Urban Dictionary defines a Rain Dog as a “dog caught in the rain, with its whole trail washed away by the water so he can’t get back home. A stranded dog, who wants nothing better than to get home.”
The term, stemming from the iconic Tom Waits album “Rain Dogs,” is also where producer Samuel Evans derives the name of his music project. A fitting name for the producer, who has a flair for carefully crafted rhythms and distant, dissonant melodies, that parallel tracks like ‘Cemetery Polka’ off of “Rain Dogs.” Living in London, Samuel has releases with Berlin-based label Project Mooncircle and his tunes have been circulating around the electronic beat scene to great acclaim. The mix he’s prepared for us explores more of his musical influences and features tracks off his sophomore album, “There be Monsters,” out now on Project Mooncircle. We spoke with him about getting inspiration from film and literature and got some insight into his creative process.
Objekt – Apathetic Moo Creature
Dj Koze – Das Wort
Dub Tractor – E47
Rain Dog – Lloyd Has My Keyboard
Holy Other – Know Where
Nightmares On Wax – So Here We Are
Rain Dog – See Hear
Rain Dog – Dream Is Destiny
Flying Lotus – Tea Leaf Dancers
St Germaine – How Dare You
Radiohead – In Bloom (Objekt Remix)
Photay – Astral Projection
Ocean Wisdom Prod. Kidkanevil – Ewok
Onoe Caponoe – Milkyway 131 (Djrum Remix Dub)
The Bug Feat. Killa P & Flowdan – Skeng (Autechre Remix)
Romare – The Drifter
Eprom – Centre Of The Sun
Richie Brains – Tantrum
Akkord – Folded Edge
Clap! Clap! – Camo
Screaming Soul – Warefare (Ruckspin & Planas Remix)
Rain Dog – Twelve Steps
Rihanna – Stay (Branches Bootleg)
Rain Dog – Regolith
Barnaby Carter – This Is Ours
Broken Dialogue (unknown artist)
“Whether I have or haven’t I’m not sure, but I always found film a great place to kickstart my brain into a rhythm.”
What about the Tom Waits Album “Rain Dogs” influenced your work?
First off it’s such a huge album, 19 tracks of joy and variety, from the surreal and manic ‘Cemetery Polka’ to the wonderful pop ballad ‘Downtown Train’. I had never heard anything like it when I was younger and I found myself really, actually listening to the lyrics, something I neglected to do when I was young, in favor of focusing on melody, loud guitar and the like. This album had an impact on the kind of music I listened to, it raised the bar for me as I saw that this man seemingly had no limits to his creativity/output—it was a change of perspective for me. Also the trumpets at the end of the last track, ‘Anywhere I Lay My Head’ remind me of my grandfather.
Other than Tom Waits, what are some of your other influences? You’ve referenced David Foster Wallace in some of your song titles—any favorite books by him?
Does it count if I haven’t finished it? I’ve been reading Infinite Jest since I can remember, my third attempt. Brief Interviews With Hideous Men is also a great read. There is a familiarity in his work, something brazen and honest which I find comforting. Often terrifyingly sad sat comfortably next to laugh out loud funny. I take a lot from films as well. Adrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson, A Wedding by Robert Altman. I often felt like I wanted to translate the texture of film into sound. Whether I have or haven’t I’m not sure, but I always found film a great place to kickstart my brain into a rhythm. Once I start writing I often find that I stop listening to music as well, it’s like an automatic safety thing, I think. Once I start listening to other music I can easily lose faith in what I’m doing so I have to trap myself in a bubble and try to not let anything potentially sully my own efforts.
There’s a certain melancholic quality to the music on your album “There be Monsters”—what topics were you exploring while making it?
It’s pretty self indulgent, I had been through a few major changes in and around the time of making this album and it naturally bled into its’ production. I’d say the main focus is on mental health and my family. I had come to depend on my family after a period of being surrounded by people but being tenebrous on my own. They helped facilitate a change in direction for me, particularly my sis.
Some of Rain Dog's works on Project Mooncircle
Including his sophomore album, "Here be Monsters" and the Project Mooncircle 15th Compilation
How would you define your music?
If people ask me what kind of music I make I always fall short like a chump and either tell them it’s easier to listen than for me to put it into words, or I’ll reduce it down to an irritatingly vague term. I think it’s fine to classify music but it’s not something I do readily, most things are cross platform now and that’s a great thing for the most part. I have taken (whether I like it or not) all sorts of different things from different forms of music and imparted my thoughts on them into my own bits. I’d probably say with this album I tip my hat to certain artists as opposed to genres, and those artists are an eclectic bunch for sure, from Jonny Greenwood to Calibre.
How did you begin the process for piecing the songs together for this album—did you compose the tracks with the intent to create an album or did they come together naturally?
The album came together naturally to some extent, though it took it’s time. I had always aimed to write a new album but each time I set out with something in mind it fell to pieces, I ended up scrapping everything on two occasions. Though over time I eventually began to view things a little more coherently as I could see and remember specific periods of time in the last 3 years in each piece I had written. You work blind sometimes in the moment and can then be left with something you don’t know what to do with. But later down the line I could see where everything fit and it all came together, allowing me to explore and compartmentalise all this stuff going on in my own head—the title ‘There Be Monsters’ is a reference to that exploration.
Tell us about the cover artwork for the album—where is that photo from?
The cover art is an old family photograph of my late auntie holding my mother. I originally had different plans for the artwork but I had been going through some old photo albums and this picture really stuck out to me. It was a late thought but for me it was a perfect fit for the tone and texture of the album.
What setting do you picture your music being listened to? Socially or alone?
That’s a hard question. It’s certainly not club music for the most part, though I had designed some of the tracks to be played loud. I think I quite like the idea of if falling away underneath the bustle of crowd noise, to be returned to later perhaps, in a more personal environment.
What is a record that you’d love that some might find surprising? A guilty pleasure?
I really like ‘Body Talk’ by Robyn… particularly ‘Call Your Girlfriend’. The only way I could dance like that is in a massive warehouse on my own.
How did you go about selecting the tracks for this mix you created for us?
For the mix I tried to get a good variety of artists in there, new things I’m into and some older notes I still love. I have a pool of tracks I use for mixing normally, with artists like Kidkanevil, Djrum, Objekt, Dj Koze and the like, but I enjoy process of exploring and trying to make more idiosyncratic matches and move down a more assorted, higgledy-piggeldy route. My music can be fairly eclectic in tempo and style, so my mixes should be too.
Thank you Samuel, for preparing this mix for us. We’re really enjoying the melancholic moods and heady grooves you’ve pieced together.
Samuel Evans, or Rain Dog, is an electronic music producer and DJ based out of London. His sophomore album, “Here be Monsters” is out now on Berlin-based label, Project Mooncircle.
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