The Dodos bring renewed energy, improvisation to post-hiatus tour

Alec Schwartzman, Print Arcade Editor

It has been 15 years since members of The Dodos started playing music together after finishing college in California. Since then, the duo has released a whopping six albums together. The band will hit the road this month in support of its most recent record, “Individ,” released Jan. 27. The pair will stop Feb. 20 to perform at Freret Street favorite Gasa Gasa.

“I’m really excited for this tour,” vocalist and guitarist Meric Long said. “I’m sure everyone says that, but I feel particularly excited.”

“Individ” comes hot off the heels of the group’s release of “Carrier” in 2014. Long and drummer Logan Kroeber did not even wait for the public release of “Carrier” before heading back to the studio.

“The recording of this record was very closely linked to the recording of ‘Carrier,’” Long said. “We went straight into ‘Individ’ with only one or two months in between. In that way they were very similar, because it was the same studio, same engineers. It was quite different because we were coming to the studio from a different place.”

Before recording “Carrier,” Long and Kroeber had written and demoed the entire album. With the limited time between releases, the band’s recording process changed completely.

“We really didn’t have any songs ready,” Long said. “We had some songs, but they weren’t really songs yet. They were more like guitar parts with some drum parts and various ideas, not a lot of lyrics … it made the recording process a lot more improvisational, we were writing the songs in the moment.”

Since “Carrier” had yet to be released, the band had really no idea whether its new ideas would receive any critical praise. The band had not had a release since 2011 and did not know what to expect.

“We were recording this record in a total vacuum of pressure,” Long said. “There were no expectations of what we had to do. We went in there thinking this might totally suck, we might end up scrapping the whole thing, but we’re just going to go for it.”

The notion to record “Individ,” actually started on a whim in the studio. While recording the demo to what would later become the final track to “Carrier,” Long noticed something dynamic.

“I remember it coming through the speakers — hearing it for the first time,” Long said. “It just dawned on me. Something that we used to do started to sound fresh to me again. I took that moment and said I want to do more songs like this, a whole record like this. That was the impetus for going back into the studio so quickly.”

“Individ,” which Long said describes a type of resilience, combines elements like fingerpicking-good acoustic folk rock intertwined with sporadic, sharp drums. The resulting product inspires listeners with a sense of drifting melancholic serenity, before they eventually realize their necks have been bobbing for the record’s entire 40-minute runtime.

“These new songs are really fun to play,” Long said. “We’re going to bring it as hard as we can because we’re not getting any younger and we got to use up all this energy that we have … before it’s too late.”