IT will be their first publicised show in the city since December’s headliner at Rock City but Dog Is Dead have played in the city since, supporting Dry The River at The Bodega in April.
“It was so random,” admits singer, bassist and songwriter Rob Milton.
“They said ‘our support’s dropped out, do you want to do it?’ This was only a couple of days before the gig and we thought ‘yeah, why not?’”
They played under a pseudonym, which contained two words, Zombie was one, the other can’t be printed in a family newspaper.
“Joss, our stupid keyboard player, came up with a stupid name because he decided he wants to be a hardcore metal drummer,” says Rob.
“You can tell I wasn’t a fan of the name.”
Despite that the gig was satisfying.
“It was quite funny and they have a really different crowd to us in Nottingham so that worked out for us. We were playing to a different audience than we’re used to.”
The gig was a minor distraction from finishing their debut album for Atlantic Records.
“We’ve been back in Nottingham wrapping up our album, finishing the last few tracks. And making it sound like a real album.”
Recording has been going on for a few months at various UK studios but the band decided to finish it at Random Recording Studios near Lady Bay Retail Park.
“It’s where we did all of our first demos,” says Rob.
“We decided to do it back home where we’re most comfortable, doing it with people with we know really well.
“We’ve had so much experience in big studios with some really great producers and learnt so much so we can get on with finishing ourselves back in Nottingham.
“It’s a nice peaceful way to wrap up a crazy four years of songwriting.”
A few of the potential album tracks were recorded with David Kosten (Bat for Lashes and Everything Everything).
“He was great. Then we did a few back in Nottingham with Guy Elderfield. Then a couple of weeks ago we did one with Trevor Horn. After topping the chart in 1979 with The Buggles’ single Video Killed the Radio Star, Horn, a CBE, went on to become one of the most successful music producers of the ‘80s.
Says Rob: “His discography is incredible. He produced all the Frankie Goes To Hollywood records, Pet Shop Boys, Seal...
“He came to one of our shows and apparently he doesn’t stay to the end normally but he did and came up to us afterwards. He said: ‘I love your band, I really want to record you.’
“We said ‘We said we can’t afford you’ but he said not to worry, he’s do it on the cheap.”
Dog Is Dead recorded one track with him.
“It doesn’t sound like the Pet Shop Boys,” he laughs.
“It still sounds like us. It was a phenomenal experience and sounds amazing.”
But whether it will make the final album is still being decided.
“We’re being really brutal about what we want to keep and which tracks represent where we are today. Although it would be wrong to ignore what we have done in the past.”
Prior to signing with Atlantic, they self-released three EPs that included live favourites Glockenspiel Song, Young and River Jordan.
“We still love those early EPs so re-recording them was always an option.”
“Because we’re much better players now. We can record them in a much more raw state and they sound better than the originals.”
With Atlantic, the quintet have released two singles so far, Hands Down and Two Devils. A third is due out in July.
Those will almost certainly make the final album, which is pencilled for release in the autumn.
“It’s going to be a relief to package up what we’ve been doing for the past four years and get that album out. We feel like it’s a record in demand. It’s not too polished.
“I think the whole beauty of it is how raw it is. It’s kids who grew up together at school teaching each other instruments, learning how to record them and play live.”
So which tracks will be included?
“We’re right in the middle of the decision making process but it’s going to be a fair representation of us. I think people will be happy with it. Although it’s more about us being happy with it.”
Their appearance at Dot to Dot on Sunday will kick off Dog Is Dead’s festival season that includes The Hop Farm Festival, T In The Park, Truck Festival and Summer Sundae Weekender.
After that it’ll the new album and another UK tour to promote it.
Rob is encouraged by the steady progress of the band and also the growing profile of fellow Nottingham musicians such as Jake Bugg, Ronika, Sam Beeton and THePETEBOX.
“I’ve heard a lot of great things about Jake Bugg and what he’s been up to. I think it’s something that Nottingham can be proud of, producing four or five acts that are getting a really decent amount of attention nationally but who are all completely different.
“We don’t have some linear scene which could be quite boring. I think that’s really promising for Nottingham.”
He adds: “We’re certainly not the only artist that has a real chance of making a proper career of it.”
Dog Is Dead play Rock City’s main stage as part of the Dot To Dot festival on Sunday June 3 at 8.30pm. www.dottodotfestival.co.uk