Tuesday, October 14

interview: doprah

Photo of Doprah by Dan Blackball
On demand like Oprah and "dope" like the pop culture word implies, Doprah are an exciting result of our world's puzzling and increasingly colliding realities. After recently releasing their self-titled EP, Doprah have set off from New Zealand to play shows around the world. I sent them a few questions to see what's up.

What kind of things have you been doing to prepare for touring overseas?

I[ndi]: A lot more than I thought, to be honest. I kind of assumed we would just book the flights and be on our way, but there are things like travel insurance and ESTA and mastercards that need to be sorted out. Primarily, though, we are practicing tonnes so that it's all worth it when we finally go.

Since Doprah's conception in 2013, how has it evolved as a band and an idea?

I: Well it was initially Steven [Marr] who kind of owned the idea and had full creative control. It then turned into a duo, which worked well for the writing process and then we would take the tracks to the live band to perform. Now days, the "live" band are contributing more and more to the writing process and it's a really natural development from where we started. It is far less electronically-oriented than it used to be, but it definitely still retains those elements. We still have no clue what genre we are but I think that's a good sign.

How does the feel and sound of Doprah change when performing at a festival like Laneway and performing at a small venue space in, say, Dunedin?

I: Night-time shows will generally be more atmospheric, and in a small intimate venue like Chick's Hotel in Dunedin you're pretty much brushing shoulders with the audience as you play. In a festival environment the stages are far larger and there are barriers between the audience and yourself. You have to work a lot harder to translate the energy on stage to the audience and to connect somehow. Daytime festival shows have a charm of their own though, they have this great relaxed vibe about them and you can tell that everyone just wants to have a good time.

How has increasing attention and popularity affected you?

I: It's encouraging to realise that the random creative goop that comes out of your head might be worth something to someone. It has helped us a lot with the funding that enables us to create music videos and record new songs. It is a strange limbo that we are all in though, because while we do have a growing fan base, we are definitely not well-known enough to make a living off it. Like I work at a bar on the weekends and someone will recognise me while I'm half way through washing dishes. It's the strangest thing.

Who have you met as a band who has changed or influenced you over the past two years?

I: We met a lot of amazing musicians (like Kurt Vile and Elena of Daughter) backstage at Laneway. They were all incredibly humble and keen to chat. They just imparted great messages of being comfortable with yourself and what you do and to just chill out. I think it's also very rare to find people on the business side of the music industry who are as genuine and in love with the music as Ben Howe and Michael Sherman (our label and management guys), who work so hard to help us every day despite the fact that we have no money to give them in return.

Along this exciting path, have any aspects of (or encounters with) New Zealand's music industry tremendously aided you or, contrastingly, created obstacles for you to overcome?

I: NZ on Air has been amazing, and Outward Sound. We could never have achieved what we have or even contemplated a U.S. trip without the financial support they provided.

And a question for Steven in particular, what do you find to be the most interesting aspect of producing?

S[teven]: Definitely the part where you start with something that makes you want to stick knives in your ears and you slowly turn it into something awesome.​

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