Quarantine Interview: Dog Trainer

Dog Trainer of New York has been trying to stay busy during the quarantine. They developed an interest in “aquascaping.” Who knew that there were aquascaping conventions? Dog Trainer knows. Besides their new hobby, hanging out with parents and fostering cats, they also finished an album, which was released on March 26.

Please welcome Dog Trainer to the blog!

dog trainer

Where have you been staying in 2020?

Lucas: Starting in July, Nick and I actually lived together for 3 months in NYC to finish making this album haha… For a few months before that though, I was staying in Vermont and Nick was subletting a place in Washington Heights. Usually. we both live full time in NYC.

Nick: It was definitely a super crazy time. Things are a little more settled down now for both of us. Lucas is actually back in Vermont and I found a pretty nice spot in the East Village. I definitely normally couldn’t afford it, rent’s come waaay down in NYC haha.

What have you been doing during times of quarantine?

Lucas: Well the biggest thing, maybe to our significant other’s chagrin haha has been working on this album. In the three months we spent together in NYC I think we took 1 day off ?

Nick: Yeah haha we went extremely hard musically this year. I think we’re both super proud and excited about what we were able to achieve. Other than music, we’ve both been working from home. I do a lot of work on some music education apps, and Lucas and I both edit podcasts.

Lucas: BORING hahah, yeah pretty much working though… and watching netflix…

Nick: We watched way too many bad (and good) Will Ferrell movies lol

Have you found or re-found any hobbies?

Nick: Lucas and I both are randomly insanely into this thing called ‘aquascaping’ lol It kinda started when Lucas got a beta a few years ago, and things have just escalated so much.

Lucas: Yeah it’s pretty much underwater landscaping for fish. That sounds weird cause it is weird haha. We’ve gone to like expos and stuff. It’s really nerdy. Good conversation starter tho any time people come over to my apartment the first time haha

Nick: I never thought I would know as many aquatic plant species as I do. If anyone’s asking, a good pair of planting tweezers will go a long way.

Lucas: No one’s asking… hahahah but yeah when I came out to Vermont I brought a 17 gallon tank/plants/and I think 10-15 fish, but the species I brought mates super easy, and the population tripled in the first 3 months of quarantine. When I came back to NYC I had to give them to the store we frequent. Was a sad day.

Nick: I was actually there a few weeks ago and I saw a bunch of them haha

What have you been listening to lately?

Lucas: I’ve been playing Tony Hawk and listening to the new Machine Gun Kelly album. Such a 2000’s throwback. Sounds like if Blink 182 had listened to Juice Wrld.

Nick: Yeah MGK is pretty amazing lol I’ve been listening to Caroline Polachek a lot in the last couple weeks. Pang is just so good, I really love the production on that album and her voice is really cool.

Lucas: I’ve also been listening to a friend’s band Sipper. He’s releasing I think a song a week and they’re all really good and kind of cute? Idk I really like it haha.

Nick: ‘room’ is a jam haha

Has your songwriting process changed this year?

Nick: Quite a bit. Before quarantine, Lucas and I were kind of doing everything in the same room. But after the pandemic started, we ended up literally in different states, and were kind of forced to collaborate in new ways. So we’ve been using an app called Splice to collaborate on sessions and send each other beats/ideas.

Lucas: It was really cool to work apart, I think when you’re not in the same room, you don’t have that feeling that you’re wasting the other person’s time when you really explore some weird directions with production. I feel like this allowed us to really imprint a lot of our individual tastes into the music.

Nick: Definitely, I feel like that’s been a huge development in our process. Also, songwriting wise, we haven’t always done this ‘beats first’ approach, but I think Lucas and I both really liked and benefited from it.

Lucas: Yeah at first it was kind of just out of necessity, cause we didn’t really feel like we could write melodies and lyrics as well over facetime, but production seemed super doable, as we mentioned, in that kind of split up, trade off way. I also really loved how when we finally were able to get together and write the songs, the production was already there. So it was like immediate gratification, just getting to hear the song with vocals with almost final production super quickly.

Nick: Right, and also I think the production really helped inform the direction of the songwriting. Like some of the melodies we wrote were originally synth melodies, and a lot of the lyrical directions were influenced by the tone of the production.

Is there any message that you would like to convey to fans or soon-to-be fans?

Lucas: No.

Nick: lol

Lucas: Jkjk, I think with this album we were just trying to be super honest. In the past I think we kind of caved to fronting on social media, always showing a very confident face to our followers, like everything was going great… now we’re kind of unmasking that and pretty openly talking about our things we struggle with, like our anxieties (“am I gonna hate this tattoo when I’m 45 applying for a job I never wanted in the suburb that I grew up”), the pandemic, keeping in touch with friends, procrastination etc.

Nick: Totally. On the flip side, there’s also a lot about how grateful we are for a lot of the things in our lives, especially the relationships we have. So there’s kind of this juxtaposition between all of these positive things, and then this like real negativity that Lucas and I both really experience and can be hard to overcome. That being said, I think the album is a little bit song to song message wise. But everything is kind of encapsulated by our real life experiences, basically everything on the album is truthful down to like, the smallest details haha

What is something positive that has happened to you during 2020?

Lucas: Spending this much time with my parents has honestly been really amazing. This is probably the most time I’ve spent with them since I was like 1 yr old haha. Even when I was in elementary school I would go to friends houses, sports practices etc. whereas here I really get to just sit down to dinner every night and watch TV with them after. Maybe that doesn’t sound edgy enough haha

Nick: Damn haha that’s very sweet Lucas

Lucas: Yeah, that and ALL THE DRUGS I’M DOING just kidding lololol

Nick: For sure… (5 minutes later)

Nick: yeah…….. Well…….. I think this album has been insanely positive. Also moving into the East Village with my s/o Elvira has been pretty fun. We also are fostering a cat named Bono, but I mostly call him Baby Cat. I’m also edgy btw

Lucas: For sure…

Nick: well… think that wraps up this interview, thanks for having us. Remember us when YOU’RE FAMOUS!

Lucas: abstract hahah, yeah thanks so much for having us.

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