Interview: Friend Talk ‘DOG EAT DOG’

One of the funniest parts of the punk culture in the ’00s (back in my day, kids), was how strict the genre rules were and how rabid the scene was in policing what was/wasn’t punk. Aside from being the least punk thing possible, it’s funny how that level of hyperfocus is alien to the rest of the world, since literally anything that isn’t on the radio is “satanic hogwash” so just enjoy what you want and spread love, not country music. I don’t know Friend, but I’m sure we’d be buds in real life, as they give loads of fucks about the way they sound and the message of radical love, but they knowingly want to push back against easy labeling, not to be some lame hipsters who claim quality but mean horse caca; instead DOG EAT DOG is what happens when ’00s garage punk meets, uh, actual production and a dog’s ear for melodies. It’s sublime and even more fun than a label of “Goblin Punk” would lead you to believe.

Regarding their ethos, the band are not shy about what they believe:

DOG EAT DOG was mainly a way for each of us to talk about how we feel living in our world. We’re living in undeniably dark times, and we’re also all in our early twenties and figuring out how to be adults and how to be good members of our community, and there’s a lot of big feelings that come out of being 23 and being sick of the world and sick of how people treat each other, and we channeled a lot of that into the songs for this album. It really does feel like a dog-eat-dog world sometimes, even when you’re surrounded by loved ones and privilege. We’re all about connecting with others through music, and we hope the album helps someone else get through whatever it is that they’re going through, the same way we each had albums and bands that helped us through hard times (and still do).”

“It feels like an extra difficult time to be queer, to be trans,” they add, “to be separate from the ideals that our society is pushing towards, and we’re always trying to push back against that and make a space for ourselves and for other people who feel like us. Modern society seems pretty hellbent on breaking us apart and keeping us separate, so loving each other and ourselves radically and making space for people in your community is about as punk as it gets. Our personal politics are a big part of what we talk about on our albums, and it feels like we always have something we need to say, something we’re angry about. We try really hard to be as blatant as possible in our live shows too, so there’s no misconceptions about who we are and what we stand for. ‘Protect trans people, fuck cops, fuck the rich who build their wealth on the backs of working people.’ If someone doesn’t like what we say, then our music isn’t for them, and we’re okay with that.”

DOG EAT DOG is available from Born Losers Records. Follow Friend on Instagram and TikTok for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Rosendale

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