By Sonia Schnee | Posted Sunday, April 1, 2018
Just last month, central NJ alternative/rock/funkpunk duo, DogParc, released their new single, "Murphy's Song" (available on all major streaming platforms). Check out our interview with Matthew Scott and Brayan Marin, below, to learn about their musical influences, journey to becoming "DogParc," and exciting new developments!
What's your name, where are you from, where are you based now?
MATT: I’m Matt and –-
BRAYAN: I’m Brayan! Together we are the guys behind DogParc!
B: We are both from Hillsborough, NJ, actually, and Matt graduated in the class before me. But we didn’t start hanging out until after high school when we were both at Raritan Valley Community College.
M: Right now we are based out of my place -–
B: a.k.a the Washington Gardens Theater haha.
M: It’s down by Rowan University, so we’re in close proximity to Philadelphia.
Tell us about your music. How would you describe your sound? Where do you record? Who are your influences, musically?
M: I grew up loving blues and rock, and Brayan is pretty much the number one fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
B: Haha yes, 'til the day I die. However, I do have a broad taste. Last year, I shifted from an 8-month long blues binge to diving into a lot of R&B, a lot more funk and whatever I could discover, honestly.
M: And those influences all just combine when we write together, and I think that’s what people hear when we play our songs.
B: Part of the whole creative process is discovering and learning about new music. It’s what makes everything so interesting since there is so much to learn out there and in the end, it’s how you end up finding yourself.
M: As for where we record, a good friend of mine, Brandon Howard (a multi-instrumentalist who plays with mirrorsigns and several other bands), introduced us to Mike Britt and his studio, The Bins, where we recorded our new single, “Murphy’s Song.”
What's the meaning or inspiration behind some of your songs? How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
M: I try to draw from my life experiences and just write about what makes me feel passionate. All the best songs convey a particular emotion and can almost pull it out of you when you listen to it. I have certainly cried listening to a song that evokes that type of emotion well.
B: I wrote the riff around 3 a.m. and instantly did the usual where I bombarded Matt with text messages at an obviously unreasonable time. We met up immediately the next day and structured the song and just ran with it.
M: No pun intended.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. How did you get started with music? What's been your personal journey? Are there any artists, bands, or producers who you'd love to collaborate with one day?
B: My name is Brayan, I’m an immigrant from a small town in Costa Rica, and I came to the U.S. when I was 5. I guess you could say my mom tried to get me started with music at birth when she wanted to name me after Brian Adams, but the doctors managed to really butcher that one.
The first instrument I fell in love with at a really young age was the trombone when I saw someone play it in a video game, and I thought that it was the most amazing thing on the planet. I made it my goal to become the best trombone player ever once when I turned old enough and could start playing in the school band. Once I was old enough to play in the school band, I ended up playing in all the Honors Band, Brass Bands, Jazz Bands, and etc. and I owe a lot of my growth to Mrs. Lansbarry, who was an amazing trombone player!
However, through the midst of this, I started playing Bass Guitar during 8th grade when my brother’s guitar teacher gave me one to play because I could read in Bass Clef. It wasn’t long until I discovered and I fell in love with my Idols, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while looking for songs to learn on Bass. To me, Flea was the absolute most talented bassist ever, and I wanted to learn EVERYTHING I could to play like him.
A year later, my brother stopped taking guitar lessons, and I ended up teaching myself how to play his guitar on a 3⁄4 quarter size one. My favorite guitar player of all time was John Frusciante of the Chili Peppers, and I drew a lot of my foundation from him. His influence was very important to me musically and sort of spiritually, as in I really vibed with what he spoke about and how he related to his personal experiences.
Growing up, I played in some bands here and there and even crossed genres when I played for a friend’s touring hardcore band when they needed a bassist. Funny enough, I never truly had a full-size guitar until my first year of college when my friend’s dad, who was a small time guitar collector, gifted me a Japanese Squier from ’85. He really wanted to help me grow when the 3⁄4 finally broke. From there on, that changed everything and I was able to really pursue music and start my search for “my tone.”
Finally, in 2016 Matt and I reunited after not seeing each other for a while and when we got to play together that day we just knew we had to start DogParc for sure.
M: I started with guitar and trumpet in elementary school, and when I figured out that it would be really hard to sound like Louis Armstrong, I focused on playing the guitar, and my parents and I shared a love of Eric Clapton –- so I was hooked. I would practice guitar sometimes 5 hours a night and my parents and sister would have to yell at me to stop sometimes, but they realized I was serious about the instrument. I was starting bands with my friends by the end of middle school and had one band all through high school that had some minor success in our hometown playing at small venues that musicians like Bruce Springsteen had been –- namely The Stone Pony and Sullivan Hall in NYC. I had always wanted to emulate guys like Jimi Hendrix and John Mayer who made everything seem so simple when they played.
Right when we started writing together, I ended up discovering I had a condition called “Ulnar Impaction Syndrome” which is something I was born with that causes nerve pain in my left hand and wrist. After a year of physical therapy and taking a break from music, I taught myself to sing better by practicing in my car and anywhere I could be alone because I hated not being able to play the guitar.
In 2016, like Brayan said, I ran into him at a jam party and after playing together, I asked him if he was still interested in working with me to write new music, and we had a pretty joyful reunion as friends and bandmates.
B: It was kind of something out of a fairytale! While I can’t speak for Matt, some producers I would love to work with are George Clinton, the OG of Funk and Rick Rubin who have produced some of the greatest albums of all time. They know how to bring the best out of musicians. Also, my dream is to jam with Flea. It doesn’t even have to be on stage or anywhere, but the energy he brings is electric and it makes the hairs on my neck stand up.
M: I second George Clinton.
What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone who wants to follow a similar passion, or is maybe facing obstacles similar to what you've faced?
B: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF MORE, ALWAYS. Don’t give up. Life is hard for everyone in their own unique circumstances. I come from a very poor immigrant family, and I had to support myself through college by working 35-hour weeks while I was taking 5 or 6 classes a semester. There are times when life is absolutely overwhelming, but it is important to never lose that faith in yourself.
M: I would say, most importantly, stay committed because we all go through those times when everything seems so much more difficult because of challenges in our personal lives.
You have to really work to stick it through those times and often you’ll come out on the other side with work that you’re proud of.
What's next on the horizon for you? Do you have any shows coming up? Plans for your next album?
B: We are in the midst of getting our debut EP out and available, so that is really exciting for us to finally be able to share that with the world, AND we also have a big announcement for a show coming real soon! I can’t provide too many concrete details, but I can say it will definitely be the start of a series of bringing something wonderful to the music culture here in NJ! We have a month-by-month plan in store, and I am very excited to see it unfold.
Finally, how can people find you online?
B: DogParc is global! We are streaming on every major platform: Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play. You can currently keep up with the PogDarcs and find all our social media at www.pogdarc.com.
In recent exciting news, you can find us on Holonis! We have been active for some time, and we have reached almost 1,000 followers within a week there! We now have a whole new group of fans who want to vibe with our music! Holonis has given us a really amazing platform to get ourselves out there, and we’ve connected with some talented people on that app, so definitely check it out. You can visit that at www.holonis.com/brayan.