age, Beach House and Deerhoof, for the 'Despicable Dogs' video?
Josh Kolenik: Dave Yoohna Park is our great friend from doing film/video production stuff over the past fewyears. He’s an amazing director and really understood and got to know my Uncle Matt very quickly. He also made the astute choice of getting Nick Bentgen to shoot the video. He’s just got a fantastic eye for detail and composition. Lots more to come from these two in the future.
DD: It is a perfect complement to the song, what was the idea behind it all?
Josh Kolenik: We recorded the whole EP at my Uncle Matt’s house and spent many hours with him, just watching TV, drinking crystal light & taking rides to the beach. He’s always been a life hero of mine, just surfing, fixing cars & fishing all the time and it seemed like a natural fit to feature him a video. He’s also hysterical and  just ripped on the band and crew mercilessly for the entire shoot, focusing on Juan’s hair & dirty shoes most often. We want to do another video with him in the future, that is going to be more glitz/action/commando if the right song and budget pops up..
DD: When I watch the video I reminisce about an age-old nautical conflict which haunted me for years,  Waterworld or Point Break?
Josh Kolenik: We used Waterworld in the video because we’d watched it with my uncle before as he and my dad are deep Kevin Costner fans. (Note: I think my dad would list The Postman in his all time Top Ten movie list) But I’m a huge Point Break fan, same with Ryan. I remember being 14 and after the part where Anthony Keidis shoots himself in the foot, thinking it was the best movie I’d ever seen in my life. Keanu delivers the performance of a lifetime as Johnny Utah, the undercover FBI agent and college quarterback, only to be topped by the Buddhist surfing bank robbing Swayze.
DD: The EP comes out here on April 26th, what are your favourite things about the UK and what do you plan to do when you come and visit?
Josh Kolenik: So excited to get back over to the UK in May. I’ve really only spent time in London, but I’ll be sure to hit my favorite kebab shop, Rosebery’s near the Exmouth Market and hit some Caribbean food in Brixton. . Some late night dancing seems in order too. Much more fun to hit the clubs in the UK, than it is in the states.  It seems to be more about having a good time, than getting sleazy. I got very into the Premier league when I was in London too, but I’ve fallen off in recent years. Going to get deep into the World Cup this summer though. I think Rooney is gonna tear the roof off South Africa. He’s fierce.

DD: Critics are eager to coin your music as “chill-wave”, “glo-fi” or “dreampop”, how would you describe it?
Josh Kolenik: Dreamy pop sounds pretty close. We love soundscapes & textures and weaving them over catchy melodies. Finding the balance between the two is at the core of our sound. Chillwave & Glo-Fi are ridiculous tags, but tons of fun to make jokes about and so catchy! Travis from Pictureplane gave our tour the tagline “Chill as Fuck”
DD: First record ever bought?
Josh Kolenik: I bought Bruce Springsteen – Born in The USA and a Willie Nelson record that had On The Road Again my first time at the store. Some seriously American stuff!

DD: Biggest musical inspiration?
Josh Kolenik: So many! David Bowie, Eno, Leonard Cohen, Human League, Wutang Clan, Neil Young. Have gone through so many different listening phases in my life.
DD: Biggest non-musical inspiration?
Josh Kolenik: I was obsessed with Terrance Malick movies in college. I love the voiceover and visuals. Badlands is my all time #1 movie. Love George Orwell too. I’ve read everything he ever wrote. He led such an amazing life
DD: And how was SXSW?!
Josh Kolenik: Wild! 14 shows in four days. I was sick the whole time. These amazing girls let us stay in their house and bought us breakfast tacos. Delorean, Tanlines & Toro y Moi were amazing! I think I’m still tired from it a month later! See you in the UK!

Small Black - ‘Despicable Dogs’

Small Black: Despicable Dogs from Yoonha Park on Vimeo.

The band will be touring in the UK in May.